Marian Wright Edelman Distinguished Lectureship Series

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Marian Wright Edelman Distinguished Lectureship Series

Marian Wright Edelman is the president and founder of the Children's Defense Fund, an internationally known organization established to advocate for the rights of children. She is a graduate of Yale School of Law and was the first African American woman admitted to the bar in Mississippi.

In October 2014, the Office of Population Health and the Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities launched the Marian Wright Edelman Distinguished Lectureship Series. This lecture series will feature nationally and internationally known scientists, educators, and child advocates, who will present and discuss cutting-edge research and policy issues regarding child health and child health disparities. Lectures will also highlight work in cross-cutting areas such as child education, policy, public health, medicine, social justice, and economic development.

The Marian Wright Edelman Lecture will be held annually in the fall, with the precise time announced early in each academic year. The activities associated with the Edelman Lectureship will be open to all University students, faculty, and the general public and will provide venues for members of the university and surrounding communities to interact with distinguished individuals whose innovative research and/or programmatic endeavors have made significant advances in the fields of child health and child health disparities.

Travel costs and an honorarium will be provided to each Distinguished Lecturer.

Lectureship eligibility criteria

The speaker must possess a(n):

  • Distinguished background in child health/child health disparities research, advocacy for children’s rights, child health policy leadership, federal, state or local government service for child health issues;
  • Ability to share experiences and skills with diverse audiences;
  • Willingness to stay on campus for a minimum of two days to deliver the lecture and to interact with professors, fellows, staff, and community members in smaller group settings.


Lecturers will be selected using the following process:

  • Nominations for the annual Marian Wright Edelman Distinguished Lecturer will be sent to the Chair of the Selection Committee.
  • Selection Committee members will review the nominations, discuss, and formally vote to choose the annual lecturer.
  • Following receipt of approval by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, a formal letter of invitation will be sent from the Chair of the Selection Committee on behalf of the Medical Center.