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tv   Brain Health and Violence  CSPAN  December 14, 2016 8:52pm-9:44pm EST

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four years ago today a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at sandy hook elementary school in newtown connecticut. jeremy richman is the father of one of those students. he is a neuroscientist who started a foundation to help prevent violence through brain research and community education that he recently spoke about his work at the university of arkansas. this is 45 minutes. [applause] >> good evening. dr. richman has extensive research experience ranging from
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neuroscience to cardiovascular a obesity and kidney disease previous worked in the research and drug discovery arena for over two decades and is passionate about helping people that live happier and healthier lives. dr. richman is dedicated to reaching out in educating youth and police are future relies on their imaginations. this is manifest through his teaching martial arts biology neuroscience and rockclimbing to children and teens for the past 25 years. most importantly he believes it is critical to empower youth to advocate for themselves and their peers when it comes to brain health and brain illnesses. towards the sense dr. richman and his wife jennifer started the avielle foundation committed to preventing violence and building compassion through brain health research community engagement and education. dr. richman serves as the ceo of the avielle foundation as well as holding an appointment at
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yale department of psychiatry and the college of medicine. please help me welcome.your jeremy richman. [applause] >> can everybody hear me? i appreciate you being here tonight and it's a real honor to come out here to the clinton foundation and to address you guys. i really appreciate it. i'm going to be talking tonight about the science of violence and the idea of preventing violence through research and education. the talk is a pretty simple form. i'm going to introduce my favorite organ of brain and lead into an introduction to myself in different ways by the idea of violence and its role coming from brain health. we are going to get into the meat of it in introducing a model or a paradigm of violence
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and compassion and talking about risk factors and protective factors and conclude with the idea that in order to be human really relies on ability to be humane. without further ado, the brain. we can look the human body and we have these organs that have specific functions. we have the heart come deliver the kidneys in the stomach and we all understand what they do and their critical needs. we also recognize we have a brain and that is necessary to coordinate and run all of these things. when i tell people brain sciences entirely unexplored it really surprises people. i don't think you understand the extent to which we are ignorant about our brain. brain science is the least explored. we know more about the bottom of the ocean and more about the surface of mars, we know more
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about subatomic particle structures than we do what's between our ears. one of our interns put it best. she said considering this is the organ we used to consider it ironic how little we know about it. the brain is housed inside of our souls. we can't take it out and put it back in have it in the same shape as when you started and he can't look at it and gather what it does by visually looking at it. as a result we think of ourselves in it too away. i am out here somewhere. it's kind of mystical in a little bit magical but we also recognize our behavior comes from this organ, the brain. there's nothing else out there. there are no strings attached. we are responsible for taking care of these actions through taking care of the organ the brain. while it is just another organ
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we know a lot less about it and need to fill the pieces in compared to the other organs. let me introduce while i'm here. i am a neuroscientist. i got into neuroscience because i was touched at a very young age by grandfather that had alzheimer's disease. how many of you have been touched by the disease in some way or another? almost everybody. what i quickly learned when my grandfather suffered from this plus it's a lot more than just i can't remember things. i was profoundly moved by the fact that who we are all the way down to our core really relies on personalities, relies on proper functioning of this organ and if it doesn't work right we don't act right either. and so that moved me to study neuroscience at how the brain works. those of you that i have degrees
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in neuroscience, didn't know what that meant that i didn't know that the wanted to say so i would go door-to-door in the hospital area? i just need to get into the lab. eventually after washing dishes for a while i got tinkering around and finally one day i got the chance and i started studying alzheimer's disease, parkinson's disease and schizophrenia and then i moved into studying pain modulation and eventually obesity and i took off from there. the only reason i highlight this is i think it's important to point out that when we pursue endeavors that touch us personally we find so much more value in life. we are more passionate and that's important to tell anybody but really when you are talking to youth encouraging them to let it lead them by their passions because they will have more fulfillment in life when they do
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that. my wife is a scientist as well jennifer and i would like to introduce us as parents. jennifer and i had a beautiful baby girl avielle in 2006, the most amazing spirit. the kid could light up the room with a smile. you can't help but smile and laugh when you see it. she loves stories and really valued the ability to tell a story and studied it and love telling stories. she needed stories to fall asleep, driving the car, going to the bathroom. wherever she was, tell me a story, read me a story. she is a young age of six years old recognize her life as a story in the most mundane thing was the perspective that this is part of the chapter, part of the story. i want people to read it. i want people to engage in it. it changes the view of what you are doing.
