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The Helen Edison Lecture Series is the result of a major gift from the late Helen Edison, a San Diego philanthropist who supported numerous local educational, cultural and arts efforts. In accordance with the gift, since 1985 the series has presented free public lectures on issues that advance humanitarian purposes and objectives.


Climate Justice, Race and Migration

Climate change, caused primarily by the greenhouse gas emissions of the world’s most affluent populations, is having a disproportionate impact on socially and economically subordinated populations all over the world. Although climate change is anticipated to displace between 200 million and 1 billion people by 2050, the racialized hostility of the US, the European Union, and Australia to persons fleeing poverty, conflict, and environmental degradation does not bode well for climate refugees. This discussion will examine the relationship between climate change and racial subordination, evaluating the evolving Legal and policy responses to climate change induced displacement.

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Burke Lecture

Our Fall 2019 Burke Lectureship on Religion and Society pairs two prominent local religious leaders of especially targeted and vulnerable populations to speak about a common path forward for our society, based on the wisdom of their respective traditions. Monday, November 18, 6:00 PM (refreshments 5:30 PM), Price Center West Ballroom at UC San Diego. Admission is free. Pay parking.

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Zucked: Waking up to the Facebook Catastrophe

Noted tech venture capitalist Roger McNamee, an early mentor to Mark Zuckerberg, woke up to the serious damage Facebook and other social media outlets are doing to our society and set out to try to stop it. McNamee is in conversation with Jeff Light, publisher and editor of The San Diego Union-Tribune.

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  • American Injustice: Mercy, Humanity and Making a Difference with Bryan Stevenson

    A MacArthur fellow and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, Bryan Stevenson is a founding leader of the movement against mass incarceration in the U.S. Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu has called Stevenson “America’s young Nelson Mandela.” His work on individual cases has generated national attention and his efforts have reversed death penalties for dozens of condemned prisoners.

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  • John Lithgow: An Actor's Lessons

    For more than half a century, John Lithgow has been delighting audiences on stage, in movies and on television. In a lively discussion with Peter Gourevitch, distinguished Professor Emiritus of Political Science at UC San Diego, Lithgow reflects on his preparations for the wide diversity of roles that have shaped his career and influenced the larger culture.

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  • Resilient Cities: A Conversation with Judith Rodin

    Judith Rodin begins by exploring the transformative contributions the University of Pennsylvania made to Philadelphia while she was its president, and then talks about her work as president of the Rockefeller Foundation, particularly the 100 Resilient Cities initiative. Both experiences are put in the context of UC San Diego embarking on a physical presence in downtown San Diego.

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  • The Future of Criminal Justice and Journalism with Bill Keller

    Bill Keller, former Editor of the New York Times, current editor-in-chief of The Marshall Project is interviewed by Matt Hall, San Diego Union-Tribune. The Marshall Project is a nonprofit nonpartisan online journalism organization reporting on issues related to the American criminal justice system.

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  • The New Frontiers of Design with Paola Antonelli

    Paola Antonelli, the senior curator of the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, delves into design's many directions and into its future. She takes us on a fascinating tour of design to ask some very serious questions.

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  • The Last of the President’s Men with Bob Woodward, Alex Butterfield and Michael Bernstein -- The Library Channel

    Investigative journalist Bob Woodward and former White House aide Alex Butterfield join Michael Bernstein for a conversation about Butterfield's decision to reveal the existence of tape recordings that eventually led to Richard Nixon's resignation from the presidency.

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  • Tomorrow’s Leaders: Building on the Legacy of Selma with Myrlie Evers-Williams

    From the moment Myrlie Evers-Williams faced the murder of her husband, civil rights activist Medgar Evers, she became a pivotal figure in the civil rights movement. For more than five decades, she has fought to carry on his legacy, never relenting in her determination to change the face of race relations in this country.

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View All Past Speakers



Juanita Lahaye
UC San Diego Extension
(858) 822-2026

Mailing Address:
9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0170A
La Jolla, CA 92093-0170