Elizabeth Smart to speak at MSU

Talk will focus on survival, moving on, and moving forward

Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped from her home at age 14 and held captive for nine months, will speak April 17 at Minot State University’s Ann Nicole Nelson Hall.

The speech will be free and open to the public.

Since she was rescued, Smart has gone on to marry and have three children, to become an author, activist for victim rights, and a national speaker.

“Her story is very compelling,” said Robert Kibler, chair of the English and Foreign Language Department at MSU.

Kibler said Smart’s message focuses on survival and moving on to lead a good life even after something so horrible has happened.

“She did not let this tragic event define her,” said Kibler.

Kibler said everyone on campus who was surveyed expressed an interest in hearing Smart’s story.

The university plans for Smart to be the first in a series of prominent speakers who will present at the university as part of the Minot State University Presidential Speaker Series.

Kibler said the university used to bring in notable speakers, including a poet laureate, cowboy poet, and prominent journalists, among others. At some point that had stopped, but the university now plans to revive its speaker series.

One of the things that makes a university more vibrant, said Kibler, is a speaker series.

A budget for the speaker series has been approved.

Smart is the author of ” Where There’s Hope: Healing, Moving Forward, and Never Giving Up.” She has also spoken out about issues such as human trafficking and the need for prevention. She offered advice to a 13-year-old girl in Wisconsin who freed herself earlier this month after she was reportedly held captive for three months by the man who had murdered her parents. Smart was quoted as saying the event has changed the young girl’s life, but it does not have to define it.