Keynote Speakers

Ohio University has been proud to host numerous outstanding Keynote Speakers during the annual International Education Week celebration.

Here is some information on our Keynote Speakers from previous years:

2019 - Bhanu Kapil

Bhanu Kapil is a British-Indian writer and poet. She is currently at the University of Cambridge where she is the Judith E. Wilson poetry fellow in the Faculty of English. She has taught poetry, fiction and performance since 2000, at Naropa University, where she is an Assocate Professor, and also Goddard College.

Bhanu has authored a number of full-length works of poetry/prose, including The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers (Kelsey Street Press, 2001), Incubation: a space for monsters (Leon Works, 2006); forthcoming in a new edition from Kelsey Street Press, 2019), humanimal [a project for future children] (Kelsey Street Press, 2009), Schizophrene (Nightboat, 2011), Ban en Banlieue (Nightboat, 2015), and How To Wash A Heart (forthcoming from Pavillion Poetry, Liverpool University Press, in Spring 2020). She has a BA from England’s Loughborough University and an MA in English Literature from SUNY Brockport.

Bhanu Kapil Poster for the IEW page

2018 - John Sabraw

An activist and environmentalist, John Sabraw’s paintings, drawings and collaborative installations are produced in an eco-conscious manner, and he continually works toward a fully sustainable practice. He collaborates with scientists on many projects, and one of his current collaborations involves creating paint and paintings from iron oxide extracted in the process of remediating polluted streams.

Sabraw’s art is in numerous collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Honolulu, the Elmhurst Museum in Illinois, Emprise Bank, and Accenture Corp. Sabraw is represented in Chicago by Thomas McCormick. Sabraw is a Professor of Art at Ohio University where he is Chair of the Painting + Drawing program, and Board Advisor at Scribble Art Workshop in New York. He has most recently been featured in TED, Smithsonian, New Scientist, and Great Big Story.

International Education Week 2018 Keynote Speech


2017- Eric Weiner

Eric Weiner is the author of The New York Times bestseller The Geography of Bliss, as well as two other books.  The Geography of Bliss  has been translated into 20 languages. A number of high schools and universities have incorporated the book into their curricula. Weiner is the recipient of the Borders Original Voices Award, and a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award. His second book, Man Seeks God, was called a “disarmingly funny, illuminating read…  a refreshing departure from more weighty spiritual tomes.”

As a long-time foreign correspondent for National Public Radio, Eric reported from more than 30 nations, from Iraq to Indonesia, covering some of the major international events of recent times. He is the recipient of several journalism awards, including the Angel Award for coverage of Islamic affairs in Asia. Eric writes a regular column for BBC Travel.  His work also appears in The Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and other publications, as well as on NPR’s Morning Edition.

You can read more about his Keynote Speech at Ohio University in this Compass article.

International Education Week 2017 Keynote Speech


2016 - Wajahat Ali

Wajahat Ali is a journalist, writer, lawyer, an award-winning playwright, a TV personality, and a consultant for the U.S. State Department. He helped launch the Al Jazeera America network as co-host of The Stream, a daily news show that extended the conversation to social media and beyond. He was also a National Correspondent, Political Reporter, and Social Media Expert for Al Jazeera America. There, he focused on stories of communities and individuals often marginalized or under-reported in mainstream media.

As a playwright, Ali is the author of The Domestic Crusaders—the first major play about Muslim Americans post-9/11—which was published by McSweeney’s and performed off-Broadway and at the Kennedy Center. He is a Peabody-nominated producer of the series The Secret Life of Muslims, a series of short-form, first-person documentary films featuring a diverse set of American Muslims. Ali was also the lead author and researcher of “Fear Inc., Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,” the seminal report from the Center for American Progress. 

You can read about his Keynote Speech at Ohio University in this Compass article.

International Education Week 2016 Keynote Speaker


2015 - Dr. Michael Newman

Dr. Michael Newman is a field worker and former Doctors Without Borders board member. Doctors Without Borders, internationally known as Medecines Sans Frontiers (MSF), is a non-governmental humanitarian aid organization. Founded in 1971, MSF is known for its projects in developing countries and regions devastated by war.

You can read more about his Keynote Speech at Ohio University in this Compass article.

International Education Week 2015 Keynote Speaker


2014 - Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish


Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is a five-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee and an internationally recognized human rights and inspirational peace activist. A Palestinian medical doctor and infertility specialist, he is devoted to advancing health and education opportunities for women and girls in the Middle East through his researches and his charitable organization, the Daughters for Life Foundation.

Dr. Abuelaish, who has worked in Israeli hospitals caring for patients and delivering babies of both Palestinian and Israeli descent, has always said that all people, regardless of their religious and political believes, are equal, deserve access to quality education and health care, and should have every opportunity to lead fulfilling and rewarding lives.

You can read more about his Keynote Speech at Ohio University in this Compass article.



2013 - Dr. Janet Bennett

Dr. Janet Bennett is the executive director of the Intercultural Communication Institute (ICI), sponsor of the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication, and the director of the Master of Arts Degree in Intercultural Relations Program. As an educator and consultant, she designs and conducts intercultural training for colleges and universities, corporations, government and social service agencies, and professional agencies. She teaches in the training and development program at Portland State University and recently edited the Sage Encyclopedia of Intercultural Competence.

You can read more about her Keynote Speech at Ohio University in this Compass article.

International Education Week 2013 Keynote Speaker