Nationally known conservative commentator Bill Kristol is one of the speakers in “Conversations on Democracy,” a series of virtual and in-person discussions scheduled through October at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Presented by the Tennessee Democracy Forum and the UTC Department of Political Science and Public Service, each discussion is free, open to the public and runs from 7-8 p.m. EDT.
Each is an hour-long discussion of economic and political democracy focused on ongoing national and statewide issues. There also will be a question-and-answer session for the audience.
In-person discussions will be held in Benwood Auditorium in the UTC College of Engineering and Computer Science building. They also will be live-streamed on the Tennessee Democracy Forum’s Facebook page.
“As a public university, one of our obligations is to engage with our community in discussions of important ideas,” said Michelle Deardorff, head of the Department of Political Science and Public Service at UTC.
“This mission seems especially important as we see the increased polarization of our nation and the challenges that our democracy is facing. For our students, the last five to seven years is the only democracy they have ever known.
“We have to model what it looks like to talk with people you fundamentally disagree with and hear other points of view—even those you think are wrong. I think this speaker series provides us the opportunity to see what it means to have discourse with the hope of finding some common ground.”
Speakers for the series are:
Bill Kristol. Monday, June 13. Virtual.
A regular commentator on networks including CNN and Fox, he served as chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett during President Ronald Reagan’s administration and as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle in the George H.W. Bush administration. He was founder of The Weekly Standard magazine, was a columnist for Time and The New York Times and is editor-at-large for The Bulwark website.
To register for the Kristol discussion, go to: https://secure.everyaction.com/AbXTg-qWX0mT9HpVKbSUXg2.
Lisa Mensah. Monday, Aug. 22. In-person.
Former undersecretary for rural development in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Mensah is president and CEO of Opportunity Finance Network, the nation’s leading network of community development financial organizations.
Robert Shrum. Tuesday, Sept 13. Virtual.
Speechwriter for Sen. George McGovern, D-Minn., in the 1972 presidential campaign and for Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., in the 1980 presidential campaign. He is director of the Center for the Political Future and the Carmen H. and Louis Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics at University of Southern California Dornsife.
Salin Geevarghese. October. Date to be determined. In-person.
Raised in Chattanooga and an expert on poverty and equity. During the administration of President Barack Obama, he served in several roles in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, including acting director in the Office of Economic Resilience and deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Policy Development and Research.
“Conversations on Democracy” is hosted by David Eichenthal, a member of the board of both the Tennessee Democracy Forum and Forward Tennessee. He also was Chattanooga finance officer under former Mayor Bob Corker.
For more information on the “Conversations on Democracy” series, go to www.tndemocracyforum.org. The Tennessee Democracy Forum is a project of ForwardTN. For more about ForwardTN, go to www.forwardtn.org.