The 2006 Diversity Conference will feature plenary session addresses by some of the world's leading thinkers and innovators in the field of diversity studies, as well as numerous parallel presentations by researchers and practitioners.

Garden Conversation Sessions

Main speakers will make formal 30 minute presentations in the plenary sessions. They will also participate in 60 minute Garden Conversation sessions at the same time as the parallel sessions. The setting is a circle of chairs outdoors. These sessions are entirely unstructured - a chance to meet the plenary speaker and talk with them informally about the issues arising from their presentation.

Please return to this page for regular updates.

The Speakers

  • Michel Wieviorka

  • Michel Wieviorka was born in Paris in 1946. He is one of France's leading sociologists. Even though he is strongly influenced by the theoretical works of Alain Touraine, his essays have always proved original and provocative. Over the past decade, he has tried to respond to the re-emergence of racism in France.

    Michel Wieviorka teaches at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), in Paris. He is also the Director of CADIS (Centre d'Analyse et d'Intervention Sociologique) and of the monthly magazine "Le Monde des Débats".

    Co-author or editor of over 20 books, Michel Wieviorka is known as a specialist subjects ranging from racism and multiculturalism to social movements and terrorism.

  • Mario Antonio Minichiello

  • Mario Antonio Minichiello is Head of Visual Communications programmes at Loughborough University, School of Art and Design, UK and an award winning artist and designer producing both inspirational and controversial reportage artwork for broadcast media including television, broadsheet newspapers and magazines. His work for BBC Newsnight’s coverage of the ‘Spy Catcher trial’ was described by the leading human rights barrister, Lord Anthony Lester QC: "a political cause célèbre, a clash between Government, the media and the courts - demonstrating for many the need for a Human Rights Act - one of the most memorable contributions were the works by Mario Minichiello."

    Most recently, he has been involved in reportage work and academic discourse concerning the Afghanistan conflict, focusing on the impact of conflict on global media networks and its psychological effects on viewers. The resulting work has been featured in a number of academic publications as well as in collections of political and cross cultural art sites around the world.

    His current research interests include the globalising affect of visual communications media and the potential empowering nature of handmade art - in particular its ability to reveal and retain cultural identity and communicate human values. He is investigating the application of art and design process to medical and social needs, including the functions of drawing as a mediator for the expression of cultural diversity and as an analytical tool. Publications and website based collections are available at: and

  • Martha Wadsworth

  • Dr Martha Wadsworth is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado. Her research program focuses on documenting and understanding the implications of stress created and exacerbated by poverty, and on understanding how children and families adjust to such stress. This research has led to a rich, contextual understanding of positive and negative psychological development in the face of poverty’s stress in children and families, especially children and families of color.

    Dr Wadsworth has also conducted research on adjustment to large-scale uncontrollable events such as terrorist attacks, again with an emphasis on how individuals cope with large, uncontrollable stressors and how coping mediates or moderates the effects of stress on psychological functioning. Dr Wadsworth combined these two areas of expertise to examine the psychological functioning of evacuees of Hurricane Katrina. Together with colleagues at the University of Denver, Dr. Wadsworth is currently conducting a study funded by the National Science Foundation to understand Colorado’s response to Hurricane Katrina evacuee re-location, from the perspectives of all involved parties, and to examine evacuee adjustment.

  • Douglas Brinkley

  • Douglas Brinkley currently serves as director of the Theodore Roosevelt Center for American Studies and is a professor of history at the Tulane University in New Orleans.

    Three of his biographies — Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years, (Yale University Press, 1992), Driven Patriot: The Life and Times of James Forrestal, with Townsend Hoopes (Alfred Knopf, 1992) and The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter’s Journey Beyond the White House (Viking Press, 1998) — were chosen as Notable Books of the Year by the New York Times. Brinkley’s recent publications include Rosa Parks (the Penguin Lives series), American Heritage History of the United States (Viking Press, 1998) and FDR and the Creation of the United Nations, with Townsend Hoopes (Yale University Press, 1997). He is a regular contributor to Newsweek, Time, American Heritage, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy and other journals.

    Brinkley served as historical consultant/commentator for a five-hour documentary on the Mississippi River for A&E;/The History Channel and as a commentator for November Warriors, a 1996 documentary on presidential politics. He is American studies commentator for National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition, and the progenitor of C-SPAN’s Yellow School Bus. In addition, Brinkley provides broadcast commentary for CNN, C-SPAN, Good Morning America, Today show, CBS Morning News, PBS, CBS Late Night News, NBC’s Today Show and Nightly News, MSNBC News with Brian Williams and numerous other television programs. He serves on the board of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, The National D-Day Museum and the Theodore Roosevelt Association. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

  • Maria Dixon

  • Maria Dixon is currently an Assistant Professor of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs at Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, Texas. In May 2004, she graduated with her Ph.D. in organizational communication and was selected by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the top four Rising Stars in the Academy in the nation's 2004 graduating class. In the summer of 2004, she was awarded the Multi-cultural Teaching Fellowship in Communication Studies at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. With a research emphasis that includes organizational rhetoric, power and organizational culture, her work focuses on non-profit, religious and Greek-letter organizations.

    Dr. Dixon is currently working in partnership with Southwest Airlines to develop a theory of organizational reconciliation. She is the author of Silencing of the Lambs: An Analysis of the 2002 Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Scandal, featured in the Journal of Communication and Religion.

  • Norman C. Francis - President, Xavier University of Louisiana

  • Dr Norman C. Francis, the longest-sitting university president in the U.S., has led the nation's only historically Black, Catholic university since 1968, guiding Xavier University of Louisiana’s growth in both size and dimension. During his tenure Xavier has more than doubled its enrollment, broadened its curriculum, expanded its physical campus, and strengthened its financial base. The school is nationally recognized for its academic excellence – particularly in the sciences – where it ranks first nationally in the number of African American students earning undergraduate degrees in the biology and the life sciences, chemistry, physics and pharmacy. Xavier is also first in the nation in placing African American students into medical schools.

    Francis, often cited for his involvement in the community and his work on the national, state and local level to improve education, was named among the 100 most effective college and university leaders in a poll of his peers. An advisor to four presidential administrations, he is currently serving as chair of Governor Kathleen Blanco’s Louisiana Recovery Authority, an agency which oversees the state’s recovery efforts in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita which devastated large portions of Louisiana in 2005.

  • Pierre Lebovics

  • Dr Pierre Lebovics served in the teaching field as a Russian professor (1973-1986), following which he was posted at the French Ministry of Defense (1986-1991), then at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Strategic Affairs and Disarmament Department), and served as an auditor at the Center for Superior Armament Studies (1991-1992). Subsequently, Lebovics was appointed Second Secretary (1993-95), and then First Secretary (1995-1998) at the French Embassy in Prague, as well as at the French Embassy in Tel-Aviv, (1998-2002).

    Dr Lebovics was re-assigned to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Under-Director of University and Scientific Cooperation, in the International Cooperation and Development Office (2002-2005). Most recently he was appointed as the French Consul General to the City of New Orleans in August, 2005.

    He holds a Master's Degree and a Doctorate in Russian Letters, as well as an advanced Degree in Russian Literature and Society from the USSR.