2015 Honors Institute Speakers

Quarteto Los Primos y Ballet En Fuego

Quests for Human Expression in New Mexico Through Music and Dance – Themes 3 and 9

General Session 1, The Jardine Lecture

Quarteto Los Primos y Ballet En Fuego presents a vibrant show that combines dance and live music from two of New Mexico's favorite groups: Ballet en Fuego and Los Primos. A masterful blend of the traditional with the contemporary, this lively production includes music and dance from Mexico and Spanish speaking countries around the world. Ballet en Fuego is unique. There is no other professional dance company in the southwest that combines traditional with contemporary dance techniques. With Ballet en Fuego you are getting "3 in 1" performing in colorful, ethnic and progressive costuming. The group has performed nationally and in Japan, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Spain and Canada.

Dr. Reza Aslan

Frontiers of Ideas and Ideology: Christianity and Islam – Themes 2, 3 and 8

General Session 2, The Modschiedler Lecture

Dr. Reza Aslan is the author of the international bestseller Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth and No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, which has been named by Blackwell Publishers as one of the 100 most important books of the last decade. He is also the author of How to Win a Cosmic War, a contributing editor to The Daily Beast, and a member of many prominent foreign relations and policy councils. He is the editor of two volumes: Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East and Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalties, Contentions, and Complexities. These literary anthologies use the arts to bridge the gap of understanding between East and West and to strengthen Jewish and Muslim relations. He is also the executive producer of a new ABC TV drama, Of Kings and Prophets, which spins a Biblical tale about a king, a prophet and a shepherd, all of whom are "on a collision course with destiny." Aslan appears regularly in the media, on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. In the corporate realm, he is President and CEO of Aslan Media Inc., which runs BoomGen Studios, a media company focused on entertainment about the Greater Middle East and its Diaspora communities. He has degrees in Religion from Santa Clara University, Harvard and UC Santa Barbara, as well as a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa, where he was named the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction.

Sonia Shah

Pandemic: Tracking the Next Contagion – Themes 7, 8 and 9

General Session 3, The Freeman Lecture

Sonia Shah is a science journalist and prize-winning author. Her writing on science, politics and human rights has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Scientific American and elsewhere. Her work has been featured on RadioLab, Fresh Air and TED, where her talk, “Three Reasons We Still Haven’t Gotten Rid of Malaria” has been viewed by over 900,000 people around the world. Her 2010 book, The Fever, which was called a “tour-de-force history of malaria” (New York Times), “rollicking” (Time), and “brilliant” (Wall Street Journal) was long-listed for the Royal Society’s Winton Prize. Her new book, Pandemic: Tracking Contagions from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond, is forthcoming in October 2015. Shah has lectured at universities and colleges across the country, including Columbia’s Earth Institute, MIT, Harvard, Yale, Brown, Georgetown and elsewhere. Her television appearances include The History Channel, A&E and the BBC, and she’s consulted on many documentary film projects.

Place As Text

Frontiers and the Spirit of Exploration in Albuquerque – Themes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 9

General Session 4, The Blank Lecture

On Wednesday morning, Honors Institute participants will travel to three sites in Albuquerque that are significant to the city’s culture. Sites include: The Petroglyph National Monument, which highlights Albuquerque’s connections to frontiers of Native American culture; The International Balloon Museum, which is located on the site of one of the world’s premiere annual festivals and affords visitors an opportunity to learn about the origins and development of ballooning as part of the frontier associated with human flight; and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, which showcases the accomplishments and evolving history of the Pueblo people of New Mexico.

Patricia Crespin & Company

We are Hispanic Women . . . Okay? – Themes 2, 3 and 8

General Session 5, The Cordier Lecture

New Mexico native Patricia Crespín is a writer, actor, director and producer. Crespín strives to explore Latino culture through theatre and film using bold, innovative techniques. She has written several plays, including We are Hispanic Women . . . Okay? and two award winners – The Medea Complex and The Three Señorita Pigletitas y el Diablo the Wolf. She is dedicated to creating powerful, desirable roles for the under-represented, yet unique Latina. She strives to be a voice for and about the people of New Mexico where, as she says, “the culture is rich, the people are beautiful, the land is breathtaking, and the language is its own entity.” Crespín recently formed Wize Latina Productions whose mission is to produce theatre and film works that speak to and for the Latino community. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in vocal performance from New Mexico Highlands University and a Master of Fine Arts in dramatic writing from the University of New Mexico.

Steve Winter

On the Trail of Big Cats – Themes 3, 4, 8 and 9

General Session 6, The Fedor Lecture

Steve Winter has been stalked by jaguars in Brazil, charged by a grizzly in Siberia and trapped in quicksand in the world's largest tiger reserve in Myanmar. He's flown over erupting volcanoes and visited isolated villages where residents had never before seen a blonde foreigner — or a camera. Growing up in Indiana, Winter dreamed of traveling the world as a photographer for National Geographic. His first camera was a gift from his father on his seventh birthday. Over the next few years, Winter's dad taught him the basics of photography. After graduating from the Academy of Art and the University of San Francisco, Winter signed on as a photojournalist for Black Star Photo Agency. Since then, he has produced stories for GEO, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Natural History, Audubon, BusinessWeek and Scientific American, among other publications. His nonprofit and commercial clients include UNICEF, Merck Pharmaceuticals, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation and others. In 1991, Winter began shooting for the National Geographic Society. He has covered many subjects for National Geographic magazine, including Cuba, Russia's giant Kamchatka bears, tigers in Myanmar's Hukawng Valley and life along Myanmar's Irrawaddy River. Winter lives with his wife, son and pets in New Jersey.

Jeff Lieberman

The Future of Consciousness: Explorations in the Arts, Sciences and Technology – Themes 3, 4 and 6

General Session 7, The Wyatt Lecture

Jeff Lieberman explores the connections between the arts, sciences, education, passion, creativity and the potential future of human consciousness. He hosts ‘Time Warp’ on the Discovery Channel, using technology to see beyond the limits of our normal human perception. Lieberman also shows technological sculptures around the world, to bring people an emotional and mystical connection with science and the universe. He composes music in the duo gloobic and has performed in Carnegie Hall. Having finished four degrees at MIT (BS: Physics, Math, MS: Mech. Engineering, Media Arts and Sciences), he is exploring the applications of technology to evolving and shifting human consciousness.