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unfortunately her story and very shortly and tragically when she was murdered in her first grade classroom with 19 of her friends and classmates and six of her educators on the dark friday december 14 of 7012 in the sandy hook elementary school shooting in midtown connecticut -- newtown connecticut. as you can imagine very few things can touch you so viscerally and so profoundly and jennifer in my world was turned upside down. we were literally on the floor so that we didn't off so there was nothing to hold onto and immediately felt compelled that we had to do something. ..
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a the irony is when you close your eyes and do that, you are imagining it and we need to imagine it because until you let something touch you and walk a few miles in those shoes, you're not going to do anything about it. we spend too long reacting to things but not doing anything to prevent the. we have to imagine it and put ourselves in our shoes.
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on the bright end of the tunnel is the imagination we used to paint our world beautiful colors and the imagination that sets us free to make tomorrow better than today. there is a great quote if you are guilty but all are responsible and we are responsible for our behavior is our loved ones and our communities that we live in. so we would have to imagine it and we have a lot to imagine. it is a strange show surreal experience to be here on the 15th anniversary after septemb september 11 where 2,996 people died in a violent tragedy. it's profound. presenting to you today on september 12 what should have
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been [inaudible] he died in the classroom next door. there is another family that can imagine it directly but if you think about it, everybody that you talk to, every pair of eyes that you look into it. we have to remember that and think to yourself there is a storm raging in them and they are fighting a battle. but everybody is facing something. it's fighting a hard battle. remember that. it's an important concept. but we have a problem in our country and we have to face it. we have a violent epidemic.
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and when i talk violence i'm not talking about sensational acts that we see. we are talking about our street corners and homes. at the time we are going to be sitting here, two kids are going to be killed in our country. every six and a half minutes, somebody is raised in our country. one in five of you will be victimized this year. that is unacceptable. we react because we have become skilled at reacting to it. we spend over a third of our federal budget responding to violence primarily with incarceration. we don't spend a fraction you couldn't even grab it on a pie chart how much we spend researching and studying how to
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prevent it and where does it come from. we need to change that. i want to be really synced tod today. violence is the intentional use of force or power threatened or actual against an individual group or community at large that has a likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm now on or neglect. we spend a lot reacting to it but we don't spend any time preventing it. we said let's create a foundation that studies violence and wha where the risk factors t have been in that box and change it so we can build compassion
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and conviction and kindness. specifically we throw money at grants to study the research of what happened in the brain, what are the chemical and structural changes that lead to violent behavior and we look at studies for the public health factors that lead to violence. we also have to start with the help of publishing at the peer-reviewed journal so we have a voice for people that study violence and we have a whole army of amazing young brains that study with us and they do research and labs and we are helping them move into this
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space because we need to make them lucrative and prestigious. we also recognize research for its own sake is of no value unless you can ge give it to the everyday citizens anyway they can embrace that it has to be straightforward and approachable so that students, teachers and health-care providers, law enforcement, the everyday person can use these tools to improve their lives and increase connection and take action. we believe when people have this education it's not just power, it is infectious and then you have no choice but to get involved. so what tools do we have in our toolbox and what do we use to
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study the brain, what are we going to do we have a long road ahead of us we do have some amazingly powerful tools that we can use. we can look at the brain and see the brain with an amazing technology of rhythmic images and not only that but in the functional sense as it is doing something. we can take some saliva or blood or urine and measure the components in that. we also have powerful genetic knowledge now. we could look and say what's different between this person and that person. we have a new science on top of the genetics that studies how the environment shapes the expression of our genes so this is the tool we have at our disposal. now what we need to do is use those tools to bridge the structural and the chemical science with a tell me about
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your mother's behavioral science to illustrate what the i mean to make that clear here on the left we have the structure of serotonin and we know what it is this functionally signaling it is associated with feelings of overwhelming grief and sadness to be called depression so we have a bridge. what we don't have is that piece of the puzzle that leads to a violent individual that snaps and explodes inappropriately. or the kid in the lunch line beats another kid up because he was disrespected. what's the difference between the reactively violent individual and the proactive or instrument flight for disenfranchised and contemplates ways to hurt.
