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Asanbe Diversity Symposium to feature Chris Lowney

3/20/2007
Austin Peay State University's 12th annual Asanbe Diversity Symposium, slated for April 4, will feature international businessman, author and humanitarian, Chris Lowney.

At 1 p.m., Wednesday, April 4 in Morgan University Center, Room 303, Lowney will lecture on “A Vanished World: What 21st Century Christian, Jews and Muslims Can Learn from Medieval Spain.”

At 4 p.m. in the same room, there will be a panel discussion on the topic “Lessons for Modern Men and Women from Medieval Spain.”

Lowney is a summa cum laude graduate of Fordham University, where he also received a master's degree and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He holds honorary doctorates from St. Louis University, Marymount Manhattan University and the University of Great Falls.

A popular speaker on such topics as leadership, business ethics and interreligious dialogue, Lowney has lectured in more than 24 U.S. cities and in the Philippines, Mexico, Venezuela, Indonesia, Peru, Brazil and Spain.

Named a managing director of J.P. Morgan & Co. while he was in his 30s, Lowney held senior positions in New York, Tokyo, Singapore and London before leaving the firm in 2001. He served on Morgan's Asia-Pacific, European and Investment Banking Management committees, accumulating multinational experience in a firm consistently ranked one of America's Most Admired Companies by Fortune magazine.

Prior to joining J.P. Morgan, Lowney was a Jesuit seminarian for seven years, teaching and studying at Jesuit institutions in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. In 2006, he undertook a walking pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela to raise money for charities providing education and health care in the developing world by pledges to “Pilgrimage for Our Children's Future,” a nonprofit organization.

Lowney lives in New York, where he has served part time as special assistant to the president of the Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB), a leading U.S.-based Catholic charity providing health care programs and services to people in need around the world. He has traveled to Kenya, South Africa, Zambia and India to help launch CMMB's efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.

His first book, “Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company that Changed the World,” was the No. 12 ranked best-seller by the Catholic Book Publisher Association and a finalist for the 2003 Book of the Year Award from Foreword magazine. Available in paperback after four hardcover printings, the book has been translated into more than a half dozen foreign languages.

His second book, “A Vanished World: Medieval Spain's Golden Age of Enlightenment,” (Free Press, 2005) was nominated for the 2005 Quill Award and for La Coronica Award. In a starred review of it, Publishers Weekly said, “This bold and compassionate articulation of medieval Spanish history, with its complex interactions among Jews, Muslims and Christians, speaks directly to contemporary international crises… This engrossing and illuminating book deserves the attention of a wide public.”

At least 20 percent of Lowney's royalties from the U.S. editions of his works is donated to charities providing education and health care to the developing world's impoverished children.

The annual symposium was established in memory of Dr. Joseph Asanbe, APSU's first professor of African and African-American literature. Born in Nigeria, Asanbe earned his master's and doctoral degrees from Indiana University. After joining the APSU faculty in 1987, Asanbe often expressed his vision of APSU as a diverse university where all people are valued.

The Asanbe Diversity Symposium is sponsored by the APSU Department of Languages and Literature. Co-sponsors are the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, Office of Academic Affairs, College of Arts and Letters, College of Science and Mathematics, the Honors Program and the Women's Studies Program.

For more information, contact Dr. Miguel Ruiz-Aviles, associate professor of languages and literature, by telephone at (931) 221-7855 or by e-mail at ruizavilesm@apsu.edu. -- Dennie B. Burke