Texas Tech University

Guest Speaker(s) 2016

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April 14th | Kick-off Event

6:00 p.m. | alamo drafthouse (120 W Loop 289)

Get Together Girls (2012) 

Special Guest:  Director, Vanessa Crocini

The award winning documentary about the community project that has transformed the lives of a group of Kenyan former street girls.

Vanessa Crocini

The project Get Together Girls (GtoG) was created by Grace Orsolato in Ngong, a village in the mountains around Nairobi, Kenya, at Anita's Home, a Koinonia Community project for the marginalized children. The girls that live here (age 4-18) were taken out of the streets of Nairobi and most of them have been had a very difficult childhood. : begging for money, not having a place where to sleep, not having a family and often trying to run away not to be abused. In Anita's Home they attend formal school and grow up in a responsible and peaceful environment. Some of the girls though in the last two years have reached the full age and since the end of their school program, they have been home – reintegrated without the certainties of job opportunities.

Grace Orsolato met these girls during her experience as the responsible for the Amani Onlus Ngo volunteer camp at Anita's Home and in December 2009 she quit her daily administration job at the very established firm Pirelli to create a tailoring school for those girls that had finished the school program at Anita's Home. She brought all the sewing machines and the rest of the equipment to Kenya and had her friend, the Italian stylist Roberta Vincenzi, hosting a free tailoring course for nine selected girls. They learned the basics of the craft with great enthusiasm and have become the official creators of fashionable handmade clothes for women for Get Together Girls Collection.

For this documentary, the director Vanessa Crocini spent a month at Anita's Home (March/April 2011) following the girls of GtoG in their work schedule and in their daily activities to see how their lives have changed and what their approach to the job is. The camera has captured the connection between the girls and Grace and her capacity to associate with them like a mother/sister, as she is a strong pillar in their lives.

April 15th | Morning Speaker

10:00 a.m. | Student Union Bldg. | Matador Room

Title: The Changing Contours of the International Women's Human Rights Movement

Manisha Desai, Associate Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies at the University of Connecticut.

Dr. Desai's research and teaching interests include Gender and Globalization/Development, Transnational Feminisms, and Contemporary Indian Society. Her forthcoming book from Routledge is titled: Subaltern Struggles in India: The Gendered Geography of Protest against Neoliberal Development.

Manisha Desai

In addition she is the author of over 30 articles and book chapters and 4 books and is completing another book titled Women and Gender in a Globalizing World (2016). Her other books include: Gender, Family, and Law in a Globalizing Middle East and South Asia (co-edited with Ken Cuno, 2010, Syracuse University Press); Gender and the Politics of Possibilities: Rethinking Globalization (2008, Rowman and Littlefield) and the highly regarded co-edited (with Nancy Naples) Women's Activism and Globalization: Linking Local Struggles to Transnational Politics (Routeldge 2002).

She was awarded Sociologists for Women in Society's 2015 Distinguished Lecturer Award in recognition of her contributions to scholarship on gender. Her scholarship is committed to decolonizing knowledge and actively engaging with knowledge producers outside the academy.

Readings to consider; Women's Activism and Globalization: Linking Local Struggles and Transnational Politics, Nancy A. Naples & Manisha Desai, Editors; Routledge, 2002.

April 15th | Keynote Speaker


Title: "No More a Girl for the Kitchen and a Boy for the Classroom:
Opening Doors to Education for Girls around the World."

Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Director, Peace Corps

Ms. Hessler-Radelet was sworn into office as the 19th Director of the Peace Corps in June 2014. In the years prior, she served as Peace Corps acting Director and deputy director.

Carrie Hassler Radelet

Hessler-Radelet began her career in international development as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Western Samoa, teaching secondary school English. From there, she went on to spend over two decades working in public health, focusing on HIV/AIDS and maternal and child health, before returning to the Peace Corps.

As head of the Peace Corps, Hessler-Radelet has led historic reforms to modernize and strengthen the Peace Corps to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. She has spearheaded a sweeping effort to revamp the Peace Corps' Volunteer application and selection process and revitalize recruitment and outreach to field a Volunteer force that represents the best and brightest the U.S. has to offer. As deputy director, she led the rollout of the Focus In/Train Up initiative, which provides targeted technical training to Volunteers to increase their capacity-building abilities.

Hessler-Radelet holds a Master of Science in health policy and management from the Harvard School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Boston University. She and her husband, Steve Radelet, have two children. Four generations of Hessler-Radelet's family have served as Peace Corps Volunteers.