Briefly Noted

Issue Date: 
November 3, 2008

Pitt Hosts Social Scholar for 2008 Raymond R. Webb Jr. Lecture

The University of Pittsburgh will host Elizabeth Beck, a professor in Georgia State University’s School of Social Work, for the 2008 Raymond R. Webb Jr. Lecture at noon Nov. 5 in Pitt’s School of Social Work Conference Center.

The lecture, titled “Conflict Transformation, Restorative Justice, and the Role of Social Workers in Addressing Neighborhood Violence,” is free and open to the public.

Beck is a coauthor of In The Shadow of Death: Restorative Justice and Death Row Families (Oxford University Press, 2007), an indepth look at the lives of the family members of capital offenders. She has consulted on numerous death penalty cases and conducts training sessions for capital defense lawyers across the country. She teaches courses in social welfare policy, social welfare history, and community development.

Pitt alumnus Raymond R. Webb was an advocate for and practitioner of community mental health. From 1969 to 1989, he directed the Allegheny East Mental Health/Mental Retardation Center, Inc. Webb passed away in March 2006. In his memory, loved ones partnered with Pitt’s School of Social Work to create the Raymond R. Webb Jr. Endowed Fund, which provides financial support for graduate students in Pitt’s School of Social Work and supports the annual Raymond R. Webb Jr. Lecture.

For more information, contact 412-624-6304 or visit

—Anthony M. Moore

Pitt Honors College to Host Lecture by International Security Expert

The University of Pittsburgh Honors College will present a lecture titled “How the Next President Can Win the War on Terror,” featuring Robert Pape, professor of political science at the University of Chicago, at 2:15 p.m. Nov. 7 in the Honors College, Cathedral of Learning. A Harry S. Truman Scholar, Pape graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, receiving the Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences in 1982.

The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited.

A specialist in international security affairs, Pape has numerous publications, including Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (Random House, 2005); Bombing to Win: Air Power and Coercion in War (Cornell University Press, 1996); “Why Economic Sanctions Do Not Work,” International Security (1997); “The Determinants of International Moral Action,” International Organization (1999); “The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,” American Political Science Review (2003); and “Soft Balancing Against the United States,” International Security (2005).

Pape’s commentary on international security policy has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, New Republic, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, as well as on Nightline, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and National Public Radio. His current work focuses on the causes of suicide terrorism and the politics of unipolarity.

For more information, call Edward McCord, 412-624-6886.

—Patricia Lomando White

Pitt to Host 23rd Annual Polish Festival Nov. 9

Music, dance, and delicious Polish fare are the highlights of the University of Pittsburgh Polishfest, from noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 9 in the Cathedral of Learning Commons Room.

The Nationality Rooms Program and the Polish Nationality Room Committee are sponsoring the free public, family-oriented event.

The 23rd annual Polishfest, held to promote and celebrate Polish culture and traditions, will feature performances by the Lajkonik folk dancers and folk singer Radoslaw Fizek, crafts for children, art demonstrations, cultural displays, egg decorating, and Polish imports, as well as instruction in Polish folk dancing.

In addition, visitors can purchase such authentic Polish dishes as stuffed cabbage, sausage sandwiches and sauerkraut, noodles and cabbage, pierogi, and baked goods. Other items to be sold at the festival include inlaid wooden boxes, wood carvings, and Polish plates. Proceeds from the festival benefit the Polish Room Scholarship Fund.

More information is available at 412-624-6150.

—Patricia Lomando White

Three Grapes of Wrath Opera Programs Planned for November

PITT ARTS is planning three programs in November for the Pittsburgh premiere of Pittsburgh Opera’s The Grapes of Wrath.

On Tuesday, Nov. 11,  from noon to 1 p.m. in the William Pitt Union Assembly Room, PITT ARTS will offer a free opera luncheon featuring Ricky Ian Gordon, composer of the Grapes of Wrath opera, and the opera’s librettist (writer of the text for the score) Michael Korie. Gordon will play and sing some pieces from the opera.

A Pitt music department colloquium on the opera will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Nov. 14 in Room 132 of the Music Building. The event is free to the public and a reception will follow. Gordon and Korie will explore the contemporary relevance of the issues and themes in the John Steinbeck novel, such as the foreclosure crisis, economic downturn, and domestic diaspora.

Pitt Night at the Opera for Grapes of Wrath will be held Nov. 15, when participants can meet the “Opera Lady,” Beth Parker, and the opera’s general and artistic director, Christopher Hahn. Free desserts and transportation  to the opera are included in the cost of a Cheap Seats ticket for Pitt Night. Reservations should be made at the PITT ARTS office in the William Pitt Union by Nov. 12.

For more information about all three programs, call 412-624-4498 or visit

—Annabelle Clippinger