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what's the difference between their brain and the everyday citizens. on the other side what is it that leads to somebody's mindfulness or enlightenment or an incredible act of peace and compassion but happens that leads to that. unfortunately there's a lot of barriers to this right now. the biggest is the mental barrier right now we diagnose diseases of the brain based on symptoms or groups of symptoms. with checklists and surveys and opinions and often times it defines the individual. can you imagine going to the doctor and she says well your nose is running coming your eyes are puffy cover your throat is scratchy, you have a cold. that would be ridiculous. but if you go to the doctor
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feeling depressed, overwhelming grief and answer yes t to to fit if my questions on the questionnaire, you're depressed. there's two problems with this, first of which is that why i'm in here. what i want is a reason for it. i need a pathology. they need to identify something wrong so i have to hope it can be right again. if you went to the doctor with a bone sticking out they wouldn't say you have a broken radius. but you do get labeled you are schizophrenic, you are bipolar, your child is adhd. they will be hyperactive as a self-fulfilling prophecy. we need to get away from the labels. we need to make the invisible world of mental the visible world of the brain. call it what it is.
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it's another organ. while it is complex, it's not complicated. we know that these behaviors come from there and we need to give people hope and stuff labeling them and causing them to fear, trepidation and stigma associated with it we need to let people know it's chemistry, structure and that gives you are responsible for that but it is changeable. can you imagine going to the doctor and now she says he's a middle oenough of a growth curvg him outside and more active than before they find too much dopamine which is a fancy way of saying this completely explain this impulse control problem of school, here's what we're going to do work on this the next few weeks, maybe taking medication, whatever the therapy becomes that gets a pair and hope, no
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character flaw. the child isn't broken, you're not telling them to read another self-help book. then they are encouraged to get help for themselves and their loved ones without fear of discrimination and stigma. i want you all to leave here tonight with a new lexicon takes mental out of it entirely and just replace it. but if we don't know what's going on in there is there anything else we can do today research takes forever, i can't wait i need to prevent something from happening. it is a black box. we do know if you input some of these risk factors you are likely to get violent and aggressive behavior out. if you have a broken family un unit, sexual abuse of the physical, neglectful committees don't have a supportive group
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words possible the environment you live in orders substance-abusor their substanco firearms in the scientific fact increases the risk of self or other violence. nutrition matters, physical trauma to the brain we see a lot of this with the movie concussion. it's fantastic the whole problem we have ignored the military and nfl population with traumatic brain injury. violent media is a risk factor. these are all risk factors that increase the tendency for violent behavior. on the other side we have protective factors that go towards the anti-violence that don't know what to call it besides compassion. normally i would like to expand on these and talk about the scientific support and they
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would be glad to have a discussion on any of these if you would like but i want to focus on a couple of these because they are valuable for tonight. everybody says is that how you were born, now it's the environment that matters. when it comes to the debate there is no debate so when anybody asks you to you think it's the genes of the environment, want you to sarcastically say of course it is. you can't separate nature and nurture. it determines what is relevant and what gets filtered in and out and the environment shapes what is expressed, how long and to what extent. you can't separate them. there's a great behaviorist because the quote what contributes more to the area of a rectangle, the link for the -- the link for the wes every disee
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and every behavior has a component of both. most of them are going to be square. because of that we can speculate if this individual is treated what can we do. we have control of the environment and if that person was predisposed and raised in an abusive household and horrible environment they live in, they will likely end up as a violent individual. but that same individual raised with nurturing and healthy could end up on the fortune 500 ceo world leaders. this is true and not science fiction because our brains are plastic throughout our lives to
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change and respond to our experiences and occurs on a molecular level and cellular level contrary to what a lot of us were taught when we were kids. you are not born with a set number of brain cells to just go down with time. we are making new ones and reshaping the ones we have overtime. you are doing it right now, some of us more than others. and it is on the whole regional basis the more you use it the more it is usable and the less you use it gets taken away. when you were born you have about 100 billion. that is a large number but even cooler each of those has the ability to communicate with over 2,500 that communicate with another 2,500. it is an elaborate network of communication going on but when you reach the age of say three overweight adolescents which
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contrary to what we think is somewhere in the early 20s your brain is primed for the communication learning and developing. 15,000 others. that's amazing. that's a machine that we can't fathom. as you become an adult for not becominor notbecoming stupid bye connections. it's how you become the unique individual that you are. you lose the connections that you didn't use and you to strenn the ones you did and that's how we become ourselves. with that in mind i love that quote by frederick douglass it's easy to build strong children then to repair broken adults. it makes a lot more sense to raise a child without the bad
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habits. it's easy to look at the risk factors and start to cross them off and say i have a healthy family, make sure they wear their helmets when they wear their bikes, they are not exposed to violence that welcome and good to go. unfortunately, it's not that easy. like a muscle that is either growing stronger or weaker, there is no balance point. it's only influx. if you're not actively pursuing you are moving downhill towards more aggression and violence. what can i work on today and build.
