Distinguished Thinkers


Distinguished novelists, poets, writers, philosophers, artists, performers, and other humanists come to Wellesley to read, lecture, and share their work. 

Programming for the Distinguished Thinkers will take place in the drawing room of the Susan and Donald Newhouse Center for the Humanities, unless otherwise announced, and are free and open to the public.


Upcoming Distinguished Thinkers

Stay tuned for our 2017-18 schedule!


Recent Distinguished Thinkers


An Evening with Margaret Atwood

Tuesday, May 2nd at 6:00 p.m.

Alumnae Hall Auditorium


Margaret Atwood is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. Her novels include The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; and The Robber Bride, Cat’s Eye, and The Handmaid’s Tale – coming soon as a TV series with MGM and Hulu. Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.











Photo Credit: Jean Malek


Mahmood Mamdani​

The Historical Significance of the Post-Apartheid Transition in South Africa

Thursday, April 20th at 6:00 p.m.

Suzy Newhouse Center Lounge


Mahmood Mamdani is a Professor of Government at Columbia University and Director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research. His work focuses on the intersection between politics and culture, colonialism, the history of civil war and genocide in Africa, and the history and theory of human rights.  He has previously taught at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, University of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, and Makerere University in Uganda. He is the recipient of the Herskovits Prize of the African Studies Association and recognition from “Top 20 Public Intellectuals” by Foreign Policy and Prospect. His works include Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late ColonialismGood Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War and the Roots of Terror, and Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror.











Dambisa Moyo

“Economics and Geopolitics of the Future: What’s It Going to Take to Be Successful?”

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016 at 5 p.m.

Newhouse Center

Free and Open to the Public

Dambisa Moyo, the Zambian-born global economist and author, will discuss the issues surrounding economic growth and human progress. Addressing economic growth is as essential for improving living standards for millions of people across the globe as it is for solving other significant problems we face today: radicalized terrorism, refugees and migration, inadequate health care, and corruption. As global challenges to these problems continue to mount, a pragmatic approach that abandons ideological divides will be crucial to the long-term stability of the global economy. Moyo will provide critical insights on these matters and make suggestions for real-life solutions to obstacles that hinder human prosperity.