The upcoming Borah Symposium will be unique in more than one way, said Bill Smith, director of the Borah Foundation.
In past years, the symposium has reached out to the Moscow community and the University of Idaho campus. And while the outreach remains the same this year, Smith said this year one of the speakers will first talk at Borah High School in Boise.
With four months until the Borah Symposium, the committee organizing the event recently decided on a theme – Waging Peace.
“It”s about humanitarian action in the 21st Century,” Smith said.
Smith said the theme surrounds the idea of people actively getting out and being involved in communities that need support, as opposed only talking about it.
Physician Samantha Nutt is one of two who have been officially scheduled for the symposium.
Nutt runs War Child, an organization that protects children from involvement in wars. She has been involved in medical outreach work, Smith said. Nutt will first speak April 7 in Boise before coming to UI the next day.
The other scheduled speaker is human rights activist John Prendergast, who will speak April 8.
Prendergast was involved in providing frontline humanitarian aid in the world. Smith said Prendergast has worked with the Lost Boys of Sudan and other peace organizations.
“Prendergast and Nutt are both keynote level speakers,” Smith said. “So they”re both going to talk about the topic as if they were keynote speakers.”
Smith said he thinks there will ultimately be around five speakers at the symposium. Preliminary agreements have been made with other potential speakers, but there is nothing official yet, Smith said.
Smith said the second unique aspect of this Symposium will be a composition by Dan Bukvich, a music professor in the Lionel Hampton School of Music, who is composing an original piece to premiere on April 6.
Smith said the Borah Foundation is in honor of Idaho Sen. William Edgar Borah”s legacy and is supported by donors and the State Board of Education. Smith said Borah is known for his efforts studying the causes of war and the conditions necessary for peace between World War I and World War II, helping to keep the U.S. out of foreign conflict.
Salmon Levinson, a railroad man, respected the senator and honored him by giving money to the state of Idaho – and thus the University of Idaho – to preserve Borah”s legacy, Smith said.
Smith said the exact methods for accomplishing this were left to the discretion of the state and university.
In 1948, UI hosted the first Borah Symposium with Eleanor Roosevelt as the first speaker, Smith said. The 2016 Symposium will be held from April 6-8.
Nina Rydalch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NinaRobin7