Forum announces all-star lineup

Paul Rusesabagina is focus of the 2005 Academy Award nominated movie "Hotel Rwanda." Reminder Publications submitted photo
SPRINGFIELD The Springfield Public Forum, the nation's longest-running public lecture series, has announced the line-up of speakers for the 2007 season. This season's speakers include a human rights activist, a Middle East policy maker, and two political experts, including a presidential historical and lead campaign strategist. Speakers will address the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur, the turbulent peace process in the Middle East, and how history and the current political climate will collide to influence the upcoming 2008 presidential elections.

Patricia Canavan, Executive Director, commented: "We at the Forum are thrilled to be hosting speakers this season whose topics encompass so many timely issues: presidential politics, the Middle East and Darfur."

The Springfield Public Forum's 2007 season kicks off on Sept. 26 with presidential historian Michael Beschloss. Beschloss is the author of eleven books, including the recently published Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989. Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury and Murphy, P.C. and the Young President's Organization are co-sponsoring the event.

An award winning historian, Beschloss serves as NBC News' Presidential Historian. He has appeared on Meet the Press, Today, and The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. In 2005, Beschloss won an Emmy for his part as creator and host of the Discovery Channel series Decisions that Shook the World. Beschloss has been honored with the State of Illinois's Order of Lincoln and the Harry S. Truman Public Service Award from Independence, Missouri. He is a trustee of the White House Historical Association, the National Archives Foundation and the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs.

The schedule for the rest of the Public Forum series this season is as follows:

On Oct. 3, Robert Shrum will deliver a lecture entitled, "No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner" based on his new book by the same name. Shrum will speak on his experience serving as a political strategist and speechwriter on a number of presidential campaigns, including his most recent work as lead political strategist for John Kerry's 2004 Presidential campaign. St. Germain Investment Management and the Phillips Lecture Fund are co-sponsoring the event .

In addition to his campaign work for both presidential and senate nominees, Shrum is a well published journalist. His work has appeared in New York Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The New Republic. He was also a columnist for the online magazine Slate. Shrum is a Senior Fellow at New York University's Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service and a regular contributor on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews. He will be an analyst for MSNBC's coverage of the 2008 presidential elections.

On Oct. 18, Paul Rusesabagina will deliver a lecture entitled " Hotel Rwanda: Lessons Still Not Yet Learned" which will relate the Rwandan genocide to the genocide currently going on in Darfur. Merrie and Lyman Wood of Hampden are sponsoring the event.

The 2005 Academy Award nominated movie Hotel Rwanda staring Don Cheadle tells Rusesabagina's heroic story of saving over 1,200 people during the Rwandan genocide. Rusesabagina published his autobiography, An Ordinary Man, in 2004. He is the Founder of the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation and has been honored with the 2005 U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as many other awards for his courage.

On Oct. 24, Robert Satloff, the Executive Director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, will speak on Arab and Islamic politics with his lecture "Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust's Long Reach Into Arab Lands". United Bank is sponsoring the event.

Satloff, an expert on U.S. Middle East policy, is the author and editor of nine books and monographs about the Arab-Israeli peace process. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, and he regularly appears on National Public Radio.

All events begin at 7:30 p.m. at Springfield's Symphony Hall. They are free and open to the public. For more information, see the Springfield Public Forum's Web site at