Pico Iyer, travel writer and philosopher, presented the Opening Plenary at the 2011 Annual Conference in Chicago.
“I wanted to thank you very truly, from the heart, for making a space for me in your community, and bringing me into your company, in so many senses. I really feel as if I’ve made some new friends, learned a huge amount and got a warm and fantastically enlightening glimpse into a whole other world these past few days, and a world much more engaging and fun to be and talk with than many of the ones I enter. I had a terrific time with all of you, and felt very much at home in a culture that is so well-traveled, so devoted to the arts, so full of imagination and intelligence and so warmly involved in interactions of every kind. I so appreciate your 18 months or more of patient negotiation to make this all happen (and Ruth Birnberg for her amazingly kind and thoughtful introduction), and I will now carry news and reports of Dance/USA and its spirited, talented and friendly community far and wide.” — Pico Iyer
Born in Oxford, England, to parents from India, Pico Iyer was educated at Eton, Oxford, and Harvard, while officially growing up in Southern California. He is the author of seven works of non-fiction, including Video Night in Kathmandu (cited on many lists of the best travel books ever), The Lady and the Monk (finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in the category of Current Interest) and The Global Soul (subject of websites and theatrical productions around the world). He has also written the novels Cuba and the Night and Abandon. For a quarter of a century, he has been an essayist for Time magazine, while also writing constantly on literature for The New York Review of Books, on globalism for Harper’s, and on many other topics for venues from The New York Times to National Geographic. His most recent book, The Open Road, describing more than 30 years of talking and traveling with the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, came out in a dozen countries, and was a best-seller across the U.S. He has been based for the past 20 years near Nara, in rural Japan, though he is still often to be found making stops everywhere from North Korea to Ethiopia, and from Bolivia to Easter Island.
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