What is the future of democracy? To celebrate its 20th anniversary of bringing the world to Nebraska, the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues presents a slate of speakers who will explore diverse facets of this complex question. Looking through the lenses of history, philosophy, religion, globalization, conflict, economics and citizenship, this year's lectures provide insights into the ideal and the reality, the promise and the challenge of democracy in the 21st Century.
Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th Street, Lincoln, NE
All lectures are free and open to the public.
Available live on the web, Lincoln cable channel 21 or channel 5, NETSAT 104, UNL campus channel 8 and UNL KRNU radio 90.3 FM. Live satellite broadcasts and follow-up discussion will be available in Scottsbluff, North Platte, Kearney, Wayne, Columbus and Omaha.
Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership
Thursday, September 18, 2008, 7:30 p.m.
The Governor's Lecture in the Humanities is presented in collaboration with the Nebraska Humanities Council.
Download the video podcast (435 mb MP4)
Commentator, editor, teacher, public servant, best-selling author and adviser to presidents, David Gergen has been an active participant in American national life. He served as director of communications for President Ronald Reagan and also held positions in the Nixon, Ford and Clinton administrations. Gergen currently serves as editor-at-large at U.S. News & World Report and as a regular television commentator. He is also a professor of public service at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and director of its Center for Public Leadership. In 2000, he published the best-selling book "Eyewitness to Power: The Essence: of Leadership, Nixon to Clinton."
U.S. News and World Report articles by Gergen | The Boston Globe "A question of presidential leadership." | The Times (UK) "For all those ready to write off America - don't count on it" | Interview on PBS - Frontline (transcript)
CNN video clips with Gergen | "The Buying of the President 2008" | "Judgment, Character and Ambition: David Gergen on Leadership in the 2008 Presidential Race" | Mount Union College interview
Democracy and Religion: America and Israel
Tuesday, October 28, 2008, 7 p.m.
The Kripke Lecture presented in collaboration with the UNL Norman and Bernice Harris Center for Judaic Studies
Download the video podcast (507 mb MP4)
Ronald Dworkin has a unique ability to tie together abstract philosophical ideas and arguments with concrete everyday concerns in law, morals and politics. Dubbed "Mr. Justice" by the Times of London, Dworkin's pioneering scholarly work has had worldwide impact. He is a Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University and a Professor of Law at University College London. In 2007, Dworkin was awarded the prestigious Holberg International Memorial Prize by the University of Bergen, Norway for outstanding scholarly work in the humanities. Dworkin has written influential articles on matters of public political controversy for many years. Among his many acclaimed books are: "Taking Rights Seriously," "Justice in Robes" and "Is Democracy Possible Here? Principles for New Political Debate."
Photo: John Earle
Related articles and video
Holberg Prize video | "Dworkin Explores Secular, Religious Models for Society" | "Can We Disagree About Law or Morals?" | Weekly Signals audio podcast on book: Is Democracy Possible Here? Principles for a New Political Debate | BBC Radio audio podcast | Israel's slipping democracy
America and the World, 1962 to 2008: Contrasts and Contradictions
Theodore C. Sorensen
Tuesday, November 18, 2008, 7 p.m.
Download the video podcast (300 mb MP4)
Theodore C. 'Ted' Sorensen, former special counsel and adviser to President John F. Kennedy and a widely published author on the presidency and foreign affairs, practiced international law for over 36 years as a senior partner, and now of counsel, in the prominent U.S. law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Former chairman of the firm's International Practice Committee, he has represented U.S. and multinational corporations in negotiations with governments all over the world and advised and assisted a large number of foreign governments and government leaders, ranging from the late President Anwar El Sadat of Egypt to former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa. Sorensen is a Lincoln native and graduate of UNL and the University of Nebraska College of Law. His memoirs, "Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History," were published in May, 2008.
Bridging the Gap: Globalization without Isolation
F.W. de Klerk
Tuesday, February 10, 2009, 7 p.m.
The Lewis E. Harris Lecture on Public Policy.
