BYU Kennedy Center initiates revolution-themed lecture series

Savannah Hopkinson
Quinn Mecham, associate professor of political science and Middle East Studies coordinator, speaks about the Arab uprisings in the first lecture of the Kennedy Center’s Revolution series. (Savannah Hopkinson)

The BYU Kennedy Center introduced its first themed lecture series focused on historical and current events through the perspective of revolutions.

A group of academic coordinators in the Kennedy Center decided to begin the series. They hope to introduce other lecture series in future semesters, but with different themes.

Kennedy Center academic director Kirk Larsen said students can expect a historical perspective and contemporary views from this semester’s lecture series.

Kennedy Center office manager Kelly Blazian said the series will cover past and present revolutions. Topics vary from Mao Zedong’s movement in China to the current revolution of the role and status of women worldwide.

Blazian said no matter the topic of the specific lecture, students can benefit from the series. Even those who are not majoring in something related to international issues can profit from attending, according to Blazian.

“The Kennedy Center is very interdisciplinary,” Blazian said. “These lectures put an international spin on topics students are already dealing with in their classes, regardless of their major.”

Participants in the revolutions lecture series this semester will be educated on related issues and therefore be able to compare, contrast, and analyze the information of each lecture. Prior to this series there was little opportunity to attend related lectures week by week.

Larsen said the Kennedy Center previously partnered with the College of Humanities to publicize and host a themed series about environmental stewardship. However, this is the first semester in which the Kennedy Center has put on its own themed flagship lecture series.

Speakers for the lectures are selected through input from program coordinators, faculty, and affiliated professors. Larsen said the Kennedy Center is also willing to take suggestions from people who know someone with relevant experience for the lecture.

The first lecture of this semester’s series was held on Sept. 13.

Associate professor of political science and Middle East studies coordinator Quinn Mecham, as well as political science professor Chad Nelson, spoke about the Arab Spring as a revolutionary case.

Savannah Hopkinson
Students listen to the first lecture of the Kennedy Center’s revolution series. (Savannah Hopkinson)

Manufacturing engineering technology major Brigham Larsen attended the first lecture of the series for his Kennedy Center lecture series class, but said these lectures are beneficial to all students.

“I think it’s a good way for people to open their eyes to parts of the world they aren’t familiar with,” Brigham Larsen said. “It also provides them with new perspectives.”

Lectures for the revolution series are scheduled to occur in HRCB 238 every Wednesday at noon. Students can check out the Kennedy Center website for more information on upcoming events.


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