'Nigeria: Religion and Humanism'

Hank Pellissier to present talk Oct. 1 at Luther College

Hank Pellissier, founder and director of the Brighter Brains Institute in San Francisco, California, will present "Nigeria: Religion and Humanism," 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, in Valders Hall of Science Room 262 on the Luther College campus.

Sponsored by the Luther College Psychology Department, Center for Ethics and Public Engagement, and the Dean's office, the lecture is open to the public with no charge for admission.

Pellissier is the founder and director of Brighter Brains Institute, a nonprofit organization based in California that promotes charity, education and secularism in sub-Saharan Africa. Pellissier will talk about the work the organization has done in Nigeria. Since its creation in 2013, the BBI has delivered food to more than 5,000 refugees displaced by the Boko Haram extremist group. According to the BBI, Boko Haram has murdered 2,300 educators and destroyed more than 1,400 schools since 2009.

The BBI serves several African nations in an effort to promote the 10 Humanist School Values: dignity, respect, tolerance, sharing, no domination, no superstition, conservation, no war, democracy and education. Since 2013, the BBI has completed more than 120 projects in Uganda, including building two orphanages and three humanist schools, funding the Freethinker Student Club at two universities, constructing 23 classrooms and purchasing things like animals, tools, sewing machines, musical instruments and solar panels. They've also constructed classrooms for the Vision Care Primary School, Mughete School, Rays of Light Orphanage School, Nyakiyumbu Widows Orphanage Humanist School and Mother Givers Humanist School. They've also sponsored more than 40 critical thinking presentations.

Pellissier explains why BBI builds secular humanist schools in a post he wrote for Luther College's Ideas and Creations blog available at https://www.luther.edu/ideas-creations-blog.

Pellissier is a writer, education consultant, comedy teacher, futurist conference producer and fundraiser. He's been a columnist for the NYTimes.com and Salon.com and currently writes for GreatSchools.org. He recently began writing the long poem "Ending the Suffering of the World." Prior to his work with the BBI, he was the managing director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology, was the founder and director for The Kids Co-op and was the founder and director of the Hyena Comedy Institute.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,005, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.