Former diplomat Power will headline third America's Role in the World conference at IU Bloomington

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Samantha Power, former U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations and a Pulitzer Prize winner, will be the keynote speaker at the third annual conference on America's Role in the World, March 28 and 29 at Indiana University's School of Global and International Studies in Bloomington.

Samantha PowerView print quality image
Keynote speaker Samantha Power

The conference will take place in the auditorium of the Global and International Studies Building, 355 N. Jordan Ave. Students, faculty and the public are invited. There is no cost to attend, but registration is encouraged. 

Starting from the premise "Foreign Policy Begins at Home," the nonpartisan conference will showcase a series of discussions among leading policymakers, scholars, activists, researchers and journalists. A longtime public servant lauded for her conviction that American engagement is essential to global security, Power will deliver a keynote to complement panels on the most critical global issues, including immigration, food security, and the challenges facing democratic ideals and institutions around the world.    

America's Role in the World is co-convened by two of America's most esteemed voices in foreign policy, former Sen. Dick Lugar and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, both distinguished scholars at the School of Global and International Studies and Presidential Medal of Freedom winners.

Dick Lugar and Lee HamiltonView print quality image
Former Sen. Dick Lugar (middle) and former Rep. Lee Hamilton (right) at last year's America's Role in the World Conference.

"I can't think of a more important time to bring the foreign policy conversation to the Midwest and campus," said Lee Feinstein, dean of the School of Global and International Studies. "Now in its third year, the conference is developing into a much-needed convening place in the heart of the country to evaluate and understand global challenges."

Power, a professor of practice at Harvard Law School and the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, will speak to the current state of global affairs from the perspectives of scholar, practitioner and journalist. Having begun her career reporting from such hot spots as Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda and Sudan, Power distinguished herself as a chronicler of humanitarian crises and an advocate for global action to stop and prevent genocide. Her book "'A Problem From Hell':  America and the Age of Genocide" won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. 

As the 18th U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017, Power confronted foreign policy hurdles such as the Russian annexation of Crimea, the Syrian civil war, heightened North Korean aggression and the Ebola crisis. Serving on the National Security Council from 2009 to 2013, Power focused on atrocity prevention and human rights, among other issues. Named to Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" list and Foreign Policy's roll of "Top 100 Global Thinkers," Power has been described as "a powerful crusader for U.S foreign policy as well as human rights and democracy" by Forbes.

Speaking at noon March 29, Power joins a lineup of prominent voices at the conference, which will feature seven sessions open to the public and several smaller lunch sessions, offering students the opportunity for informal conversations with panelists.

In the opening session, panelists will consider the current state of democracy around the world. Among the panelists is political theorist Yascha Mounk, author of the new book "The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It" and host of the Slate podcast "The Good Fight." Mounk is a lecturer at Harvard University's Department of Government and Carnegie Fellow at New America.

Other speakers taking part in the two-day event include Dan Balz, chief correspondent at The Washington Post; Eric Schwartz, president of the NGO Refugees International; Celeste Wallander, president and CEO of the U.S.-Russia Foundation and former special assistant to the president and senior director for Russia; Gebisa Ejeta, 2009 World Food Prize laureate and distinguished professor and executive director of the Center for Global Food Security at Purdue University; Alyssa Ayres, senior fellow for India, Pakistan and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations and deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia from 2010 to 2013; and James F. Collins, U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation from 1997 to 2001 and senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who graduated from the Russian and East European Institute, now part of the School of Global and International Studies.

Reprising the theme of one of last year's most popular discussions, business, education and government leaders from Indiana will gather for the concluding panel of the conference to examine how the state participates in the global economy and interacts with global trends. "Indiana in the World" will include Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson; Jamie Merisotis, president of the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation; Blair Milo, secretary for Career Connections and Talent for the state of Indiana; and IU Trustee James T. Morris, former executive director of the U.N. World Food Programme. They will be joined by IU President Michael A. McRobbie and IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel, among others.

The conference will showcase IU's own expertise, with panelists including Jeffrey Isaac and Christine Barbour from the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Asaad Alsaleh, Nick Cullather, Maria Lipman, Sarah Phillips and John Yasuda from the School of Global and International Studies.

A conversation about global engagement with a pair of legislators who have made historic contributions to American foreign policy will bring the first day of the conference to a close. IU alumna Marie Harf, former deputy spokesperson at the Department of State and Fox News commentator, will guide the conversation between Lugar and Hamilton. The following morning, Lugar will be joined by current U.S. senator from Indiana Todd Young, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a former aide to Lugar, at a session on global food security. 

"Responses to global challenges are increasingly met at the state and local level, and by people joining together in their communities to make their voices heard," Feinstein said. "At a time when global distrust in institutions is low, this year's theme -- foreign policy begins at home -- is apt."

The School of Global and International Studies at IU Bloomington promotes understanding of contemporary and global issues, informed by a deep knowledge of history, culture and language. The school is making one of the nation's largest investments in global studies, with the addition of 25 new faculty members and the opening of its architecturally distinctive, LEED-certified building, inaugurated by the secretary of state in 2015.

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