• Marian Miner Cook

    A distinctive
    feature of social and
    cultural life at CMC

  • Marian Miner Cook

    A distinctive
    feature of social and
    cultural life at CMC

  • Marian Miner Cook

    A distinctive
    feature of social and
    cultural life at CMC

Unique in U.S. higher education, the Athenaeum brings today’s leading scholars and activists, innovators and entrepreneurs, politicians and poets, scientists and musicians to engage our community in an intimate and relaxed setting. A complete, current list of open events is available.

Coming Up at the Ath

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - Evening Program
An Evening of Spoken Word Poetry
Kelly Tsai
Kelly Tsai, an award-winning spoken word poet, actively engages—and believes in the power of the arts—to leverage and effectuate social change. She will perform an eclectic set list including Making Guacamole and You Are, You Are . 

Kelly Tsai is an award-winning writer, performer, and filmmaker based in Brooklyn, New York. Her work as a spoken word poet has been featured at over 700 venues including the White House, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Apollo Theater, BAM, MTV Iggy, HBO's "East of Main Street: Asians Aloud" and three seasons of HBO's "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry," among others.

In 2016, Tsai was honored as a Woman of Distinction by the American Association for University Women. She was recognized in 2015 by Americorps Alums' National Leader Award, New York Historical Society’s "Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion" exhibit, and NBC's News' "Asian American Poets to Watch." Previously, Tsai has been noted as one of the "30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30" by AngryAsianMan.com and one of the "Top 40 New Yorkers Who Create Positive Social Change" by Idealist.org in NYC.

Tsai graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a double major and high honors in urban planning and comparative literature. 

Read more about Kelly Tsai.

Photo credit: Kyle D. Reinford

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - Lunch Program
Roundtable on U.S. Immigration Policy
Frank Bean, Lanhee Chen, and Giovanni Peri, panelists; William Lincoln, moderator
With immigration a central issue in the 2016 elections, the Lowe Institute has invited three internationally recognized experts to share their opinions on the subject.

Following a two hour conference in the Kravis Center Freeberg Forum from 10am-12noon, we will have a lunch and roundtable discussion with three distinguished speakers including Frank Bean, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and director of the Center for Research on International Migration at the University of California, Irvine; Lanhee Chen, the David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, former Policy Director for the Mitt Romney for President 2012 campaign, and advisor to the Marco Rubio for President 2016 campaign; and Giovanni Peri, professor and department chair of economics at the University of California, Davis, director of the UC Davis Temporary Migration Cluster, and research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

William Lincoln, assistant professor in the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance at CMC will moderate. 

The roundtable promises to be a lively and important discussion on an issue central to the choices facing voters in November and the direction of the country going forward.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - Evening Program
Persecution of Homosexuals in Germany: During and After the Holocaust
Geoffrey Giles
Geoffrey Giles, a scholar of groundbreaking research and writings on the Allied occupation of Germany, will speak about the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany and in post-war, occupied Germany.

Geoffrey Giles received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Cambridge. After completing a four-year postdoctoral fellowship at Yale, he taught German and European history at the University of Florida for 35 years, before retiring as an emeritus professor in 2013.

Beginning in the 1990s, Giles led several traveling study seminars for college faculty to meet with museum staff at death camps and other Holocaust sites in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Germany on behalf of the Holocaust Educational Foundation. Giles also served for many years on the State of Florida Education Commissioner’s Task Force on Holocaust Education. He continues to speak on the Holocaust at nationwide workshops targeted in particular for educators.

In 2000, he spent a year as the senior scholar-in-residence at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies in Washington D.C. conducting research on the treatment and victimization of homosexuals during the Third Reich. He continued this research as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the University of Munich in 2003-2004, and has published numerous essays and articles on this subject in both English and German. In November 2015 he delivered a keynote address at the Sorbonne in Paris on Nazi concepts of masculinity and attitudes toward homosexuality. A book on the topic is forthcoming.

Professor Giles’ Athenaeum talk is co-sponsored by the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights.

Friday, September 30, 2016 - Lunch Program
Elie Wiesel’s Impact on Claremont McKenna College
John K. Roth
John K. Roth, Edward J. Sexton Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at CMC and a dear friend and fellow scholar, will share his thoughts on the many ways in which Elie Wiesel made an impact on the CMC and the Claremont community and on all of humanity through his pedagogy, his leadership, and his courage to honor those who lost their lives and fight for those who continue to endure suffering today.

Join us as we commemorate the life and legacy of Elie Wiesel (1928-2016), Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize winning author, professor, and renowned humanitarian. Elie Wiesel worked on behalf of oppressed people for much of his adult life. His personal experience of the Holocaust led him to use his talents as an author, teacher, and storyteller to defend human rights and peace throughout the world.

