The IDS Public Lecture Series will host Civitella Advisory Council Member Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (CRF 2018) for a virtual lecture, Witness: De Profundis on Saturday, April 30th, at 12pm EST. Click here to register.

‘De Profundis are the first two words of Psalm 130, a most poignant song that is a call for help from out of the depths of ruins. Is the world in trouble? Yes. Are we caught up in the roiling and churning? Indeed. So many of the old demons, including the threat of nuclear annihilation, are roaming the earth again. What do we do when confronted by immense forces that are likely to engulf us? Among the many options, is that of witness. We witness to the ways the world’s forces array themselves in some intense battle against truth and reality. What do we trust? How do we act? In the aftermath of a world determined on a course of ruin, what endures? This reflection explores the idea of what and how we see, or choose to see and act in a world now marked by doubt, fear, mistrust, and cynicism. What edifices of being will a surviving generation inherit, and what will they note about those who extended to them an inheritance of brokenness?

Author of the well-received novels Dust (Knopf, 2014), and The Dragonfly Sea (Knopf, 2019), Kenya-born Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor obtained a BA from the Kenyatta University, an MA from the University of Reading, UK, and an MPhil (Creative Writing) from the University of Queensland, Brisbane. From 2003 to 2005, she was the director of the Zanzibar International Film Festival. Her story, “The Weight of Whispers”, earned her the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2003. Her other works are to be found in different publications, including National Geographic. For her artistic achievements, Owuor, in 2016 was awarded the (Kenya) Head of State Commendation. Yvonne is active in the Kenya conservation and environmental sector. She is currently a DAAD artist-in-residence in Berlin working on a new project.