Jan 22, 2021 - The Roots and Reality of Homelessness with Liz Clasen-Kelly, CEO Roof Above

We are the world’s richest nation, yet we have citizens (and children) sleeping in cars and tents, and on park benches? How did this happen? Our speaker on Friday explains the causes of homelessness, and, more importantly, the solutions.


Liz Clasen-Kelly will explain how it came to be that thousands of our neighbors in Charlotte are experiencing homelessness.  She will share both the numbers and stories behind homelessness in our community, and share how we can all work together to ensure an experience of homelessness is both rare and brief in our community.


Liz Clasen-Kelly serves as the CEO of Roof Above, the merged Men’s Shelter of Charlotte and Urban Ministry Center.  She previously served as the Executive Director of the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, where she led the shelter’s effort to renovate its N. Tryon Campus. Previously, as the Associate Director of Urban Ministry Center, she oversaw the community’s street outreach efforts and served as project manager for the community effort to end chronic homelessness.  

She is recognized as an active leader to increase affordable housing, especially for those at the lowest incomes, and uses her voice to push for systemic change across our community-at-large.

She is a graduate of Davidson College and received her Master of Public Policy from Duke University.  She is a proud member of a blended family, with four kids ranging from 7 to 23.


When COVID struck the world last February, we looked for leadership to tell us what to do.  How well did the World Health Organization perform in showing the way out of the pandemic?  Click the “Register” button and join us to hear about the early skirmishes and the continuing battles around the world against COVID, about the defeats as well as the victories!  

Covid-19 was a game changer for the United States because it had not been impacted in a major way by a global Pandemic since the Spanish Flu in 1918. Until 2020 little was known about the World Health Organization which was formed in 1948 as member state agency of the United Nations. Still, little is known about the role of the WHO and how it functions.  Covid-19 brought to the forefront the WHO serving as a hub of the responding response entities fighting this virus. Mrs. Zimmerman will help clarify how all these entities came together to fight the Covid-19 virus.

Ms Zimmerman John and Ruth McGee Director Dean Rusk International Studies Program at Davidson College

EDUCATION: BA Macalester College (International Studies)

                         Masters in Law and Diplomacy- Tufts University


-Diplomacy and International Relations

-International Development and Humanitarian Affairs

-International Human Rights

-Protection of Culture Heritage


Prior to joining Davidson College in 2019, Mrs. Zimmerman served 25 plus years as a U S Foreign Service Officer with US State Department. Assignments include Cyrus, Israel, and the Gaza Strip, Tunisia, Brazil, and Mali. Her foreign languages include French, Portuguese, and Arabic.  After her Foreign Service career, she served with the American Red Cross and with the American Research Center in Egypt. She is also a volunteer as a certified therapy dog team member.

Dr. Zubrin has a B.A. in applied mathematics from the University of Rochester, an M.S in aeronautics and astronautics and a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering, both from the University of Washington. 

Zubrin is known internationally as one of the most creative engineers working in industry today, and he and his work have been subject of much favorable press coverage. 

China’s relationship with Africa cannot be separated from the continent’s own fraught history of anti-colonial struggle. In the 1950s China had just achieved its own communist victory and Africa was struggling against both European colonial occupation and broader Western attempts at neo-colonial control. China emerged as a prominent supporter of Africa’s anti-colonial struggle during this era. While China’s subsequent relationship with Africa was quite different, this early era set the parameters that have structured the relationship to this day. From this base China has used its financial and non-financial policies support to embed itself as a major player of all that takes place in Africa’s development. During this period many of US policies were not helpful in thwarting China’s influence and in the US getting a foothold as a major player in Africa. Dr.Royden will provide us with the background of China’s inroads in Africa and outline what the United States needs to do to advance our influence in this important region.


Dr. Alexa Royden teaches World Politics, Chinese Politics, Contemporary American Foreign Policy, International Human Rights, International Terrorism

Her Research interest include global governance, international organization, international security, nonproliferation, and human rights


Ph.D., International Relations, University of St. Andrews

M.A., International Affairs, George Washington University

B.A., Rollins College

The Mint Museum is well known for its collections of historic porcelain, fashion, pre-Columbian art, and Contemporary Craft, however a less widely known collection of European Old Master paintings has steadfastly linked the modern viewer to Renaissance and Baroque images and artists for decades. This talk will explore that collection and some of its highlights.  

After a brief career in genetic research at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Todd went back to school to get a Masters and PhD in Art History with a specialty in 16th century Venetian painting and drawing. He has been director of the Mint Museum of Art for over 2 years after serving as director of the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock for 7 years. He was Chief Curator at the Columbia Museum of Art and a curatorial fellow at the Cleveland Museum of Art in the departments of Medieval Art and Drawings. He has taught art history at colleges and universities in the US and Italy, and organized exhibitions and written about subjects ranging from the Italian Renaissance to Mark Rothko in the 1940s.

Please note Speaker’s schedules sometimes change. We will make every effort to keep you notified of any schedule changes via email. Sign up for email on this page.

Senior Scholars at Queens -
Speaker Program

Our Curriculum Committee has done an outstanding job selecting distinguished, informative and entertaining speakers covering topics including Health, History, Science, Social, and Political issues of the day.