For Immediate Release — Friday, October 28, 2005
Mary E. McCrank
Media Relations Officer
National Public Radio's Rob Gifford to Deliver Annual Roemer Lecture on World Affairs at SUNY Geneseo
GENESEO, N.Y. — Rob Gifford, who served as the China correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) from 1999 until the summer of 2005, will deliver the annual Kenneth Roemer Lecture on World Affairs from 12:45-1:45 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, in 204 Newton Hall at the State University of New York at Geneseo. The lecture is free and open to the public. The title of his speech is "China's Unfinished Revolution."
Gifford served as the China correspondent out of his base in Beijing. Gifford speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and he has traveled from Tibet to the Muslim Northwest, to the border with North Korea filing news and feature stories for NPR News. Gifford also traveled widely in East Asia for NPR. He has covered elections in Taiwan and East Timor, diplomatic visits to North Korea, and produced a range of features on everything from Christian missionaries in Mongolia to Internet start-ups in Hong Kong.
He is currently writing a book based on his NPR series titled "On the Road in China" and will be heard back on air in January 2006 as NPR's London correspondent.
Gifford will talk about the revolution that has been occurring in China since 1911, when the Last Emperor stepped down. Gifford said Mao Tse-Tung became the new emperor because China was so chaotic that when the revolution successfully overthrew the imperial government they didn't manage to set up a new one. Gifford will question what does China now become? Can it make the transformation to a wealthy and strong democratic power that the original revolution hoped for?
He also will talk about the consumer revolution and growing wealth in China, as well as the growing wealth disparity, social revolution, Internet revolution and change in people's thinking. In addition, he will talk about the emergence of the individual and touch on bigger themes, including U.S.-China relations, China's place in Asia, its military and Taiwan.
Two days after the terrorist attacks on the U.S. in September 2001, Gifford flew to Pakistan for the first of many reporting trips to the Muslim region. He also has reported widely on Islamic issues from Indonesia, Malaysia and the southern Philippines in the wake of Sept. 11.
Gifford was born and raised in the U.K. and received his bachelor's degree in Chinese Studies from Durham University in the U.K. He worked for three years at the BBC World Service as a producer and host of various programs before moving to the U.S. in 1994 to attend graduate school. He received his master's degree in Regional Studies (East Asia) from Harvard University and spent two years at NPR member station WGBH in Boston before heading overseas.
SUNY Geneseo's Kenneth Roemer Lecture on World Affairs is a memorial to Roemer's longstanding interest in global issues. The series was endowed by his brother, the late Spencer J. Roemer, emeritus director of admissions at Geneseo and member of the Geneseo Foundation Board of Directors. A generous benefactor of the college, Spencer Roemer died Feb. 14, 1997, at the age of 83.