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Welcome to the Mortenson Center

Since the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs was founded in 1991, over 1,300 library professionals from 90 countries have participated in the Center's innovative programs. We also work with our librarian colleagues in countries around the world. 
Find out more on our  "About Us" page.

Libraries for Peace

The Mortenson Center invites libraries and librarians around the world to take part in our International Peace Day initiative. Visit the Libraries for Peace webpage ( to learn about what   libraries are doing to promote peace,   how they can initiate their own efforts, and   where these actions are taking place to discuss and share ideas of libraries and peacebuilding and to serve as an information hub for an international library celebration and action day for peace. 

Past Lecture Home

Lecture Biographies

2016 Lecture

2015 Lecture

2014 Lecture

2013 Lecture

2012 Lecture

2011 Lecture

2010 Lecture


Past Lectures

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Reading the Globe: Exploring the World's Literatures, Discovering Ourselves 

October 14, 2016

Ann Morgan

Ann Morgan is a UK-based writer and editor, and the author of two critically acclaimed books. The first, The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe , was inspired by her project to read a book from every country on Earth in 2012. Taking the form of a blog, the quest brought Morgan into contact with readers, writers, translators and literary organizations around the planet. It obliged her to grapple with many of the issues surrounding the publication and circulation of texts, including censorship, translation and cultural identity. Through this, she experienced the transformative power of reading and the potential stories have to bridge cultural, temporal, political and religious divides.

2015 Lecture Card

Right to Accessible Information for Global Citizenship

October 27, 2015

Dr. Irmgarda Kasinskaite-Buddeberg

Irmgarda Kasinskaite-Buddeberg is a programme specialist working at United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Communication and Information Sector, Knowledge Societies Division in Paris, France. She coordinates UNESCO’s projects related to access to information and knowledge for Persons with Disabilities as contribution to the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She obtained her Doctor’s Degree in Humanitarian Sciences, Communication and Information from Vilnius University (2006), Master’s Degree in Information Management (1999) from Vilnius University and Bachelor of Arts degree (1996) from Vilnius Academy of Arts (Lithuania).

2014 Lecture Card

Supporting Global Research: Libraries, Access, and Social Responsibility

October 7, 2014

Barbara J. Ford

Barbara J. Ford, Mortenson Distinguished Professor Emerita, retired from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library at the end of May 2014. She joined the Mortenson Center as its director in 2003 and led the Center as it expanded its activities in developing library professionals worldwide and providing opportunities to learn from and share with librarians globally. She earned a bachelor's degree in history and education from Illinois Wesleyan University, a master's degree in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a master's degree in library science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

2013 Lecture Card

Community Libraries as Platforms for Sustainable Development

September 17, 2013

Sanjana Shrestha

Sanjana Shrestha has served as Country Director for READ Nepal since January 2009. Prior to READ, Sanjana was a Project Coordinator and Researcher with the Manushi for Sustainable Development organization in Nepal. Sanjana was also involved in project evaluation work in various organizations such as Save the Children US, Winrock International and German Technical Cooperation. She holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in humanities and social science from Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu.

2012 Lecture Program

The Global Dimensions of Scholarship and Research Libraries

March 6, 2012

Deborah Jakubs

Deborah Jakubs is the Rita Digaillonardo Holloway University Librarian and Vice Provost  for Library Affairs at Duke University. Prior to her appointment to this position in January 2005, she served as the Director of Collections Services for the Duke University Libraries, the founding Head of the International and Area Studies Department (1990), and the Librarian for Latin America and Iberia in Duke's Perkins Library.

2011 Lecture Postcard

The "invisible" forces of Haiti: How Can Books and Culture Help the Reconstruction Process?

April 6, 2011

Elizabeth Pierre-Louis

Elizabeth Pierre-Louis, Library Program Coordinator, Fondation Connaissance et Liberté (FOKAL), Haiti, is a librarian and demographer. She studied Social Science, Population Science (Demography) at the University of Paris X-Nanterre, and obtained her PhD in Demography in July 2004. Ms. Pierre-Louis also obtained her MLIS at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2003, where she received the Jane B. and Robert B. Downs Professional Promise Award.

