Letter from the Director

Director Irvin D. Reid

Welcome to the Forum on Contemporary Issues in Society, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary of presenting innovative programs for the greater Detroit community. Beginning in 2007 with a packed house for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s presentation on environmental protection and sustainability and continuing into 2008 with Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox speaking to an overflow crowd, FOCIS continues to draw metro Detroit citizens to campus to be a part of programs varied in content yet with a common thread of local and national interest.

FOCIS was the creation of a group of faculty and staff that I invited to come together and suggest ways the university could engage our campus and local citizens in a dialogue with national and international experts on a broad array of topics including economics, politics, the environment, education, the press and many others. With the exception of graduation and football, no program at Wayne State has consistently had more university and community participants as have FOCIS lectures and programs. Out of FOCIS several activities have emerged; the African Democracy Project offered WSU students opportunities to study democracy in Africa, while CitizenDetroit was established to allow local citizens to discuss solutions to the city's financial crisis.

Our programs this year will revisit topics from past years as well as introduce some new ones. Part One of the 10th anniversary comprises three programs: immigration, with Vicente Fox; the press and presidency, a familiar topic with new faces--Joy Reid, of MSNBC, Pulitzer Prize-winner Eugene Robinson from the Washington Post and Steve Cortes of Fox News; and race -- a timely topic, as we observe the 50th anniversary of the greatest crisis in the city's history with a celebrated Detroiter, Professor Michael Eric Dyson of Georgetown University.

Part Two will take place in Spring 2018 and will be announced soon.

As we begin the 10th anniversary of FOCIS we also observe a decade of the Eugene Applebaum Family Foundation's support for innovative programming in local and global community engagement. Mr. Applebaum has a long relationship with the university, including service as the inaugural chair of the WSU Foundation, chairing the first comprehensive capital campaign, and leading a campaign to build a new home for the school of pharmacy that bears his name. The Eugene Applebaum Chair in Community Engagement, which I am honored to have held for its duration, was established by the university to support the continued engagement of Wayne State with its students, faculty and greater community.

I am pleased and proud to invite you to join us in this series of timely FOCIS programs as the university prepares to celebrate its sesquicentennial year! VISIT OUR CURRENT EVENTS PAGE TO LEARN MORE.


Irvin D. Reid
Eugene Applebaum Chair in Community Engagement