Storytellers At Willamette

Two exceptional lecturers will visit the Willamette University campus next week.

Jan WillisIn her memoir, "Dreaming Me: An African American Woman's Spiritual Journey," Jan Willis chronicles her life experiences from an Alabama mining camp to India, from the Baptist churches of her Southern childhood to Tibetan monasteries in India and Nepal.

Willis will speak Thursday, March 13, at 7 p.m. in Cone Chapel. This event is free and open to the public.

Willis, professor of Religion at Wesleyan University, will also speak during Professor Xijuan Zhou's Women in World Religions class Monday, March 10, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Hatfield Room at the library. She will speak about Tibetan Buddhism from a personal perspective. This free event is also open to the public.

Marlies BoschThe second featured lecturer is Marlies Bosch, a photographer and journalist who has worked with two Tibetan nun communities in India and Nepal on health, education and leadership issues, including translating "Our Bodies, Ourselves" into Tibetan and Ladakhi. She will speak to Professor Zhou's class in the Hatfield Room on Wednesday, March 12, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Her talk is titled "Tibetan Nuns Between Yesterday and Tomorrow". This class is also open to the public.

The Lilly Project and the Henry Luce Foundation Fund for Asian Studies have provided funding for the Willis and Bosch lectures.

Willis earned her bachelor's and master's degree in philosophy from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Indic and Buddhist Studies from Columbia University. She has studied with Tibetan Buddhists in India, Nepal, Switzerland, and the United States for more than three decades and has taught courses in Buddhism for more than 25 years.

She is the author of "The Diamond Light: An Introduction to Tibetan Buddhist Meditation," "On Knowing Reality: The Tattvartha Chapter of Asanga's Bodhisattvabhumi," and "Enlightened Beings: Life Stories from the Ganden Oral Tradition." She is the editor of "Feminine Ground: Essays on Women and Tibet."

One of the earliest American scholar-practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism, Willis has published numerous essays and articles on Buddhist meditation, hagiography, women and Buddhism, and Buddhism and race. She is currently co-authoring with Marlies Bosch a book of meditations and exercises called, "Ending Hate: Practical Exercises and Meditations for Transforming Prejudice."

In December of 2000, Willis was named by Time magazine as one of its six Top Religious Innovators for the new millennium.

Marlies Bosch, photographer and journalist, specializes in women and healthcare issues. She works as a freelance photojournalist for a variety of newspapers and magazines.

As a photographer, her travels are the source for several series of photographs on issues related to women and emancipation, education, and health.

Her expertise is based on experience and education in women's studies and on courses she has taught on female health and leadership skills for a variety of women's organizations in the Netherlands.

In the summer of 2000, she was in Ladakh to train nuns in healthcare and leadership matters. This project is conducted in coordination with the Tibetan Nuns Project in Dharamsala. As a result, the well known book, "Our Bodies Ourselves," published by the Boston Women's Health Book Collective, will be adapted and translated into Ladakhi, Tibetan and, eventually, into Nepali and Hindi.