International Affairs Symposium Focuses on Conflict, Compliance, and Chaos
The 61st annual Lewis & Clark International Affairs Symposium is one of the oldest student-run symposia in the country. This year’s event, which runs from April 10 to April 12, is titled Functions of Fear: Conflict, Compliance, Chaos.
by Mackenzie Kier BA ’26
Lewis & Clark’s 61st International Affairs Symposium will kick off on April 10th and run through April 12th. This year’s event, titled Functions of Fear: Conflict, Compliance, Chaos, delves into how fear influences certain political phenomena and how the impact of fear, both visible and invisible, can have a long-lasting effect on global issues. Through a series of six debates, symposium participants will gain a more robust and nuanced understanding of how fear impacts regulation, democracy, and our own lives.
The symposium’s planning committee, composed entirely of students, includes cochairs Eliana Essman BA ’25 and Loren Pawelski BA ’24, and steering committee members Syd Brown BA ’25, Liam Conley BA ’23, Logan Drain BA ’25, Heather Galles BA ’26, Zach Gilburne BA ’23, Ela Gore BA ’26, Dani Rivas Clavel BA ’25, and Hashim Salman BA ’25.
“We think this theme is important for the L&C community because fear is not just something that is relevant to international affairs,” say Eliana Essman BA ’25 and Loren Pawelski BA ’24, both international affairs majors. “Fear pops up in many aspects of life, and having it as a theme has allowed us to create an interdisciplinary event.”
The symposium is organized around a series of six debates, each addressing a question that is debated by speakers with opposing viewpoints. The idea is to stimulate thought by embracing controversy. “We are very proud of the wonderful experts who will be joining us this year,” say Essman and Pawelski.
This year’s sessions, all of which will be held in Lewis & Clark’s Council Chambers, will address these topics:
Debate 1: Scared Straight?
Are fear-based public health campaigns effective and ethical?
Monday, April 10, 3:30–5 p.m.
Speakers: Ron Borland, an Australian psychology and health behavior professor from the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, and Sean Strub, the mayor of Milford, Pennsylvania, and the executive director of the Sero Project, an organization that fights to end HIV/AIDS criminalization worldwide.
Debate 2: Stop the Presses!
Should whistleblowers receive increased legal protections?
Monday, April 10, 7:30–9 p.m.
Speakers: Anna Myers, the executive director and founding member of the Whistleblowing International Network in Glasgow, Scotland, and Charles “Cully” Stimson, a senior legal fellow and manager of the National Security Law Program with the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.
Debate 3: The Two Hemispheres of Brain Drain
Do the immediate drawbacks of labor migration outweigh any long-term benefits?
Tuesday, April 11, 3:30–5 p.m.
Speakers: Katya Salmi, associate professor of sociology at Montgomery College in Maryland and fellow at the American Council of Learned Societies and the Human Rights Watch in Washington, D.C., and Jeanne Batalova, a senior policy analyst at Migration Policy Institute and manager of the Migration Data Hub in Washington, D.C.
Debate 4: Twitter Against Tyrants
Should nondemocracies fear the effects of digital media?
Tuesday, April 11, 7:30–9 p.m.
Speakers: Joshua Tucker, a professor of politics at New York University and a leading expert in the study of digital media and democracy, and Eugenia Mitchelstein, associate professor of social sciences, director of the Department of Social Sciences, and codirector of the Center for Studies on Media and Society at San Andrés University in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Debate 5: Target Locked?
Is a ban on AI targeting justifiable due to reliability risks?
Wednesday, April 12, 3:30–5 p.m.
Speakers: Zachary Kallenborn, a policy fellow at the Schar School of Policy and Government in Arlington, Virginia, and Phillip Pournelle, an operations analyst and wargame designer in the Washington, D.C., area at Group W.
Debate 6: Traffic Stop
Is legalizing prostitution an effective means to combat global human trafficking?
Wednesday, April 12, 7:30–9 p.m.
Speakers: Bekah Charleston, the cofounder and CEO of Charleston Law Center in Reno, Nevada, as well as a consultant with the National Criminal Justice Training Center (United States), and Cathy Reisenwitz, an essayist and content creator from Huntsville, Alabama, as well as the vice president of communications for San Francisco Sex-Positive Democratic Club.
Everyone on the symposium’s planning committee is excited for this year’s event. “To us, our theme represents many of the things we learn about in our international affairs classes,” say Essman and Pawelski. “We are looking forward to exploring the different roles fear plays globally during this year’s symposium.”