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In 2012-2013, Pauline Yu, president of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), opened the fourth season of the Chancellor’s Colloquium Distinguished Speaker Series with a talk titled “The Humanities: Without Apology.” Yu addressed the frequently-asked question of how the study of the humanities, including the arts, benefits America and its students, a topic that aligns closely with the mission of the ACLS to further “the advancement of humanistic studies in all fields of learning in the humanities and the social sciences and the maintenance and strengthening of relations among the national societies devoted to such studies.” With the recent release of an American Academy of Arts and Sciences report on the state of humanities education, Yu’s presentation could not have been more timely.

Since 2010, Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi’s colloquium has worked to increase local and national awareness of UC Davis and its contribution to university-based research. The series, administered with the assistance of the Humanities Institute, provides opportunities for robust discussions around topics involving food and agriculture, biochemistry, medicine, and humanities and scientific research. Reaching across disciplines and colleges to foster critical dialogue and creative engagement, the colloquium fulfills one of the institute’s core missions.

Among the highlights of the 2012-2013 series was a presentation in winter quarter by Brylyne Chitsunge, an internationally- acclaimed expert and facilitator of the Nigeria-South Africa Group on Agriculture, who spoke to the Davis community about her efforts to educate farmers in her native South Africa about sustainable farming and community-supported agriculture. Chitsunge commended UC Davis’ farming practices and educational programs, pointing out how impressed she was by the gardens managed by UC Davis students. Chitsunge sees an urgent need for more farmers growing more food to help combat poverty and the global economic downturn.

“Farming education is essential for poverty alleviation and economic recovery. South Africa faces the challenges of poverty and unemployment, but investment in African agriculture could spark world economic development,” said Chitsunge. “I am keen to see greater movement to community-managed farms. They produce high quality, locally grown, organic produce. It stimulates the local economic enterprise and protects the local environment.”

To view the calendar for the upcoming 2013-2014 Chancellor’s Colloquium Series, please visit the Chancellor’s website at


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