Archive, Lectures

Max Kenner ’01 and Nir Rosen


“Promoting Instability: US Foreign Policy in the Middle East”


Max Kenner ’01 is the founder and Executive Director of the Bard Prison Initiative. He conceived of and created the Bard Prison Initiative as a student volunteer organization when he was an undergraduate at Bard College in 1999. After gaining the support of the College and cooperation of the New York State Department of Correctional Services, he has overseen the growth of the program into a credit bearing and, subsequently, degree-granting program in 2001. Kenner has become a leading advocate for the national restoration of college-in-prison and frequently speaks publicly in a wide variety of forums about the BPI model in education and criminal justice policy. He is a co-founder of the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison, which is supporting other colleges and universities in establishing and maintaining ambitious college-in-prison projects. Wesleyan University and Grinnell and Goucher Colleges, in Connecticut, Iowa and Maryland, respectively, are the first partners in the national project.


Nir Rosen is an American journalist of Kurdish origin known for his writings on the rise of violence in Iraq following the 2003 invasion, which form the basis of his first book, In the Belly of the Green Bird (2006). He spent more than two years in Iraq reporting on the Coalition occupation, the relationship between Americans and Iraqis, the development of postwar Iraqi religious and political movements, inter-ethnic and sectarian relations, and the Iraqi civil war. He has regularly contributed to leading periodicals, such as Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, the New York Times Magazine, the Boston Review, and Harper’s. He contributed to the footage of Iraq in Charles Ferguson’s documentary No End In Sight and was also interviewed for the film. Rosen has written extensively against the surge in Iraq, notably in a March 2008 article for Rolling Stone.

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