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Somebodies and Nobodies author to speak

Robert W. Fuller, author of Somebodies and Nobodies and the soon-to-be-released, All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity will speak on March 29 in the UTC University Center Auditorium at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. These sessions are free and open to the public, and each will last about 90 minutes with questions and answers to follow.

This event is co-sponsored by the Speakers and Special Events Committee and the Counseling and Career Planning Center.

After earning his Ph.D. in physics at Princeton University in 1961, Robert Fuller taught at Columbia University and co-authored the book Mathematics of Classical and Quantum Physics. The mounting social unrest of the 1960s drew his attention to educational reform, and in 1970 he was appointed president of his alma mater Oberlin College at the age of 33.

In 1971 Fuller traveled to India (as a consultant to Indira Gandhi) and there witnessed firsthand the famine resulting from the war with Pakistan over what became Bangladesh. With the election of Jimmy Carter, Fuller began a campaign to persuade the new president to end world hunger. His meeting with Carter in the Oval Office in June 1977 led to the establishment of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger.

During the 1980s, Fuller traveled frequently to the USSR, working as a citizen-scientist to improve the Cold War relationship. This work led to the creation of the non-profit global corporation Internews, which promotes democracy via free and independent media, and for many years Fuller served as its chairman.

With the collapse of the USSR, Fuller's work as citizen diplomat came to a close and he began reflecting on his career and came to understand that he had, at various times, been a somebody and a nobody and the cycle was continuing. His periodic sojourns in "Nobodyland" led him to identify and investigate "rankism" - defined as abuse of the power inherent in rank - and ultimately to write Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank, (2003) New Society Publishers. He has just completed a sequel that focuses on building a "dignitarian" society titled All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity.

(Berrett-Koehler, 2006)

March 24, 2006

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