Morning Lecture Previews

Former CIA director to speak on Middle East solutions

no thumb


R. James Woolsey

Catherine Pomiecko | Staff Writer

Three weeks before President Richard Nixon’s inauguration in 1969, R. James Woolsey attended a friend’s engagement dinner party.

A man well versed in politics, Woolsey unsurprisingly entered into a discussion about the Vietnam War that evening. Somehow, that conversation managed to turn into a loud and rather angry argument with none other than Paul Nitze, the Deputy Secretary of Defense and father of the bride-to-be.

As they were standing in the middle of the reception area and surrounded by a few hundred people at the black-tie event, their dispute did not go unnoticed. But with just three weeks until the new administration came into office, Woolsey wasn’t worried about any lingering consequences.

Two months later, Woolsey’s boss at his ROTC-commissioned position at the Pentagon presented a job referral with arms control. The job was an assistant position drafting statements and researching strategic weapons negotiations. It sounded like the perfect job for Woolsey, save for the fact that the hiring boss was, in fact, Nitze, who had been reappointed by the Nixon administration to head up the department.

“I only met Nitze once, and it didn’t go very well,” Woolsey said to his boss, who replied, “That must have been what he meant — when I mentioned your name to him, he paused for a second, then he grinned and said, ‘Send Woolsey on up. He may not know what the hell he’s talking about, but at least he’ll speak up.’”

The reputation for speaking up not only elevated Woolsey’s job in arms control but has also followed him throughout his career. In the words of Peter Earnest, the founding executive director of the International Spy Museum and Monday’s morning lecturer, “a man who has continued to speak up” will speak out to Chautauquans about the current strategic problems and their relation to energy and oil at 10:45 a.m. today in the Amphitheater.

Woolsey is chairman of Woolsey Partners LLC and serves on a range of government, corporate and non-profit advisory boards, including the National Commission on Energy Policy and the Clean Fuels Foundation. Woolsey also has served in the U.S. government on five different occasions, most recently as director of Central Intelligence.

Woolsey began work with energy issues after 9/11 as an officer, and later vice president, of Booz Allen Hamilton. He spent about five years there working to make the country’s energy systems and electric grid more resilient and less vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Woolsey also taught an energy course at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs that summarizes his views on energy policies today.

The course, called, “Energy in the 21st century: Could Muir, Patton, and Gandhi Agree on a Program?” begged energy decision makers to satisfy the environmental considerations of John Muir, the security considerations of George S. Patton and the considerations of the third-world countries where energy grids don’t reach, represented by Mahatma Gandhi. Later, the idea was adapted and published in The World Affairs Journal, replacing John Muir with Rachel Carson, the founder of the contemporary environmental movement.

Woolsey’s career experiences epitomize the collaboration of many disciplines and are in some ways an example of the way America must respond to its current problems. In today’s world, many intelligence affairs are interrelated with energy and oil consumption, Woolsey said.

“This 21st-century world we are in requires us to look at intelligence and strategy together, and not just regard intelligence as some sort of a separate category,” he said.

Woolsey ends the week on “American Intelligence: Technology, Espionage and Alliances” to spur discussion about the most current threats the U.S. faces, said Sherra Babcock, director of the Department of Education at Chautauqua Institution.

“Woolsey will talk about weapons of mass disruption, infrastructure, electricity, water, utilities, connectivity, banking systems, etcetera.” Babcock said. “All of those things could really create havoc in our culture if they were disrupted by a cyber enemy.”

In his lecture, Woolsey plans to focus on what the U.S. can do to overcome the problems it faces in the Middle East.

“In terms of intelligence, today’s world is so different than that of the Cold War,” he said. “The enemies that we have to deal with are so very different than what we had to deal with then, and that impacts the way that we need to operate to effectively collect intelligence and deal with them.”

Further viewing:

  1. Conversations with History – R. James Woolsey

Ignatius to present writer’s view of global espionage

no thumb


David Ignatius

Nick Glunt | Staff Writer

David Ignatius, 30-year foreign affairs journalist and espionage novelist, will speak at 10:45 a.m. today in the Amphitheater as Week Three’s fourth speaker on “American Intelligence: Technology, Espionage and Alliances.”

Ignatius has spent time with The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and the International Herald Tribune in Paris. He has been a reporter, columnist and editor, though he is most widely known as a columnist for The Washington Post.

Ignatius also is a successful novelist, having written such novels as Body of Lies, which was later adapted into a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe.

“I have a few friends — one friend in particular — who’ve said there’s so many things that are more truth in my fiction than in my fact,” Ignatius said.

He said he does not find it difficult to be both a journalist and a novelist, because he uses what he learns as a journalist to write his novels. As he covers Middle East foreign affairs, he comes up with ideas for his novels. He encounters those ideas and then “reshapes” them for his novels, he said.

Ignatius said being a novelist wasn’t always his calling.

“In truth, I had taken a college course in fiction but wasn’t very good at it,” he said. “Like a lot of people, I had a lot of snippets of fiction I had tried to write, but I pretty much decided I was cut out to be a reporter, not a creative writer.”

After a series of events occurred regarding a story he had written for The Washington Post, the idea for his first novel, Agents of Innocence, began to mold in his mind. He said it was a story he couldn’t tell in any other way.

The publishing company accepted his book because its employees wanted a nonfiction book from him, and this was how they thought it could happen.

Ignatius said Agents of Innocence could almost be considered historical fiction. He tried to make that novel as accurate as possible, even going so far as to research what movies were playing at a particular theater at the time the novel was set. His other novels aren’t quite as historical, as he said he invents a lot more in them.

He is still on contract to write one more novel, he said.

“A week ago, I was in Afghanistan for 10 days wandering around the country,” Ignatius said, “and I have to confess, a part of me was not there doing journalism.”

He had his eyes out for something that could make a good story. He still isn’t sure what the subject of that novel will be.

