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Jane Alexander      

Actress and Former Director of the National Endowment for the Arts; "The Great White Hope"

Jane Alexander's distinguished acting career includes her Tony Award-winning performance in "The Great White Hope" directed by Ed Sherin and Tony-nominated roles in "Honour," "The Sisters Rosensweig," "The Visit," "First Monday in October," "Find Your Way Home," and "6 Rms Riv Vu," all on Broadway. In addition, she received a Drama Desk and Theatre World Award for "The Great White Hope," and an Obie for "The Sisters Rosensweig." She also appeared in "Shadowlands" opposite Nigel Hawthorne, both on Broadway and in London's West End. Her regional theatre work includes performances at Arena Stage and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., as well as at the Mark Taper Forum, Alliance Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre, and American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford Connecticut. She has appeared in over 100 stage roles in all throughout her career, the most recent being her portrayal of Djuna Barnes in her one-woman show, "What of the Night."

A four-time Oscar nominee for the films "Testament," "Kramer vs. Kramer," "All The President's Men," and "The Great White Hope," she has also appeared in over 50 screen roles; among them being "Brubaker," "City Heat" and "The Cider House Rules." Ms. Alexander was also seen in the feature films: "Fur" with Nicole Kidman, directed by Steven Shainberg, "The Ring," and John Sayles' "The Sunshine State."

On television, Jane won an Emmy Award for the movie Playing for Time and a Television Critic's Circle Award for her portrayal of Eleanor Roosevelt in "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years." She was in the tele-film "Jenifer" on CBS, which was directed by her son, Jace Alexander. Jane received a Daytime Emmy nomination for her cameo role in Showtime's film "Carry Me Home," also directed by Jace Alexander. Ms. Alexander received the Emmy Award for 'Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie' for her portrayal of Sara Roosevelt in HBO's "Warm Springs."

Ms. Alexander's recent roles include Robert Benton's film "Feast of Love" opposite Morgan Freeman, released in theaters in September 2007. Ms. Alexander also co-stars in the new HBO series "Tell Me You Love Me." A provocative and honest exploration of intimacy, "Tell Me You Love Me" offers an unfiltered look at the intimate lives of four couples, three of whom are in couples therapy with the same therapist -- May Foster played by Ms. Alexander, the female half of the fourth couple.

Ms. Alexander had attended her share of protest marches in the 1960s and 1970s, but she had never been involved in mainstream politics and was happily engaged in her acting career when she was asked to consider becoming head of the ever-embattled National Endowment for the Arts. Ms. Alexander's NEA tenure coincided with the ascent of the Gingrich Congress and its attempt to sabotage arts funding. In her book, "Command Performance: An Actress In The Theatre of Politics," Ms. Alexander describes these years, offering a sharp and sometimes hilarious take on those sometimes surreal days, and a gimlet-eyed portrait of Washington at work, play, and cocktail reception. She continues her political career as a Commissioner of Parks, the Taconic Region, for New York State.

In her speech "Freedom of Expression: What Does it Mean in Today's World?", Ms. Alexander looks at the complications of First Amendment Rights in the media, in public places and on the internet. Drawing on her years in Washington D.C. and her many controversial roles on stage, television and in the movies, Ms. Alexander offers an insightful and witty perspective on the issue of freedom of expression. In her speech "The Creative Mind," she focuses her keen intellect and expertise on the importance of arts education for todays schools; and the link between experiences in the fine arts and academic achievement.

Ms. Alexander is married to director and producer Ed Sherin, and lives in the country north of New York City.

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Ending the War on Wildlife

We are in the midst of a mass extinction; as many as 50 percent of all land and marine species could be gone by 2100. Unlike other extinctions in Earth's history the blame for this one points squarely at us. Climate change is altering landscapes and warming the oceans. Human beings continue to plunder species for wildlife trafficking in body parts; we desecrate lands and seas for the insatiable demands of a growing population; we repudiate the word of scientists for political and economic gains and in our arrogance we have lost our connectedness to the earth itself. We are as predatory as any species we have ever feared. But we humans are also the most adaptable, the most emphatic and the most ingenious creatures on the planet. We are at a crossroads and how we move forward will affect everything for the generations that follow us. Fortunately we are living in the great age of technological wizardry. Can we turn things around? How do we do it? Jane Alexander discusses the problems and possible solutions in this provocative lecture.

Freedom of Expression: What Does it Mean in Today's World?

Ms. Alexander looks at the complications of First Amendment Rights in the media, in public places and on the internet. Drawing on her years in Washington D.C. and her many controversial roles on stage, television and in the movies, Ms. Alexander offers an insightful and witty perspective on the issue of freedom of expression.

The Creative Mind

Focusing her keen intellect and expertise on the importance of arts education for today's schools, Ms. Alexander explains the importance of fine arts in academic achievement.

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