MSU Leadership Institute to Sponsor Speeches by Author Eric Weiner (The Geography of Bliss), Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi, Renowned Primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall, Former Child Soldier, Ishmael Beah and Others at MSU this Semester

Preparing for their most active semester of leadership events yet, the MSU Leadership Institute is sponsoring lectures by Ishmael Beah, Shirin Ebadi, Jane Goodall and others this semester. The Institute, which began ten years ago by the Associated Students of MSU, is charged with providing leadership training, opportunities and inspirations to MSU students.

The Leadership Institute’s student staff coordinates a number of campus events, including bringing speakers of national or international prominence who provide a message central to leadership. “This will be best semester ever of leadership speakers,” says John Mahoney, a senior studying Business Marketing in his fourth semester at the Leadership Institute. “Either free or very low cost, we make our events very accessible to students and to the public with the help of co-sponsors who step up to share the cost of the events,” Mahoney added. At this time, lead sponsors of this semester’s lectures are ASMSU, Department of History and Philosophy’s Wallace Stegner Chair, MSU Office of the President, Zoot, MSU Humanities Institute, MSU Parent Family Association, MSU Provost Office, Hopa Mountain, MSU Horizons and MSU College of Letters and Science.

On February 26, author and former boy soldier Ishmael Beah speaks at 7:30 pm in MSU’s SUB Ballrooms with a lecture titled “A Long Way Gone, A Story of Redemption and Hope.” Beah was born in Sierra Leone and abducted at age 12 into the horrors of civil war where he was drugged, traumatized, and forced to use an AK-47 against fellow his countrymen. He narrowly escaped and immigrated to the United States where he brought international attention to the issue of child soldiering during is high school and undergraduate education. Beah, now 26 years old, will explain what it meant to be a child soldier, a killer, a refugee, and how he regained his humanity among the world of civilians. Beah is an activist and author of the bestselling memoir A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. Tickets will go on sale on Wednesday, January 30th and are $5/students and $8/adults at

On March 3, Peabody Award winner and author Eric Weiner, will deliver a keynote speech titled after his New York Times Bestseller, The Geography of Bliss. Weiner, a national NPR correspondent, takes audiences on a whirlwind tour of countries pursuing happiness with a beguiling mixture of psychological insight, scientific research, geopolitical analysis and wry humor. Weiner speaks at 7:00 pm in the MSU SUB Ballrooms. Weiner’s lecture is free and open to the public.

“We also recognize that leadership must be built at the local level and we look to bring experts who can build community leadership,” says Carmen McSpadden, the Director of the Leadership Institute. “Building Vital Communities from the Inside Out” will be held on Tuesday, March 25 at 7:00 pm in SUB Ballroom D with Dr. John (Jody) Kretzmann. This event is free and open to the public. Kretzmann is a professor at Northwestern University and is internationally recognized as an inspiring, straightforward, and wise advocate of strength-based approaches to building healthy local communities and mobilize citizens’ resources to solve problems.

On April 16, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi takes the speaker series back to the international stage. An Iranian lawyer and human rights activist, Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her significant and pioneering efforts in democracy and human rights, especially for the rights of women and children. She is the first Iranian and the first Muslim woman to receive the prize. Dr. Ebadi’s life has been a courageous and passionate campaign to secure democracy and human rights in Iran. She is internationally paid tribute for her refusal to be silenced and willingness to address sensitive political issues. Ebadi has stood up to conservative clerics while pioneering efforts to improve women’s and children’s rights in Iran. She will speak on Wednesday, April 16 on “Iran Awakening: A Story of Revolution and Hope” at 7:30 pm in the SUB Ballrooms. Tickets on sale starting March 19 for $5/student and $8/adult at all TicketsWest Outlets and at

Finally, on April 28, and with lead sponsorship by MSU’s History and Philosophy Wallace Stegner Chair, renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall will speak at 6:00 pm in the Brick Breedan Fieldhouse. Goodall will speak about the current research at Gombe Stream where the 45 year research into our closest relative – the Chimpanzee – is still ongoing and discuss the programs that have evolved to conserve the precious forest habitat and to improve the lives of those living adjacent to the National Park. Goodall is the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees and has worked in the jungles of Africa for over 25 years to gain the animal’s confidence. Her research is revolutionizing scientific thinking towards the evolution of humans. Goodall has initiated programs to conserve the precious forest habitat and to improve the lives of those living adjacent to the National Park. As a UN Messenger of Peace, Goodall talks about her reasons for hope in these complex times and ways in which every individual makes a difference every day. Goodall’s lecture is free and open to the public.

For more information on any of the lectures, films or other events, contact the MSU Leadership Institute @ 994-7275 or

Tuesday, February 26 – Ishmael Beah
“A Long Way Gone, A Story of Redemption and Hope”
7:30 pm in SUB Ballrooms
Tickets starting January 30th for $5/students and $8/adults at

Monday, March 3 – Eric Weiner
“The Geography of Bliss”
7:00 pm in SUB Ballrooms – Free

Tuesday, March 25 – Jody Kretzmann
“Building Vital Communities from the Inside Out”
7:00 pm in SUB Ballroom D – Free

Wednesday, April 16 – Shirin Ebadi
“Iran Awakening: A Story of Revolution and Hope”
7:30 pm in SUB Ballrooms
Tickets on sale March 19th for $5/students and $8/adults at all TicketsWest Outlets.

Monday, April 28 – Jane Goodall
“Reason for Hope”
6:00 pm in the Brick Breedan Fieldhouse – Free


Carmen McSpadden

MSU Leadership Institute

C/O Strand Union Building 281

SUB 145

Montana State University

Bozeman, Montana 59717


(FAX) 406-994-6911

[email protected]

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