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CWA panels are serving students’ interests and aspirations as experts impart their wisdom this week on topics ranging from the film industry to the role of memory in identity.
After settling the packed room, filled with college and middle school students as well as community members, panelist Eric Selbin started the discussion in the panel “Time, Memory and Landscape” in the Old Main Chapel Wednesday.
“In the process of writing my book, I came to appreciate that I’ve been surrounded my memories, thinking about memories all my life,” said Selbin, an author and Southwestern University professor.
Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a panelist and advocate of democracy and human rights, spoke of the capacity of humans to remember and adapt.
Ibrahim, who was detained three times in his home country, said each time improved based on increased comfort levels and memory-aided recognition.
“You recall what is key, what can help you,” Ibrahim said. “The first time is the hardest. The third time is like homecoming.”
Kolby Scott, a 21-year-old junior communication and elementary education major, said she chose this session based on a recommendation from her contemporary literature professor.
“I’m here for an English class,” Scott said. “We’re talking a lot about identity, so this pertains to what I’m learning.”
Another session drawing a crowd was “Peacemaking Redefined,” with four panelists defying violent standards associated with today’s international interactions.
Cora Weiss, a human rights and peace activist said she thinks peace education should be a vital part of the movement away from violence.
“Peace agreements are silent on peace education,” said Weiss, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee in 1999. “It’s up to us to insist on the voices of youth and women at peace negotiation tables.”
Shafeeq N. Ghabra, a professor of political science at Kuwait University, said he believes the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies within peaceful diplomacy.
“There is no violent way; there is a peaceful way to resolve this conflict,” Ghabra said. “You may try military means, but at the end of the day, it is political. It has to be a meaningful, democratic and humane way.”
Ghabra applied his theories to the war in Iraq and current struggle with Iran in his speech.
“Attacking Iran will only complicate the matter- look what happened in Iraq,” Ghabra said. “Look at the price of war. You think it will be short, but it is long. You think you can control it, but you can’t control it.”
The Macky Auditorium housed a panel discussion on “The Costs of Filmmaking,” featuring four successful men in the film industry.
Ramin Bahrani, a film writer and director, emphasized the monetary costs of filmmaking.
He said that steep marketing prices draw people to movies, not the quality of the movie itself.
On the other hand, panelist Michael Fink, who works with visual effects on movies such as Avatar, discussed the personal costs of the industry.
“My son is now 19,” Fink said. “I have not been around for probably five years of his life. It’s an unbelievable number of hours.”
Tom Shadyac, director of popular comedies like Ace Ventura and Bruce Almighty, shared his philosophy on life.
“I live in ‘what-the-fuck’ land,” Shadyac said. “I’m a student of truth, and nature is a great instructor.”
Shadyac shared with the audience his new-found rejection of private planes and 17,00 square-foot homes.
“My culture taught me, ‘Hey, here is what you do,’” Shadyac said. “Now I live in a mobile home and I give my salary to causes. Living out my principles has helped my happiness.”
Panelist Dave Grusin, a recording artist and producer who has written more than 60 film scores, offered his advice to aspiring directors.
“If you have to make films, then you need to make films,” Grusin said. “You’ll find a way to do it.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Jennifer Retter at Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org.