WHEN

Sunday, August 16, 2020, 3PM to 4:30 PM EDT

WHERE

This is an online event.
Hosted by Vimeo Livestream

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UNDERWRITERS

PRODUCERS
Anne Sutherland Fuchs, Leni & Peter May and Jane Whitney

ANGELS
Anonymous, John & Jody Arnhold, Julie & Bob Bailey, Sande Breakstone & Ron Garfunkel, Lisa Coleman, Linda & Bernie Dishy, Sarah Gager, Merle & Barry Ginsburg, Gloria & Marty Greenstein, Susan & Murray Haber, Judy Jackson & Bruce Haims, Barbara & Gene Kohn, Ellen McCourt, Kirsten Peckerman, Kathleen Peratis, Rod Pleasants & Steve Godwin, Kathy Wenning & Michael Dennis

DIRECTORS
Anonymous, Dr. Pat Allen and Douglas McIntyre, Deborah Benson & Frederic Marx, Candace Bowes & David Kurtz, Dick & Pam Cantor, Abbey Darer & Tom Rosenwald, Alisa Field & Alan Sandals, Valerie Friedman, Ene Riisna & Jim Greenfield, Jane & Bill Havemeyer, Paul Healy & Didier Malaquin, Judith Heller, Susan Hirschhorn & Arthur Klebanoff, Susan & Steven Levkoff, Ann Lozman, Susan McCone & Robert Wessely, Adriana & Robert Mnuchin, Rod Pleasants & Steve Godwin, Barbara Paul Robinson & Charles Raskob Robinson, Glynnis & Mark Snow, Ellen & John Stiteler, Marguerite Whitney, Melinda & William vanden Heuvel

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Has America lost its preeminent place in the world?

Emerging from World War II as the first among equals, the United States became the architect and leader of a series of overlapping international alliances and agreements that relied on cooperation to seed the unrivaled progress and prosperity of the post-war era. 

But the popular platform of “America First,” which propelled President Trump to victory and symbolized his world view, has effectively shattered that bipartisan foreign policy consensus. After Mr. Trump shredded some international pacts and withdrew from others entirely, the U.S.’s dominant role as a global leader is vanishing. 

Now three renowned experts on international affairs are gathering August 16 to discuss America’s standing in the world and the impact of President Trump’s relegation of the country’s traditional allies and alliances. In the face of the country’s most consequential foreign policy election in the post-war era, the trio of preeminent panelists also will debate how to project American power and how to protect the country from foreign threats. 

The panel is headlined by Dr. Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State in history. A relatively unknown authority on Eastern Europe, Albright, then the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, rocketed to prominence in 1996 when she became the voice of outrage for the Clinton administration, which was under fierce domestic attack for being too soft on Fidel Castro, after Cuban jet fighters downed two unarmed civilian planes from Miami.

''Frankly, this is not cojones, this is cowardice,'' she sputtered, echoing the exact word the Cuban pilots had used in boasting about their attack. The line, which no male diplomat would have dared used, was immediately panned by colleagues but pleased the president. ''Probably the most effective one-liner in the whole Administration's foreign policy,'' President Bill Clinton called it, according to The New York Times. ''Cuban-Americans loved it so much they had bumper stickers made up. I have a bumper sticker with Madeleine's quote on it.''

The daughter of Czech immigrants, Dr. Albright graduated in 1959 from Wellesley College and earned her PhD from Columbia University in 1975. She served on the National Security Council under Zbigniew Brzezinski but, after President Jimmy Carter left office, returned to academia, joining Georgetown and becoming an advisor to Democratic presidential candidates. She helped staff the National Security Council for President Clinton, who in 1993 appointed her the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Four years later Albright succeeded Warren Christopher as Secretary of State.

A Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Dr. Albright is Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, and Chair of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets. She also chairs the National Democratic Institute, serves as the president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation and is a member of the U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Policy Board. In 2012, she was chosen by President Obama to receive the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in recognition of her contributions to international peace and democracy.

A seven-time New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Albright’s most recent book, “Hell and Other Destinations” was published in April 2020. Her other books include: an autobiography, “Madam Secretary: A Memoir”; “The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs”; “Memo to the President: How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership”; “Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box”); “Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948”; and “Fascism: A Warning. 

Senator Chris Murphy, the torchbearer of a new progressive foreign policy for the country, is the second member of the panel. The junior senator from Connecticut, he gained national fame for his passion in responding to the 2012 slaughter of 26 people, including 20 children, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and now has become a heralded spokesperson for efforts to reorient American foreign policy towards emphasizing a global perspective and cooperation with allies.

Murphy’s proposed redirection — his gospel, as Vox put it earlier this year in a long but gracious profile of the senator — is what he and others call a “progressive foreign policy” that he’s promoted since entering Congress shortly after the 9/11 terror attacks. Its tenets are that the country must avoid extended wars, elevate diplomacy over the military intervention, invest in anti-corruption programs to weaken autocracies and focus on climate change and pandemics as ongoing global threats.

But underlying all his policies is one basic tenet - fixing and sustaining American democracy is vital to promoting it elsewhere.

The prescription, Vox noted, has drawn criticism from all sides. The far left says his ideas aren’t as radical as he claims because he’s unwilling to acknowledge that America shouldn’t be the world’s preeminent power. The right accuses him of weakening the U.S. and says he’s naÔve for undervaluing military strength and lionizing diplomacy. But Murphy remains confident. “I am sure that we need is a massive reorientation of America’s place in the world,” he says. 

The third member of the panel is Wendy Sherman, the lead negotiator for the Obama administration’s 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Originally a social worker who began her career working with battered women and the urban poor, Hillary Clinton in 2011 appointed her Under Secretary of State, the fourth-ranking State Department official with worldwide responsibilities. In that position, she led the American team during the drawn-out negotiations that successfully concluded with Tehran’s agreement to limit sensitive nuclear activities in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.   

Previously, she was the Clinton administration's policy coordinator for North Korea, an architect of the 1994 and 2001 agreements under which the authoritarian regime promised to restrict is nuclear weapons and intercontinental missile programs. Although accused of appeasement by many Republicans, including former Secretary of State James Baker and hardliners such as John Bolton, she remained an outspoken advocate of using negotiations to persuade Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons and long-range missile programs. 

Before joining the State Department and focusing on global affairs, she served as the director of EMILY’s List and Maryland's office of child welfare and was the founding president of the Fannie Mae Foundation. She is currently the professor of public leadership and director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School and a senior counselor at the Albright Stonebridge Group. 

 

Moderated by former NBC correspondent and national talk show host Jane Whitney, this interactive symposium, which begins at 3 p.m. on August 16th and runs 90 minutes, will be live-streamed, allowing anyone with an internet-connected device to participate and ask questions.

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ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE 2020 SEASON SUPPORT:

  •  American Nurses Foundation Coronavirus Response Fund:   addressing emerging needs of nurses on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response.
  •  Greenwoods Counseling & Referrals, Inc.:  helping members of the Litchfield County Community and beyond find access to compassionate and high-quality mental health and related care.
  •  New Milford Hospital: helping to secure the latest technology, attract the best medical staff and provide the compassionate, patient-centered care for which they are nationally recognized. 
  •  Susan B. Anthony Project: promoting safety, healing, and growth for all survivors of domestic and sexual abuse and advocates for the autonomy of women and the end of interpersonal violence.

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