Ignatius grew up in Washington, D.C., where many people who lived in his neighborhood worked for the CIA. When he was younger, he traveled regularly and even studied at King’s College in Cambridge, England. An interest in international affairs came naturally.

“(The Middle East) is such a complicated mess that it invites — novels love ambiguity; they love situations that are dark and murky and mysterious,” Ignatius said. “That’s what the Middle East is.”

He said one particular theme present in his novels set in the Middle East is that the U.S. doesn’t know enough about that area to be able to work effectively.

Ignatius said the lecture he will present today will cover many topics of his newest novel, Bloodmoney: A Novel of Espionage. These topics include the relationship between U.S. and Pakistani intelligence, as well as the “marriage of need and convenience” on the part of both parties after Osama bin Laden’s death. He also will address the CIA and what he sees in the CIA as a novelist.

Ignatius had a bit of advice to offer to other aspiring writers.

“Keep writing,” he said. “For the skill to improve, it’s learned by doing. The second thing would be, if you want to have something to write — whether it’s journalism or fiction — you need to get out in the world and see it. I have very little patience for journalism written while sitting in front of a screen … or novels written from the faculty lounge.”

Former MI5 leader Rimington to discuss US-British intelligence relations



Stella Rimington

Elora Tocci | Staff Writer

Stella Rimington is former Director General of the British civilian intelligence agency MI5, but don’t call her James Bond.

Rimington, who will deliver the 10:45 a.m. lecture today in the Amphitheater, became the first female head of a British intelligence agency when she took the post in 1992. She started working for the agency in 1965 as a part-time clerk and typist and worked her way up through the ranks, serving in the main fields of MI5’s responsibilities — counter-subversion, counter-espionage and counter-terrorism.

In 1965, gender discrimination in MI5 was rampant, but Rimington said that by the time she became Director General, she was not treated differently by her colleagues or the government because of her gender. The media, however, were a different story.

“The idea of a woman heading a British intelligence service came as a shock — they apparently thought that a person in that job should be like James Bond, and they described me as ‘Housewife Superspy’ and set about investigating my life,” she said.

But Rimington continued to work unfazed and served as the Director General for four years. She was the first Director General whose name was publicly announced upon her appointment, and during her four years, she increased transparency of MI5 in the public eye.

Rimington said civilian intelligence services can be smaller and more focused than law enforcement agencies and can thus concentrate on the most severe threats to national security and develop a deep understanding about them. But she said civilian intelligence agencies require close contact with other areas of government and law enforcement so that appropriate action can be taken at the right time.

Her lecture, she hopes, will convey that American and British intelligence agencies work quite closely with each other.

“The British intelligence services regard U.S. intelligence as their oldest and closest partner, and I regard that partnership as vital in helping to tackle what will be difficult security problems in the future and in defending our freedoms,” she said.

After Rimington left MI5 in 1996, she began to write novels around the fictional intelligence agent protagonist Liz Carlyle.

“Liz Carlyle is in a sense the antithesis of James Bond,” she said.

Although she writes the novels strictly to entertain readers, Rimington said she has made Carlyle as realistic as possible.

“(Liz Carlyle) is sharp, intelligent, intuitive and totally non-macho,” Rimington said. “She is part of a team, not a one-man band, and the way she tackles the difficult investigations she conducts, developing the intelligence, analyzing it and acting on it, is as close to reality as I can get it.”

Riedel gives long-term solutions for Pakistan



Bruce Riedel

Leah Rankin | Staff Writer

The War on Terror has been the longest waged in American history. And while it may seem that victories against al-Qaida are few and far between, former CIA officer Bruce Riedel has some suggestions for long-term solutions that he will share at his lecture at 10:45 a.m. today in the Amphitheater.

In Riedel’s recent book, Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America, and the Future of the Global Jihad, the author outlines the history of a love-hate relationship between the United States and Pakistan, a country with the second-largest Muslim population in the world. It is a complicated relationship, to say the least, but it is a partnership that must hold strong if it is to release the iron grip of the Taliban and al-Qaida on the Middle East.

“Pakistan is the epicenter of the international jihadist movement,” Riedel said, “and it is almost certainly the most dangerous country in the world today.”

“Almost every issue that Americans worry about — from terrorism, to the risk of nuclear war, to nuclear proliferation, to the future of Islam, to the future of democracy in the Islamic world — all those issues come together in Pakistan in a unique and very combustible way.”

As a senior fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, Riedel has counseled four U.S. presidents regarding intelligence issues in the Middle East and South Asia. In March 2009, he led a policy review of Pakistan and Afghanistan for President Barack Obama.

Riedel’s involvement with numerous presidential administrations has led him to the opinion that short-term goals regarding diplomacy in the Middle East are ineffective, and that a long-term plan to help Pakistan help itself is the only way to establish a mutually beneficial relationship.

“What we want to do is try to help those parts of Pakistani society which want Pakistan to be a modern, more or less secular, prosperous country without sanctuary for terrorists to feed,” Riedel said. “Our goal in Pakistan is to influence the internal battle in Pakistan, a kind of battle for the soul of this country, in favor of those who share a similar outlook with us and want to make Pakistan a modern, open power and reasonably prosperous country.”

Riedel also said Pakistan is suffering from what he terms a “Frankenstein” complex. In the 1980s, Pakistan developed a jihadist infrastructure to defend itself against the Soviet Union in the Cold War. The country also used this infrastructure to wage war against its rival, India. This jihadist movement, however, quickly grew beyond Pakistan’s control and is now creating inner turmoil throughout the country. In this way, Riedel said, Pakistan has become both the teacher and victim of terrorism.

But there is hope for Pakistan, he said. The elimination of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden May 1 was a huge blow to the terrorist organizations in the Middle East.