A native of Sighet, Transylvania (Romania), Wiesel and his family were deported by the Nazis to Auschwitz when he was fifteen years old. His mother and younger sister perished there; his two older sisters survived. Wiesel and his father were later transported to Buchenwald, where his father died. After the war, Wiesel studied in Paris and later became a journalist in that city; yet, he remained silent about what he had endured as an inmate in the death camps. During an interview with French writer Francois Mauriac, Wiesel was persuaded to end that silence and he subsequently wrote Night. Since its publication in 1958, it has been translated into twenty-five languages and millions of copies have been sold.  In his lifetime, Wiesel received numerous awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal, the National Humanities Medal, the Medal of Liberty, and the rank of Grand-Croix in the French Legion of Honor and went on to author more than 60 books.

Co-sponsored by the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights.

Monday, October 3, 2016 - Evening Program
Crickets and Sharks - Introducing Insect Protein into Western Cuisine
Pat Crowley '02
Pat Crowley '02 launched his company Chapul as a way to introduce insects into western cuisine and is making inroads in the food world, breaking down cultural barriers towards a more sustainable food system.

Pat Crowley '02 is founder and CEO of Chapul Inc., a company revolutionizing the food industry with their award winning cricket bars. Fueled with a passion for a more sustainable future, Crowley has broken down cultural barriers and introduced edible insects into western cuisine. From hand-making energy bars in a small kitchen, to a crowd-funded start-up, then on to winning an investment from Mark Cuban on the hit TV show, Shark Tank, Pat has created an international presence and ignited a revolution that is challenging the boundaries of food. Pat has been interviewed by CNN, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, and has spoken from TEDx, University, and International stages.

After graduating CMC in 2002, Crowley hitchhiked and surfed his way through Central America, witnessing first-hand the global water crisis. He returned to the U.S. to receive his M.S. in hydrology and dedicated his career to ensuring a more sustainable water future. Diving into the the largest consumer of global water supply, agriculture, it became evident that our food system is in need of a massive revolution.

Eating insects is his attempt at such a revolution.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016 - Special Program
The Race for the White House 2016: Vice-Presidential Debate
Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, televised
Join fellow students, faculty, and staff to watch the only vice-presidential debate of the 2016 season! Commentary and lively discussion included. 
Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - Lunch Program
Reflections on a Career in Congress
Lois Capps GP'18
Representative Lois Capps will reflect on her 18-year career in Congress and her commitment to help people improve their daily lives through better schools, quality health care, and a cleaner environment.  

A long-time resident of Santa Barbara, Congresswoman Lois Capps represents California’s 24th District, which includes San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, and a portion of Ventura county. She has served in Congress since 1998. 

A nurse and educator by training, Capps’ extensive healthcare background informs her work in Congress where she is a respected and effective leader, especially on issues related to public health. She has successfully spearheaded and passed legislation specifically to address the national nursing shortage, detect and prevent domestic violence against women, curb underage drinking, improve mental health services, provide emergency defibrillators to local communities, improve research on pediatric rare diseases, support greater diversity in clinical trials for more effective treatments, bring CPR instruction to schools, identify and link newborns with hearing loss to services, strengthen Medicare coverage for patients suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease, expand TRICARE health coverage for military mothers, and improve rental car safety to protect consumers.

Capps has also been at the forefront of efforts to protect the environment and promote clean energy and green technology. She has led efforts to prevent new oil and gas drilling off our coast and on the public’s lands, strengthen oil pipeline safety and spill response, protect consumers from shouldering the financial burden of cleaning up water pollution in their water supplies, and conserve wildlife and rare species native to the Central Coast. She has also authored laws to establish a national system for ocean monitoring, expand conservation efforts for our public lands and strengthen labeling standards for organic foods.

Among other commitments, she serves on the powerful Committee on Energy and Commerce where she sits on the Health, Energy & Power, and Environment & the Economy subcommittees and also serves on the Natural Resources Committee where she sits on the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Subcommittee on Federal Lands. Her work on this committee is focused on energy production, fisheries and wildlife, public lands, oceans, and Native Americans.

Capps graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington with a B.S. in Nursing with honors and worked as a nursing instructor in Portland, Oregon. She earned an M.A. in Religion from Yale University while working as Head Nurse at Yale New Haven Hospital and an M.A. in Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has received honorary doctorates from Pacific Lutheran University and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. 

Representative Capps’ Athenaeum presentation is sponsored by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - Evening Program
New Approaches to Countering War and Atrocities in Africa
John Prendergast
John Prendergast, human rights activist and best-selling author who has worked for peace in Africa for 30 years, will explore the various methods that activists, nonprofits, and state actors employ to secure peace and accountability for human rights violators on the continent of Africa.    

John Prendergast is the founding director of the Enough Project, an initiative to end genocide and crimes against humanity. He is also the co-founder of the Sentry, a new investigative initiative focused on dismantling the networks financing conflict and atrocities. Prendergast has worked for the Clinton administration, the State Department, two members of Congress, the National Intelligence Council, UNICEF, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, and the U.S. Institute of Peace. During his time in the US state department, Prendergast was an instrumental part of a team which mediated, and ended, the 1998-2000 war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the deadliest war in the world at the time. Since then, Prendergast has made it his mission to combat mass atrocities in Africa.

