Sustainability and Social Change

July 19–20, 2007
Minneapolis, MN

Walden University hosted its third annual Conference on Social Change in Minneapolis July 19–20, 2007. More than 1,000 national and local social change leaders, doctoral students, faculty, and alumni converged to participate in this year’s conference, “Sustainability and Social Change: Uncommon Vision for the Common Good.”  Robert F. Kennedy Jr., author and environmentalist, gave the keynote address and headed the list of prominent speakers.

Nearly 40 workshops and presentations, hosted by Walden University faculty and national and community leaders, addressed a variety of sustainability issues such as new technologies for sustainability, sustainable globalization, population growth’s effect on the environment, sustainable development, and the climate change’s impact on war and peace. The conference also featured a documentary film series, performing artists expressing social change issues, and tours of sustainability activities in the Twin Cities.

Featured Speakers

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Author and Environmentalist
Our Environmental Destiny

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s reputation as a resolute defender of the environment stems from a litany of successful legal actions. Kennedy was named one of Time magazine's “Heroes for the Planet” for his success in helping Riverkeeper lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. The group's achievement helped spawn more than 125 Waterkeeper organizations across the nation. Among Kennedy's published books are The New York Times best seller Crimes Against Nature (2004); The Riverkeepers (1997); and Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr: A Biography (1977).

Brian Kelly
Executive Editor, U.S. News & World Report
Media and Coverage of Sustainability Issues

Recently named the editor of U.S. News & World Report, Brian Kelly discussed the role of the media in covering emerging environmental issues from sustainability to global warming, including how to help readers focus on complex, important subjects while maintaining a healthy skepticism about competing scientific and economic claims. Kelly is the co-author of The Last Forest (Random House, 2007), which examines the cultural and economic motives behind the clearing of the last great forest, the Amazon.

Winona LaDuke
Native American Environmentalist
Environmental Justice from the Native Perspective

Winona LaDuke is an Anishinabekwe (Ojibwe) enrolled member of the Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg who lives and works on the White Earth Reservations in Minnesota. A highly respected activist for social and environmental issues, LaDuke is the program director of Honor the Earth and the founding director of White Earth Land Recovery Project. She was awarded the Thomas Merton Award in 1996, the BIHA Community Service Award in 1997, the Ann Bancroft Award for Women's Leadership Fellowship and the Reebok Human Rights Award, with which she began the White Earth Land Recovery Project.

Jessica and Matt Flannery
Co-founders, KIVA.org
Loans that Change Lives: Global Economic Sustainability

While working for a microfinance organization in Africa, Jessica Flannery was inspired by the impact of small loans to entrepreneurs. Jessica and her new husband, Matt, sought help from those on their wedding invitation list to fund $3,100 in loans to seven businesses in Uganda. Since then, Kiva.org, the microfinance organization that they founded, has attracted more than 40,000 members of the public to fund more than $3 million dollars in low-cost loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries. Currently, Matt serves as CEO of Kiva.org, and Jessica is pursuing an M.B.A. at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Speakers from the Minneapolis/St.Paul area will include

  • Donald Fraser, former congressman and former mayor of Minneapolis.
  • Arvonne Fraser, senior fellow emerita of the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and co-founder and director of the Institute’s Center on Women and Public Policy.
  • Pam Costain, chair of the Minneapolis Board of Education and training director for Wellstone Action.
  • Connie Grauds, R.Ph., president of the Association of Natural Medicine Pharmacists.