Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

New York Times columnist to speak at Willamette University April 23

Nick KristofNick Kristof

He’s written about sex trafficking in the United States, the escalation of government-sanctioned violence in the Sudan and Lady Gaga’s mission to stop bullying in schools.

At a Willamette University lecture April 23, two-time Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times columnist Nick Kristof will discuss his adventures. His visit is sponsored by the Lilly Project, a university program that helps students find their vocational calling.

“It is Kristof's ability to bring to life, to put faces and stories to so many of the issues our students are so passionate about, that made him an excellent choice for the Lilly Project's 10th anniversary event,” says Associate Director Jeani Bragg. “His work asks us to explore how these issues connect with our lives and challenge us to reflect on how we can make a difference.”

Kristof is a Yamhill, Ore. native who has worked as a columnist for The New York Times since 2001. During his career, he’s lived on four continents and has traveled to more than 150 countries — an adventure that fueled his passion for helping the disadvantaged.

“When you actually see these people in front of you, it’s really hard to tune them out,” Kristof says. “That’s one reason why I encourage travel. That kind of overpowering experience — more than reading about it or watching it on television — is what transforms us.”

In 2010, Kristof wrote the book, “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.” The publication has since evolved into an international movement, featuring a website presence, a Facebook game and a two-part television series airing on PBS in October. Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Olivia Wilde and George Clooney are among many celebrities who took part in the series.

By listening to his experiences, Kristof hopes others will be inspired to do their part to better the world.

“I want to galvanize them to do something and get out of their comfort zone,” Kristof says. “It could mean going to India or the wrong neighborhood in Portland. In other words, I want them to get out of their cocoon, to find a cause that speaks to them and get engaged in it.”


Kristof’s lecture begins at 7 p.m., with doors to Smith Auditorium opening at 6:15 p.m. Alumni are invited. Tickets are $5 and will be available at willamette.edu/go/kristof from April 9 through noon on April 23. Pick up tickets at will call prior to the event.

Willamette students and staff may reserve two free tickets at the same website, which will be available for pick up prior to the lecture and from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. April 20 and 23 on the second floor of the University Center.

Follow Kristof: