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Expert on international relief and development to speak at Whitworth March 17

March 3, 2011
Guest lecturer Tom LePage has served in Haiti and across Africa

As Haiti picks up the pieces from the devastating earthquake that hit one year ago and as shockwaves from the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia vibrate across Africa, a development expert who has worked in both regions will present the second lecture in the 54th annual Great Decisions Lecture Series at Whitworth University. The series features five speakers who focus on current political, cultural and economic subjects of interest to the international community. The public is invited to attend the lectures free of charge. LePage will present "Somalia and Reconciliation: The Horn of an African Dilemma," on Thursday, March 17, at 7:30 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall at Whitworth University. For more information, please call (509) 777-3270.

LePage is senior director of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College, in Georgia. Since 1993, he has served in international relief and development in Haiti and across Africa. His background includes 11 years as Africa's area director for World Concern, during which he focused particularly on Somalia, northeast Kenya, Ethiopia, and the Sahel region, which includes countries such as Sudan, Algeria, and Nigeria. He holds a master's degree in interdisciplinary studies from Regent College and a B.S. in economics from Montana State University.

"Tom LePage's life and work stand at the intersection of so many issues that interest Whitworth students – particularly aid and development work," says Patrick Van Inwegen, an associate professor of political science at Whitworth. "With Whitworth's ongoing Africa Initiative, it's crucial that we provide students with some perspective on the challenges that exist there."

Whitworth's Africa Initiative, which was established in 2005, is designed to educate Americans about Africa and to offer Whitworth's resources to Africa. The initiative brings African educational, development and religious leaders to Whitworth so that students, faculty and people in the Spokane region can gain first-hand knowledge of African perspectives. In addition, the program aims to help equip Whitworth students to become global Christians through cross-cultural visits, pastoral training, internships and other exchanges that involve travel, study and intense dialogue.

In addition to the March 17 lecture, Great Decisions lectures will take place on March 31, April 14, and May 5. The lectures will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be held in Weyerhaeuser Hall's Robinson Teaching Theatre. For information on upcoming lectures, please call (509) 777-3270. Great Decisions 2011 is sponsored by the Whitworth Political Science Department.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Barbara Brodrick, academic program assistant, political science department, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3270 or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or