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Vicente Fox Jumpstarts Tulsa Town Hall Series

By NANCY HERMANN
GTR Variety Editor



One of the most involving, stimulating and value-for-money event series Tulsa has to offer marks its 84th year with another extraordinary roster of guest speakers.

Each season, Tulsa Town Hall culls global newsmakers and a diverse range of creative geniuses from scores of candidates to forge a compelling series. “When choosing speakers, first we look for someone with a great story to tell ? someone who can captivate an audience with that story for one hour,” relates Tulsa Town Hall Executive Director Kathy Collins. “Beyond that, we want speakers who are dealing with current issues, and we look for a variety of speakers.”

Tulsa Town Hall leads off the 2018-19 season on Oct. 5 with Mexico’s 55th president, Vicente Fox. His timely talk is titled “Immigration, the Wall, and the Future of U.S-Mexico Relations.” He is Town Hall’s Sandra West Memorial Speaker
“Having a former head of state come to Tulsa Town Hall is a rare and privileged occasion in itself,” says Town Hall program committee member Pam Hillis. “President Fox is an exceptional person in his own right, being a native son of Mexico and the grandson of pioneers from the United States and Spain. He worked his way up from truck driver for Coca-Cola to the youngest CEO of Coca-Cola Mexico. When he won the presidency in 2000, he broke the dictatorial one-party rule that strangled Mexico for 70 years. Stay tuned for a dynamic, fiery, accomplished statesman!”

Slated for Nov. 16 is a talk titled “Still Alice: Understanding Alzheimer’s” given by Dr. Lisa Genova, a PhD in neuroscience from Harvard. She is the bestselling author of the novel “Still Alice.” The book’s poignant story centers on a woman who dissipates with the onslaught of advancing disease.

“The type of speaker that Tulsa Town Hall looks for has to have the ‘wow’ factor,” notes Hillis. “Gripping, interesting, exciting — leaving us smarter. We want a speaker who will have us talking about their topic long after they have gone and hopefully making a change in our community and/or in us. For instance, we’ve made sure to have Dr. Lisa Genova available for the Alzheimer’s Association’s AWARE luncheon while she is in Tulsa. This not only brings awareness to Alzheimer’s but also raises money for the Association.” Genova is Town Hall’s Senior Star Speaker presented in honor of the Alzheimer’s Association.

War zone reporter and “60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan takes the PAC stage on Feb. 1, 2019 for a talk titled “On the Front Lines with Lara Logan.” Her dedicated coverage of incendiary events around the world has earned her the respect of viewers and fellow correspondents. One such event was the fall of the Mubarak regime in Egypt when she was violently attacked in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Since that time, she’s dealt with recovery from the attack and from breast cancer. Her tenacity and compassion have earned her a continuing spotlight in the ever-challenging world of television journalism. She is Town Hall’s Atkins-Pritchard Foundation speaker.

Guest photographers who share back stories behind their famous photographs have proven to be immensely popular with Town Hall audiences. On Mar. 8, 2019, internationally acclaimed photographer Platon will present “Powerful Portraits: An Intimate Look at Humanity and Leadership.” Says Collins, “Platon is not only a photographer but also a storyteller. While our subscribers may not be familiar with him, they will love hearing the insight he gained into people like Russia’s Putin, Willie Nelson, many former presidents and others while photographing them. We are in for a rare treat!”

Closing out the series on Apr. 12, 2019, is the Helmerich Trust speaker, space archaeologist and Egyptologist Sarah Parcak. Using the most advanced technology, she has pinpointed thousands of previously unknown archaeological sites and developed an online platform to allow citizen-scientists to conduct their own searches for lost civilizations. “Dr. Sarah Parcak will most certainly open our minds,” offers Hillis. “Being a space archaeologist, she will explain how she uses NASA satellite imaging to see things underground and under the sea. This $1 million TED Talk winner will be a delight from start to finish!”

In addition to her Friday morning appearance, Parcak is this season’s featured speaker at Tulsa Town Hall After Dark, now in its second year. Tickets to Parcak’s evening talk on Apr. 11, 2019 will be sold separately, beginning in the spring.

“For the last five years, as Friday morning audiences have reached capacity at the PAC, the desire to share these compelling speakers with a broader audience became more real,” explains Collins. “Tulsa Town Hall After Dark was created to provide an evening lecture with one of our speakers, sell individual tickets and market to a different audience,” she adds. “The first After Dark lecture last spring with Piper Kerman (“Orange is the New Black’) was a huge success and we are anticipating the same next April with Dr. Sarah Parcak. Our mission is to open minds and stir curiosities. The more people who can hear our speakers, the closer we come to fulfilling that mission.”

One might expect to pay $35 or $40 to attend a single event, but Tulsa Town Hall sells the entire series (five speaker events) for one $100 subscription. An optional luncheon with the speaker is $25 “During the last 20 to 30 years, as we all are inundated with more information than we can possibly absorb, the personal connection our speakers have with our audiences has grown in importance,” sums up Collins. “And, finally, Tulsa Town Hall has always been and remains the best value ever!”

Updated 07-23-2018

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