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2018 BRINGS TA-NEHESI COATES, OCEAN VUONG, OTHER AMAZING PEOPLE TO MCLA


Feb. 9, 2018
NORTH ADAMS — Best-selling author Ta-Nehesi Coates, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, a National Book Award winner, and one of the most significant voices of our time, is just one of many powerful, notable speakers coming to MCLA in 2018. In addition to Coates, the College is pleased to announce a year of thought-provoking, fascinating speakers who will speak at the campus’s annual public policy, Hardman and Vadnais lectures.

Internationally acclaimed poet Ocean Vuong will read from his work on March 1. Clint Watts, NBC News contributor, former FBI agent, foreign policy and cyber security expert, will deliver the College’s spring public policy lecture on April 4. And in mid-April, this year’s Hardman Journalist-in-Residence will be Peabody Award-winning Pakistani journalist and filmmaker Habiba Nosheen.

With more announcements to come, be sure to mark your calendar for the following events, all of which are free and open to the public:

Ocean Vuong, bestselling poet and essayist, “Night Sky with Exit Wounds” author

As a participant in MCLA’s Visiting Writers series, coordinated by the Department of English/communications, Vuong will offer a poetry reading at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 1, in Murdock Hall room 218, This event is free and open to the public.

Born in Saigon in 1988, Vuong survived a year in a refugee camp in the Philippines before traveling to America, where he became the first person in his family to learn to read.  His first book, “Night Sky with Exit Wounds,” was a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016, which went on to win the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Vuong’s other honors include fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, the Elizabeth George Foundation, and the Academy of American Poets.

Clint Watts, NBC News contributor, former FBI agent, foreign policy and cyber security expert

 Watts will deliver MCLA’s spring public policy lecture, “Russian Spies, Social Media, and Fake News: An Inside Look at Russia’s Cyberwarfare Campaign Against American Democracy,” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4, in the Church Street Center’s Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium. Made possible through the generosity of the Ruth Proud Charitable Trust, the lecture is free and open to the public.

Four years ago, the idea that Russian spies were secretly influencing American public opinion sounded like the plot of a Cold War spy novel. Today, we know that this idea was not so far-fetched. A small team of analysts, led by Watts, saw the writing on the wall in 2014 and sounded the warning bells that there was a massive Russian cyberwarfare propaganda operation underway that sought to exploit American free speech on social media with the goal of undermining American Democracy. Watts since has become the preeminent expert on the Russian propaganda campaign, testifying before Congress in March and April 2017.

Habiba Nosheen, Hardman Journalist-in-Residence

A Hardman journalist-in-residence, Nosheen will be at MCLA April 9-11. During this time, some events will be open to the public. Her residency at MCLA is made possible through the generosity of the Hardman Family Endowment.

Nosheen is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she teaches radio and video reporting. Her stories have been published by The New York Times, TIME, Glamour, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, ProPublica, CBC, NPR and PBS, among other news outlets. In addition, Nosheen was an NPR Kroc Fellow. Her 2013 documentary film, “Outlawed in Pakistan,” was featured at the Sundance Film Festival, and won an Emmy Award for outstanding informational programming.

Ta-Nehesi Coates, national correspondent for The Atlantic, National Book Award winner and bestselling author

Coates will present the Michael S. and Kitty Dukakis Public Policy Lecture at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, in the MCLA Campus Center Gym. His lecture, made possible through the generosity of the Ruth Proud Charitable Trust, is free and open to the public.

Coates’ powerful writing combines reportage, historical analysis, and personal narrative to address some of America’s most complex and challenging issues pertaining to culture and identity. Called “essential, like water or air,” by A.O. Scott of The New York Times, his 2015 book, “Between the World and Me,” was a number-one New York Times bestseller, as well as a winner of the National Book Award and the NAACP Image Award. His most recent book, “We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy,” is a collection of his essays on the Obama presidency and its aftermath.

In addition, academics, scientists, researchers, and other professionals continue to make regular appearances at MCLA. This spring, check out MCLA’s Green Living Seminar Series, which runs through April 12 and hosts lectures by local, regional, and national experts.

The seminars are organized around a central theme related to the environment and sustainability. The 2018 series is a presentation of the MCLA Environmental Studies Department and MCLA’s Berkshire Environmental Resource Center. For more information, go to www.mcla.edu/greenliving.

Also, in the fall, MCLA will present another Elizabeth and Lawrence Vadnais Environmental Issues Lecture. This annual lecture series is named for Professor Lawrence H. Vadnais and is sponsored by the Vadnais Endowment. For more information, go to

www.mcla.edu/About_MCLA/notablespeakers/elizabethandlawrencevadnais/index.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth’s public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

For more information, go to www.mcla.edu.