“For America to get Osama bin Laden after all these years was an indication that the strategy that the President embarked upon in 2009 had paid off,” Riedel said. “President Obama said at the beginning of his administration that his policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan was to degrade and defeat al-Qaida, and the demise of Osama bin Laden is definitely a step in that direction.”

At today’s lecture, Riedel will outline his ideas for victory in Pakistan — not necessarily for Americans, but for the people and government of Pakistan.

“I think the biggest misconception people have,” Riedel said, “is that all Pakistanis hate America and support terrorist groups. There are many Pakistanis who want to get their country out of the business of terrorism. They want their country to be tolerant, to be open, and to have a democratic process. We need to hear more of those voices, and we need to support those voices.”

Spy Museum director to frame week of espionage, intelligence

no thumb

Catherine Pomiecko | Staff Writer

When Peter Earnest first accepted a position with the United States Central Intelligence Agency, he, like the majority of the population at that time, knew very little about what the organization even was.

Now, after 35 years of service with the CIA, Earnest has made it his mission as the founding executive director of the International Spy Museum to educate the public about the role of intelligence and the ways it is gathered.

Setting the stage for a week of “American Intelligence: Technology, Espionage and Alliances,” Earnest will discuss the history of espionage and its role in the 21st century at 10:45 a.m. today in the Amphitheater.

Earnest served 25 years as a case officer in the CIA’s Clandestine Service, where he spent more than 10 years in Europe and the Middle East. In the height of the Cold War, he ran intelligence collection and covert action operations against Soviet Bloc representatives and Communist front organizations. He also was chief of the task force in charge of the highest-ranking Soviet defector to the U.S.

In his last position with the CIA, Earnest served as the principal spokesman and director of media relations, creating a public profile unusual for a person with his experience. That, Earnest said, made his involvement with the International Spy Museum a natural fit.

“The International Spy Museum, which is unique in the world, plays a real role in educating the public on intelligence and espionage,” he said. “And if the role of a museum is to enlighten people, to educate people, to broaden their view, then certainly the opportunity to partner with Chautauqua and reach a large number of people is a terrific opportunity.”

Earnest’s lecture will create a framework for the weeklong partnership between the International Spy Museum and Chautauqua Institution. In addition to the morning lecture series, many Special Studies courses, afternoon lectures and children’s activities planned for the week will feature different facets of intelligence and espionage.

For example, Jonna and Tony Mendez, both former CIA chiefs of disguise, will host a Special Studies course on the art of misdirection and deception on Wednesday. Earnest also will be hosting a session called “The Recruiter: The Art of Being a Spy” as part of a five-day series.

“The whole idea of doing this is to promote understanding, and I can’t think of a better way to do it,” Earnest said.

Sherra Babcock, director of Chautauqua’s Department of Education, said the partnership better allows both organizations to further their own goals and appeal to all audiences.

“It’s going to be a wonderful, interesting, intergenerational week,” Babcock said.

The week’s theme also aligns closely with the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 and is meant to explore the questions that still remain about U.S. enemies, Babcock said.

“We didn’t want to do a straightforward program (in observance of Sept. 11) so we asked ourselves, ‘Who is our enemy? What do we know about them? And what is the current technology available?’” she said.

As those questions come during a time period in which U.S. security and intelligence efforts are increasingly important, Earnest said he hopes audiences will at the very least recognize the complexity of U.S intelligence efforts.

“It’s sometimes bewildering to people what the role of intelligence is, where spying fits in, where cyberwar fits in, all of those things,” Earnest said. “My hope and goal is that the people attending this week will develop a grasp on intelligence, the U.S. Intelligence Community and the role of intelligence in today’s world.”

Further viewing:

  1. The Colbert Report (Part 1)
  2. The Colbert Report (Part 2)

Sandel brings ethics discussions to Amp, CLSC

no thumb


Michael Sandel

Aaron Krumheuer and Suzi Starheim | Staff Writers

A longtime visitor to Chautauqua’s Amphitheater, Harvard University professor Michael Sandel returns to ask the question: What’s the right thing to do?

Sandel will speak twice today. He will give a morning lecture at 10:45 a.m. in the Amphitheater, as well as a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle lecture at 3:30 p.m. in the Hall of Philosophy. Sandel’s lectures come to Chautauqua nearing the end of the Week Two theme of “Applied Ethics: Government and the Search for the Common Good.”

Each of today’s lectures will focus on applied ethics and themes from Sandel’s recent New York Times best-selling book, Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? They will be followed with a book signing. Sandel’s Justice is the second selection of the week for CLSC’s 2011 Season.

Chautauqua Institution President Thomas M. Becker said having Sandel at Chautauqua near the end of the Week Two theme will greatly benefit audience members.

“Every now and then, we have the opportunity to be in the presence of a really great teacher,” Becker said. “That’s what this is.”

Becker said Sandel is able to evoke deep thought in those who attend his lectures because of his ability to make moral reasoning seem understandable and less difficult.

“He manages to engage you as if you are talking one-on-one,” Becker said. “He gives concrete examples and wants audiences to think along with him.”

Sandel, a professor at Harvard since 1980, has received the Harvard-Radcliffe Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize and is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University.

In addition to his most recent book, Justice, Sandel has also written Liberalism and the Limits of Justice; Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy; Public Philosophy: Essays on Morality in Politics; and The Case against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering.

Sandel is a 1975 summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Brandeis University and earned his doctorate at the University of Oxford in 1981 as a Rhodes Scholar. He was recognized in 2008 by the American Political Science Association for his excellence in teaching and served on the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2002 to 2005. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

As a Harvard professor, Sandel teaches courses such as “Ethics, Economics, and Law,” “Ethics, Biotechnology, and the Future of Human Nature” and “Globalization and Its Critics.” He also established the undergraduate course “Justice,” which is the first Harvard course available for free online. This course has now enrolled more than 15,000 students.

