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Honors Colloquium

Fall 2008 Honors Colloquium

Journalist, author Elizabeth Kolbert to kick off URI Honors Colloquium with historical discussion of global climate change, Sept. 9

Elizabeth KolbertElizabeth Kolbert, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature and Climate Change, will be the first speaker in the University of Rhode Island’s annual fall Honors Colloquium.

Free and open to the public, the lecture will be held Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Chafee Social Science Center on URI’s Kingston Campus.

The 2008 Honors Colloquium, “People and Planet: Global Environmental Change,” will explore human-caused global change, its consequences and potential responses through a series of lectures, films, exhibits and a cabaret. Weekly events run through Dec. 9.

Kolbert’s lecture on the historical background of global climate change will be an essential primer on the topic. She will explain the science and the studies of climate change, draw parallels to lost ancient civilizations, examine the politics surrounding the issue, and present the personal tales of those who are being affected most -- the people who make their homes near the poles and who are watching their worlds disappear.

For her book Field Notes from a Catastrophe, Kolbert traveled from Alaska to Greenland and visited top scientists to get to the heart of the debate over global warming. Growing out of a groundbreaking three-part series in The New Yorker that won the 2005 National Magazine Award, Field Notes from a Catastrophe was chosen as one of the 100 Notable Books of the Year (2006) by The New York Times Book Review.

Kolbert lectureKolbert has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1999. Her series on global warming, “The Climate of Man,” won the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s magazine award, as well as the 2006 National Academy of Sciences Communication Award.

Her stories have also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, and Mother Jones, and have been anthologized in “The Best American Science and Nature Writing” and “The Best American Political Writing.” A collection of her work, The Prophet of Love and Other Tales of Power and Deceit, was published in 2004. Prior to joining the staff of The New Yorker, Kolbert was a political reporter for The New York Times.

For background material on this lecture, click here.


Major Sponsor:

The G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation

Sustaining Sponsors:

URI Office of the President; URI Honors Program; The Mark and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment; The Thomas Silvia and Shannon Chandley Honors Colloquium Endowment.

Leadership Sponsors:

URI Graduate School of Oceanography and URI College of Arts and Sciences.


Environmental Data Center, URI Department of Natural Resources Science; R.I. Center for the Book at Providence Public Library; R.I. Office of Library and Information Services; R.I. Sea Grant College Program; U.S. E.P.A. Office of Research and Development, Atlantic Ecology Division; URI Classroom Media Services; URI Coastal Institute; URI College of Business Administration; URI College of Engineering; URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences; URI College of Human Science and Services; URI College of Nursing; URI College of Pharmacy; URI Division of Student Affairs; URI Division of University Advancement and the URI Alumni Association; URI Foundation; URI Office of the Provost; URI Office of the Vice President for Administration; URI Office of the Vice Provost for Information Technology Services; URI University College.

Colloquium Coordinators:

Professor Steven D'Hondt, Graduate School of Oceanography;
Professor Arthur Spivack, Graduate School of Oceanography;
Professor Judith Swift, Theatre and Communication Studies.

For information about ways to support the Honors Colloquium, contact Tom Zorabedian at 401-874-2853 or