Welcome to The Athenaeum
Unique in American higher education, the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum (the “Ath”) is a signature program of Claremont McKenna College. Four nights a week during the school year, the Ath brings scholars, public figures, thought leaders, artists, and innovators to engage with the CMC and Claremont College community. In addition, the Ath also hosts lunch speakers, roundtables, and smaller presentations in its two auxiliary dining rooms.
For decades, the Ath has hosted a spectrum of luminaries with expertise and insight on a wide range of topics, both historical and contemporary. In the Ath’s intimate yet stimulating setting, students, faculty, staff, and other community members gather to hear the speaker, pose questions, and also to build community and exchange ideas over a shared meal.
At the core of the Ath is a longstanding commitment to student growth and learning. Central to the Ath are its two student Fellows, selected annually to host, introduce, and moderate discussion with the featured speaker. Priority is given to students in attendance during the question-and-answer session following every presentation. Moreover, speakers often take extra time to visit a class, meet with student interest groups, or give an interview to the student press and podcast team.
We look forward to seeing you at the Ath.
Sean Hagan P'20 is general counsel and director of the legal department at the International Monetary Fund. In this capacity, Hagan advises the Fund’s management, executive board, and membership on all legal aspects of the Fund’s operations, including its regulatory, advisory and lending functions. Hagan has published extensively on both the law of the Fund and a broad range of legal issues relating to the prevention and resolution of financial crisis, with a particular emphasis on insolvency and the restructuring of debt, including sovereign debt.
Prior to his tenure at the IMF, Hagan was in private practice, first in New York and subsequently in Tokyo. He received his Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center and also received a Masters of Science in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Coming of age as the son of a Baptist pastor in rural Arkansas, Garrard Conley was terrified and conflicted by his sexuality; he had never even met another gay person. At age nineteen, his worst fear came true when he was outed to his parents. They gave him an ultimatum: he could either be shipped to a “conversion therapy” facility in a hope to “cure” him of his homosexuality, or he would lose his family, his friends, and his God. He chose the facility, a decision that would lead him through a brutally institutional Twelve-Step Program. He was supposed to emerge cleansed of impure urges, stronger in his Christian faith, and—most importantly—heterosexual. Instead, Conley developed the strength to search for his true identity and to forgive his family.
Conley’s bestselling memoir, Boy Erased, traces the complex relationships between identity, faith, and community. A humane, poetic glimpse at a world hidden to many, Conley shows all sides of his family—good and bad—with courage and compassion, even as he depicts his own story of survival.
Boy Erased thrust Conley onto the national stage as the public gained increasing awareness of conversion therapy facilities. It is currently being adapted as a film by Focus Features with Joel Edgerton directing. A popular speaker, he lectures at schools and venues across the country on radical compassion, writing through trauma, and what it means to grow up gay in the South. He has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and Elizabeth Kostova Foundation Writers’ Conferences and has facilitated classes for Catapult, Sackett Street Writers Workshop, and the Fine Arts Works Center in Provincetown. He is also currently the memoir instructor for GrubStreet’s Memoir Incubator program. His work can be found in TIME, VICE, CNN, BuzzFeed, Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Huffington Post, among other places, and he was recently named a Lambda Award Finalist for memoir/autobiography.
Photo credit: Colin Boyd Shafer
Marianne Haver Hill supervises a team that works with more than 500 stakeholder groups in the implementation of Propel LA which includes seven large goals around investing in people and workforce development, promoting trade and industry clusters, accelerating innovation, creating a business-friendly environment, supporting infrastructure development, enhancing global connectedness, and supporting livable communities.
Previously, Hill served from 1987 - 2016 as the President and CEO of MEND—Meet Each Need with Dignity, the largest and most comprehensive poverty relief agency in the San Fernando Valley. Under her leadership, MEND grew from serving an average of 2,000 needy clients each month to helping an average of 37,000 applicants monthly, utilizing a volunteer work force of more than 5,000 and a staff team of 34 individuals. In July 2012, MEND was named the California Nonprofit of the Year by the Governor’s Office for Volunteering and Service.
Hill is the recipient of the 2017 Valley Economic Alliance Valley of the Stars Leadership Award, the 2013 Center for Nonprofit Management Leadership Impact Award, the 2008 California Association of Nonprofits Excellence in Leadership Award, and several other commendations. She has been an adjunct instructor in nonprofit management at the USC Price School of Public Policy.
B. Cole holds an MSc from the London School of Economics and has worked as a community facilitator and strategist for more than 15 years. Drawing on her experience as a consultant, Cole launched the Brown Boi Project in 2010. Cole introduced the term “masculine of center,” which is now being used to forward understanding of the incredible breadth of masculinity within the queer community. A Black Male Achievement Echoing Green Fellow, Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar, and recipient of the Spirit of Delores Huerta Award, Cole has worked across the U.S. and internationally on issues of leadership development and building social capital for young people of color.
B. Cole's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, the Kravis Leadership Institute, and Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Ben Tumin is a filmmaker and comedian born, raised, and based in New York. He worked at Amnesty International in Morocco and the community building platform Meetup before forging an independent career in political comedy and filmmaking. His work has been featured in The Daily Beast, Al Jazeera, and The Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC). Tumin is a 2012 graduate of Pomona College where he majored in history.
