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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.

2014 Program: Featured Events

The 2014 CRITICAL CONVERSATIONS program featured Dr. David Relman, the Thomas C. and Joan M. Merigan Professor in the School of Medicine and professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University, and Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System in Palo Alto, California. 

A member of the Institute of Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for Advancement of Science, Dr. Relman is one of the world’s most widely cited scholars of the human microbiome, microbial diversity and function. Dr. Relman will share his unique insights not only into how microbial organisms are fundamental to human health and adaptability, but also into how the study of the microbiome can enable science to recognize and intervene in disease in ways never previously imagined.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 3:30 p.m.

Friday, October 31, 2014 | 10:00 a.m.

Panel Discussion - "Understanding Infectious Diseases: Does it Take a Community?"