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Ware Lecture

2014 Ware Lecturer Sister Simone Campbell

Sister Simone Campbell is the National Coordinator of NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby. She is a religious leader, attorney and poet with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change. In Washington, she lobbies on issues of peace-building, immigration reform, healthcare and economic justice. Around the country, she is a noted speaker and educator on these public policy issues.

During the 2010 congressional debate about healthcare reform, she wrote the famous “nuns’ letter” supporting the reform bill and got 59 leaders of Catholic Sisters, including LCWR, to sign on. This action was cited by many as critically important in passing the Affordable Care Act. She was thanked by President Obama and invited to the ceremony celebrating its being signed into law.

In 2012, she was also instrumental in organizing the “Nuns on the Bus” tour of nine states to oppose the “Ryan Budget” approved by the House of Representatives. This budget would decimate programs meant to help people in need. “Nuns on the Bus” received an avalanche of attention across the nation from religious communities, elected officials and the media.

She recently led a new cross-country Nuns on the Bus trip (May 28 through June 18, 2013), focused on comprehensive immigration reform. 

Sr. Simone has often been featured in the national and international media, including recent appearances on 60 Minutes, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

She has received numerous awards, including the "Defender of Democracy Award" from the international Parliamentarians for Global Action and "Health Care Heroes Award" from Families USA. In addition, she has been the keynote or featured speaker at numerous large gatherings, including the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Sr. Simone  has also served as the Executive Director of JERICHO, the California interfaith public policy organization that works to protect the interests of people living in poverty. Simone also participated in a delegation of religious leaders to Iraq in December 2002, just prior to the war, and was later part of a Catholic Relief Services delegation to Lebanon and Syria to study the Iraqi refugee situation there.

Before JERICHO, she served as the general director of her religious community, the Sisters of Social Service. She was the leader of her Sisters in the United States, Mexico, Taiwan and the Philippines. In this capacity, she negotiated with government and religious leaders in each of these countries.

In 1978, Sr. Simone founded and served for 18 years as the lead attorney for the Community Law Center in Oakland, California. She served the family law and probate needs of the working poor of her county.

2013 Ware Lecturer Eboo Patel

Dr. Patel is founder and Executive Director of the Interfaith Youth Core, an international nonprofit building the interfaith youth movement. He was appointed by President Obama to the Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and serves on the Religious Advisory Committee of the Council on Foreign Relations. Patel writes "The Faith Divide" blog for The Washington Post and has also written for the Harvard Divinity School Bulletin, The Chicago Tribune, and other prominent journals. He has been featured on a range of media, including CNN Sunday Morning, NPR's Morning Edition, the PBS documentary Three Faiths, One God, The New Republic, American Public Media, the BBC, and CNN. Patel is a sought-after speaker whose addresses include the keynote speech at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum with President Jimmy Carter. He is the author of Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice and the Promise of America, and Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation, which was the 2011-2012 UUA Common Read and 2010 winner of the prestigious Louisville Grawemeyer award in religion.

An Ashoka Fellow, Patel was named by Islamica Magazine as one of ten young Muslim visionaries shaping Islam in America, was chosen by Harvard's Kennedy School Review as one of five future policy leaders to watch, and was selected to join the Young Global Leaders network of the World Economic Forum. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

History of the Ware Lecture

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President, in consultation with the General Assembly Planning Committee, invites a distinguished guest each year to address the General Assembly as the Ware Lecturer.

In 1920, Harriet E. Ware of Milton, MA, bequeathed $5,000 to the American Unitarian Association (AUA) for its unrestricted use. Two years later, on the evening of May 24, 1922, the first Ware lecture was given by the Rev. Frederick W. Norwood, pastor of the City Temple in London, England. The Lecture had been "established in honor of the distinguished services of three generations of the Ware family to the cause of Pure Christianity."

The lecture has been given every year at the former May Meetings of the AUA and since 1961 at the General Assembly. No lecture was scheduled for 1945 due to World War II, although Morris S. Lazaron delivered an address on May 23, 1945, in All Souls Church in Washington, DC, which is referred to as a Ware lecture. There was no lecture in 1950 when the Unitarians celebrated their 125th anniversary.

The Harvard Square Library maintains a history of the Ware Lecture, including illustrated biographical notes.

Previous Ware Lecturers

Previous Ware Lecturers have included the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Kurt Vonnegut, and poet Mary Oliver.

For more information contact generalassembly@uua.org.

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Last updated on Thursday, October 17, 2013.

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2014 Ware Lecturer Sister Simone Campbell


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2013 Ware Lecturer Eboo Patel
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2012 Ware Lecturer Maria Hinojosa: ''Stories from the Frontlines of the New America: Detention, Deportation and the Power of Democratic Resistance''
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