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Odyssey Takes on “The Leadership Imperative”

Odyssey launches an ambitious schedule of speakers, lectures and films for its 2007-08 season under the theme of “The Leadership Imperative: A Mandate for Social Responsibility.”

The schedule of events for the first half of October includes:

Native American poet, novelist and screenwriter Sherman Alexie will deliver the lecture "Without Reservations: An Urban Indian's Comic, Poetic, and Highly Irreverent Look at the World," on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 5:30 p.m. in the University Student Union, Beach Ballrooms. Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian, grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Wash. He planned on becoming a doctor but changed career paths after fainting several times during human anatomy class. A poetry workshop at Washington State University revealed his writing talent, and he went on to win numerous fellowships and awards for his poetry, short stories and novels.

In 1997 Alexie collaborated with Chris Eyre, a Cheyenne/Arapaho Indian, and a mutual friend on a film project, titled "Smoke Signals," inspired by Alexie's short story "This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona." Shadow Catcher Entertainment produced the film, which was released in January at the Sundance Film Festival where it won an Audience Award and the Filmmakers Trophy. Miramax Films distributed the movie and in 1999, the film received a Christopher Award, an honor presented to the creators of artistic works "which affirm the highest values of the human spirit." Alexie was also nominated for the Independent Feature Project/West (now known as Film Independent) 1999 Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. A book signing will follow the lecture.

A Ton of Luck will conclude the month-long Latin American Film Series on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. in the University Theatre. Directed by Rodrigo Triana, the story is based on actual events that occurred in Colombia in May 2003, when four soldiers from the anti-guerrilla “Destroyer” battalion found a hidden cache of $46 million. Admission is free and the film has English subtitles. Parking is available in lot 7. For more information e-mail or visit the Latin American Studies Web site.

On Monday, Oct. 15, Kathryn Farr will present a speech on her book Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective, from 3:30-4:45 p.m. in PSY-150. Farr, a retired professor of sociology at Portland State University, has produced a comprehensive and timely treatise on sex trafficking, making a solid contribution to the understanding of all dimensions of this global scourge. Based on research sources from the United States and other leading criminology institutes in Australia and the Netherlands, Human Trafficking focuses on the scale and scope of the trafficking problem, the illegal profits obtained, criminal networks and organized crime, the economic status of countries involved, and the demand for sex trafficking over the decades, particularly by military personnel. Farr illustrates and defines concepts such as debt bondage, describes the gritty and violent conditions in which women and children work, and demonstrates who is involved in the “trafficking chain” and how it operates.

For more information about these of future Odyssey events, contact Rachel Brophy at 562/985-4546 or visit the Odyssey Web site.