28

Thursday, Jul 28, 2016

Fog/Mist, 75 °F

compassLogo
Award-winning author, entrepreneur and social activist Deborah Frieze will present “How I Became a Localist” from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Friday, March 18, in the Walter Hall Rotunda.

Award-winning author, entrepreneur and social activist Deborah Frieze will present “How I Became a Localist” from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Friday, March 18, in the Walter Hall Rotunda.

Deborah Frieze

Deborah Frieze

Featured Stories


Award-winning author, entrepreneur, social activist to speak at OHIO March 18


Ohio University will welcome award-winning author, entrepreneur and social activist Deborah Frieze to the Athens Campus on Friday, March 18, for the Wealth and Poverty curricular theme’s spring public lecture.

Frieze will present “How I Became a Localist” from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Walter Hall Rotunda. In her lecture, Frieze will explore the underlying beliefs in our culture that continue to prop up the global mindset and will share a radical theory of change that reveals how localism is the hope of the future and how we all have a critical role to play. This event is free and open to the public.

Building upon this semester’s Wealth and Poverty Week theme of “Society and Inequality,” Frieze is expected to discuss localism and how local efforts – both big and small – can result in significant change and help to build healthy and resilient communities.

A graduate of the Harvard Business School’s MBA program, Frieze walked out of an executive position in the high-tech industry in 2001, saying she was “disillusioned by a business culture that emphasized short-term results, looked upon growth as an end rather than a means, and cared more about compliance than community.” A few years later she joined the Berkana Institute, a non-profit organization that operates under the motto, “Whatever the problem, community is the answer.”

While at the nonprofit, Frieze and a colleague partnered to launch the Berkana Exchange, a trans-local learning community of individuals who were “walking on” to build healthy and resilient communities. Frieze and Meg Wheatley, co-founder and former president of the Berkana Institute, wrote about those individuals in “Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now.” The book received the 2011 Terry McAdam Book Award as well as the Nautilus Silver Book Award for Social Change.

Frieze succeeded Wheatley as co-president of the Berkana Institute, a position she held for four years. In more recent years, she has formed many partnerships worldwide and has launched several initiatives designed to strengthen and sustain communities. Among them are: 

  • The Boston Impact Initiative, a place-based impact investing fund that partners with businesses and organizations in the Boston area to create systemic shifts in opportunities for urban communities. The fund takes an integrated capital approach, combining investing, lending and giving to help build resilient local economies. 
  • The Old Oak Dojo, an urban living center where neighbors gather to rediscover how to create healthy communities. An experiment in dissolving the boundary between public and private, the purpose of the initiative is to provide a space for community to meet, learn, eat, celebrate and play – all as a means of restoring our wholeness as citizens.

Frieze’s visit is a follow-up to the College of Arts and Sciences’ third Wealth and Poverty Week, held Feb. 10-18. The week focused on the theme of “Society and Inequality” and explored the various aspects of inequality, as well as the reasons behind and the implications of inequality.

According to Yeong Kim, associate professor of geography and coordinator of the Wealth and Poverty theme, the purpose of the week and the follow-up events is not only to educate members of the OHIO community but also to inspire them to act to reduce inequality and build a more fair society. The theme is hosting the Needs Drive for The Plains Elementary School this month to raise school supplies, like pencils, binders and glue sticks, for students at the school located in nearby The Plains, Ohio. It will also host a medical supply drive in April to benefit patients in both Peru and Appalachia. This year’s World Health Day is April 7, and the Wealth and Poverty theme’s medical supply will help increase awareness about the importance of providing much-needed medical supplies to individuals in underserved areas at home and abroad.

Frieze’s visit is being co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences’ Wealth and Poverty theme, the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, and the Center for Entrepreneurship.