While this isn’t Sandel’s first time speaking to a Chautauquan audience, he said it is something he looks forward to greatly.

“I’ve been privileged to speak in Chautauqua’s glorious Amphitheater many times over the years,” Sandel said in an email. “I know of no more thoughtful and reflective audience anywhere in the world. Chautauquans are committed to ideas, to civic life, and to moral and spiritual reflection. Coming to Chautauqua always feels like coming home.”

Sandel’s ability to get his audience to think is a big part of the reason he is such a popular lecturer in Chautauqua, said Sherra Babcock, director of the Department of Education.

“He is going to cause people in the audience to think deeply about applied ethics in general and about the issues of government and the common good,” Babcock said. “They will probably go home with their ideas unsettled, which means they’ll be thinking about his lecture long after Friday.”

At the heart of his lectures, and his book Justice, Babcock said, is the belief that morals should be a public debate, not a private one.

“We try to have him here very frequently because he’s such a deep thinker on the topic of applied ethics,” Babcock said. “He causes people to ask themselves, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’”

Justice is based off Sandel’s Harvard undergraduate course of the same name. It is an ethical exploration, delving into some of the most divisive debates of our age, including immigration, Wall Street bailouts, same-sex marriage, free markets and religion in politics.

Throughout the book, Sandel employs the Socratic method to get to the heart of the moral framework of various arguments. He introduces several philosophical models, such as Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative and John Stuart Mill’s theory of utilitarianism, and plays them against one another, making point and counter-point.

“I read it twice, actually. … Each time, I was just really impressed with how apt the cases and instances are (Sandel) brings in,” said Philip Safford, a former professor from Shaker Heights, Ohio, who delivered a Brown Bag review on the book on Wednesday at Alumni Hall. “It’s very, very readable, and his teaching itself is accessible. Obviously, he’s very successful at engaging his students just as he engages the reader.”

Despite its lofty subject matter, the book is full of practical case studies accessible even to novices to philosophy, yet the penetration into current events is still appealing to those well versed in Aristotle and John Rawls.

“It’s dealing with issues in all our lives, whether it’s affirmative action or surrogate parenting or genetic engineering. … These are things we face, and to see them all in one little book is really quite impressive,” Safford said. “You realize, wow, we live in a very complex society, with all kinds of ethical challenges.”

Sandel said that although he has been to Chautauqua several times before, the Week Two theme could not take place at a better time for him and for Americans as a group.

“In my lecture, I will ask what we can do to elevate the quality of our public discourse,” Sandel said. “Many Americans are frustrated with the shouting matches and bitterness that characterize our political debates. Some people say the problem with our politics is that we talk too much about morality in public life. I disagree. I will argue that the cure for what ails us is not less moral argument in politics but a deeper engagement with the moral and spiritual convictions that we, as citizens, bring to public life. I will argue for a new politics of the common good.”

Olson to discuss legal system’s role in governing process

no thumb


Theodore Olson

John Ford | Staff Writer

Theodore Olson, former U.S. solicitor general, will be the featured speaker at 10:45 a.m. today in the Amphitheater as the Week Two examination continues of “Applied Ethics: Government and the Search for the Common Good.”

Olson has been at the center of some of the most significant U.S. legal proceedings of the past 25 years and was named by Time magazine last year as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Olson will be joined on the Amphitheater stage by frequent Chautauqua speaker John Q. Barrett, a law professor at St. John’s University in New York, prominent Supreme Court historian and specialist on former high court justice Robert H. Jackson of Jamestown, N.Y.

Barrett envisions a wide-ranging colloquy in which he will pose broad questions and Olson will respond. “I expect he will do most of the talking,” Barrett said.

Olson has long been one of the most visible and successful attorneys arguing cases before the Supreme Court. Notable successes include Bush v. Gore following the 2000 general election and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Overall, he has won more than three-quarters of his cases before the high court.

He is currently representing NFL players in their federal court lawsuit against the NFL owners and their lockout of players.

Olson worked in the Department of Justice in the early 1980s and was colicitor general — the nation’s top lawyer — under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2004. He served in the Reagan White House and was former President Ronald Reagan’s personal attorney during and after his presidency. Except for his years in the Justice Department, Olson has been affiliated with the powerhouse Los Angeles and Washington law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP since 1965.

Olson was serving as solicitor general on Sept. 11. His wife, Barbara, was a passenger on the hijacked American Airlines jet, which was crashed into the Pentagon on that day.

Potential conflicts between personal values and professional responsibilities and how lawyers deal with these conflicts will form one of the themes Barrett will likely raise in this morning’s program.

Another area for discussion is what Barrett calls “the politicization of the law and criminal justice by those out of political power to displace those who are in.”

Barrett wants to examine how this got started and seemingly became so deeply rooted, and to explore an exit strategy for the American political system.

“The legal system was always part of the campaign process to some degree,” Barrett noted, “but not until more recently has it become a prominent component of the governing process.”

Barrett also said “the ethics of the high-end lawyer in decisions around defending money and power versus public interest fights” form another likely basis for discussion

“Should ethics guide the brilliant lawyer away from the wrong side of justice?” he asked.

An additional conversational subject will be the increasingly prevalent view of the Supreme Court over the past 25 years as what Barrett describes as “pre-committed.”

“Does this image square with the concept of advocacy before open-minded judges? Where are the remedies?” he asked.

Barrett said he and Olson have been acquainted since the mid-1980s, when Barrett was a top aide to independent counsel Lawrence Walsh in the Iran-Contra investigation and Olson represented Reagan. Later, after Reagan left office, Olson and Barrett negotiated the conditions under which access to the former president would be granted.

“We formed a kind of combat bond,” Barrett said.

Barrett called Olson “simply a superb lawyer.”

At one point, Barrett said, congressional staffers called him “looking for ammunition to defeat” Olson’s nomination by President George  W. Bush to be solicitor general.

