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20th Century Women Leaders: Catalysts for Change


Pack Memorial Library will host a film and discussion series every Wednesday evening in April, 20th Century Women Leaders: Catalysts for Change. Each session will focus on one woman leader and will include the screening of scenes from documentary films, followed by discussions facilitated by Dr. Sarah Judson, UNC-Asheville history professor. The series will run Wednesdays, April 2 - April 30. All events will be 6-8 p.m. except for the April 23 session which will run until 9 p.m. to accommodate showing a film in its entirety.

The series will focus on five 20th century women leaders from different cultures who have been catalysts for political or societal changes and who were all elected to leadership positions by the democratic process.

The next leaders to be discussed are:

Wednesday, April 9 from 6-8pm
Indira Nehru Gandhi who was born into the politically prominent Nehru family; her father was the first prime minister of independent India. Gandhi served three consecutive terms as prime minister from 1966-1977 and was again elected in 1980. She served until her assassination in 1984.

Wednesday, April 16 from 6-8pm
Margaret Thatcher was a research chemist who went on to study law and to become a leading figure in United Kingdom politics. She served 11 years as prime minister, from 1979 to 1990.

Wednesday, April 23 from 6-9pm
Wilma Mankiller, the first modern woman to be elected Chief of the Cherokee Nation, is featured in The Cherokee Word for Water, a feature-length film which will be shown in its entirety. This presentation is in collaboration with another film series, Reclaiming Sacred Ground: Native American Self-Representation in Film. The Cherokee Word for Water tells the true story of a rural Oklahoma Cherokee community where Wilma Mankiller and Cherokee organizer Charlie Soap join forces to build nearly 20 miles of water line. Charlie Soap and Kimberly Guerrero, the actress portraying Wilma Mankilller, will both attend the film screening. This free program will be at Pack Library.

Wednesday, April 30 from 6-8pm
Aung Sun Suu Kyi – in the 1980’s Suu Kyi became a leader in the pro-democracy movement in Burma. Due to her political activities and large following, she was placed under house arrest for 15 of the last 21 years and was rarely able to see or communicate with her husband or sons. While imprisoned, she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. Suu Kyi was released in 2010 and ran for a seat in parliament. She began her career as a lawmaker in 2012, and continues to work for political and economic reform in her country.

All of these film and discussion sessions are free of charge and open to the public, with no advance registration needed. This project is made possible by funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding is provided by the Friends of Pack Library. Pack Library is located at 67 Haywood Street, Asheville. Please call 250-4717 or email library@buncombecounty.org for further information.