He is the author or co-author of ten books.  His latest book, Unlikely Brothers: Our Story of Adventure, Loss, and Redemption (2012), is a dual memoir co-authored with his first little brother in the Big Brother program—a program in which he has been involved for over 25 years. His previous two books were co-authored with Don Cheadle, Not On Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond (2007), a New York Times bestseller and NAACP non-fiction book of the year, and The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes (2010). He is also beginning a book project on the Congo with Ryan Gosling and New Yorker writer Kelefa Sanneh.

The recipient of multiple honorary degrees and awards, Prendergast has taught at many American and foreign colleges and universities and is a board member and strategic advisor to Not On Our Watch, the organization founded by George Clooney, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, and Brad Pitt that advocates in support of global human rights. He appears in the Warner Brothers' motion picture "The Good Lie" (2014), starring Reese Witherspoon and is a primary subject of the book by Jane Bussman, A Journey to the Dark Heart of Nameless Unspeakable Evil (2014).

John Prendergast’s Athenaeum talk is co-sponsored by the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights.

Thursday, October 6, 2016 - Evening Program
China Under Mao: History versus Myth
Andrew Walder
Despite creating China's first unified modern national state and initiating its industrialization drive, did Mao leave China divided, backward, and weak? Stanford's Andrew Walder will examine the evidence.

As the Mao era fades in popular memory, its history has fallen out of focus and has been infused with myth. Drawing on his recent book, China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed (Harvard 2015), Andrew Walder will take up two related questions. First, what were Mao's intentions and what were the actual outcomes of his radical initiatives? Second, why did these outcomes occur? Mao emerges from the historical record as a radical revolutionary whose initiatives frequently had consequences that he had not intended and that frustrated his designs.

Andrew Walder is the Denise O'Leary and Kent Thiry Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, and Senior Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. A political sociologist, Walder specializes on the sources of conflict, stability, and change in contemporary China. He received his Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Michigan in 1981. Before coming to Stanford, he taught at Columbia, Harvard, and also headed the Division of Social Sciences at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

His recent publications include China Under Mao (Harvard University Press, 2015); and Fractured Rebellion: The Beijing Red Guard Movement (Harvard University Press, 2009). He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Walder’s Athenaeum talk is co-sponsored by CMC’s Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies.

Other Events and Announcements

Monday, October 10, 2016 - 5:30pm
The Oval Office and The Fourth Estate: A Conversation on Politics and Journalism in the Nation's Capital
Brandi Hoffine '06 and Michael Shear '90

Brandi Hoffine '06 has worked in both the public and private sectors in Washington, D.C. for ten years and has expertise on political communications and strategic messaging. Since August 2014, Hoffine has served as assistant press secretary and spokesperson for the White House where she handles a range of domestic and international policy issues.

Prior to the White House, she was a domestic finance spokesperson for the United States Treasury. She also served as Senator Tim Kaine's communication's director on his successful 2012 campaign for the United States Senate in Virginia. She has also worked in communications and research at the Democratic National Committee, including serving as the deputy national press secretary for the Democratic Party, and in the private sector for Deloitte Consulting.

Originally from Sacramento, Hoffine is a 2006 graduate of Claremont McKenna College.

Michael Shear '90 is the White House correspondent for The New York Times’ Washington bureau where he has worked for the last six years. In this role, he also covered the 2012 presidential campaign. Prior to that, he was a reporter for the Washington Post, where he spent 18 years covering local communities, school districts, state politics, the 2008 presidential campaign, and the first two years of the Obama White House.

A member of the Pulitzer Prize winning team that documented the shootings at the Virginia Tech campus in 2007, Shear is a 1990 graduate of Claremont McKenna College and has a masters in public policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 5:30pm
Notes from the Field: How ISIS Built the Machinery of Terror
Rukmini Callimachi

Rukmini Callimachi joined The New York Times in 2014. Her series of articles, “Underwriting Jihad,” showing how ransoms paid by European governments had become one of the main sources of financing for Al Qaeda, won the George Polk Award in International Reporting. She is also a three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, the winner of the Michael Kelly award, and the first journalist in the 75-year history of the Overseas Press Club to win both the Hal Boyle and the Bob Considine awards the same year.

Earlier this spring, she wrote an extensive feature piece on ISIS’s use of birth control to maintain a steady supply of sex slaves. Last summer, she wrote of the lonely young American woman from rural Washington state lured by ISIS. Her insights come not only from dangerous work in the field, but also from meticulous trolling online.

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Callimachi spent ten years at the Associated Press before joining the Times. From 2006 to 2014, she was based in Dakar, Senegal, covering 20 countries as the AP correspondent and West Africa bureau chief.

Ms. Callimachi’s Athenaeum talk is co-sponsored by the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights and the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies.


Follow the Athenaeum


Unless otherwise noted, lunch begins at 11:45 a.m.; speaker presentations begin at 12:15 p.m.
Evening receptions begin at 5:30 p.m.; dinner is served at 6 p.m.; speaker presentations begin at 6:45 p.m.

The Athenaeum facilitates dynamic interactions and dialogue that underscore
the essence of a liberal arts education.

About the Ath

View a brochure that describes how the Ath has been an integral part of the CMC experience for decades.

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