Chuck Hagel and Madeleine Albright to speak at inaugural CPOST lecture on American foreign policy

April 22, 2019 (last updated on November 21, 2019)

By Sarah Fister Gale

In an era defined by deepening political division, the University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats (CPOST) is instituting an annual event designed to promote civil discourse on international affairs.   On Thursday, May 30, the inaugural lecture will bring together former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to discuss current foreign policy and international affairs. 

“It will be an opportunity to see American leaders from both sides of the aisle engaged in stimulating and enlightening conversation with the audience and each other,” says Robert Pape, Professor of Political Science and director of CPOST, an international security affairs research institute at the University of Chicago.

Sec. Albright was the first female Secretary of State in US history, appointed under Bill Clinton, and spent almost a decade as vice-chairman of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. Sec. Hagel is a former Republican senator, who was appointed to the Secretary of Defense role by Barack Obama.   Both have spoken publically against the policies of the current administration, and each is known for their savvy perspective on international affairs and commitment to communicating with respect and intellectual vigor.

The idea for the lecture series arose from a mutual interest between Secretary Hagel and CPOST in promoting principled foreign policy and the need to unite the country around reasoned stances, Pape says. In the panel, which Pape will moderate, Secretaries Albright and Hagel will discuss critical current issues, including immigration, international trade disputes, and the threat of ISIS, as well as current policies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.   As Sec. Hagel has stated in previous forums, “If America is to succeed in responding to these 21st century challenges, our political system cannot continue to bog down in the mire of partisan gamesmanship.” 

“CPOST is committed to closing the knowledge gap on new and emerging issues that impact the security and prosperity of our country as a whole.  Given new technology, our coasts do not insulate the middle of our country from outside forces and so it is appropriate to have a new center of social science research on international affairs in the heartland of America,” says Pape.

After the initial moderated discussion, audience members will have the chance to ask the Secretaries questions.

Amanda Woodward, Dean of the Division of the Social Sciences and William S. Gray Distinguished Service Professor of Psychology, says, “This important conversation – the first in what will become a distinguished series — will illuminate key questions, challenges, and potential solutions from globally recognized voices on topics that encompass the social sciences.”

The 2019 Hagel lecture is open to the public and will be held at Mandel Hall on May 30, at 5:30 pm. You can find more information here.