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Monica Lewinsky opens The Forum series Oct. 26 at UW-Eau Claire

| Denise Olson

Photo caption: Monica Lewinsky, who earned a master's degree in psychology from the London School of Economics, became a contributing editor at Vanity Fair in 2014 with her first piece, titled "Shame and Survival." She has since contributed 20 articles on topics ranging from mental health and cyberbullying to Anthony Fauci and Wordle.

One of the longest-running programs of its kind in the U.S., The Forum series at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire opens Oct. 26 for its 80th season of engaging and enlightening presentations by renowned national and global figures.

Series organizers are pleased to welcome Monica Lewinsky at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, in Zorn Arena. Tickets are now available online

A familiar name in American culture and politics for more than 20 years since her time as an intern in the Clinton White House, today Lewinsky is a producer, writer and global public speaker whose 2015 TED Talk, titled “The Price of Shame,” has been viewed over 20 million times.

As a contributing editor to Vanity Fair magazine, Lewinsky has focused on storytelling that moves conversations forward around the topics of shame, reclaiming identities and justice for women. Much of her work advocates for a safer social media community and more compassionate responsibility in news media.

As a producer, Lewinsky earned an Emmy nomination for a public service announcement, titled “In Real Life,” a commercial depicting a tragic outcome of social media bullying. More recently, she produced an installment of Ryan Murphy’s “American Crime Stories” anthology on FX, called “Impeachment.” The 10-episode series examines the 1998 impeachment from the perspective of the women involved, including Lewinsky.

“When this happened to me 23 years ago, we had no name for it. Today we call it cyberbullying, online harassment and slut shaming. I do this work not just to save myself. Anyone suffering from shame and public humiliation needs to know one thing — you can survive it,” Lewinsky said in a 2019 interview with In Style magazine. 

The Oct. 26 event at UW-Eau Claire will be moderated by Dr. Justin Patchin, professor of political science at UW-Eau Claire and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. Patchin looks forward to the discussion as Lewinsky shares her experiences and what she has learned in her years of work in anti-bullying advocacy.

“Monica Lewinsky has been a leader in the online safety space for some time now,” Patchin says. “Her perspective and platform are invaluable in raising awareness about the harms associated with negative online experiences. I’m excited to welcome her to our campus to discuss what her experiences can teach in making online spaces kinder.”

Megan Schmitz, a senior organizational communication major from Waterville, Minnesota, who serves as the Artists series and Forum intern, is pleased with the committee’s selection of Lewinsky to kick off the season.

“It is true that over time, the story surrounding Monica Lewinsky has often been a source of disagreement and controversy,” Schmitz says. “Her appearance on campus and her willingness to share her experiences is yet another important chance for Blugolds and the greater community to learn about current and historical events from multiple perspectives, from various points of view that foster empathy and understanding.”

As is the long-standing custom, Lewinsky will be introduced to her audience by a Blugold student, Luke Plagens, a sophomore economics major and forensics team member from Valley City, North Dakota.

“I'm extremely excited to be introducing Monica Lewinsky. The Forum has given me a chance to both speak and listen, something we could all work on,” Plagens says. “The Forum at UWEC is an opportunity in that it builds peace through sharing, which through my own experience, helps build better relationships.”