Thurber Lecture Archives

Kristina Keenan and Ramsey Ben-Achour — 17 January at 19h30

The World of Human Rights

Kristina Keenan and Ramsey Ben-Achour will discuss Human Rights from the viewpoints of historical context, international laws, personal experiences, getting involved, and links to Christian values.

KristinaKeenanKristina Keenan is the head of Outreach Communications at The American University of Paris (AUP), the university where she also earned a BA in International and Comparative Politics. Kristina spent 6 years in the US Army where she trained and worked as an intelligence analyst. She served in two peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2003 and 2004, conducting interviews with locals in Sarajevo, Mostar, and surrounding villages. In 2008, Kristina worked for NATO’s strategic military headquarters in Belgium, known as SHAPE. She researched the narcotics problem in Afghanistan and provided security briefings to NATO’s national military representatives. Kristina returned to Paris in 2009 to work for The American University of Paris assisting with fundraising and alumni affairs, then became Manager of Outreach Communications in 2012. She will leave her position at AUP in the fall of 2013 to peruse an MA in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action at Sciences Po.

RamseyBenAchourRamsey Ben-Achour is the Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Heartland Alliance, a Chicago-based human rights organization. Ramsey has a BA from The American University of Paris in International and Comparative Politics and an MA from the London School of Economics in Political Science. In 2007, Ramsey worked as a journalist for InterPress services in the Palestinian Territories and also with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society. In 2008, he consulted for the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin, then came to Washington DC in 2009 to work as a communications associate with the Development Gateway Foundation – an international organization devoted to making development aid more effective through information communications technology. Ramsey then decided to leave his office job and started looking for field work. He moved to Sri Lanka and found a position with Transparency International. In January 2010, Ramsey was requested to come to Haiti following the massive earthquake to work for Heartland Alliance. He worked as Country Director until 2012, when he relocated to Paris to start up a Middle East and North Africa office for Heartland.

Thurber Thursdays is an adult community gathering and growth time that is open to all. We share a meal at 18h30 and the evening program begins at 19h30.

Ellen Kountz — 24 January at 19h30

Destination: Freedom — Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad

Black History Month ACP Thurber Thursday 24012013Black History Month, February 2013

Commemorating the sesquicentennial of Emancipation, Ellen Kountz narrates the life and times of the celebrated emancipator and abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

Ellen Kountz was born at Stanford University Hospital in Palo Alto, California. In 1973 she moved with her parents and two older brothers to the North Shore of Long Island. Upon graduation from Great Neck North High School in 1988 she attended the undergraduate business program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. At the end of her junior year, the Dean warned her that she needed at least one liberal arts class to graduate. She went to Paris on a study abroad program to perfect her French while fulfilling the requirement and has lived there ever since.Ellen Kountz

When people ask Ellen why she stayed in Paris, she reminds them that she was hired as a capital markets intern in the trading room at JP Morgan bank’s Paris office, located at place Vendôme. As a finance major, was there a better first job in the world? Over the years, she went on to positions of increasing responsibility in other financial services institutions in Paris. She most recently worked at the Bourse de Paris, rebranded NYSE Euronext. Currently, she is a candidate for certification as an independent corporate director at the Institut Français des Administrateurs, on the campus of Sciences Po.

Ellen lives in the Left Bank with her husband and daughter.

Thurber Thursdays is an adult community gathering and growth time that is open to all. We share a meal at 18h30 and the evening program begins at 19h30.

Bonnie Smith — 7 February at 19h30

Human Trafficking

Bonnie Smith will be speaking on the subject of Human Trafficking. She will talk briefly about how she became aware of modern-day slavery, and through a short film lead us in understanding the process victims go through. After the film, Bonnie will offer suggestions on what individuals can do to counter slavery in today's global society. Following the presentation, there will be time to pose questions and engage in a discussion. Bonnie, now retired, is a former teacher, scholarly editor, and public historian.

Thurber Thursdays is an adult community gathering and growth time that is open to all. We share a meal at 18h30 and the evening program begins at 19h30.

Download presentation notes.

Dr. J. Dudley Woodberry — Thursday, 4 October at 19h30

"The Surprising Comparisons between Christianity and Islam!"


We welcome Dr. J Dudley Woodberry, dean emeritus and senior professor of Islamic studies at Fuller’s School of Intercultural Studies. He is considered one of the foremost Christian scholars of Islam. He has served as consultant on the Muslim world to President Carter, the State Department, USAID, and other U.S. government agencies. He has also been an active part of the Zwemer Institute for Muslim Studies and has served as coordinator and acting senior associate of the Muslim track of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. He also served as a teacher in Pakistan and a pastor in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, and has ministered in at least 35 predominantly Muslim nations around the world. Read more about his work and publications at wikipedia and

Thurber Thursdays is an adult community gathering and growth time that is open to all. We share a meal at 18h30 and the evening program begins at 19h30.

Dr. J Dudley Woodberry's lecture can be heard here. Our apologies for the poor sound quality


If PDF of presentation is not displayed, pdf Please download.

Enuma Okoro — Thurber Thursday 7 November 19h30

Enuma OkoroDesire and the Spiritual Life — Thurber Thursday 7 November 19h30

As we approach the holiday season our culture teaches us to focus on what we want. Desire is a common cultural word but does it mean anything different in our spiritual lives? What room can we make for our desires in our walk with God? Are some desires better than others? How do we learn to recognize holy desires? Does God care about our desires? Does desire get in the way of truly following Christ?

Thurber Thursdays is an adult community gathering and growth time that is open to all. Reception following lecture.

Enuma C. Okoro is a writer, speaker, Spiritual Director, and a communications consultant. She is an award-winning author of three books on the call and challenge to the spiritual life. With a professional background in Communications, Psychology and Theology, Enuma’s work embraces the dynamics of effective communication, the classic spiritual traditions, and the contemporary arts. She writes, speaks and consults on numerous issues and topics based off of four key areas: 1) Identity and Belonging in a diverse world; 2) Women and the transformative power of personal narratives; 3) Professional and social communities and the importance of a collective and shared narrative; and 4) Spiritual formation, growth and holistic wellness. Her work has been featured on ABC’s Good Morning America, The Washington Post, CNN, The Huffington Post, NPR, and The Michael Eric Dyson Show. Visit Enuma at