Filmmaker Gilda Shephard addresses Whitman on her travels in Ghana and Liberia

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Dr. Shepard lectured on her experiences working with female refugees and African-American prisoners. Credit: Hubanks
Dr. Shepard lectured on her experiences working with female refugees and African-American prisoners. Credit: Hubanks

Dr. Gilda Shephard spoke to a group of students on Tuesday, Sept. 15, about her work as an ethnographer and sociologist and her travels in Ghana, West Africa and Liberia. Working in the Buduburam Refugee Camp in Liberia, Shephard set up English and computer literacy classes through the organization “Women Together as One,” which she founded with help from female refugees from the camp. She also worked as a documentary filmmaker, filming the stories of the female refugees and combining them into a documentary entitled “Women Coming Together.” She is recently working with young African-American prisoners who were involved very early on in life in gang violence, helping to rehabilitate them. Shephard espoused the importance of positioning, something she described as “our involvement in the world.” She discussed how vital it was for us to realize that we are all dependent on one another far more than we realize.

“The role of compassion in scholarship is extremely important,” Shephard said, urging us to use our Whitman educations to positively impact the world in whatever way we feel moved to.