“I disappointed them,” he said. “I said Ted Olson was superbly qualified for the job.”

Olson will be accompanied by his wife, Lady Olson, who is a tax attorney. Barrett’s wife, Sarah Walzer, executive director of the Parent-Child Home Program, will also be on the grounds.

Gergen speaks on ethics, leadership



David Gergen

Josh Cooper | Staff Writer

If anyone is qualified to speak on applied ethics in government, it is David Gergen.

A political consultant who has advised the administrations of presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, he has an intimate knowledge of the key ingredients of sound leadership in the political sphere. Among the most important, Gergen said, is a strong ethical grounding.

“I once believed that if you found the brightest and smartest person, you’ve found the best leader. I no longer believe that,” Gergen said. “Character and integrity are absolutely essential to an effective leader as well.”

Gergen said he’s had a front row seat to both successful leadership and failures of leadership.

“I got my start in national politics working for Richard Nixon,” Gergen said. “He was a man of enormous capability, but he had demons, and those demons ultimately destroyed him.”

The topic for Gergen’s speech is “Leadership and Politics in a Changing America.” He said the change in political culture makes this an important discussion.

“It’s going to be a conversation about the possible decline of America and the danger of that decline and the importance of not only policy solutions, but also about restoring and healing the political culture in this country,” Gergen said.

Particularly important topics, Gergen said, are the disappearance of the American middle class and the diminishing influence of the values of our national past.

“All of that fits into a larger question of, ‘Are we in a time of decline?’” Gergen said.

Aside from his background of working within government, Gergen’s diverse experience includes work as an educator, journalist, best-selling author and political commentator. He currently serves as director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he is also a professor of public service.

He is the editor at large for U.S. News and World Report and a senior political analyst for CNN. His 2000 book Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership, Nixon to Clinton was a New York Times best-seller. Gergen said part of what he is looking forward to during his visit to Chautauqua is making joint appearances with his son Christopher, who will be giving several seminars about entrepreneurship in America.

Chautauqua is a family affair this year for Gergen.

“My wife is coming, my son Christopher and his wife and children are coming, so it’s a great opportunity to spend some time together as a family too,” he said.
Gergen has spoken at Chautauqua in years past and said the attendees are exceptional.

“The audience is wonderful,” Gergen said. “When I was here a number of years ago, they were very responsive; they ask insightful questions, pay attention. I had a wonderful experience there.”

Purcell to focus on role of local governments in serving common good

no thumb


Bill Purcell

Nick Glunt | Staff Writer

Bill Purcell, former mayor of Nashville, Tenn., will speak at 10:45 a.m. today in the Amphitheater. He is the second speaker for the week focusing on “Applied Ethics: Government and the Search for the Common Good.”

This is Purcell’s second time speaking at the Chautauqua Institution. The last time he was here was in 2007; he spoke as both a morning and afternoon lecturer. He said he’s looking forward to speaking again and that it’s an honor to be speaking alongside the others for the week.

“Really and truly, (Chautauqua) is the best platform in this country for public address,” Purcell said. “And the audiences have a reputation of being incredible — and they are.”

His speech will focus more on the city aspects of the ethics and common good topics that are the focus of this week. In the face of issues such as money, politics and taxes, he said each one requires answers. He hopes his speech will, alongside the others, help Chautauquans to become better informed as to where to find those solutions.

“The common good would appear to require answers,” Purcell said, “and I think the question for all of us is where to find hope and, an even better (reason), for optimism.”

The area of ethics, Purcell said, is something that every politician at every level of government must face, be it regarding such issues as the passing or presentation of legislation, political issues, criminality or even more personal issues. He will give examples from his time as mayor during his lecture.

Purcell was elected into office in 2003 with a nationally record-setting 84.8 percent of votes. From 1999 to 2007, Nashville saw economic growth, a 50 percent increase in education funding and the building of 26,000 housing units. Governing magazine listed him in 2006 as “Public Official of the Year” for these accomplishments.

He currently is special adviser for Allston at Harvard University, where he advises on how to boost the effectiveness of the Allston facility as a campus environment. To date, Purcell has spent more than 30 years in the fields of public service, law and higher education.

“I don’t think there’s any question that this set of issues revolving around ethics is going, really, to the heart of the success of our governance,” Purcell said. “It’s much on minds of America right now.”

Leach offers thoughts on stability amidst constant change

no thumb


Jim Leach

Patrick Hosken | Staff Writer

Government decision-making can be difficult, especially in an age characterized by perpetual change.

For Jim Leach, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, American society faces many challenges, few more pressing than the need for constants.

“A sense of the humanities is an imperative field of study for any human society,” Leach said, “but most particularly for democracy and in times that are fast-changing. It means we need anchors of thought and events.”

Leach will speak at 10:45 a.m. today in the Amphitheater, beginning Week Two’s theme of “Applied Ethics: Government and the Search for the Common Good.”

President Barack Obama nominated Leach as NEH chairman in July 2009. He began his four-year term the following month, bringing a diverse background to the position.

Formed in 1965, the NEH provides grants for humanities projects typically undertaken by cultural institutions — libraries, museums, archives, colleges and the like. The NEH has funded Ken Burns’ documentary The Civil War, the “Treasures of Tutankhamun” exhibition and more.

Leach focuses his leadership of the NEH on the changing mechanisms of American government.

“I’ve chosen to emphasize the manner in which American democracy works and the manner in which public decisions are made,” Leach said.

After receiving a political science degree from Princeton University and a master’s degree in Soviet politics from Johns Hopkins University, Leach was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented southeastern Iowa for more than 30 years.

While serving in the House, Leach headed several groups, including the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and the Congressional Humanities Caucus.

Leach also helped author the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, which allows customers access to the information-sharing practices of financial institutions.

