Globe-trotting TV producer headlines 22nd Annual International Dinner

Geoff Haines-Stiles always had a desire to travel the world – it was just a matter of finding the right itinerary and ticket. Through education, that route was revealed and Haines-Stiles eventually visited all seven continents, including two trips to the most remote, and least visited – Antarctica.

Guest speaker Geoff Haines-Stiles has visited all seven continents, including two trips to the most remote, and least visited – Antarctica.

A senior producer and director for Carl Sagan’s classic 1980 PBS television series, COSMOS, Haines-Stiles will bring his globe-trotting/planetary perspective to the University of Lethbridge Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015 as the featured speaker at the 22nd Annual International Dinner.

“As a kid, growing up in England, I was much more an arts person than a science enthusiast – I was not so great in math and physics,” says Haines-Stiles. “But working with Carl for several years and reading Cosmic Connection and Dragons of Eden turned me on to the fact that science is a truly humane endeavour, just as much as Latin and literature. We need to embrace both cultures to build a sustainable future.”

Haines-Stiles completed BA and master’s degree in history at Peterhouse, Cambridge (UK), before earning an MA in Communications from the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania. Hired initially by CBS Television, Haines-Stiles eventually made his way to KCET Los Angeles to work with Sagan. COSMOS won three Emmys and a Peabody Award, and has now been seen by more than 800 million people worldwide.

“Working on COSMOS showed me that a television series could be as substantive as a book, and could engage large and diverse audiences with exciting and even cutting-edge content,” he says. “It’s really rewarding to find people still commenting favourably on our 1980 series when COSMOS 2.0 with Neil deGrasse Tyson was recently screened on Fox and National Geographic. I’ve been working in science television ever since. COSMOS was my ticket to ride!”

He’ll share a behind-the-scenes look at the production of COSMOS, including stories and clips from his outstanding career, with the International Dinner audience. Haines-Stiles will also address his latest project, the National Science Foundation-supported The Crowd & The Cloud, which covers citizen science, Big Data and the democratization of research. The U of L has a direct connection to The Crowd & The Cloud – several students working with Dr. Jim Byrne (geography) are contributing researchers on the production. Byrne and Haines-Stiles have previously collaborated on a series of climate change videos.

The annual International Dinner celebrates the international spirit at the U of L and its great benefit to the campus environment. The University is the institution of choice for more than 600 international students representing 65 different countries.

“The diversity our international students bring is so enriching to our campus,” says Paul Pan, acting executive director of University of Lethbridge International. “The perspectives of their global experience and their eagerness to become a part of the University and broader community are extremely beneficial to our students and southern Alberta as a whole.”

In addition to the presentation by Haines-Stiles, the 22nd Annual International Dinner will feature cuisine from around the world. A silent auction in support of the International Students Entrance Scholarship will also take place. Cocktails begin at 5 p.m. with the dinner to follow at 6:30 p.m. in the Students’ Union Ballrooms.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 403-329-2053, email or visit the International Dinner website.