Ellsworth Lectures

The Annual Ellsworth Lecture is funded by the Robert A. Ellsworth Trust and brings visiting scholars to campus to speak publicly about their work.

27th Annual Ellsworth Lecture

Jonathan Hoffman

"The Building of Schools in Afghanistan"

Tuesday, March 29, at 7 p.m.

Bentley 207

Jonathan Hoffman, an Essex teacher who founded a non-profit organization that has built 14 schools in Afghanistan, will present the 2011 Ellsworth Lecture on March 29. Hoffman will discuss his remarkable story of bringing positive change to an area of the world that has seen much war, suffering and injustice.

A teacher and chef instructor at the Center for Technology in Essex, Hoffman has spent his summers in Afghanistan, bringing donations to impoverished families. Each summer, he travels alone — except for a translator and, outside Kabul, a bodyguard— to places deemed too dangerous for travel. So far, in nine trips, his work has resulted in the building of 14 schools, including those for girls previously taught in tents.

For his efforts, he won the National Education Association’s Applegate-Dorros Peace and International Understanding Award in 2007.

Hoffman is founder and director of Direct Aid International (DAI), a small, non-profit, non-political, non-sectarian 501 C-3 organization. He raises money and awareness through presentations to community organizations and schools, in sister school dialogues, and in interviews with the media.

Besides schools, DAI has constructed boys' and girls' latrines; built a library in Mir-Bacha-Kot, north of Kabul; obtained rights to a well with clean water for over 1,000 villagers; and distributed over 40,000 notebooks, thousands of pens and pencils, and hundreds of soccer and volley balls to children. For more information about DAI, visit http://www.directaidinternational.org.