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it involves the ability to achieve goals to delay gratification to identify and recognize your behavior affects the emotions of others so you need to use that to make informed choices and you can build these skills. they can be taught in an academic sense. it's so important becoming a buzzword. when the governor is doing the sandy hook advisory report it came to one critical conclusion and that was that social and emotional learning is an interval part in the a lot of parents would say i want my kids learning reading, writing and math.
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i've got news for you. it comes by many different nam names, 21st century skills make it better for the business leader. whatever you call it it turns out if you build this in the academic curriculum, your kids do better on their test scores so you are good to go. while we are at it what do those scores predict in terms of success for your children of course if your kid is going to be a physicist, they need to know the math and if we are going to be a biologist they need to know biology. what it calls us is the better to do on reading, writing or math the more money your family has at the time you took the
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test. i don't think that's what we are trying to predict. on the other hand, emotional intelligence, self-discipline predicts success in life whether you define it as wealth or happiness, it predicts the likelihood of being incarcerated and of abusing substances it predicts how often you will see the doctor. can you imagine that if predicts how much money you make as adults and your parenting skills and/or overall satisfaction of how happy you are with life. so if all the things that should be emotional self-mastery, character building that the
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ability to define yourself and delay and create values and stick to them. here's another example of how this can be applied in a socially valuable way to. as to the point they said we can't afford it on a philosophical and moral level. it costs around 65 grand in the processing system. we have what is called a compression model where they lose privileges and if they lose them until it's complete
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isolation which does nothing to correct them. this is clear by the fact if you follow them for five years over 70% of them reconnect another rape, murder or assault. now we are not paying 65 grand coming out of your pocket you are paying for this. there is no correction involved so in this area they said let's do an experiment. we have nothing to lose but a lot to gain votes changed the model. they went to the hospital led by healthcare providers. of course there's still in security there but they are giving individual attention and cognitive behavioral therapy and i would argue it's just
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individual attention that matters they are taught that their lives matter and their actions have consequences that affect others in a profound way. after only two years of instituting this model because recidivism in half. we need to do more of these studies and expand it to see if it still holds in the scientific sense and see if we can apply it to the adult population. why are these risk factors protected, what makes them work? if you look at the human brain as we evolve over time if not bigger brains that we got a specialized part, the ratio that makes us unique and if we look
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at what that correlates with it works well with the size of groups that we live in. regardless, we have evolved to live in a large setting and when we talk about evolution we don't talk about the same rules anymore and we need to recognize that. in its environment, it had to adapt to survive and if it didn't come it would go extinct. they have to adapt. the one in the lower right, there was a carbohydrate rich environment. they needed to get the nutrients
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inside and adapt to genetically evil it died off that humans don't work like that. if we are cold we make jackets. to connect, collaborate and create that are the evolved individual and that is a unique ability to what makes us human. so it is the ability to be
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humane. again we are fraught with contrived barriers of time. it turns out people are shocked when i say there is no such thing as racers only the human race. this is a fact. people in nigeria are just as similar as southern california in fact it could be more simil similar. it's just the fact. so am i saying when you get your college or job application you cross out and say i'm a human, that's true but while there is no such thing as race, there is all things that we can try to.
