On September 6, 2011, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. faculty, staff, and students will gather on the Westchester Campus for an afternoon of festivities, food, and an exciting address from international best-selling author Chris Cleave at Pace’s 4th Annual Convocation.
The theme of this year’s Convocation is “Global Citizenship: Humanity through Action.” Global citizens are people who are not only aware of issues in the wider world, but also willing to act to upon them to make the world a more equitable and sustainable place—a topic that is covered in the most dramatic of ways in this year’s common reading, Little Bee, by keynote speaker Cleave. Little Bee is told from the alternating perspectives of a Nigerian refugee and a British magazine editor and takes the reader on a journey of morality, compassion, and friendship as a traumatic event inextricably links these two women from two very different worlds.
“Little Bee was chosen by a University-wide committee consisting of students, faculty, and staff because it met all the criteria we were looking for in a common reading. Specifically, it was beautifully written, compelling, and engaging,” says Susan Maxam, university director of Student Success. “[It] raised thought-provoking issues related to a wide variety of themes—global citizenship, normative ethics, cross-cultural communication, human rights, sacrifice, immigration. These themes can all serve as a springboard for a wide variety of discussions and programs.”
Cleave, a columnist for The Guardian newspaper in London whose first novel, Incendiary, was published in 20 countries and won the 2006 Somerset Maugham Award and the Prix Special du Jury at the French Prix des Lecteurs 2007, said the novel was influenced both by his childhood living in Cameroon and Buckinghamshire, England, as well as his experience working in a detention center for asylum seekers. Cleave has said that his new novel “came out of a sense of my own complicity in some of the evils of the world… I began to think about my life, and how it is relatively easy, and how it is therefore relatively easy to ignore the suffering of others. And since suffering is the rule rather than the exception in the world, it’s not an easy moral question to duck.”
“We are very excited about this initiative,” says Maxam. “Fortunately, there has been a great deal of cross-divisional collaboration and momentum with this initiative and we are thankful it has been so widely embraced by students, staff, and faculty. We are also creating a global citizenship website, which will be up and running by September, and which will serve as a one-stop shop for upcoming events, programs, common reading information, faculty and student resources (including relevant podcasts, links, and videos), student blogs from all over the world, global citizen quizzes, and a wide variety of other features.”
Faculty and staff from both campuses are encouraged to be a part of providing a warm welcome to Pace’s newest class and helping usher in a year of global citizenship at Pace!
Buses to the Pleasantville Campus will depart from the Schimmel Theater between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and the Convocation Ceremony will begin at 2:00 p.m. Acclaimed musician Jason LeVasseur will be part of the Post-Convocation festivities.
For more information about Convocation and this year’s common reading selection, please visit www.pace.edu/convocation.