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September 5, 2014

SVSU ‘Making The Global Local’ in 2014 Fall Focus lecture series

Saginaw Valley State University’s Fall Focus lecture series will connect audiences with world-renowned experts sharing new perspectives on modern day global issues as well as on historic figures.

The theme for this year’s series is “Making The Global Local.” Speakers will examine topics including the rejuvenation of a Detroit neighborhood, the future of relations between the U.S. and Mexico, the historic symbolism of the lie detector test, the push to redefine water as a worldwide resource, and ideas to improve America's schools. Other lectures will reflect on famous statesmen and scientists.

The series comprises presentations from SVSU’s Dow Visiting Scholars and Artists program, the 11th annual O'Neill Memorial Lecture, and the 12th annual Hoffmann/Willertz Lecture.

The lineup is as follows:

•    Susan Mosey - "Midtown Detroit"
    7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 30
    Rhea Miller Recital Hall
    Mosey, president of Midtown Detroit, Inc., will discuss her organization's $60 million effort to rejuvenate the Detroit district known as Midtown. The initiative has included the restoration of historic homes and a grant program for local businesses. Her account of community redevelopment will offer a potential template for revitalizing other struggling Michigan cities such as Saginaw and Flint.

•    Charles Fishman - "The Big Thirst"
    7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 8
    Curtiss Hall seminar rooms
    Fishman, author of "The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water," will highlight the resource's role in the business sector and point to the many contradictions of water in the developing world. He will offer audiences a vision of how current wasteful ways can be curbed through ingenuity and conscientious stewardship.

•    Shannon O'Neil - "Mexico, The U.S. and the Road Ahead"
    7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 14
    Rhea Miller Recital Hall
    O'Neil - an expert on U.S.-Latin American relations, trade, energy and immigration - will talk about a topic that's received international headlines recently: the United States' relationship with Mexico. O'Neil, who has testified in front of Congress regarding U.S. policy with its southern neighbor, will discuss the need for America to view Mexico as a partner instead of a problem.

•    Graham Farmelo - "Paul Dirac and the Religion of Mathematical Beauty"
    4 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 22
    Rhea Miller Recital Hall
    Farmelo will discuss the life of eccentric genius Paul Dirac, the theoretical physicist best known for co-discovering quantum mechanics. Farmelo wrote a biography of Dirac, "The Strangest Man," which was translated into 10 languages and won both The Los Angeles Times Prize For Science Writing in 2010 as well as the Costa Rica Prize for Biography in 2009.

•    Graham Farmelo - "Winston Churchill - Writer, Global Political Figure, Nuclear Visionary"
    7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 23
    Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts
    In his second appearance in the Fall Focus series, Farmelo - author of "Churchill's Bomb" - will discuss Winston Churchill, the World War II-era British prime minister considered the first political leader to be a nuclear visionary. The talk will explore Churchill's pioneering role in nuclear field politics as well as his participation in a nuclear experiment when he was nearly 80.  

•    Charles Montgomery - "Happy City"
    7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 28
    Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts
    Montgomery, an award-winning author and urban experimentalist, will ask the question, "How can we be happier in cities?" Using examples in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics - as well as cityscapes, from Disneyland to Dubai - he will explore the link between the ways we design our cities and the ways we think, feel and act.

•    Amanda Ripley - "A Global Quest To Save America's Schools"
    7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 3
    Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts
    Ripley is an investigative journalist for Time, The Atlantic as well as the author of "The Smartest Kids In The World - And How They Got That Way." During her Fall Focus appearance, she will explore how the brain acquires learning and how that learning compares to what children do in school. She will also explain how people behave under extreme stress.

•    John Baesler - "Immeasurable Security: The Lie Detector and the American Cold War"
    4 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 13
    Rhea Miller Recital Hall
    Baesler, SVSU associate professor of history, will explore the creation of U.S. national security policy after World War II through the lens of the lie detector. In order to explain why an invasive technology with questionable scientific credentials became part of U.S. national security, he will argue the test served as a symbol, representing both American science and the toughness necessary to stand up to communism.