Frank Islam Athenaeum Symposia Speaker Series

Welcome to the Frank Islam Athenaeum Symposia speaker series at Montgomery College.

Our distinguished speakers offer timely, stimulating topics delivered by today's leading experts in international affairs, social science, the humanities, arts, politics, and economics. These events encourage meaningful conversation, critical thinking, and intercultural understanding around our collective experiences.

Through a generous gift from philanthropist and civic leader Mr. Frank Islamnew window (to the effect that his remarkable story of immigrant success is told in a documentary filmnew window), all events are free and open to the community.

A powerful philosophy created by Mr. Islam drives the Athenaeum Symposia: if you conceive it, you believe it, you can achieve it.

Street Art, Public Voice, and Democracy

Looking for stimulating lectures that are free and open to the public? Attend our fall and spring speakers series! All events are held at the Germantown campus, Globe Hall. 

Spring 2020 Speakers

Jaquira Díaz

Ordinary Girls: A Memoir, Jaquira Díaz

Ordinary Girls is a fierce, beautiful, and unflinching memoir from a wildly talented debut author. While growing up in housing projects in Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, Jaquira Díaz found herself caught between extremes: as her family split apart and her mother battled schizophrenia, she was surrounded by the love of her friends; as she longed for a family and home, she found instead a life upended by violence.

From her own struggles with depression and sexual assault to Puerto Rico’s history of colonialism, every page of Ordinary Girls vibrates with music and lyricism. Díaz triumphantly maps a way out of despair toward love and hope to become her version of the girl she always wanted to be.


Ordinary Girls bookcover

Jaquira Díaz was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Miami. She is the author of Ordinary Girls: A Memoir, a Summer/Fall 2019 Indies Introduce Selection, a Fall 2019 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, a November 2019 Indie Next Pick, and a Library Reads October pick. Her work has been published in Rolling  Stone, The Guardian, The Fader, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, and The Best American Essays 2016, among other publications.

She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, an Elizabeth George Foundation grant, a Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council, an NEA Fellowship to the Hambidge Center for the Arts, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Kenyon Review, etc.

View Jaquira Díaz event flyer (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.)

These events fulfill the Multicultural Diversity Training requirement for MC employees.  

To reserve space for classes or to request accommodations for an event,
email or call 240-567-1845.  

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