Steven Neuwirth Lecture: September 8, 2009
Philanthropist and activist Abigail Disney showed her documentary “Pray the Devil Back To Hell” and talked about its production when she presented the Steven D. Neuwirth Arts & Sciences Lecture in the Ives Concert Hall. Disney, the granddaughter of Roy Disney, a cofounder of the Walt Disney Co., made the film about a group of women who helped to bring peace to war-torn Liberia. “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” documents the lives and work of a united group of Christian and Muslim women who lobbied, protested and risked their lives to force negotiations between the Liberian government and rebels, an act that eventually led to peace and democratic elections. The film has won many awards, including for best documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival. The annual lecture is named for Dr. Steven Neuwirth, a Professor of English and a specialist in Early American literature and history, who made significant contributions to academic program development in English, American Studies, the Honors Program, and academic advisement at WestConn from the 1980s until his retirement in 2003. He died in February 2004.