Cousteau and Infidel Author to Speak at NMU

Alexandra Cousteau, a globally recognized advocate on water quality and policy, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a human rights activist and best-selling author of Infidel, will give presentations next week at Northern Michigan University.

Cousteau will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 30, in the University Center Great Lakes Rooms. Admission is free for NMU students and $5 for the general public.Cousteau has creatively redefined the storytelling tradition pioneered by her grandfather, Jacques-Ives, and her father, Philippe.

She is dedicated to advocating the importance of conservation and sustainable management of water to preserve a healthy planet. Her global initiatives seek to inspire and empower individuals to protect not only the ocean and its inhabitants, but also the human communities that rely on freshwater resources. In 2008, she founded Blue Legacy International, a non-profit project of The Ocean Foundation that leads expeditions to chronicle water issues, develops media and educational assets and provides leadership in policy forums and action campaigns. Cousteau also serves as the global water adviser and spokesperson for the global Live Earth 2010 Run for Water.

Hirsi Ali's presentation is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, in the Great Lakes Rooms. She was born in Magadishu, Somalia, and is now a U.S. resident. She is committed to raising awareness of violence against women, including female genital mutilation—a practice she was subjected to as a young child—and honor killings. Hirsi Ali also defends the rights of Muslim women. She had embraced Islam as a child, but later questioned and ultimately abandoned her faith.

After fleeing to the Netherlands to escape an arranged marriage as a young adult, she received a master’s degree in political science from the University of Leiden and served as an elected member of the Dutch parliament from 2003-06. She worked to integrate non-Western immigrants into Dutch society.


Now a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., Hirsi Ali is researching the relationship between the West and Islam. She was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2005 and Reader’s Digest’s European of the Year for the same year. She has published three books: a collection of essays titled The Caged Virgin; her memoir, Infidel; and the second volume of her autobiography, Nomad.

This event is free with an NMU ID and $2 for the general public. Platform Personalities is sponsoring her appearance.


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Updated: March 25, 2010

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