Two-day symposium on Obama presidency and more at Bob Graham Center this month

Feb. 8: Life Driven Purpose
On Feb. 8, at 6 p.m. in the Pugh Hall Ocora, Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation and co-host of Freethought Radio, will upend the long-held teaching that life is meaningless without God. After 19 years as an evangelical minister, Dan “saw the light” and announced his atheism in 1984. His first public appearance as an atheist was on Oprah Winfrey’s “AM Chicago.” Since that time he has traveled extensively, defending atheism. Offering words of enrichment, emancipation and inspiration, Baker will discuss how millions of atheists lead happy, loving, moral and purpose-filled lives. The event is free and open to the public and will be streamed live at

Feb. 10: Mayoral Debate Forum
The forum will be held Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. at the Martin Levin Advocacy Center in the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law. The public can submit questions to ask the candidates by email at or tweet it with the hashtag #GNVoice. The effort is a partnership among the Gainesville Sun, WUFT, the League of Women Voters of Alachua County, UF’s Graham Center for Public Service and the Graham Center Student Fellows.

Feb. 15: Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel
Dov Waxman, professor of political science, international affairs and Israel studies at Northeastern University, will discuss his new book “Trouble in The Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel” on Monday, Feb. 15, at 6 p.m., in the Pugh Hall Ocora as part of the annual Shorstein Lecture Series. The event is free and open to the public and will be streamed live on the Bob Graham Center website at

During his public address, Waxman will present the central thesis of his book: that a new era of divergence has emerged among the American Jewry and has replaced the age of solidarity that once existed with regard to Israel. Waxman will also explore how the increasingly contentious place of Israel in the American Jewish dialogue is impacting Jewish communities, national Jewish organizations and the pro-Israel lobby.

Feb. 17 & 18: An Assessment of the Obama Presidency: A two-day symposium

two day symposiumWednesday, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m.
Michael Jeffries, associate professor of American Studies at Wellesley College, will discuss his book, “Paint the White House Black: Barack Obama and the Meaning of Race in America.”

Thursday, Feb. 18 at 6 p.m.
Dr. Fredrick Harris, professor of political science and director of the Center on African American Politics and Society at Columbia University, will speak about his latest book, “The Price of the Ticket: Barack Obama and the Rise and Fall of Black Politics.”

This two-day symposium is hosted by the African American Studies Program in the Pugh Hall Ocora with the support of the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service. The events are free and open to the public and will be streamed live at