Bob Geldof to Headline Hancock Symposium
Bob Geldof, KBE, one of the founders of the Live Aid Relief Concert and a world famous humanitarian, will headline this year’s Hancock Symposium on the arts and deliver a Green Lecture at Westminster College September 16-17.
Established in 1936, the Green Foundation Lectureship provides for lectures designed to promote understanding of economic and social problems of international concern. Although the most famous Green Lecture on campus is the “Iron Curtain” speech delivered by Sir Winston Churchill in 1946, other notable lectures have included luminaries such as Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev and J.C. Penney.
Plenary speakers for the Hancock Symposium include Dale Bell, the film producer of “Woodstock; Andy Paris, one of the writers of “The Laramie Project”; singer/songwriter Moira Smiley and newspaper editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Sally Stapleton.
The Hancock Symposium is two days of lectures, panel discussions and presentations by noted experts on one particular subject of global interest. The dynamic sessions are fun and intended to challenge students through intellectual discourse. Westminster classes are dismissed for the two days so the entire campus community can participate in the events and learn together.
“The Hancock Symposium embodies Westminster College’s approach to integrative learning, focusing on topics of global significance,” says Westminster College President Dr. George B. Forsythe.
“Our goal is to offer experiences in and with art as well as lecture presentations about art,” says Dr. Natasia Sexton, Associate Professor and Chair of the Fine Arts Department at Westminster. “Furthermore, rather than emphasizing the intrinsic value of the arts, we are exploring the arts as a catalyst for cultural, social and political changes. In other words, how efficacious are the arts in promoting global leadership? How do the arts inspire activism?”
Bob Geldof, an Irish singer-songwriter, author, actor and political activist, rose to fame as the lead singer of the Irish rock band The Boomtown Rats in the late 70s. He co-wrote one of the best-selling singles of all time, “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” which was recorded by various artists under the name Band Aid to raise funds to fight famine in Ethiopia.
In 1985, he was the co-organizer of Live Aid, a massive concert event staged simultaneously in London and Philadelphia to provide financial relief for African countries. Then in 2005 he organized a series of Live 8 Concerts to raise awareness of the plight of Africans. He also starred as Pink in the 1982 film “Pink Floyd–The Wall.”
Geldof was bestowed honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in 1986 but is precluded from using the title “Sir” because he is not a citizen of the Commonwealth realm. He is an advisor to the ONE Campaign founded by fellow Irishman Bono.
Another Symposium presenter, Dale Bell, is a producer, director, and writer best known for producing the Academy Award winning film “Woodstock” in 1970. He has produced television and multimedia for over 45 years and his television work includes the mini-series “Pirate Tales” and the series “Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” He co-founded the Media & Policy Center, developed its media model and since the broadcast of his television movie “And Thou Shall Honor” has become a national spokesman for eldercare.
Symposium presenter Andy Paris is an actor and writer who along with other members of the Tectonic Theatre Project wrote both the play and the screenplay of “The Laramie Project.” The group was nominated for an Emmy in 2002 for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special. He played the part of Stephen Belber in “The Laramie Project” and has appeared on the television show “Law and Order.”
Presenter Moira Smiley is a singer/composer who travels the world as a soloist and musical director, creating new compositions for vocal ensemble, dance, theatre and film. She champions various social ideologies through folk music, protest songs and creative body percussion. Writing music since the age of six, she emphasizes the instrumental qualities of the human voice. Her style is a blend of American and Eastern European folk music. Her voice has been heard in feature films, BBC and PBS television, NPR radio and more than 60 commercially released albums.
The final plenary speaker is Sally Stapleton, Managing Editor/Online and Photographer for The Day, a newspaper based in New London, CT. Stapleton is a former Deputy Executive Photo Editor of the Associated Press. During that time she led a team of photographers to two Pulitzer Prizes in Photography for their Africa coverage. In 2002, she received a Fulbright scholarship to work with local journalists in Rwanda.
Before her work for the AP, she was a photo editor at The Boston Globe, The Miami Herald and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
“Our aim is to bring artists to campus who have distinguished themselves by using their art to either raise awareness of important global issues or who have actually effected change through their artistic endeavors,” says Dr. Sexton.