After his time in the House, Leach returned to Princeton, this time as a professor of public and international affairs. He also taught politics at Harvard University in 2007.

A commentator on both art and American life, Leach believes in the importance of using different disciplines to find common solutions to federal problems.

“All of these fields of study are extraordinarily relevant to how government works and how individuals relate to their neighbors,” he said, “and how social conventions in a community develop and proceed.”

As NEH chairman, Leach has spoken at the National Archives, the American Council of Learned Societies and the University of Maryland. He gave his most recent speech at the Borough of Manhattan Community College last month, titled “Poetries of the Islamic World.”

Today is Leach’s first visit to Chautauqua, and he said he’s excited to speak.

“I do believe that humanities are a wonderful discipline to stretch the mind and to allow thinking outside the box,” Leach said.

In addition to today’s lecture, Leach will lead two special events this week: a town hall/listening post at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Athenaeum Hotel parlor, and a panel of government officials at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday at Smith Wilkes Hall.

Chamberlin’s lecture to focus on aid to Pakistan

no thumb
Wendy Chamberlin

This article originally appeared on Page 1 of the Wednesday, July 1, issue of The Chautauquan Daily

Rebecca McKinsey | Staff Writer

“She was there for many of the most important firsts: the first moments of startled clarity, the first phone calls from Washington to Islamabad, the first high-level meetings. On Thursday morning, Sept. 13, she brought the list of eighteen key military demands to President Pervez Musharraf and sat stiffly in his office for forty minutes until he answered the question she’d carried from the president: ‘Are you with us in this fight?’ When he said, ‘I am, without conditions,’ she got up and left.”

Ron Suskind’s book, The Way of the World, describes a woman who was the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan during the 9/11 attacks. Today, that woman will speak to Chautauqua about global development in the context of the U.S. relationship with Pakistan.

, president of the Middle East Institute and former U.S. ambassador to Laos and Pakistan, will present “U.S. Aid to Pakistan: Harmful or Helpful?” at 10:45 a.m. today in the Amphitheater.

Chamberlin has held various jobs that have shaped her positions on development and foreign policy.

From 1995 to 1998, Chamberlin was the U.S. ambassador to Laos.

“I had first been to Laos as a teacher during the war, a volunteer with the peace corps,” Chamberlin said. “I returned 20 years later as ambassador, and it was an interesting period for me to see how Laos had developed and not developed.”

Chamberlin served as the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan from 2001 to 2002.

“I was immediately thrown into the whole mix,” Chamberlin said. “At my first meeting with President Musharraf, I had to deliver the whole ‘are you with us or are you against us’ and had to persuade him to change his policies and support our counter-terrorism. I think we did establish a good relationship with the Pakistani government; we reinvigorated the relationship very quickly.”

After her time as an ambassador, Chamberlin worked with the Bureau for Asia and the Near East Bureau in the U.S. Agency for International Development for two years, according to the Middle East Institute website.

“Since (1961), USAID has been the principal U.S. agency to extend assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty and engaging in democratic reforms,” the USAID website states.

Chamberlin was also the deputy high commissioner for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 2004 to 2006, an agency that works to protect the safety and rights of refugees worldwide.

In 2007, Chamberlin became president of the Middle East Institute, the position she currently holds.

The Middle East Institute has operated for 64 years with the goal of educating people about Pakistan. The organization teaches languages, has an internship program and sponsors lectures, panels and conferences, Chamberlin said.

Several days after President Barack Obama announced Osama bin Laden had been killed, Chamberlin was interviewed on the “PBS  NewsHour” about the U.S. relationship with Pakistan and about the problems that would be caused if the U.S. were to cut back on civilian developmental aid.

“(Cutting back on aid) would just feed the anti-American narrative that is out there that goes something like: We use Pakistan; as soon as we get what we want, we leave them. We abandon them,” she said during the show. “Let’s understand what civilian aid can do and what it cannot do. It cannot buy us hearts and minds in a nation as complicated and as large as Pakistan. You don’t buy friends. It’s not transactional.”

Chamberlin’s lecture today will focus on her time in Pakistan and the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.

“What I’m going to do is to put our whole relationship in context,” Chamberlin said. “Our U.S. aid throughout the history of Pakistan has been an integral part of the way Pakistan has developed.”

The last lecturer in this week’s Global Health and Development as Foreign Policy series, Chamberlin will seek to put development into context through her experience in Pakistan.

“To understand our development assistance, you have to understand the culture, policy and history of Pakistan,” she said. “I’ll be talking about the entire narrative, the Pakistan relationship.”

Gayle, Hunter-Gault to share experiences in global health sphere

no thumb

This article originally appeared on Page 1 of the Wednesday, June 30, issue of The Chautauquan Daily

Rebecca McKinsey | Staff Writer

A journalist who has reported from South Africa and the Middle East will conduct an interview on the Amphitheater stage today.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, a freelance journalist based in Johannesburg, will interview Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE USA, at 10:45 a.m. today in the Amphitheater. They will discuss CARE’s work in the global health sphere.

CARE is a humanitarian organization that works to combat public health problems and poverty by empowering women in underprivileged communities around the world. Gayle, who has worked with CARE since 2006, shifted the organization’s focus to improving communities by empowering women, said Hunter-Gault, who has known Gayle for years.

Gayle’s background includes work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; she worked with HIV/AIDS programs at both

Gayle was a keynote speaker at the New African Connections conference in Norway prior to traveling to Chautauqua and could not be reached for comment.

“I think (Gayle) has taken CARE into an area that in the past has been woefully neglected, which is looking at empowering women, especially in places where women are second-class citizens,” Hunter-Gault said.

“She has moved CARE from an organization that delivers care packages, which is important, but she has moved it to a much broader scope and is working with women across the world.”

Hunter-Gault has served as CNN’s Johannesburg bureau chief and correspondent, as well as the chief correspondent in Africa for NPR. Before that, she was a correspondent for “PBS News-Hour” and covered urban African-American communities for The New York Times.

