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With more than 400 public service and outreach programs, the University of Virginia touches the lives of more than a million people every year. These efforts benefit from faculty members who are eager to apply their expertise to the betterment and enlightenment of humankind. Much of this work entails innovative use of technology to provide access to University resources, but other programs rely on the willingness of our faculty and staff to go on the road to meet directly with the people of the Commonwealth.
 
A case in point is the Engaging the Mind lecture series, which brings some of our most renowned faculty to communities throughout Virginia. Coordinated by the Office of the Vice President and Provost in partnership with the Faculty Senate Speakers Bureau, the series creates opportunities for the University's top scholars and teachers to engage with the citizens of Virginia and to include them in the intellectual life of the University.

More than 1,100 people attended twelve Engaging the Mind lectures across the state. Abdulaziz Sachedina, above, professor of religious studies and of Islamic and Persian studies, along with Farzaneh Milani, associate professor in the departments of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures and Studies in Women and Gender, spoke to a Charlottesville audience on Muslims in North America.

In 2004, Ed Freeman, director of the Olsson Center for Applied Ethics, will lecture in Fairfax February 27 on the ethics crisis in America; Dr. Richard Guerrant (Medicine '68), head of the Division of Geographic and International Medicine, will speak in Fairfax March 19 on the threat of global diseases; Larry Sabato (College '74), the Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics, will be in Winchester March 25 to discuss elections past and present; and Paul Freedman, assistant professor of politics, will speak in Orange next spring on war, presidents, and public opinion.
  Shedding Light on Our Past
The University is playing a critical role in helping Virginians understand the history of their state and their communities. The new Center for the Study of Local Knowledge at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for Afro-American and African Studies, for example, is undertaking an oral history project focusing on the relationships between the black and white communities of Danville from 1945 to 1975. Firsthand accounts of those often turbulent times, which encompass the upheavals of school desegregation and the struggle for civil rights, are being collected with the support of the E. Stuart James Grant Charitable Trust.
 
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