The commanding general who opened and operated Guantánamo Bay after Sept. 11 and a Buddhist scholar who is the first American to be ordained a Tibetan monk by the Dalai Lama are among the speakers for the 2014-15 Jepson Leadership Forum lecture series at University of Richmond.

“Into the Fray: Global Perspectives on Conflict” is the theme of this year’s series, which will explore conflict in relation to music, culture, race, politics, gender and anger. 

Programs are free and open to the public, but registration is required and opens three weeks prior to each event. Audience members will have opportunities to interact with speakers during book signings and receptions. The series was organized by professors Donelson R. Forsyth and Tony Kong.

Programs include:

  • Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman, Sept. 30, 7 p.m., Jepson Alumni Center. Thurman, named one of Time magazine’s 25 most influential Americans, is president of the nonprofit organization Tibet House US and a professor at Columbia University.
  • Retired Maj. Gen. Michael Lehnert (USMC), Oct. 21, 7 p.m., Jepson Alumni Center. Lehnert was commanding general of the Joint Task Force ordered to prepare and operate the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay after Sept. 11 and later a leader in the discussion on closing the prison.
  • Award-winning historian Robert J. Norrell, Nov. 13, 7 p.m., Jepson Alumni Center. Norrell is an expert on race relations in America. He has written extensively on the American South, race relations in the 20th century and the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Anthropologist Polly Wiessner, Jan. 26, 7 p.m., Jepson Alumni Center. Wiessner frequently travels to remote and unforgiving corners of the world to study developments in warfare, ritual and exchange. Her work has been featured in The New York Times and other outlets.
  • Social psychologist Roy Baumeister, Feb. 17, 7 p.m., Jepson Alumni Center. A pioneer in research on willpower, social rejection, self-esteem aggression and free will, his latest work dives into the gender debate and looks at relations between the sexes and the role of men in culture.
  • Singer-songwriter Dar Williams, March 18, 7 p.m., Camp Concert Hall, Booker Hall of Music. Williams has been called the poet laureate of the folk world and compared to artists such as Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez. The program will include a talk and a performance.

The series is hosted by University of Richmond’s Jepson School of Leadership Studies.

To register or for more information, visit, or call Shannon Best, community programs manager, at 804-287-6522.