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Former Swarthmore professor to speak on “Polarization” to Newtown Quakers


George Lakey, sociologist, Quaker, and former Swarthmore professor, will speak on “How to Move Forward in Polarized Times” Sunday, March 17, at 9:45 a.m., at historic Newtown Friends Meetinghouse, 219 Court St. Worship in the manner of Friends will follow at 11 a.m. The public is invited to all events.

Lakey retired from Swarthmore College, where he was Eugene M. Lang Visiting Professor for Issues in Social Change. He created and managed the Global Nonviolent Action Database research project that includes over 1,400 campaigns from nearly 200 countries. Lakey was the lead teacher in the 1960s Martin Luther King School of Social Change, which gave an M.A. in Social Change.

Lakey has held teaching posts in peace and conflict studies at Haverford College and the University of Pennsylvania and has lectured widely at universities in the U.S. and abroad. He has also led over 1,500 social change workshops on five continents, co-founding and for 15 years directing Training for Change.

In 2010 Lakey was named Peace Educator of the Year and has published nearly a dozen books. His new book, a memoir, is “Dancing with History: A Life for Peace and Justice,” from Seven Stories Press.

First arrested in a nonviolent civil rights sit-in, Lakey, a gay man with four great-grandchildren, continued to support movements including those of LGBTQ and labor. He has received the Martin Luther King, Jr., Peace Award, the Paul Robeson Social Justice Award, the Ashley Montague International Conflict Resolution Award, and the Giraffe Award for “Sticking his Neck out for the Common Good.”

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