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National Endowment for Humanities Chairman Coming to OCU
The chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities will visit Oklahoma City University to present a lecture at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 27 in the Kerr McGee Auditorium in Meinders School of Business. The lecture is free to the public. Jim Leach is on a nationwide tour with his presentation titled “Civility in a Fractured Society.” Through his tour, Leach is hoping to heal religious and political divisiveness by promoting respect for the cultural gifts of people around the world. “Today civilization is on trial as radical elements in distant parts of the world stoke differences between and within faith systems,” Leach said in a speech earlier this year on the topic. “In response to violent acts of various parties and the dislocating consequences of the global recession, a divisive rhetoric of anger has been precipitated in recent years in the West as well as the East. “If we don’t try to understand and respect others, how can we expect them to respect us, our values and way of life?” Leach was nominated to his post by President Barack Obama in 2009 for a four-year term. He previously served 30 years representing southeastern Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives where he chaired the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and founded and co-chaired the Congressional Humanities Caucus. After leaving Congress in 2007, Leach joined the faculty at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, where he was the John L. Weinberg Visiting Professor of Public and International Affairs until his confirmation as NEH chairman. Leach holds eight honorary degrees and has received numerous awards, including the Sidney R. Yates Award for Distinguished Public Service to the Humanities from the National Humanities Alliance, the Woodrow Wilson Award from The Johns Hopkins University, the Adlai Stevenson Award from the United Nations Association, the Edgar Wayburn Award from the Sierra Club, the Wayne Morse Integrity in Politics Award, the Norman Borlaug Award for Public Service and the Wesley Award for Service to Humanity. Leach was a three-sport athlete while in college and was elected into the Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater. For more information about Leach and the National Endowment for the Humanities, visit http://www.neh.gov/index.html.