Our 51st Year

Global Issues
Sarasota Thursday Series

Stories That Never Made It Into Print: Backstairs at the White House
Thomas DeFrank

Thomas DeFrank has been a White House correspondent for more than 50 years, since the last months of the Lyndon Johnson administration. Some of his more entertaining and revealing reporting, especially personal interactions with many of the 11 presidents between LBJ and Joe Biden, has never been published. Until today.


Making Peace in the Middle East
Brian Hook

The Trump administration brokered four Arab peace agreements with Israel in five months during 2020, known collectively as the Abraham Accords. Veteran diplomat Brian Hook, who was on the negotiating team, will explain the significance of the Accords and the foreign policy required to promote peace in the Middle East.


Independence Corrupted: How America's Judges Really Make Their Decisions
Charles Schudson

Judge Charles B. Schudson will bring us behind the trial bench to meet judges analyzing trials and sentencings and explain how judges weigh life and death, million-dollar damages, and our civil rights. With scholarship and compelling cases, he will examine the personal, professional, and political pressures threatening judicial independence today, like never before.


Can Europe Become French Again?
Martin Walker

The retirement of Angela Merkel, Brexit, and the disarray of Spanish and Italian politics paves the way for a new French seniority in Europe assuming, as is likely, Emmanuel Macron retains the Presidency in the 2022 elections. Martin Walker explores this possible outcome and its implications for the EU and other countries.


How American Democracy Has Renewed Itself in the Past
Jeremi Suri

The history of American democracy is rough, uneven, and incomplete. Our country has experienced many periods of democratic growth such as in the 20th century Civil Rights era, and repeated moments of democratic retraction and backlash, among them Reconstruction after the Civil War. Dr. Jeremi Suri will examine some of these moments in the past and the lessons for the present.

Jones, Robert

Reckoning With the Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity
Robert Jones

As the nation grapples with the legacy of racism, Christianity's role as a cornerstone of white supremacy has been largely overlooked. Dr. Robert P. Jones will explain that, as the dominant cultural power, white Christianity has been more than just complicit; rather, it has sustained a project of opposing black equality that has framed the entire American story.


New Hardline President Raisi and U.S.- Iran Relations
Mohsen Milani

Ebrahim Raisi, a cleric close to Iranís Supreme Leader, was elected and hardliners strengthened control over Iranian policy. By reputation, Raisi is deeply suspicious and hostile towards America and committed to regime preservation. Dr.Mohsen Milani discusses Raisiís views and their impact on nuclear talks, global and regional power rivalries.


What Makes Vladimir Putin Tick?
John Beyrle

Few world leaders command the attention and evoke global passions pro and con as does Russian President Putin. Understanding his motivations is critical, yet he remains an enigma to many outside of Russia. Join us for a conversation with Amb. John Beyrle, who has met and negotiated with Putin over a dozen times under four Presidents since the 1990s, for an informed, up-close assessment of this complex, fascinating Russian leader.


Can a Democratic America Compete with a Totalitarian China?
Robert Lieber

Dr. Robert Lieber will discuss how Chinese leaders believe America faces inevitable decline and that their path of Communist Party dictatorship is superior to that of the U.S. He contends Chinaís model is deeply flawed and its economy and society increasingly fragmented. Chinaís rulers overlook their own vulnerabilities and underestimate Americaís resilience and underlying strengths.


Domestic Extremism
Peter Bergen

The riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 was a reminder that right-wing extremism is a serious problem. Since 9/11 right-wing militants and jihadist terrorists have both killed around the same number of Americans. Peter Bergen examines domestic political violence in the U.S and what can be done to fix it.


Why America No Longer Gets Asia
Evan Feigenbaum

The United States is losing the plot in Asia. Itís not just Chinaís fast-rising military and economic power; itís also because Asiaís economies are trading, investing, lending, and innovating more with one another.
Dr. Feigenbaum will explain we must adjust or find ourselves irrelevant to the worldís most dynamic region.


Like War: How Social Media Has Become Weaponized, and What We Need to Know About It
Peter Singer

Peter Singer discusses livestream terrorist attacks, how presidents win elections over social media, and how viral misinformation alters the fate of nations in a battlespace playing out on smartphones. He will explain the rules of power in this age of social media and how we can navigate a world increasingly shaped by "likes" and lies.