GENEVA – Two President’s Forum speakers will speak in Albright Auditorium next month. Both presentations are free and open to the public.
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, based in Washington, D.C., will speak at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 19.
Bairbre de Brún, a member of Sinn Féin who represents part of Belfast, Northern Ireland, in the European Parliament, will speak at a time and date to be announced.
Since taking the helm of the Human Rights Campaign just over a year ago, Solmonese has journeyed to 22 states and 35 cities, logging 115,000 miles in his first six months. His vision for equality is clear: taking the fight for equality not only to the floor of Congress, but to the kitchen table, to factory floors and to church pews.
The Human Rights Campaign is a 25-year-old, national organization with more than 650,000 members and a $30 million budget that works for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights.
Committed to making clear that nobody has a monopoly on religion, he has launched a Religion and Faith program, which provides resources for GLBT and straight-supportive people of faith while combating those who use religion as a weapon. Most recently, he began an initiative for mobilizing straight supporters to help build a broad coalition of voters who support fairness.
Solmonese is a former chief executive officer of EMILY’s List, overseeing one of the nation’s most successful efforts to elect progressive candidates by reaching out to heartland and mainstream voters. He led a national staff of 85 political, communications, fund-raising and grassroots professionals with smart and effective management and managed a $40 million budget.
He speaks frequently on issues of importance, on CNN and at local television stations while on the road, and from the New York Times and the Washington Post to regional daily and weekly newspapers.
Solmonese has met with corporate leaders across the country and helped guide influential businesses — including Microsoft — to take strong public stances for fairness. He’s met with families across the country and advocated for the rights of same-sex couples, and recognizes the need for people to come out, stay out and speak out about equality. He graduated from Boston University in 1987 with a bachelor of science degree in communications.
De Brún was a member of the North of Ireland Assembly from 1998 to 2004 (currently suspended), and served as Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety in the short-lived power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive.
Educated as a teacher, she has been head of Sinn Féin’s International Department since 1994 and a negotiator since 1997.
She has been a member of the European Parliament, representing six counties in Northern Ireland, since 2004. She is one of 732 people serving in the European Parliament, one of two Sinn Féin members and one of three representing Northern Ireland. She sits with the United European Left/Nordic Green Left, the fifth-largest political block in the European Parliament. De Brún is noted for her devotion to the Irish language and speaks it fluently.
The President’s Forum Series was established in the winter of 2000 by President Mark D. Gearan. For details, visit the President’s Forum Series Web page, http://www.hws.edu/academics/community/presidentsforum/index.asp.