Atlas Week shines light on greater good

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The 12th Annual Atlas Week looks to more directly inspire students to become active advocates for peace and social justice. The theme, “Advocacy in a Globalized World: From the Classroom to the Frontline,” was inspired by the core goal of Atlas Week to “inspire and inform student activism regarding issues of global injustices,” Atlas Week Director Michelle Lorenzini said.

This year’s keynote address will be delivered by John Prendergast, an international activist who has been working in Africa for over 25 years, both as a federal employee and co-founder of the Enough Project.

Prendergast will spend two days at Saint Louis University as a “visiting Peace Practicitioner,” an unusual practice for a keynote speaker and something that has Atlas Week interns excited.

“I’m really excited to see the John Prendergast events,” Gabriella Biasiotta, internal publicity chair, said. “He has one talk about the 10 ingredients of being an advocate and I think that’s going to be a really interesting talk and really influential to a lot of people on campus.”

Prendergast will host three official lectures, as well as a “Coffee and Conversation” event limited to 30 students. His keynote address will focus on conflict prevention in the Congo and how students can help to bring peace to the violence there.
There will also be a presentation given by SLU graduates who have been working in the middle-east.

“There’s an event that’s going to be put on by the alumni of our public health school… about their time doing public health outreach in a warzone,” Jack Lynn, programming intern, said.

This year’s lineup has added films and interactive demonstration.

One film, “Wolf Call,” looks at the tale of a 14-year-old boy that was murdered in 1956 and how the situation inspired a generation to make social change in the 1950s.

Joe Mayberry will host an interactive demonstration of Russian martial arts.

“He’s going to demonstrate and kind of instruct and have everybody kind of learn about the self defense thing,” Audrey Howard, a member of the webpage and scheduling committee, said.

The Sam and Marilyn Fox Atlas Program was formed as a means of highlighting the international component of SLU.
“The Atlas Program was established in 2001 to recognize the international dimension of Saint Louis University’s academic programs and to celebrate SLU’s role in international education and service in light of our Jesuit tradition,” Lorenzini said.

“Over the course of its evolution, this one-week program has expanded its mission and has become an important program for promoting global civic engagement at SLU.”