Mixing information about the refugee crisis with clips from interviews conducted with Scott Cooper, a retired marine working in human rights advocacy, and five young Syrians living in Germany, Tumin takes a different look at the impact of refugee resettlement, particularly from the perspective of national security. Through anecdotes about his grandfather — himself once a refugee — Tumin weaves in his connection to the cause and pieces together what he has learned about himself, his country, and the questions that remain.
Mr. Tumin's talk is co-sponsored by the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights at CMC.
Cheryl L. Dorsey is the president of Echoing Green, a global organization seeding and unleashing next-generation talent to solve the world’s biggest problems. Prior to leading this social impact organization, Dorsey was herself a social entrepreneur and received an Echoing Green Fellowship in 1992 to help launch The Family Van, a community-based mobile health unit in Boston. She later became the first Echoing Green Fellow to head the social venture fund in 2002.
An accomplished leader and entrepreneur, she has served in two presidential administrations as a White House Fellow and special assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Labor (1997-98); special assistant to the director of the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Labor Department (1998-99); and vice-chair for the President's Commission on White House Fellowships (2009-16). Dorsey serves on several boards including the SEED Foundation, The Bridgespan Group, and, previously, the Harvard Board of Overseers.
A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges, Dorsey received a medical degree from Harvard Medical School and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School.
Ms. Dorsey will deliver the opening keynote address for the 2018 Kravis-de Roulet (KDR) Conference.
Judy Belk, is president and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation (Cal Wellness), a private independent foundation created in 1992 with a mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education, and disease prevention. A seasoned leader with more than 25 years of senior management experience in philanthropic, government, nonprofit, and corporate sectors, Belk is a frequent writer and speaker on organizational ethics, race and social change, and her work has been recognized with several state and national awards.
Belk's pieces have aired on National Public Radio and appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. In her day job as president and CEO of Cal Wellness, she leads the Foundation in pursuing its mission to improve the health of the people of California. Belk uses her vision and her voice to help Cal Wellness “level the playing field” so that everyone has access to good-paying jobs, safe neighborhoods, and quality health care services.
Before joining Cal Wellness in April of 2014, she served as senior vice president of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a position she held since 2002. Belk has been inspired and humbled with two Hedgebrook residences in 2000 and 2013.
Ms. Belk will deliver the keynote address for the first annual Women of Color, Power, and Purpose Forum sponsored by the Berger Institute, CARE Center, and the Kravis Leadership Institute, with additional support from Global Slack and is part of the "Behind the Veil: Women, Race, Leadership, and Social Change in the Nonprofit Sector” (“BTV”) speaker series. BTV explores leadership models and perspectives by harnessing the power of first-person narrative and storytelling by nonprofit CEOs on the front lines of social change.
David J. Frum is a Canadian-American neoconservative political commentator. A speechwriter for President George W. Bush, Frum later became the author of the first "insider" book about the Bush presidency. He is a senior editor at The Atlantic and also a CNN contributor.
Over the years, Frum has worked for Canadian publications as well as American ones, including the National Review and the Wall Street Journal. He worked at the American Enterprise Institute after leaving the Bush White House, and also counseled Rudy Giuliani on his presidential bid.
Frum received his B.A. and M.A. from Yale University in 1982. He graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1987, where he served as president of the Federalist Society. His first book, Dead Right, was published in 1994 and was hailed by the conservative right as an important piece of ideological literature for the conservative movement.
Mr. Frum's Athenaeum talk is co-sponsored by the President's Leadership Fund.
Tal Becker, Ph.D., is a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem where he leads educational initiatives on Israel and the Jewish world. In this capacity, he is a leading member of the Institute's "Engaging Israel" series which is the premier educational program on Israel engagement in North America that is working to strengthen and re-imagine the relationship between Israel and World Jewry.
Becker also serves as the Legal Adviser of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has been a senior member of the Israeli peace negotiation team in successive rounds of peace negotiations. He has many years of experience as a veteran negotiator on the front lines of many of Israel's most pressing diplomatic, legal, and policy challenges and has also played key roles in behind the scenes for Israel in a wide variety of contexts.
Among numerous previous positions, Becker has been a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, senior policy advisor to Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs, a lead negotiator and drafter in the Annapolis peace talks, director of the International Law Department at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, counsel to Israel's UN Mission in New York, and an international law expert for the Israel Defense Forces.
Becker earned his doctorate from Columbia University and, among numerous scholarly awards, is the winner of the Rabin Peace Prize and the 2007 Guggenheim Prize for best international law book for his book "Terrorism and the State.”
Dr. Becker's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the President's Leadership Fund and the Jewish Studies Sequence at CMC.
Omar M. Dajani is professor of law and co-director of the Global Center at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, in Sacramento, California, where he teaches public international law, constitutional law, contracts, international negotiations, and other courses.
Dajani has written extensively about legal questions raised by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and about how law functions in the context of efforts to resolve it. Previously, he served as legal adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team in peace talks with Israel (1999-2001) and as a political officer in the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO). He has continued since that time to work as a consultant on a variety of legal infrastructure development and conflict resolution projects in the Middle East and elsewhere – for institutions including the U.S. Department of State, the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Center (NOREF), the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, and the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Dajani received his J.D. from Yale Law School and his B.A. from Northwestern University.
Mr. Dajani's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the President's Leadership Fund and the Jewish Studies Sequence at CMC and part of the "Peace in the Middle East" series.
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.