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Celebrated speaker, writer, and teacher Cornel West will deliver the keynote address of the fourth annual Colby Diversity Conference on Saturday, March 6, at 8 p.m. in the Page Commons Room of Cotter Union. The conference, titled “Mosaic: What Do You See?”, will be held at Colby College in Waterville on March 5 and 6. All conference events are free of charge and open to the public.

West is currently the Class of 1943 University Professor of Religion at Princeton University. His writing, speaking and teaching weaves together influences from such American traditions as the Baptist Church, transcendentalism, socialism and pragmatism. Recipient of the American Book Award, West is the author of the best-selling Race Matters and several other books on public policy and race. His first book, Prophesy Deliverance! advocated for a socially concerned African-American Christianity that draws from Marxism. West recently released a compact disc, Sketches of My Culture, which presents content from his lectures through hip-hop spoken word rhymes.

West was an influential force in developing the story line for the popular Matrix trilogy and has a recurring role in the final two films. He has worked with numerous political and social organizations, working on President Clinton’s National Conversation on Race, joining Al Sharpton’s presidential exploratory committee, co-chairing the National Parenting Task Force on Parent Empowerment and serving as honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America.

The Colby Diversity Conference, a student-organized initiative that addresses multiculturalism, will open on Friday, March 5, with a one-woman show by actress and poet Vanessa Hidary at 7 p.m. in the Page Commons Room. Hidary’s performance focuses on the experience of being a Jewish and Latina woman in New York City.

A Cultural Arts Expo in the Pugh Center of Cotter Union will follow the performance at 9 p.m. The expo will provide participants the opportunity to express cultural identity through a variety of art forms. Other performances, lectures and workshops on various topics addressing multiculturalism will be held throughout the weekend. 

Note: Under the terms of the speaker’s contract, no recording or broadcast of the event will be permitted.