Download the video podcast (357 mb MP4)
During his time as president of South Africa, F.W. de Klerk released Nelson Mandela from prison, and initiated and presided over the dismantling of apartheid, the adoption of South Africa's first fully democratic constitution and the first-ever multiracial elections. In 1993, Mandela and de Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize. One of the most influential statesmen of our time, de Klerk founded and is currently chairman of the Global Leadership Foundation, a consortium of former heads of state dedicated to promoting peace, democracy and development worldwide by providing confidential peer-to-peer advice to governments around the world.
Notes from Afghanistan
Wednesday, March 4, 2009, 7 p.m.
Download podcast (405 mb MP4)
Read further answers from Sarah Chayes on questions asked at her E.N. Thompson Forum lecture.
Sarah Chayes has been living and working in Kandahar, Afghanistan since 2001, when she covered the fall of the Taliban for National Public Radio. In 2002 she left journalism to help rebuild the shattered country whose fate will help determine the shape of the 21st century, working first with Afghans for Civil Society, and currently with Arghand, a cooperative producing fine skin-care products from local fruits, nuts and botanicals. The Washington Post described her book, "The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban," as "sharply observed, fearlessly told." Prior to her assignment in Afghanistan, Chayes reported for NPR in the Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East. Along with members of her NPR team, she was recognized by the Foreign Press for her reporting in Kosovo.
"A Voice in the Afghan Wilderness" - Washington Post | "Taliban Resurgent" - New York Times | "American activist finds her calling in Afghan hot spot" Boston Globe | Scents & Sensibility | The Other Front
NPR features with Sarah Chayes | "A House for Haji Baba" Frontline PBS (video clips) | Bill Moyers Journal | "Sarah Chayes on Life in Afghanistan After the Taliban and Why She Left NPR" - Democracy Now | Afghanistan slideshow at The Atlantic | Bill Moyers Journal Profile | Interview on NPR's Fresh Air
Illegal Immigrants: Path to Citizenship?
Dr. Michael Olivas & Dr. Vernon Briggs
Wednesday, March 25, 2009, 7 p.m.
The Charles and Linda Wilson Dialogue on Domestic Issues
Moderated by Lloyd Ambrosius
Download podcast (262 mb MP4)
Estimates of the number of illegal immigrants in the United States range from 11 million to more than 20 million. Most recommendations for immigration reform center on the issue of a path to citizenship for these people. Opponents say this is amnesty, a strategy which proved ineffective in previous immigration legislation. Supporters say legalization is both a necessity and a moral obligation. In the second annual Wilson Dialogue, Dr. Michael Olivas, William B. Bates Distinguished Chair of Law at the University of Houston, and Dr. Vernon Briggs, Professor Emeritus in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, will discuss the issue of a path to citizenship.
Olivas speaks on Mexican-American civil rights at UT | "The Attack of Affirmative Action: Lives in Parallel Universes" - Michael Olivas | "An Interview with Vernon M. Briggs Jr." The Social Contract Press | "Guestworker Programs for Low-Skilled Workers: Lessons from the Past and Warnings for the Future" - Vernon Briggs | Policy Brief - Vernon Briggs | Immigration Policy - Vernon Briggs | Immigration: A Rogue Labor Market Policy - Vernon Briggs
Citizenship in a Global Age
Colin G. Campbell
Tuesday, April 14, 2009, 7 p.m.
Video podcast (473 mb MP4)
The idea of "global citizenship" is old as Athens. But, to this day, it remains a political ideal, not a practical reality. The "world" does not issue you a passport or guarantee you rights. Yet, the values implied by global citizenship - broad awareness, intelligent engagement - have become more compelling than ever. In the final lecture of the Thompson Forum's 20th Anniversary season, Colin G. Campbell will discuss citizenship and its history, the development of American citizenship and the challenges (and potential) of citizenship in the era of globalization.
Colin G. Campbell is Chairman and President of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation which, in 2007, convened the World Forum on the Future of Democracy. Since then, the Foundation has used both technology and face-to-face contact to engage thousands of people worldwide in a conversation about the roles, responsibilities and rights of citizens in a democracy.
A cooperative project of the Cooper Foundation, The Lied Center for Performing Arts and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln