In accordance with Massachusetts regulations, strict restrictions are in effect for in-person campus events. Most of the the events listed here are taking place remotely on Zoom and other online platforms. See each listing for details. All times are United States Eastern Time Zone.

'The Task of Witnessing: A Symposium in Honor of James W. Foley'

Event Details

September 20, 2016 10:30 am-5:30 pm

Goodell Hall

Room: Bernie Dallas Room

UMass Amherst Campus

Handicap access available
Free admission
Interdisciplinary Studies Institute

The Interdisciplinary Studies Institute will host a symposium titled “The Task of Witnessing: A Symposium in Honor of James W. Foley” in collaboration with the Journalism Department and the MFA Program for Poets and Writers, University of Massachusetts.

James W. Foley was a student at the University of Massachusetts from 1999 to 2003, in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers in the English Department. Both while he was on our campus, and afterwards when he worked for Teach for America in Arizona and Chicago, he was dedicated to working in and with marginalized communities, helping students to widen their educational range and find their own voices. At UMass he volunteered at a local care center for unwed mothers, helping them earn their GEDs; both as teacher and journalist he was active in mentoring others. He worked on development projects in Iraq, and became an embedded journalist with the Indiana National Guard, and then with the US Army in Afghanistan and Iraq, before becoming a freelance journalist working on the front lines in both Libya (where he was abducted and released) and in Syria. There he was kidnapped and ultimately executed in the most horrific and public way by the so-called Islamic State in August 2014. This campus, along with many others, mourned his loss deeply.

The symposium also features a screening of the HBO movie “Jim: The James Foley Story” at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, in ILC S240; and special guests will be James Foley’s parents, Diane and John Foley.

Symposium Schedule:

Panels will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Bernie Dallas Room and will run until 5:30 p.m. Speakers will include writers, artists, journalists and friends of James Foley. Additional information will be available soon on the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute: If you have any questions in the interim, please send them to