59th Annual International Affairs Symposium Searches for Clarity in Controversy
For almost 60 years, Lewis & Clark’s International Affairs Symposium has been nationally recognized as a hub for discussing the most pressing matters in foreign affairs. From April 5 to April 7, the symposium will focus on controversy and emphasize opposing viewpoints on environmental degradation, the conflicts of multiculturalism, and the structure of the future international system.
by Yancee Gordon BA ’21
The 59th Annual International Affairs Symposium centers on finding clarity in a chaotic world. As the oldest student-run symposium in the United States, it is a space to discuss cutting edge and controversial policy surrounding modern international affairs. This year’s symposium theme, “System Shocks,” will emphasize the confrontation of opposing viewpoints through five debates held from April 5 to April 7.
“My experience as a co-chair for this year’s symposium has been a culmination of teamwork, dedication to the event, and pure excitement for what’s to come,” said Sandenna McMaster BA ’21, an international affairs major from Palmer, Alaska. “I believe each of our debate questions touch on issues that are international in scope, but affect each of us personally.”
The symposium will begin Monday, April 5 with a debate on cultural preservation versus integration. The debate will be moderated by Assistant Professor with Term of Anthropology and Asian Studies Kabir Heimsath. Salikoko Mufwene, the Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service professor of Linguistics and interim Director at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago, and Sophie Croisy, a lecturer at the Institute of Cultural and International Studies at the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin in France, will discuss the intersection of cultures, and the advantages and disadvantages inherent in the prevalence of globalization.
Also on April 5 will be a debate on civil movements, moderated by Assistant Professor of International Affairs Suparna Chaudhry. Srđa Popović, co-founder of the Center for the Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies in Serbia, and Benjamin Press, James C. Gaither Fellow in the Democracy, Conflict and Governance Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, will debate the efficacy of organized, nonviolent protest in catalyzing sustainable, institutional change.
Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Jessica Kleiss will moderate the April 6 debate on International Cooperation to Confront Environmental Catastrophe. Shikha Dalmia, columnist at The Week and contributor to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes, and Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director of the Global Indicators Group at the World Bank Group in Washington D.C., will debate varying strategies to combat increasing environmental crises.
Tuesday, April 6 will conclude with a debate over the survival of the Liberal International Order, moderated by Assistant Professor of International Affairs Kyle Lascurettes. G. John Ikenberry, the Albert G. Millbank Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, and Gregory F. Treverton, professor of the practice of international relations & spatial sciences at the University of Southern California, will discuss whether the global order established post-WWII will remain dominant or if it will be left behind.
The symposium will conclude Wednesday April 7 with a debate on the digital age as a source of empowerment for the individual, or an overload of information. Professor of Law Tung Yin will moderate the debate between Roslyn Fuller, a research associate at the Centre for Information Systems and Techno-culture at the Waterford Institute of Technology, and Samuel Woolley, associate professor of journalism and information at the University of Texas at Austin.
“Our cast of speakers come from incredibly diverse backgrounds and they represent nations from around the world, we are excited to hear each of them speak,” said international affairs major and religious studies minor Nathan Oakley BA ’22. The co-chair from Canby, Oregon is excited to adapt this symposium to face the circumstances at hand. “Each speaker brings an incredibly valuable perspective to the symposium, and just like any other year, we are hoping they challenge the Lewis & Clark community to learn, understand, and respect perspectives that they may not necessarily hold personally.”
All events will be held virtually, and are free and open to the public.