Items tagged with Rudin Lecture
Deogratias “Deo” Niyizonkiza will give the 2013 Rudin Lecture at MMC on Wednesday, October 23 at 7pm in the Theresa Lang Theatre. Deo is the protagonist of our 2013 shared summer reading, Tracy Kidder’s New York Times bestseller Strength in What Remains. All members of the MMC community are welcome to attend the lecture. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis; those wishing to ensure entry should plan to arrive early. (The house opens at 6:30pm.)
Deo is the co-founder and executive director of Village Health Works, a grassroots non-profit organization providing compassionate, quality health care to vulnerable community members in rural Burundi. Strength In What Remains depicts Deo’s journey from being a medical student in Burundi, to a struggling immigrant in New York City, to an Ivy League-educated global health practitioner and doctor-in-training. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2013 honorary degree from Williams College, the 2011 International Medal Award of St John’s University and the 2010 Women Refugee Commission’s Voices of Courage Award.
After surviving a massacre at a Burundian hospital, where he was a third-year medical school intern, Deo fled to New York in 1994, arriving penniless and without one word of English. Despite the hurdles— low-paying work as a grocery store delivery boy, illness, and homelessness— he eventually enrolled at Columbia University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and philosophy. Of his experience, Deo has said: “Through such a personal journey, where survival seemed almost impossible, I arrived in New York to find friends who opened their doors for me: a stranger, homeless in a country where I did not know anyone and did not speak the language. Those friends taught me one crucial lesson: compassionate people have the power to change human misery.”
After graduating from Columbia, he attended the Harvard School of Public Health, where he met Dr. Paul Farmer and began working at the medical non-profit organization Partners In Health. He left Partners In Health to continue his medical education at Dartmouth Medical School. Deo left medical school to address the urgent need for accessible, comprehensive, and modern health care in his home country. He founded Village Health Works (VHW) to build a more just, peaceful, and prosperous society in Burundi and beyond. Today, VHW serves the southern half of Burundi, including thousands of recently repatriated refugees from Tanzania. VHW operates the nation’s premier health center, agricultural development programs, educational services, women’s income-generating activities, and a number of other community development programs.
Deo’s lectures reflect upon the true meaning of social justice, humanity and the value of education – as well as the value of extraordinary kindness of strangers, without whom, he might not have such a story to tell. Audience members leave asking, “How can we help?” and “What can we do?” Deo divides his time between the Village Health Works’ offices in New York and Burundi. In 2013, he will be awarded the prestigious Eisenhower Medallion Award, in recognition of his “exceptional contribution to world peace and understanding.” He will be honored by the Dalai Lama in 2014 as an Un-sung Hero of Compassion.
We look forward to welcoming Deo to Marymount Manhattan next month and are grateful for the support of the Rudin Foundation.
How is disability represented through the arts?
On October 27 at 6 p.m., prominent disability arts leaders Simi Linton and Alice Sheppard will be joining Marymount Manhattan College’s Rudin Lecture for a discussion on disability in arts and culture. Linton and Sheppard, who are both disabled artists, will cover an array of topics from aesthetics to justice. The virtual event will be moderated by Therí A. Pickens, a renowned scholar in the fields of Blackness and Disability.