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Susan Rice, Alan Alda join Malala Yousafzai in UB Speakers Series

A global expert on climate change and a TV icon are among the highlights of the 31st annual University at Buffalo Distinguished Speakers Series, which was announced Tuesday.

Photographer James Balog, founder in 2007 of the Extreme Ice Survey, will appear April 12 in Alumni Arena on UB's North Campus in Amherst. His appearance is sponsored by UB College of Arts & Sciences.

UB had announced previously that the series would begin on Sept. 19 with Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.

Yousafzai, at 17, became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient, sharing the award in 2014 with Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian advocate for children’s rights.

Yousafzai, who has been heralded as a champion for girls’ educational rights, rose to global prominence after she was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan in 2012 when she was 15.

"For the past 30 years, influential voices from across the country and around the world have shared their thought-provoking perspectives with our community, generating lively discussions that continued long after they left campus," UB President Satish K. Tripathi said in a statement Tuesday. "This year’s remarkable group of speakers – including a leading environmentalist, a beloved television icon and the youngest-ever Nobel laureate – promise to do the same, and we look forward to welcoming each of them to UB."

Actor and science communicator Alan Alda closes the series May 2. Best known for portraying Hawkeye Pierce on “M*A*S*H,” Alda also hosted “Scientific American Frontiers” for 11 years on PBS.

His latest book, “If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating,” was released last month.

Theresa Payton, former White House CIO and cyber security CEO, visits UB on Oct. 18. Payton is CEO of Fortalice Solutions, an industry-leading security consulting company, and co-founder of Dark Cubed, a cybersecurity product company.

She served as the first female chief information officer at the White House, overseeing IT operations for former President George W. Bush and his staff.

The undergraduate student choice speaker is actor and activist Jesse Williams, scheduled for Nov. 18. He portrays Dr. Jackson Avery in the ABC television series “Grey’s Anatomy.”

His other credits include senior producer and correspondent for the Epix program “America Divided” with Norman Lear and executive producer of the documentary “Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement,” which premiered last year.

Susan Rice, former U.S. National Security Advisor, appears on Feb. 28 as the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Keynote speaker.

In that role from July 2013 to January 2017, she led the National Security Council Staff, chaired the cabinet-level National Security Principals Committee, provided the President’s daily National Security briefing and was responsible for the coordination and integration of all aspects of the administration’s foreign and National Security policy, intelligence and military efforts.

Prior to those duties, Rice served as U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

All programs will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Alumni Arena.

Series subscriptions will be on sale to the public Aug. 1; tickets for individual lectures will be available Aug. 8. More information is available at:

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