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The OpEd Project: How to Write to Change the World

Date: Friday, September 11, 2009
Time: 9am to 5pm
Location: UCSF Laurel Heights, Suite 15, 3333 California Street, San Francisco, CA
Cost: $200 for UCSF Staff/Faculty/Students, $240 for Community Members

The Center for Gender Equity invites you to participate in an innovative program to expand public debate in our nation's key print and online forums.

How to Write to Change the World

This seminar is not about writing; it's about making a bold case for what you believe in and making a difference in the world.

Why this matters: Our position is not that women need our help, but just the opposite: we think public debate needs women. Our national conversation currently reproduces the voices and opinions of only a small fraction of society: 85% male. Worse among academics: a 2008 Rutgers University study found that 97% of op-eds by scholars in the Wall Street Journal are written by men. What is the cost to society when half of the nation's best minds and best ideas - women's minds and women's ideas - are missing?

The nation's key opinion forums feed all other media and drive thought leadership in America. The op-ed pages and commentary forums of major media outlets - whether print, online, or broadcast - are followed by diplomats, business-people, scholars, and those in the highest levels of government. They can sway public opinion and change the world. And these forums are open to all of us - including those without publishing experience.

The OpEd Project's highly interactive and energetic day-long seminar will push you to hone the ideas and causes that you care about, and write about them to make a difference. We will explore the source of credibility and how to establish it quickly; the patterns and elements of a powerful argument; the difference between being "right" and being effective; how to preach beyond the choir, how to think bigger about what we know, and how to make a bigger impact on the world. Time permitting, we will also develop these concepts into concrete op-eds or op-ed drafts for each participant; explore strategies for increasing impact; discuss etiquette and strategies for pitching and how to build relationships with editors and publishers. We may also discuss a sampling of the greatest arguments of all time—essays, speeches and op-eds that have changed the world - so that we can consider why they were so powerful and what approaches and techniques we might borrow.

The seminar is capped at 20 people, and participants will have ongoing access not only to each other but also - if they wish - to the broader OpEd Project community, including our staff and network of Mentor-Editors (highly experienced media professionals who have agreed to review the draft op-eds of women who come through The OpEd Project program).


The Op-Ed Project - featured by The New York Times, Katie Couric and The San Francisco Chronicle - is an initiative to radically expand and enrich public debate, and to dramatically increase the number of women in thought leadership positions. Working with universities, think tanks, nonprofits, corporations and community leaders across the nation, we target and train top women experts in all fields to write op-eds, connect them with each other and with our network of mentor-editors, and channel them to media gatekeepers in print, online, television radio, and more. Read more about the project at https://www.theopedproject.org/cms/

The Op-Ed Project's WRITE TO CHANGE THE WORLD Seminars show you how to make a bold, fair, persuasive case for the ideas and causes you believe in. You'll learn how to establish immediate credibility, craft a powerful argument, preach beyond the choir, think bigger about what you know and make a bigger impact on the world.

Participants have published pieces in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Salon.com, Huffington Page home page, and also one piece that was #2 on Google news and had 20,000 hits in the first hour.


Bad Mother

Date: Tuesday September 29, 2009
Time: Noon to 1PM
Location: UCSF Parnassus, School of Nursing, Room N-217
Cost: Free and open to the public (no registration needed!)

Four years ago, novelist Ayelet Waldman sparked a controversy - and wound up on Oprah to defend herself - when she wrote in an essay that she loved her husband more than her children. Now, in the memoir Bad Mother, Waldman details the fall-out of that essay, as well as what she calls "the perils and joys of trying to be a decent mother in a world intent on making you feel like a bad one." Using self-mocking humor and personal insights, please join Ayelet for a provocative talk about the pressures of motherhood.

Ayelet Waldman is the author of The New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace, a collection of essays. Ayelet is also the author of Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, Daughter's Keeper and the Mommy-Track Mysteries. Her essays have appeared in a wide variety of magazines and newspapers. The film version of Love and Other Impossible Pursuits is now in the post-production, with Don Roos as screenwriter and director, and Natalie Portman in the lead role. https://www.ayeletwaldman.com/



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