ETSU Festival of Ideas
The ETSU Festival of Ideas began in 2019 as an initiative to bring thought leaders from the region and beyond to campus. The event allows for the exchange of ideas, information and experiences for the university community.
February 27-29, 2024
Tuesday, February 27
Martin Center for the Arts
ETSU Foundation Grand Hall
This event is sold out. Rush Seating will be available for this event. Anyone interested in Rush Seating should
line up in the designated queue located at the front of the Martin Center, facing
State of Franklin. Beginning at 7 p.m., any empty seats will be given to patrons waiting
in the Rush Seating queue.
The Martin Center cannot guarantee all patrons waiting in the Rush Seating queue will be seated for the event. Rush Seating is first come, first serve.
Mitch Albom is an internationally renowned best-selling author, journalist and philanthropist. His books, including “Tuesdays with Morrie,” have collectively sold more than 40 million copies in 48 languages worldwide. More recent bestselling titles include “Finding Chika” and “The Stranger in the Lifeboat,” which also debuted at No. 1.
His latest book, “The Little Liar,” was published in November 2023 and delves into the value of truth and the harm born from the lies we tell, told against the backdrop of the Holocaust.
Much like his books and presentations on stage, his nationally syndicated column at Detroit Free Press offers accessible cultural commentary that invites readers to reflect on their own lives, values and the broader human experience.
He is the founder of SAY Detroit, an umbrella organization that is home to nine charities dedicated to improving the lives of Detroit’s underserved population. He also founded and operates the Have Faith Haiti orphanage in Port Au Prince, Haiti, which he has visited every month since 2010 without exception.
With over 20 years on ESPN, and through his work at the Detroit Free Press and as a panelist on The Sports Reporters podcast, Albom has been named the No. 1 Sports Columnist in the Nation by the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) 13 times. He was honored with the APSE Red Smith Award for lifetime achievement, the biggest prize in sports journalism, and was inducted into both the National Sports Media Association’s Hall of Fame and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. Albom hosts two radio shows on WJR-AM and has appeared regularly on The Today Show, Oprah, CBS Sunday Morning, Good Morning America, The View, FOX and Friends and many more. His articles have been featured in the New York Times, GQ, Sports Illustrated and Reader’s Digest.
Thursday, February 29
Martin Center for the Arts
ETSU Foundation Grand Hall
Piper Kerman’s bestselling memoir “Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison” chronicles her “crucible experience” – the 13 months she spent in the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut after a brief involvement with drug trafficking sent her to prison on money laundering charges.
In her compelling, moving, and deeply funny book, Kerman explores the experience of incarceration and the lives of the women she met in prison: their friendships and families, mental illnesses and substance abuse issues, cliques and codes of behavior.
Jenji Kohan adapted Kerman’s memoir into the groundbreaking Netflix original series, which has been credited with radically increasing the public’s awareness about mass incarceration and the growing female prison population.
Since her release, Kerman has worked tirelessly to promote the cause of prison and criminal justice reform. She works with nonprofits, philanthropies, and other organizations working in the public interest and serves on the board of directors of the Women’s Prison Association and the advisory boards of the PEN America Writing For Justice Fellowship, InsideOUT Writers, Healing Broken Circles, and JustLeadershipUSA.
Kerman has spoken at the White House on re-entry and employment as a Champion of Change, as well as on the importance of the arts in prisons and the unique challenges faced by women in the criminal justice system. In 2014 she was awarded the Justice Trailblazer Award from John Jay College’s Center on Media, Crime & Justice and the Constitutional Commentary Award from the Constitution Project; the Equal Justice Initiative recognized her as a Champion of Justice in 2015.
Campus Read Moderated Panel Discussion: The War for Kindness by Jamil Zaki
Wednesday, February 28
East Tennessee Room
D.P. Culp Student Center
Free and open to the public; no ticket required.
Join us for a moderated book discussion addressing the themes in ETSU’s 2023-24 Campus Read: The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World by Jamil Zaki.
According to Zaki, we engage with more people today than ever before, yet we genuinely
know fewer of them. Kindness has the potential to foster a sense of community and
belonging in our society. Join us for a facilitated discussion on envisioning an ETSU
where kindness prominently influences all aspects of campus life. No prior reading of the book is required to participate in the discussion. The first
50 attendees will receive a free book.
The discussion will be moderated by Joy Fulkerson. Book reviewers include Tony Pittarese and Jessie Wang. Phyllis Thompson is the research presenter. Small group facilitators include: Jennifer Adler, Josh Reid, Brian Cross, Lisa Dunkley, Scott Honeycutt, Jillian Alexander, Mary Little, Ethan Hutchinson, Adrianna Guram, Trent White, Shaina Thompson, Nora Honeycutt, Cooper Johnson, Leah Loveday, Riley Skaggs, and Olivia Lamb.