The Hamilton Lugar School’s sixth conference on America’s Role in the World® on December 1 and 2 will host a range of policy experts, journalists, and activists as they discuss and debate some of the most consequential global issues facing the US as it transitions to a new administration. The virtual conference will pay special tribute to Rep. Lee Hamilton, one of the school’s namesakes and an exemplar of placing principles over politics for more than 50 years, and to Rohingya Burmese activist Wai Wai Nu, who will be receiving the Hamilton Lugar School Global Voices for Change Award.
December 1: Human rights, challenges to democracy, and America’s role in the world from inside Congress
The conference will begin on December 1 with a conversation between Rep. Hamilton and Ben Rhodes, author of the New York Times bestseller The World as It Is and Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama. Rep. Hamilton’s Congressional service from 1965 to 1999, his leadership of the 9/11 Commission, and his continued writing on matters of foreign policy and national security will inform the conversation as they consider America’s role in the world at this pivotal moment.
- Hamilton on the challenges faced by President-elect Joe Biden, in the HLS blog
- Rhodes on the country’s vulnerability during a presidential transition, on MSNBC
The day will continue with an exchange about human rights, activism, and democracy between Burmese activist Wai Wai Nu and Ambassador Lee Feinstein, who is founding dean of the Hamilton Lugar School. After being a political prisoner for seven years, Wai Wai Nu emerged to become a human rights advocate and the founder of two organizations: the Women Peace Network and the Yangon Youth Center. Through the Women Peace Network, Wai Wai works to build peace and mutual understanding between Myanmar’s ethnic communities and to empower marginalized women throughout Myanmar, particularly in Rakhine State, by advocating for their rights. She is now a Simon-Skjodt Fellow at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Ambassador Feinstein served as US ambassador to Poland from 2009 to 2012 and now serves on the Executive Board of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, taking an active role in genocide prevention and the promotion of human rights.
- Wai Wai Nu reflects on the three-year anniversary of genocidal attacks on Rohingya by Burmese military
The day will end with a lively debate about the global wave of anti-democratic action and what the US should do about it. Hosted by Carl German, President of the National Endowment for Democracy, guests include democracy scholar Larry Diamond of the Hoover Institute and Stanford University; Michele Dunne, the director and a senior fellow in the Carnegie Endowment’s Middle East Program; Minxin Pei, of the Carnegie Endowment and Claremont McKenna College, who is a democratization and China scholar; and Alina Polyakova, president and CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis. The panel is co-sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy.
- Diamond on the importance of free and fair elections and threats to democracy in the US, in the New York Times
- Dunne on how Joe Biden’s victory will affect citizens in the Middle East and North Africa
- Pei on how damaging the US’s democracy helps China, in the South China Morning Post
- Polyakova on Russian meddling in the 2020 campaign, on CSPAN
December 2: National Security, the Climate Crisis, and Social Media
The fourth session of the conference will feature New Yorker columnist Robin Wright moderating a conversation on the 9/11 Commission with former Director of National Intelligence Lt. Gen. James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence Sen. Dan Coats, and Juliette Kayyem, former Assistant Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, now of the Harvard Kennedy School. The session is co-sponsored by the Wilson Center.
- Gen. Clapper on national instability and the importance of institutions, on CNN
- Coats on the effect of the 2020 election on democracy, in the New York Times
- Kayyem on the integrity of the 2020 election, on Boston Public Radio
Next, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley will delve into the major foreign policy challenges facing the next administration with PBS NewsHour host Judy Woodruff. The panel is co-sponsored by the Media School at Indiana University, the Indiana University Center on Representative Government, and the Pickering & Rangel Fellows Book Club.
- Woodruff interviews former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster about threats from Russia and China, on PBS
- Albright talks to USA Today about growing up, becoming the first woman secretary of state, and her book Fascism: A Warning
- Hadley on the importance of smooth presidential transitions, on Capital Radio
Janet McCabe, director of the Environmental Resilience Institute, will lead a crucial discussion on the future of climate activism with Katie Eder, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Future Coalition; Catherine Coleman Flowers, founder of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice and recent recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship; and Kiera O’Brien, Founding President of Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends. The session will include breakout sessions open to students, in which they will talk to panelists in smaller groups. The discussion is co-sponsored by the Environmental Resilience Institute.
- Eder on youth activism and the climate crisis in dosomething.org
- Coleman Flowers on her new book Waste and pollution and the lack of proper sanitation in rural America, on NPR
- O’Brien on young conservatives’ role battling the climate crisis, on WAMU
The day will end with veteran journalist Elaine Monaghan of the IU Media School moderating a very timely panel on trust and authenticity in social media. Guests include Paul Barrett, deputy director of the Center for Business and Human Rights at NYU’s Stern School of Business; Emily Bell, founding director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School; Fil Menczer, distinguished professor of informatics and computer science at Indiana University, Bloomington, and Director of the Observatory on Social Media; and Julie Posetti, Global Director of Research with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) where she leads the Journalism and the Pandemic Project. The panel is co-sponsored by IU Ethics, Values & Technology Project.
- Barrett on the importance of content moderators on social media, in Bloomberg
- Menczer on how conspiracy theories spread and how to stop them, in Scientific American
- Posetti on misinformation and how the pandemic has affected journalists, in jounralism.co.uk
The conference on America’s Role in the World® will be streamed live on the Hamilton Lugar School’s website and Facebook page and archived for future viewing. Check out the schedule for more information.