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Asheville School's 2018-2019 Convocation Series
Asheville School's 2018-2019 Convocation Series

This year, Head of School Arch Montgomery has invited three thought-provoking speakers with unique perspectives to make up Asheville School's 2018-2019 speaker series.

Georgetown Chaplain Imam Yahya Hendi, political strategist Reverend Joseph Watkins, and Mayor of Miami Beach Dan Gelber will visit and address the Asheville School community.

Imam Hendi will speak in the Graham Theater on Thursday, September 27. He is the Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University and has dedicated his career to advocating for interfaith understanding.

Imam Hendi has served as a chaplain for the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland; he serves on national and international interfaith councils such as the Appeal of Conscious and the National Inter-Religious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East. In 2002, he was awarded the James Gettemy Significant Ministry Award by Hartford Seminary, and in 2009 he was honored by the FBI Baltimore Field Office for his service fighting terrorism, drugs and violence in America.

According to his website, Imam Hendi "believes that with love and education – the world will be a better place."

Reverend Joseph Watkins will address Asheville School in the Graham Theater on Thursday, January 17. Reverend Watkins is a GOP strategist who worked as an aide for President George H. W. Bush. He is a former host of CNN's "Crossfire" and currently serves as Pastor of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in North Philadelphia.

Watkins has contributed to many news programs as a Republican media analyst and appears regularly as a contributor on major news networks.

In 2017, Reverend Watkins published a book, "The New 'PC': Practical Consideration." According to the book's description, Reverend Watkins writes, "how we treat each other matters in politics and in our daily lives. We don't have to be polarized and we don't have to be held hostage by political gridlock."

On Thursday, February 28, Asheville School will welcome Miami City Mayor Dan Gelber. Before his election as mayor, Gelber started his career as a prosecutor, spending nearly a decade as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. He is also a founding partner of Gelber Schachter and Greenberg, a law firm based in Miami.

Gelber has worked for years in Florida politics – he represented the 106th district in the Florida House of Representatives from 2000 to 2008, and he served in the Florida Senate, representing the 35th district from 2008 to 2010. In 2017 he was elected mayor of Miami Beach.

With diverse backgrounds and perspectives, these speakers are poised to offer insights based on their years of service and advocacy in their fields. Their talks will begin at 7:15 p.m. in the Walker Arts Center's Graham Theater.