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we really need to imagine being humane to be that you evolved humans that we are. before we go i would appreciate if you go online and donate. go on is on an funny but they wk what charity you want to support. it doesn't cost anything and amazon donates a portion. it onl not only matters and givs exposure but because when people are talking about it in a comfortable and transparent way, suddenly the barrier will be
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broken down and people who take it into their own hands without the interpretation. thank you for your time and i hope it didn't go too far over [applause] we know now i could be on a plane or ship or anyplace and there could be a six -week-old baby that knows how to take that
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cell phone without teaching how to use it. there's human capital we have not used. this any of you are research tell you how to take that human capital in their hand at that speed to >> that is a very insightful question. when i say violent media with violent media do you think i'm talking about? most people think video games. when we think about the fact that television is so pervasive it turns out they've done research all the way up until
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last week that correlates violent media so much so [inaudible] you take that into account in our video games now often things are first-person. it's real-time so you are punished immediately to reinforce. you take that into account with the fact 25% just by their nature are purely violent. call of duty were grand theft auto. and the other 75%. so you take a game like mine --
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mine craft. but you're not going to get rid of this. it's totally naïve and it plays such an amazing tool and platform to educate through. as violent video games make about $1.3 million that purchase power is profound. we are the ones spending the money on it. if we say we don't want that, we want this. so we need to support the educational character building which they do 95% of engaged with these electronic devices we can demand that it would be one of the most effective things.
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>> here. >> the question i have is dealing with narrow plasticity how does the violent games and television impact that and then in the systems with juveniles and adults, how can be narrow plasticity mitigates against the future violence? >> those are the type of studies that we are trying to find. so we are satisfying answers we don't know. we don't know what the video games do and we don't know what our consequences into the manifestations of being abused. what needs to change about the. what we do know is much of what
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has been done can be undone. we don't know what it is. but you have to start somewhere. >> for the last six years i've been keeping track of previews at the theater. 70% are violent. that doesn't mean that my research is any good. what you told the group about the doctor because they may want to read him a. he was a psychiatrist and said why don't we study the brain
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like you've been doing everything that he talks about in the books he's doing the research that you're doing. >> is performing that research. >> any other questions? yes, right here. >> you spoke about explaining to parents about mental health. your child has a low amount of dopamine in their brain. as far as working with a psychiatrist or psychologist, how would you change that between an institution or hell of a drug company change would
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that be kind of a systematic overhaul? >> if you say can you call up fafsa, sure. at the end of the day, i don't want to say we have to change the terminology it's just a wo word. it's how you think about it. i looked at pharmaceutical company for decades. psychiatrists i don't think
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would have a problem with it. davithey've got the ability to diagnose a disease outside of a tech opinions that there is no association in any way. when i talk to at the time, he totally gets it. the knee-jerk concern and it is important, people don't begin to discriminate and say people with mental illnesses are violent. we don't want that perception. but you do away with that. i'm not saying that they have these hallucinations might suffer with schizophrenia that they are more violent to
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themselves or others. even though they might be. i am saying whatever the pathology is that leads to those can increase the risk of violence and i think that takes away a lot. when you don't know why somebody is acting very weird and crazy, then you are scared. they see a need to go take my medication my cholesterol is up to the roof. but i have to take my medication and hearing voices again, shouldn't he be like are they talking to you right now. that's the problem that we need to realize it isn't a character flaw it is a chemical flaw. i want to thank you for your work and what you are doing and for speaking out.
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you innocents are a great profile of courage and we thank you very much for coming to the school. [applause] >> thank you all for coming.
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>> it doesn't get you to democracy it so why is that it e reject the system they think it won't work very well and will lead a ba to a bad outcome and y are probably right. then you are o onto my side askg how will you weigh out fairness versus the quality of the outcome. >> the before columbus foundation presents the american
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book award which recognizes outstanding literary achievements from the spectrum of the diverse literary community. they are presented at the center in san francisco then jonathan zimmerman professor in pennsylvania on the increasing pressure to curtail the free speech on college campuses across the country he talks about it in his book what everyone needs to know. it is the taboo ideas. it means there is a serious problem. the ambassador to the u.s. spoke about the war against insurgents and terrorist groups. he also expressed hopes of a closeat


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