Elizabeth Smart will speak Thursday at North Arkansas College in the John Paul Hammerschmidt Lecture Series. The Lecture will be open to the public free of charge and will begin at 7:00 P.M. in the L. E. “Gene” Durand Center on North Ark’s Center Campus in downtown Harrison. Ms. Smart will share her incredible story of perseverance in the face of unimaginable adversity. Her speech will discuss topics such as overcoming extreme adversity, the importance and process of recovery and not allowing your past to dictate your life’s future.
One of the biggest national abduction news stories of our time, the kidnapping and recovery of Elizabeth Smart captured the nation’s attention from June 5, 2002, when she was taken at knifepoint, to when the police safely returned her back to her family on March 12, 2003. Held prisoner for 9 grueling months, repeatedly threatened and tormented, Smart emerged a symbol of perseverance and strength when she triumphantly testified before her captor and the world about her very private nightmare.
Through this traumatic experience, Smart has become a leading advocate for change related to child abduction, recovery programs and national legislation. The founder of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, dedicated to preventing crimes against children, Smart has also helped promote The National AMBER Alert, The Adam Walsh Child Protection & Safety Act and other similar efforts. Her abduction and recovery continues to encourage broad vigilance and motivate parents, law enforcement and leaders worldwide to focus on children’s safety.
Smart chronicled her experiences in the New York Times best-seller, “My Story.” She also worked with other abduction survivors and the U.S. Department of Justice to create “You’re Not Alone: The Journey From Abduction to Empowerment,” a survivors guide intended to encourage and help children who have gone through similar experiences. Smart will also release her new book, “Where There’s Hope” in Spring 2018.
A daily demonstration that there is life after a tragic event, Smart is an irrefutable model of perseverance in the face of unimaginable adversity. With bravery and wisdom far beyond her years, Smart captivates audiences with her story and insight on overcoming adversity, the importance and process of recovery, and not allowing one’s past to dictate one’s future.
This will be the 29th presentation in the JPH Lecture Series. Former Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt passed away in early 2015. His son, John Arthur Hammerschmidt serves on the Lecture Committee and carries forward Mr. Hammerschmidt’s efforts to bring renowned speakers to the Harrison area at no charge to the public.