University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
Skip to Content
Graphic promoting Critical Conversations program

CRITICAL CONVERSATIONS is an annual presidential program showcasing distinguished scholars at the forefront of their fields and at the vanguard of shaping how we understand the vital issues, questions and challenges facing our 21st century world.

Celebrating UB’s longstanding history of intellectual leadership and innovation, this program is a vital forum for timely, insightful dialogue about key issues shaping the world around us.

The CRITICAL CONVERSATIONS program spotlights prominent scholars who are leading the conversation about major societal questions and challenges with broad-ranging, cross-disciplinary relevance and impact.  From global health concerns and contemporary cultural debates to technological trends and socioeconomic challenges, these are the topics that cut across disciplinary boundaries and geographic borders to shape daily life for us all.

Held annually in conjunction with the start of the academic year, each program features a keynote address, free and open to the public, as well as multiple opportunities for students, faculty, staff and others to interact with these distinguished visitors.

2015 Program: Featured Events

The 2015 CRITICAL CONVERSATIONS program features Dr. John Borrazzo, Chief of the Maternal and Child Health Division in the Bureau for Global Health at the U.S. Agency for International Development, which includes responsibilities for maternal, newborn and child health, as well as environmental health.     

Joining USAID in 1992 on a Science and Policy Fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dr. Borrazzo worked on toxic substance exposure and air pollution in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Egypt. He subsequently served as Environmental Health Team Leader, overseeing policy and programs in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, until his appointment in 2008 as Maternal and Child Health Division Chief. Dr. Borrazzo earned his master's and PhD degrees in civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, and his bachelor's degree in physics at Harvard University. He completed post-doctoral research at the Institute for Water, Soil, and Air Hygiene in Berlin, Germany.

During his keynote address, Dr. Borrazzo will draw on his personal experience as a trained engineer and leader in maternal and child health to discuss current and future opportunities and challenges for intersectoral action to decrease global maternal and child mortality.

Thursday, October 22, 2015 | 12:30 p.m.

Panel Discussion video:

Friday, October 23, 2015 | 2:30 p.m.

Keynote Address video: