ASUU Wants World-Class Speakers Here

Students have changed in the past month. They are picking up newspapers, discussing current affairs and attending the lectures and panel discussions around campus more than they usually do, according to Katie Anderson.

Anderson, who is the program coordinator for the Associated Students of the University of Utah Presenter’s Office, will most likely head a new committee formed to bring speakers and panels to the U who will discuss world affairs and current events.

“We really saw the need,” said Mike Nelson, ASUU vice president. “We really want to educate our students so they understand the history of what happened in those countries.”

The formation of this group is a response to the attacks of Sept. 11. Previous to that event, many students were less concerned about world affairs, Anderson said.

“All of a sudden, students are starting to pay a lot more attention to news,” she said.

The purpose of this world affairs committee is to increase the awareness of students about world affairs and other issues students are concerned about. The speakers will cover issues such as religion, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, terrorism and other things that become pertinent as events unfold.

“I’ve been wanting to do something like this for awhile,” Anderson said. “We’ve been trying to initiate something like this for a year and a half.”

The committee will become a permanent part of the Presenter’s Office, and will focus on different events and issues as they come up.

“There is always something international going on,” Anderson said. “We hope to bring to light those issues. ”

The committee also hopes to get a well-known political figure, such as Bill Clinton or Henry Kissinger, to speak, something that is very difficult, according to Anderson. Well-known speakers require a lot of money, good contacts and something worthwhile to speak on.

“We have to give them a reason for coming to campus,” Anderson said. “It has to be a very important topic.”

The fee for a big-name speaker runs from $60,000 to $200,000, Anderson said. The speaker may drop this fee, however. The committee’s organizers are looking into the possibility of corporate sponsorships and working with other groups to offset the costs of these speakers.

Anderson is optimistic about the chances of getting a well known speaker to come to the U.

“I think the odds are fantastic,” she said. “Many politicians have a desire to get their issues out to college students. I think they’d be more than willing to come speak here.” Anderson hopes a world-renowned speaker will come in March or April.

The first event the new committee will participate in is scheduled for Nov. 2. This panel discussion will be sponsored by the Hinckley Institute of Politics, the Tanner Humanities Center and others, and it will discuss responses to terrorism.

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