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Rankin play kicks off lecture series


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Montana State University-Northern is hosting a special show to kick off a new lecture series, one the school hopes will continue in the years to come.

"Our real ambition is to have a yearly lecture series," said Will Rawn, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Northern.

The series starts with a performance of "A Moment of Peace: The Journey of Jeannette Rankin," a one-woman play performed by the playwright, Allyson Adams of Virginia City.

The play fits into the theme of this year's series because of Rankin's record as an advocate of peace, said Cynthia Harrison, director of the Vande Bogart Library at Northern. The three lectures that complete the series will focus on the causes and effects of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and global terrorism, and the effects of increasing national security.

"We've tried to make it somewhat thought provoking, focusing on recent history and current events," Harrison said.

The play was selected to start the series to attract some extra attention the first year, she added.

"A Moment of Peace" tells the story of Rankin, a suffragette and peace advocate who was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress. She was elected in 1917, two years before the 19th Amendment guaranteed women the right to vote in the United States.

Rankin is remembered for her work for suffrage and other women's and children's issues. She is best-remembered for her votes again the U.S. entry into World War I and World War II. She was the only member of Congress to do so.

Adams, daughter of the late actor Nick Adams, best known for his role as Johnny Yuma in "The Rebel," was born in Hollywood. She moved to Montana in her teens, but studied dance and theater arts in California and New York before returning to Montana.

The three following lectures in the series will take place in Donaldson Commons. The first, at 7:30 p.m. on March 6, is a lecture and discussion session by Mark Johnson titled "9/11, the Day that Rocked the World." Johnson, a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Department of State and a director of the Montana World Affairs Council, will lead a discussion about issues like the forces behind the 9/11 attacks, global terrorism, Islamic extremism and what challenges lie ahead for U.S. foreign policy.

The second lecture, at 7:30 p.m. on March 27, is an analysis by Russ Rodgers, a retired U.S. Foreign Services officer, of the concept of terrorism and the difficulties in building an international coalition to combat it.

The last lecture, on April 10 at 7:30 p.m., is by Jim Heckel and is titled "Fear in the First; Personal Freedom after Sept. 11." Heckel, director of the Great Falls Public Library, will use historical and literary examples, including some from Montana, to examine the balance between personal freedom and security against threats.

All four presentations come from the Montana Committee for the Humanities Speakers Bureau. The committee provided a grant to host the series.

Other groups have joined the College of Arts and Sciences and the Vande Bogart Library in sponsoring the play on Feb. 16. The Havre chapter of the American Association of University Women and the H. Earl Clack Foundation have also given grants for the Adams performance, and the Montana Actors' Theatre has donated use of the university theater and members to run the light and sound.


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