Fordham GSAS: Grad. Life: Communitas '12 on March 30th

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Communitas '12 on March 30th

      It seems it would be slipshod of me as the GSAS blogger not to mention the special GSAS event that is coming up at the end of this month! On March 30th, the GSAS will hold its annual Communitas ’12 and Spring Gannon Lecture event!
     Here’s how the schedule breaks down:
     Starting at 12:30pm, student presenters from every department will be presenting their work, from recent and current research projects, in the Walsh Library. Click here for the schedule of presentations

      At 5:30pm, there will be a Dean’s reception in the Walsh Library Atrium, where the presenters will be exhibiting their research posters and videos. Last year’s winning entries are posted on the GSAS Research Competition webpage. I just browsed through the projects – they look amazing! It definitely is inspiring to see the work of my peers, not only in my department but throughout the entire GSAS, displayed and showcased for a larger audience. Communitas provides a nice space for graduates to take pride in their projects that their blood, sweat, and tears have gone into for probably months and maybe even years.
       Then, at 6:30 pm, everyone will move into the Flom Auditorium for the Spring Gannon Lecture. Unfortunately, I hadn’t previously known this event existed, but after learning about it, I realize that it is such a wonderful opportunity for GSAS members to gather together and enter a conversation about a timely and important cultural topic. According to the GSAS website, “The Gannon Lecture Series, which began in the fall of 1980, brings distinguished individuals to Fordham to deliver public lectures on topics of their expertise.  Fordham alumni endowed the series to honor the Rev. Robert I. Gannon, S.J., president of Fordham University from 1936 to 1949, who was an outstanding and popular speaker.” (1980! That means the lecture series is as old as this blogger!)
       This year’s lecture topic sounds like it will be a fascinating and timely topic. The lecture is entitled, “Sandstorm: Interpreting the New Middle East and North Africa” and will be given by Dr. Kamal  Azari, GSAS ’88, and Dr. John P. Entelis, Prof. of Political Science and Director of Middle East Studies program at Fordham. (By the way, I went to the Middle East Studies webpage on the University Website – it looks like an amazing program!) Both Dr. Azari and Dr. Entelis will surely bring out important perspectives on political, social, economic, and cultural issues related to the Middle East and North Africa.  

       The question I want to ask now is this: What can we do as a community to encourage more consistent and wider attendance at these kind of events, which will surely benefit all who attend, either professionally, academically, or intellectually? From my experience, I feel as if being a part of the GSAS community as a whole wasn’t and isn’t presented as a priority or even an expectation as I began my coursework years ago at Fordham. Readers, do you agree? Was this was just a personal experience unique to me – did my own actions (and non-actions) cause me to miss out on these GSAS wide opportunities? Or is it a larger issue? And, is this something we as a whole should work to correct? How important is service or participation to the GSAS as a whole in comparison to serving and participating within our departments? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 
       In the meantime, I hope to see you at the event! 

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