Commencement 2000 Speakers

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)
Occupation: Unites States Congressman, civil rights leader
Honors and achievements:

John Lewis was born in 1940, the son of Alabama sharecroppers. He went on to study in Nashville, Tenn., where he received degrees from Fisk University and the American Baptist Theological Seminary. He first became involved in the civil rights movement as a student, when he organized sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in Nashville.

In 1961, he was severely beaten when he participated in the freedom rides, which challenged segregation at southern interstate bus terminals.

At age 23, as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Lewis was recognized as one of the Big Six civil rights leaders. He was one of the planners and a keynote speaker at the March on Washington in August 1963. In March 1965, Lewis led the fateful Selma, Ala. march that would be called Bloody Sunday, after state troopers attacked the marchers.

In 1981, Lewis was elected to the Atlanta City Council. He was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1986, representing Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, which encompasses the entire city of Atlanta and parts of surrounding counties.

Lewis wrote an autobiographical work, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement, in 1998.

Name: Madeleine K. Albright
Occupation: Secretary of State
Honors and Achievements:

Madeleine K. Albright, the first female secretary of state, was sworn in as the 64th secretary of state December 5, 1996. She was previously the United States Permanent Representative to United Nations and member of National Security Council.

She received a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College with honors in Political Science. She studied at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, received a certificate from the Russian Institute at Columbia University, and her master’s and doctorate from Columbia University’s Department of Public Law and Government.

She is fluent in French and Czech and is competent in Russian and Polish. She is responsible for developing and implementing programs designed to enhance women’s professional opportunities in international affairs.

She is the author of many writings including, Poland, the Role of the Press in Political Change, The Role of the Press in Political Change: Czechoslovakia, and The Soviet Diplomatic Service: Profile of an Elite.

Sir Martin Gilbert
Occupation: Historian
Honors and Achievements:

A fellow at Merton College, Oxford, Gilbert lives in London. He was knighted in 1995 for his services to British history and international affairs. Best known as the official biographer of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Gilbert’s major works include First World War, Second World War, The Holocaust, In Search of Churchill, Road to Victory, and Never Despair. These works encompass histories of the Holocaust, of British politics in the 20th century, of both World Wars, and of the founding of modern Israel. His biography of Churchill is the authoritative work on the subject.

His newest book, Never Again: A History of the Holocaust, is the culmination of 40 years of research drawing on recollections that illuminate many acts of courage, rescue and defiance, as well as the help given to Jews by non-Jews.

Gilbert will sign copies of Never Again at the GW bookstore on Thursday, May 18 from noon to 1 p.m.

James Wolfensohn
Occupation: World Bank Group president<brHonors and Achievements:

Wolfensohn was born in 1933 in Australia and was a member of the 1956 Australian Olympic Fencing Team. He later became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He formerly served as president of the International Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Societies. Wolfensohn serves as chairman emeritus of Carnegie Hall and chairman emeritus of the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center and chairman of the board of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton University.

In 1995 he received an Honorary Knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II of England for his dedication to the arts. He has also been decorated by the governments Australia, France, Germany, Morroco and Norway.As president of the World Bank Group, he is one of only three presidents to be elected to a second term. In 1996, with the IMF, he initiated the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, the first comprehensive debt program to address the needs of the world’s poorest countries.

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