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Week of January 11, 2010

Keynote lecture

MLK: Journalist Gwen Ifill to address politics 
in Washington

Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week” and co-anchor for the “PBS NewsHour,” will deliver the keynote memorial lecture at the 24th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium at 10 a.m. Jan. 18 at Hill Auditorium.

Ifill’s talk, “Politics, Policy & Reality: What’s Really Going On in Washington,” is free and open to the public. She will sign copies of her new book, “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama,” immediately following her lecture.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to speak at the University of Michigan in conjunction with the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration,” Ifill says. “It is important that we continue to make the link between the lives that have gone before and the ones we have a responsibility to lead now.”

Ifill joined both “Washington Week” and the “NewsHour” in 1999, interviewing newsmakers and reporting on issues ranging from foreign affairs to politics. She has covered six presidential campaigns and moderated the 2004 and 2008 vice presidential debates.

Before coming to PBS, Ifill was chief congressional and political correspondent for NBC News, White House correspondent for the New York Times, and a local and national political reporter for the Washington Post. She also reported for the Baltimore Evening Sun and the Boston Herald American.

Ifill’s talk is co-sponsored by the university’s MLK Symposium Planning Committee and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

“We are delighted to present Gwen Ifill as our MLK speaker this year,” says Dean Robert Dolan. “We have been fortunate over the years to present such noted speakers as Michael Dyson and Taylor Branch. Ms. Ifill follows in that tradition of people able to give new insights into important contemporary events as we celebrate the legacy of Dr. King.”

John Matlock, associate vice provost and executive director of the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives, agrees that Ifill is an excellent choice.

“Having Gwen Ifill here is very special,” he says. “She’s an outstanding author, television commentator and journalist. Dr. King, the struggles of the civil rights movement and others, and the election of Barack Obama all have significant linkages and I look forward to her drawing this all together.  

“This is a wonderful collaboration between the Ross School of Business and the MLK Day Planning Committee. I’m very proud that U-M continues to pay tribute in a significant way to the life and legacy of Dr. King and all those who believed in his dream.”



Anna Ercoli Schnitzer, on her greatest passion: “Working to improve the physical and virtual accessibility to all of our community, regardless of individual physical or mental challenges.”


  • Arts & Bodies, Dec. 18-Jan. 15, 2010, Work•Detroit, 3663 Woodward Ave, Detroit
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