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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Mortenson Center for International Library Programs: Distinguished Lecture Series

The Mortenson Center for International Library Programs seeks to strengthen international ties among libraries and librarians worldwide for the promotion of international education, understanding, and peace.

Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture Series

The Mortenson Center Lecture series, which promotes the work of international library and information science professional, has featured many world-known leaders, including the former Librarian of Congress James Billington. A memorable lecture, significant due to its timing, was give by Martin Marty, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, History of Modern Christianity, Divinity School, University of Chicago, on September 20, 2001 - nine days after 9/11. The title of the lecture was Religion on the Global Scene: the Killer that Heals. Professor Marty spoke to an overflowing crowd of more than 600 students, faculty, staff, and community members.

Right to Accessible Information for Global Citizenship

October 27, 2015

Dr. Irmgarda Kasinskaite-Buddeberg

Irmgarda Kasinskaite-Buddeberg is a programme specialist working at United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Communication and Information Sector, Knowledge Societies Division in Paris, France. She coordinates UNESCO’s projects related to access to information and knowledge for Persons with Disabilities as contribution to the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She obtained her Doctor’s Degree in Humanitarian Sciences, Communication and Information from Vilnius University (2006), Master’s Degree in Information Management (1999) from Vilnius University and Bachelor of Arts degree (1996) from Vilnius Academy of Arts (Lithuania).

Supporting Global Research: Libraries, Access, and Social Responsibility

October 7, 2014

Barbara J. Ford

Barbara J. Ford, Mortenson Distinguished Professor Emerita, retired from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library at the end of May 2014. She joined the Mortenson Center as its director in 2003 and led the Center as it expanded its activities in developing library professionals worldwide and providing opportunities to learn from and share with librarians globally. She earned a bachelor's degree in history and education from Illinois Wesleyan University, a master's degree in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a master's degree in library science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Community Libraries as Platforms for Sustainable Development

September 17, 2013

Sanjana Shrestha

Sanjana Shrestha has served as Country Director for READ Nepal since January 2009. Prior to READ, Sanjana was a Project Coordinator and Researcher with the Manushi for Sustainable Development organization in Nepal. Sanjana was also involved in project evaluation work in various organizations such as Save the Children US, Winrock International and German Technical Cooperation. She holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in humanities and social science from Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu.

The Global Dimensions of Scholarship and Research Libraries

March 6, 2012

Deborah Jakubs

Deborah Jakubs is the Rita Digaillonardo Holloway University Librarian and Vice Provost  for Library Affairs at Duke University. Prior to her appointment to this position in January 2005, she served as the Director of Collections Services for the Duke University Libraries, the founding Head of the International and Area Studies Department (1990), and the Librarian for Latin America and Iberia in Duke's Perkins Library.

The "invisible" forces of Haiti: How Can Books and Culture Help the Reconstruction Process?

April 6, 2011

Elizabeth Pierre-Louis

Elizabeth Pierre-Louis, Library Program Coordinator, Fondation Connaissance et Liberté (FOKAL), Haiti, is a librarian and demographer. She studied Social Science, Population Science (Demography) at the University of Paris X-Nanterre, and obtained her PhD in Demography in July 2004. Ms. Pierre-Louis also obtained her MLIS at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2003, where she received the Jane B. and Robert B. Downs Professional Promise Award.

Shifting Terrains, Crossing Boundaries: Digital Libraries are Personal and Social Again!

October 20, 2010

Dr. Shalini R. Urs

Dr. Shalini R. Urs, Executive Director and Professor, International School of Information Management at the University of Mysore, India, is an information scientist who has an interest in all matters of the mind--from creative to cognitive to cultural. Looking broadly at information, she has researched issues ranging from the theoretical foundations of information science to the technological aspects of digital libraries.

Isolation and Information Famine: Stifling Africa's Growth

October 22, 2009

Ellen Tise

Ellen Remona Tise, Senior Director of Library and Information Services at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, is the president of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) for 2009-2011.

Libraries Advocating for Access to Knowledge: 
our role in the global A2K movement
September 17, 2008

Teresa Hackett 
Teresa Hackett is the Manager of eIFL-IP "Advocacy for Access to Knowledge: copyright and libraries", a programme of, an international consortium that supports and advocates for the wide availability of electronic resources by library users in developing and transition countries.

The Enchanted Libraries of Chile: a story of transformation

October 19, 2007

Clara Budnik 

Clara Budnik has been executive director of the Foundation for Democracy and Development in Santiago, Chile since 2006. Prior to that, she worked 14 years in Archives and Museums within the Chilean Directorate of Libraries, serving as the director during the last six years.

Can International Organizations Deliver the Information Society?

October 16, 2006

Alex Byrne 
Mr. Byrne is the 2005-2007 president of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, and pro vice chancellor for teaching and learning and vice president for alumni and development at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.
Democracy and Libraries in Colombia: From Oral Culture to the World of the Book

October 26, 2005

Jorge Orlando Melo Gonzalez 
Mr. Melo is one of Colombia's most distinguished public intellectuals, a librarian, and an accomplished historian. He was born in Medellín, Colombia
Pancras J.M. Ssebuwufu 
Vice chancellor, chief academic, and administrative officer of Makerere University, the premier institution of higher education in Uganda and a traditional leader of higher education in East Africa
Jésus Lau 
University Librarian, Veracruzana University, Veracruz Campus, and Coordinator of the Virtual Library Project

First Mortenson Distinguished Professor and Director of Mortenson Center

Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, History of Modern Christianity, Divinity School, University of Chicago
Director General 
Library of Foreign Literature and President of Soros Foundation, Russia 
Moscow, Russia

Arcs of the Rainbow: 
The Heritage of Knowledge and Contemporary Life

October 29, 1998

Edwin Thumboo 
Centre for Arts 
National University of Singapore

Reading the Minds of Democracy

November 12, 1997

Michéle Duvivier Pierre-Louis 
Executive Director, Fondasyon Konesans Ak Libete (FOKAL) 
Foundation Connaissance et Liberte 
Open Society Institute 
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Talat Halman 
New York University 
New York, USA
Hans-Peter Geh 
Wurttembergische Landesbibliothek 
Stuttgart, Germany
Juan Rada 
The Environmental Partnership 
Geneva, Switzerland
Robert Wedgeworth 
Interim University Librarian 
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Julieta Campos 
Mexico City, Mexico
Neville Edward Alexander 
Executive Secretary 
Health, Education and Welfare Society of South Africa Trust 
Cape Town, South Africa
James H. Billington 
Librarian of Congress 
Washington, DC