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Speakers & Issues Series

Rais Bhuiyan

Presenter: Rais Bhuiyan

Date: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 @ 7:00pm

Location: Wichita Falls Museum of Art, 2 Eureka Circle

Description: A Conversation with 9/11 Hate Crime Survivor, Rais Bhuiyan: Compassion, Connection, Community

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“All of us want a better world, a peaceful world. What are we prepared to do to get it?”
~Rais Bhuiyan

Rais Bhuiyan, an American Muslim from Bangladesh, is an extraordinary individual with a powerful story. After serving as an air force pilot in Bangladesh, Rais moved to the United States in 1999 to study computer technology. Ten days after 9/11, he was the victim of a horrific hate crime. Shot in the face at point blank range by white supremacist, Mark Stroman, self-described “the Arab slayer,” Rais barely survived. Sadly, two other victims were killed. Stroman was sentenced to death; ten years later, Rais led an international campaign, fighting to save Stroman’s life.

Rais’ near death experience and subsequent religious pilgrimage sparked a profound journey of soul searching and began his path as a human rights activist for peace, forgiveness, empathy and understanding. Rais’ effort to save Stroman from execution in 2011 was unsuccessful, but his ability to turn hate into compassion and forgive the unforgivable has been transformative. Through his non-profit, World Without Hate, Rais has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people as he shares his inspirational story and message at schools, universities, organizations and conferences all over the world.

A full-time IT executive at Sabre Corporation in Dallas, Rais works relentlessly to end the cycle of hate and violence. His efforts have been widely recognized, receiving the Excellence for Human Service Award, United for Change; Search for Common Ground Award, Search for Common Ground; 2011 American of the Year, Esquire Magazine; 2014 Human Relations Award, Muslim Public Affairs Council Foundation, among others. 

* Photo copyright is World Without Hate and Photo Credit is: Nancy LaLanne




Alison Weir

Presenter: Alison Weir

Date: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 @ 7:00pm

Location: Wichita Falls Museum of Art, 2 Eureka Circle

Description: Against Our Better Judgment: How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel

Ms. Weir is president of the Council for the National Interest and executive director of If Americans Knew. 




She is a former journalist who writes and speaks widely on Israel-Palestine, including:

  • two briefings on Capitol Hill,
  • lectures at numerous universities around the country, including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Berkeley, the Naval Postgraduate Institute, and many others;
  • and presentations at international events, including talks in Malaysia, China, Qatar, England, and Wales.

In 2015 she appeared on C-SPAN at the "National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel Special Relationship," held at the National Press Club in Washington DC.

Her writings have been published by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, CounterPunch, The Link, and other books and periodicals both in the US and abroad. Her book, Against Our Better Judgment was published last year. 

Alison has received a number of awards and plaudits for her work. Former US Congressman Tom Campbell said of her: "Ms. Weir presents a powerful, well documented view of the Middle East today.... American policy makers would benefit greatly from hearing her first-hand observations and attempting to answer the questions she poses."

In 2004, Alison was inducted into honorary membership of Phi Alpha Literary Society, founded in 1845 at Illinois College. The award cited her as a: "Courageous journalist-lecturer on behalf of human rights. The first woman to receive an honorary membership in Phi Alpha history."




Kirsten Lodge

Presenter: Dr. Kirsten Lodge

Date: Monday, November 14, 2016 @ 7:00pm

Location: Wichita Falls Museum of Art, 2 Eureka Circle

Description: "Seduction, Sin, and Sickness: Vampires in Czech Decadence"

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The Decadent movement of the late nineteenth century was a cultural trend throughout Europe that combined an obsession with moral and physical degeneration with a morbid presentiment of an imminent end to civilization.  Dr. Lodge will introduce the audience to Decadence and explain why it became such a powerful force in the Czech lands.  She will focus on vampires in European literature and art, explore why the Czech Decadents considered them "the symbol of decadence," and read a passage from her latest translation, the Czech Decadent novel A Gothic Soul by Jiri Karasek ze Lvovic.  Some of the connotations of the Decadent vampire apply equally to vampires in popular culture today.

Dr. Lodge holds a Ph.D. in Russian Language and Literature and Czech Language and Literature from Columbia University, and she currently teaches world literature and humanities at MSU.  She has published numerous translations of Russian and Czech prose and poetry, and she is recognized as an expert on the Decadent movement in European culture (1880s-1910s).  Her most recent translation is the Czech Decadent novel A Gothic Soul (1900), and her newly translated collection of Tolstoy's short stories is forthcoming.




Eddie Chuculate

Presenter: Eddie Chuculate

Date: October, 24, 2016 @ 7:00pm

Location: Wichita Falls Museum of Art, 2 Eureka Circle

Description: Readings from Mr. Chuculate’s acclaimed short story collection Cheyenne Madonna.

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Speakers and Issues and the James Hoggard Reading Series  are pleased to welcome Mr. Eddie Chuculate to Midwestern State University. Mr. Chuculate is an award-winning Native American writer and is the author of the acclaimed short story collection Cheyenne Madonna. He is the recipient of the PEN American O. Henry Prize for the short story, a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Fiction at Stanford University, and earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Writer's Workshop at the University of Iowa. His stories have appeared in Manoa, Ploughshares, The Iowa Review, Blue Mesa Review, Many Mountains Moving, and The Kenyon Review.

Mr. Chuculate was born in Claremore, Oklahoma, but primarily grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma. He currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he works for the NewMexican, the oldest newspaper west of the Mississippi. For more information about Mr. Chuculate's visit, please contact Dr. John Schulze (john.schulze@mwsu.edu).