J. Jobe and Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa Lecture

The J. Jobe and Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa lecture supports regular lectures on contemporary issues of global significance. For more than a decade, this fund has brought renowned women from across the globe to lecture and meet with classes. Holders of the lectureship have included well-known “grassroots” leaders in the struggle for human rights and international understanding.

2019 Lecture

4 p.m., Thursday, April 11, 2019, Alumni Lounge, Pyle Center

Reception to follow

Brigitte Baptiste


Brigitte Baptiste is one of the leading scientific authorities on Colombian biodiversity and her position as director of the Humboldt Institute in Colombia makes her an important voice for ending armed conflict in Colombia.

Colombia is home to approximately one-tenth of the world’s biodiversity, yet hostilities between the Colombian Military and the leftist guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) made areas of Colombia too dangerous to be explored by researchers. A temporary end to hostilities has already led to the discovery of over one hundred new species in six months, and a permanent peace will be even more significant for the scientific community. In 2016, Baptiste started a six-month residency at Columbia University, NYC to set priorities for the permanent peace process.

Baptiste also teaches courses on the politics of environmental management, rural landscapes conservation, and complex systems ecology at the Javeriana University, Bogota. She has degrees from Javeriana University and the University of Florida. She completed postgraduate work at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, San Carlos de Guatemala University, and the University of Mérida.

In addition to being seen as a prominent environmental authority, she is also viewed as a role model for the Colombian LGBT community. She began her transformation from Luis to Brigitte in the mid-90’s when already working with the Humboldt Institute and teaching at Javeriana University. She officially changed her name at age 35 but avoids identifying as male or female. She is happily married with two daughters.

Event is free and open to the public.

About the lecture

Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa ’46 established this fund to support an annual public lecture on a contemporary issue of global significance by a distinguished woman in international public life. The lecture is sponsored by the International Division, with current co-sponsors including the Human Rights Program, and Global Legal Studies Center.

Past speakers

2018: May Sabe Phyu, “Gender Inclusion for Lasting Peace”
2017: Vandana Shiva, “Women Lead the Way: From Violence to Non-Violence, from Greed to Sharing, From Hate to Love”
2015: Renana Jhavala, “Structural Inequalities and Poverty: Organizing for Economic Rights in India”
2014: Jean Geran, “Right to Identity: Child Abandonment, Trafficking, Migration and Protection”
2013: Sahar Elmougy, “Resurgence of the Feminine: Transformation of Egyptian Psyche,”
2012: Fatima Sadiqi, “North African Women’s Rights in the Aftermath of the Arab Spring”
2012: Thulisile Madonsela, “Righting State Wrongs: Enforcing the South African Constitution through the office of the Public Protector”
2010: Luz María de la Mora Sánchez, “Latin America’s New Stature in the Global Economy”
2010: Yakin Ertürk, “Universalizing Women’s Human Rights: The Quest for Gender-Just Peace”