Growing up in the segregated South, Hunter-Gault said there were no black role models in the mainstream media. However, she fell in love with the idea of being a journalist after reading the “Brenda Starr, Reporter” comic strip.

“I told my mother that I wanted to be a journalist like Brenda Starr,” Hunter-Gault said. “She knew the realities in the South and how remote that possibility was, but my mother instinctively knew that dreams compelled ambition, so she said, ‘OK, if that’s what you want.’ That was all the encouragement I needed.”

Hunter-Gault went on to become the first high school junior to be an editor at her school newspaper. Several years later, she became the first black woman — and one of the first two black people, along with orthopedic physician Hamilton Holmes — to enroll in the University of Georgia.

Her interest in international journalism stemmed from her desire to describe every aspect of a subject’s character.

“I was always concerned about how people were portrayed, and I wanted to make sure that people of color, who had traditionally been portrayed stereotypically, were portrayed in real, recognizable ways,” she said.

Most media coverage of South Africa focused on what Hunter-Gault calls the “four Ds” — death, disease, disaster and despair. However, the journalist, who lived in South Africa for almost 15 years, said she tried to show a different side in her work.

“I went to South Africa before it was liberated to report on just the people there, and no one had done that. No one had looked at South Africa and gone into who the people were,” Hunter-Gault said. “Even living there for 15 years, I’ve just scratched the surface.”

Hunter-Gault will draw on her own global knowledge and experience to interview Gayle about CARE’s international work. She said Gayle invited her to join her on the Amphitheater stage.

“When someone asks you to do something, there are some things you just don’t say no,” Hunter-Gault said.

She added that Gayle’s work with women in developing countries exemplifies an African saying: “If you educate a man, you educate an individual. If you educate a woman, you educate a nation.”

In a time in which 1 billion people lack access to health care, Gayle’s work is especially important, Hunter-Gault said.

“I travel a lot as a journalist covering the world, but Helene is truly like Superwoman,” Hunter-Gault said. “She’s always on a plane. I send her emails saying, ‘Where are you now?’ It might be the Far East one day, and the next day it might be from the jungles of South America. I’ve seen committed, dedicated women, but (Gayle) stands tall in front of the efforts to bring women around the world into their rightful place, and the health component is extremely important.”

Development should create healthier people, countries, Hamre says

John Hamre

This article originally appeared on Page 1 of the Wednesday, June 29, issue of The Chautauquan Daily

Rebecca McKinsey | Staff Writer

When he steps behind the podium today,

says the audience he’ll be addressing will be made up of the same type of people he tries to recruit every day to effect international change.

Hamre is the president and CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a bipartisan, non-profit organization that seeks to change policy by providing ideas and strategies to government officials, international figures and members of the private sector. He will speak at 10:45 a.m. today in the Amphitheater.

“We’re now currently living in a global environment,” Hamre said. “Developments that occur around the world have a direct impact here in the United States. If we don’t understand what’s going on in these places, then we can’t do a good job in developing policy solutions here. We have to have knowledge based on direct conversation and experience.”

The proposed policy changes that leave CSIS, which began as a defense think tank in 1962, are based on research and analysis and are often crafted with the help of the very people who can implement them.

CSIS periodically calls on members of Congress to sit on commissions created for a specific policy change.

About eight years ago, CSIS invited Senators John Kerry and Bill Frist to sit on a commission that explored ways to improve care of HIV and AIDS victims.

“That became the starting point for actual legislation that was passed,” Hamre said. “I think it goes back to 50 years of accumulated credibility. The work we do here has tangible results. It shows up in legislation, and it shows up in policy.”

The efforts of that commission resulted in the creation of the United States President’s Emergency Plan For Aids Relief, which provides HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment resources across the world.

“This historic commitment is the largest by any nation to combat a single disease internationally, and PEPFAR investments also help alleviate suffering from other diseases across the global health spectrum,” PEPFAR’s website states.

Despite the success of initiatives like the one that led to PEPFAR, Hamre says the ideas that originate at CSIS do not always bear fruit. He cited one example in what he described as the United States’ unbalanced focus on military power in lieu of diplomacy, or “the inspirational side of American power.”

CSIS conducted research at the onset of the war in Iraq in an effort to create new end results. The problem with past U.S. actions in countries such as Bosnia, Hamre said, was that the U.S. knew how to stop a war but not how to create a civil society.

“We provided a framework when we started going into the war in Iraq, but it became clear that’s not what (the U.S. was) doing,” Hamre said. “Sadly, I think (CSIS’) blueprint for what we needed to do should have been the blueprint they used, and it wasn’t. I think that slowed things down and made them more difficult.”

Hamre joined CSIS in 2000. Before that, he was the 26th U.S. deputy secretary of defense and a staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

In the past year, Hamre’s work with CSIS has taken him to Japan, Korea, England, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.

In today’s lecture, Hamre will focus on the importance of international development.

“The goal of development should be simple,” he said. “It should be to create healthier people, healthier communities, healthier countries. That’s an agenda that should be shared by liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, private corporations and the government. This is an agenda that should unite Americans, not divide them.”

Although Hamre has known about Chautauqua for years, this visit will be his first.

“I think the Chautauqua community is very much like my own community,” he said. “These are thoughtful, balanced people who are simply trying to find solutions to the world’s problems. The people at Chautauqua are like the people I try to recruit to change the world’s policies.

“It seemed natural to come here.”

Thurman focuses on global health care reform

Sandra Thurman. Submitted photo.

This article originally appeared on Page 1 of the Tuesday, June 28, issue of The Chautauquan Daily

Patrick Hosken | Staff Writer

Since the mid-1980s, Sandra Thurman has been fighting for AIDS education and prevention throughout the world. As director of Emory University’s Interfaith Health Program, she leads health practitioners into different faith regions to bring about community health improvements.

