WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (March 22, 2013) - Kathleen Durham, executive director of the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill will speak about “Achieving Equity in the 21st Century” in a March 26 lecture at Wilkes University. Durham’s 4 p.m talk will be in Gies Hall in the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center. It will address the legacy of Eleanor Roosevelt, the center’s leadership training initiatives and the importance of empowering women and girls to become full participants and active citizens of the world. The lecture is free and open to the public.
The Eleanor Roosevelt Center, located in her former home, Val-Kill, in Hyde Park, N.Y., is a nonprofit organization dedicated to her ideals, preserving and fostering her tenets of compassionate leadership dedicated to social change, justice and human dignity. The center works to empower individuals and organizations, “to use their time, talent, and resources to build a just and sustainable world, close to home and abroad, by providing programs and experiences epitomizing Eleanor Roosevelt’s passion and commitment to human rights, principled leadershihp, engaged citizen ship, and social justice for all.”
Durham, a graduate of Howard University, holds a law degree from Pepperdine University. Durham took a unique road to achieve her positions as lawyer, wife, and mother. When she left Howard with 15 credit hours left to complete her bachelor’s degree, she first worked as a director of labor relations for the U.S. Customs Service. Many encouraged her to be a lawyer and Howard let her make up those 15 credit hours. She graduated from Pepperdine still not completely sure of her path.
Durham first learned about Eleanor Roosevelt and the Center in 1988. Identifying with the former first lady, her interest grew in the mid 1990s. Eventually she joined the board, then served as interim director, and then finally executive director.
Durham’s talk is part of a collaboration between Wilkes and the U.N. Presented in partnership with the Higher Education Alliance for the United Nations, the program brings U.N. officials to campus throughout the year for lectures and informal meetings with students. Wilkes is the only northeast Pennsylvania college participating in the program.