2010 Lecture Postcard

Shifting Terrains, Crossing Boundaries: Digital Libraries are Personal and Social Again!

October 20, 2010

Dr. Shalini R. Urs

Dr. Shalini R. Urs, Executive Director and Professor, International School of Information Management at the University of Mysore, India, is an information scientist who has an interest in all matters of the mind--from creative to cognitive to cultural. Looking broadly at information, she has researched issues ranging from the theoretical foundations of information science to the technological aspects of digital libraries.

2009 Lecture Postcard

Isolation and Information Famine: Stifling Africa's Growth

October 22, 2009

Ellen Tise

Ellen Remona Tise, Senior Director of Library and Information Services at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, is the president of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) for 2009-2011.

2008 Lecture Card Libraries Advocating for Access to Knowledge:
our role in the global A2K movement

September 17, 2008

Teresa Hackett
Teresa Hackett is the Manager of eIFL-IP "Advocacy for Access to Knowledge: copyright and libraries", a programme of, an international consortium that supports and advocates for the wide availability of electronic resources by library users in developing and transition countries.

Lecture Poster The Enchanted Libraries of Chile: a story of transformation

October 19, 2007

Clara Budnik

Clara Budnik has been executive director of the Foundation for Democracy and Development in Santiago, Chile since 2006. Prior to that, she worked 14 years in Archives and Museums within the Chilean Directorate of Libraries, serving as the director during the last six years.

Lecture Poster Can International Organizations Deliver the Information Society?

October 16, 2006

Alex Byrne
Mr. Byrne is the 2005-2007 president of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, and pro vice chancellor for teaching and learning and vice president for alumni and development at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.
2005lec Democracy and Libraries in Colombia: From Oral Culture to the World of the Book

October 26, 2005

Jorge Orlando Melo Gonzalez
Mr. Melo is one of Colombia's most distinguished public intellectuals, a librarian, and an accomplished historian. He was born in Medellín, Colombia
2004 Lecture Image
Pancras J.M. Ssebuwufu
Vice chancellor, chief academic, and administrative officer of Makerere University, the premier institution of higher education in Uganda and a traditional leader of higher education in East Africa
2003 Lecture Image
Jésus Lau
University Librarian, Veracruzana University, Veracruz Campus, and Coordinator of the Virtual Library Project
2002 Lecture Image
Marianna Tax Choldin
First Mortenson Distinguished Professor and Director of Mortenson Center
2001 Lecture Image
Martin E. Marty
Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, History of Modern Christianity, Divinity School, University of Chicago
1999 Lecture Image
Ekaterina Genieva
Director General
Library of Foreign Literature and President of Soros Foundation, Russia
Moscow, Russia
1998 Lecture Image
Arcs of the Rainbow:
The Heritage of Knowledge and Contemporary Life

October 29, 1998

Edwin Thumboo
Centre for Arts
National University of Singapore
1997 Lecture Image
Michéle Duvivier Pierre-Louis
Executive Director, Fondasyon Konesans Ak Libete (FOKAL)
Foundation Connaissance et Liberte
Open Society Institute
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
1996 Lecture Image
Talat Halman
New York University
New York, USA
1995 Lecture Image
Hans-Peter Geh
Wurttembergische Landesbibliothek
Stuttgart, Germany
1994 Lecture Image
Juan Rada
The Environmental Partnership
Geneva, Switzerland
1993 Lecture Image
Robert Wedgeworth
Interim University Librarian
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1992 Lecture Image
Julieta Campos
Mexico City, Mexico
1991 Lecture Image
Neville Edward Alexander
Executive Secretary
Health, Education and Welfare Society of South Africa Trust
Cape Town, South Africa
1990 Lecture Image
James H. Billington
Librarian of Congress
Washington, DC