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Debating Issues of Population and the Global Landscape

March 31, 2017

  • The 2017 International Affairs Symposium co-chairs.

Templeton Campus Center

Lewis & Clark’s 55th Annual International Affairs Symposium will explore how population and demographic change transform different aspects of the global landscape. The symposium runs from Monday, April 10 through Wednesday, April 12, 2017.

The symposium will have six panel debates that use the themes of population and demographic change to hone in on issues like border control, overpopulation, growing urban centers and their role in the international system, and globalization and its various effects. These sessions will be moderated by Lewis & Clark professors, whose expertise is highlighted in each topic.

The debates call forward some of the best representatives in their respective fields to engage opposing opinions that encourage controversy and require listeners to evaluate the complexities of the issues at hand. The keynote session with Pete Hoekstra and Shikha Dalmia will focus on border controls—whether they protect citizens or whether they are an antiquated organizing structure that remain only to prevent the flow of international migration.

Hoekstra is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and has spoken extensively on security, intelligence, and border protection. He currently serves as the senior Shillman Fellow with the Investigative Project on Terrorism. Dalmia is a journalist and senior analyst at the Reason Foundation. Her focus is on issues surrounding border control and immigration as a columnist at The Week and the Washington Examiner, and also contributes regularly to the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and other publications.

Sam Perszyk ’18, one of the student cochairs said, “Ideally, we hope that people gain a new perspective from the event. Lots of people have very strong opinions one way or the other, especially around here. I feel that the symposium aims to do something that academics should always do, which is to challenge people’s perspectives and beliefs. If our symposium opens people’s minds to a perspective outside of their own, then it will be a success as far as I’m concerned.”

Students on the symposium steering committee spend hours researching, planning, and coordinating the event each year, and the pressure to do well is intense, especially considering the reputation of the symposium as one of the most prestigious events within the Oregon academic circle.

“The opportunity to be a leader for the symposium has been an incredible experience for me. It has pushed me and shown what kind of leader I really am. It has given me skills which I will use in my career later on,” said  Sara Neuner ’17, the other student cochair for the symposium. “We have taken the symposium very seriously for the department, our school, and the wider Oregon community, because we know just how important it is.”

For a full schedule of events, most of which are open to the public, go to:

International Affairs

Political Science

This story was written by Elise Wilde ’18.


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