At 10:45 a.m. today, she will bring her diverse experience to the Amphitheater.

Thurman’s journey began over two decades ago in Georgia, when she began volunteering at AID Atlanta, a local non-profit organization dedicated to finding care and support for HIV and AIDS victims.

Before long, she led AID Atlanta into marked success with increasing staff and volunteers.

The nonprofit group grew into a much larger organization, with 83 percent of its workers providing direct HIV services.

From 1993 until 1996, Thurman remained in Atlanta as Director of Advocacy Programs at The Task Force for Child Survival and Development at the Carter Center. Keeping her sights on global health reform, she undertook initiatives regarding children’s immunization and the eradication of polio.

In 1997, President Bill Clinton appointed Thurman director of the Office of National AIDS Policy in the White House, a position she held until 2001. Thurman’s leadership proved successful, and the U.S. government multiplied its funding for HIV and AIDS programs both at home and abroad by two and three times, respectively.

At Clinton’s behest, Thurman traveled to Africa in 1999, where she headed the first U.S. delegation to examine the AIDS epidemic.

Currently president and CEO of the International AIDS Trust, Thurman has implemented the first AIDS Leadership Programs for world leaders. These programs aim to teach developing policies that promote AIDS treatment and prevention initiatives.

The International AIDS Trust moved to Atlanta from Washington in 2006, relocating Thurman back to where she started in AIDS care in the 1980s.
Thurman received a bachelor’s degree from Mercer University. She also completed postgraduate studies and research in religion and health at St. Paul’s University in Limuru, Kenya.

Today’s visit to Chautauqua is Thurman’s first.

Farmer to open global health week

Paul Farmer. Submitted photo.

Rebecca McKinsey | Staff Writer

A man who has tirelessly sought to tackle a global health care crisis by helping one person at a time will speak at Chautauqua today.

is one of the founders of Partners In Health, an international organization that provides medical care and advocates for social justice for underprivileged patients across the world. He will speak at 10:45 a.m. today in the

Partners In Health was originally based in Haiti and has more recently expanded to Russia and several countries in Africa and Central and South America. As Farmer traveled to Chautauqua directly from Rwanda, he could not be reached
for comment.

“(Farmer) was chosen to lead off the season because he is such a wonderful example of providing global aid,” said Sherra Babcock, director of the Department of Education. “He’ll bring an inspirational opening for the season and the week, and he’ll bring a practical story of applying his medical knowledge to the problems of Haiti and Rwanda.”

Farmer’s international medical work was highlighted in the book Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure The World, by Tracy Kidder.

Kidder said he met Farmer by chance when he was in Haiti reporting on the American soldiers stationed there.

The soldiers’ task was to reinstate the democratic government after a three-year military junta regime, one that ruled with what Kidder described as “great cruelty.”

However, the soldiers’ efforts could do little to change the lives of the everyday, poverty-stricken Haitians. Although Kidder said the American soldiers seemed resigned to the fact that there was only so much they could do, the American doctor he met in Haiti offered another viewpoint.

In Farmer, Kidder found someone who came from a Harvard Medical School background and eschewed the possibility of a cushy Boston job to tackle the injustices he saw facing the international poor.

“But (Farmer’s) way would be hard to share, because it implied such an extreme definition of a term like ‘doing one’s best,’” Kidder wrote.

In fact, the selflessness Kidder saw in Farmer was so disquieting that he did not consider writing about the doctor until six years after they had met, when he decided to go to Haiti for a first-hand look at Farmer’s work.

A profile published in The New Yorker was the initial result of the time Kidder spent shadowing Farmer; however, Mountains Beyond Mountains soon followed.

“It was exhilarating,” Kidder said in an interview. “I wouldn’t have turned away from it once I’d gotten to Haiti and was there with him.”

The book’s title comes from a Haitian proverb saying that beyond every mountain — or roadblock, or challenge — lies another that’s waiting to be solved.
Farmer’s efforts in Haiti and, later on, in many other countries, were executed in an attempt to take on what Kidder described as the biggest problem in the world.

“It never occurred to me that public health and medicine were such a powerful lens on the world, because we’ve all been ill; we all know illness personally,” Kidder said. “It seems more striking to me than the image you might have of the terrible housing or even homelessness. Somehow the specter of people suffering grotesque injuries — it was overwhelmingly powerful.”

Although much of Farmer’s time is spent providing medical care internationally, he also works as a professor and health care professional in Boston. Mountains Beyond Mountains describes the process that governed Farmer’s paychecks: After his bills and his mother’s mortgage were paid, the rest of the money went directly to Partners Iin Health.

“I guess one of the main questions I wanted to try to answer — and knowing I’d never be able to answer it fully — was, why would someone be willing to make these sacrifices?” Kidder said.

However, Mountains Beyond Mountains doesn’t chronicle the story of someone who feels inconvenienced.

In his book, Kidder describes Farmer as a man who is respected by his colleagues; a man who will sit on the edge of a HIV patient’s hospital bed for an hour chatting about life, drugs and honesty; a man who would return to Haiti time and time again despite being repeatedly barred by government officials.

Farmer, Kidder described, is a man who lives his life by a simple philosophy.

“(Farmer’s) patients tend to get better. They all get comforted,” Kidder wrote. “Doctoring is the ultimate source of his power, I think. His basic message is simple: This person is sick, and I am a doctor.”

Partners In Health was founded in 1987, and since then, its mission, outreach and influence have grown. In addition to providing medical care, the organization provides basic medical education to people who have never received it.

In a simple statement relayed in Mountains Beyond Mountains, Farmer summarized the motivation behind his actions: “Clean water and health care and school and food and tin roofs and cement floors, all of these things should constitute a set of basics that people must have as birthrights.”

1 10 11 12
Page 12 of 12