Marian Miner Cook

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC

November, 2017

Wednesday, November 01, 2017 - Evening Program
What was the Russian Revolution? What is a Revolution?
Steve Kotkin

Revolution in the Russian empire took place 100 years ago with its effects continuing to reverberate today. Steve Kotkin, an expert in Russian history and international affairs at Princeton University, will consider what we have learned about the Russian revolution and ponder its lessons for today.


Steve Kotkin is the John P. Birkelund ’52 Professor in History and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the history department of Princeton University, where he has taught since 1989. He is also a Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

At Princeton, he teaches courses on modern authoritarianism, global history since the 1850s, and the Soviet empire; he has won Princeton’s highest awards for both undergraduate and graduate teaching. He served as vice dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, member and then chair of the editorial board at Princeton University Press, director of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, member of the editorial committee of the journal World Politics, and director of the Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. He has been the book reviewer for the New York Times Sunday Business section (2006-9), and a consultant in emerging markets for World Pension Forum and Conexus Financial as well as in higher education for the Open Society Foundations and others.

Kotkin received his Ph.D. from University of California at Berkeley (1988) and his undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester (1981).  

Professor Kotkin will deliver the Arthur Adams Family Distinguished Lecture on International Affairs which is administered by the Keck Center for International & Strategic Studies at CMC.

Food for Thought: Podcast with Steve Kotkin

Thursday, November 02, 2017 - Lunch Program
The Appel Scholarship: Writing Matters
Friday, November 03, 2017 - Lunch Program
Europe’s Refugee Crisis: Unprecedented Challenges for the EU
Pavel Černoch

Pavel Černoch, deputy spokesperson for the Czech Permanent Representation to the European Union, will address the challenges currently facing European leaders trying to work together to solve a humanitarian crisis at the EU level despite differing domestic political constraints, disproportionate impacts across communities, and varying resources across European member states.

Pavel Černoch is a Czech political scientist and diplomat, who is currently working in media and public relations at the European Parliament in Brussels. Černoch has taught at Grinnell College in Iowa and he has received a fellowships from the Open Society Institute (OSI) in Budapest and the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, where he completed his Ph.D in European Studies. In 2002, Dr. Černoch entered the Czech Diplomatic Service and was appointed director of the Czech Centre in Brussels. He later joined the Czech Permanent Representation to the EU with the rank of counsellor as a public relations representative (deputy spokesperson). Since 2007, Černoch has worked as a staff member in the office of public relations and social media in the European Parliament. 

Dr. Černoch's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights at CMC.

Monday, November 06, 2017 - Lunch Program
Policy Research and Political Challenges
Deborah Gonzalez ’85 P'14

Think tanks play an important role in the U.S. policy process, attempting to improve lawmaking and governance by testing political assumptions through empirical research, and offering policy alternatives based on evidence. However, a think tank’s ability to influence policymaking rarely hinges on the strength of its claims or the quality of its findings. Deborah Gonzalez ’85, the director of government affairs at the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), will discuss the divide between policy research and the policy process in California government, and ways in which the two can work better together to improve lawmaking.

Deborah Gonzalez ’85 spent over 25 years working in the California legislature (both in the Assembly and the Senate), serving as policy director to five different Republican leaders and representing legislative Republicans in negotiations involving the state budget, as well as welfare, education, health care, prison and tax reform. She now directs government affairs for the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). Her experiences give Gonzalez a unique perspective that combines an intimate knowledge of process in Sacramento with the policy research environment of PPIC.

Gonzalez and her staff work to connect PPIC research with policymakers and community leaders to help think tanks understand what issues to focus on and how to effectively influence the policymaking process in an ever-changing political climate increasingly driven by public opinion, legislative politics, interest group lobbying, and a host of other challenging factors. 

A graduate of Claremont McKenna College, Gonzalez holds a law degree from the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific.

Ms. Gonzalez’s talk is co-sponsored by the Dreier Roundtable and the Rose Institute for State and Local Government.

Monday, November 06, 2017 - Evening Program
How Do We Know There Are Extra Dimensions
Lisa Randall

Author of "Dark Matters and the Dinosaurs" and "Knocking on Heavens Door" and professor of theoretical particle physics and cosmology at Harvard University, Lisa Randall will talk about her research and advances in extra dimensions of space and novel theories of dark matter. 

Lisa Randall's research connects theoretical insights to puzzles in our current understanding of the properties and interactions of matter. She has developed and studied a wide variety of models to address these questions, including extra dimensions of space and novel theories of dark matter. Much of her current research is focused on the Large Hadron Collider and dark matter searches and models.

Randall has also had a public presence through her writing, lectures, and radio and TV appearances. Randall’s books, Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions and Knocking on Heaven’s Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World were both on the New York Times’ list of 100 Notable Books of the Year. ​Randall’s most recent book is titled Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, about connected science in the universe.

Randall has also pursued art-science connections, writing a libretto for Hypermusic: A Projective Opera in Seven Planes that premiered in the Pompidou Center in Paris and co-curating an art exhibit for the Los Angeles Arts Association. 

Randall’s studies have made her among the most cited and influential theoretical physicists and she has received numerous awards and honors for her endeavors. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, was a fellow of the American Physical Society, and is a past winner of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, a DOE Outstanding Junior Investigator Award, and the Westinghouse Science Talent Search. Randall is an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy and an honorary fellow of the British Institute of Physics. In 2003, she received the Premio Caterina Tomassoni e Felice Pietro Chisesi Award, from the University of Rome, La Sapienza. In 2006, she received the Klopsteg Award from the American Society of Physics Teachers (AAPT) for her lectures and in 2007 she received the Julius Lilienfeld Prize from the American Physical Society for her work on elementary particle physics and cosmology and for communicating this work to the public. In 2012, she was the recipient of the Andrew Gemant Award from the American Institute of Physics, which is given annually for significant contributions to the cultural, artistic or humanistic dimension of physics.

Randall was on the list of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People" of 2007 and was one of 40 people featured in The Rolling Stone 40th anniversary issue that same year. Randall was featured in Newsweek's "Who's Next in 2006" as "one of the most promising theoretical physicists of her generation" and in Seed Magazine's "2005 Year in Science Icons." In 2008, Randall was among Esquire Magazine's “75 Most Influential People.”

Randall earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University and held professorships at MIT and Princeton University before returning to Harvard as a faculty member in 2001. She is also the recipient of honorary degrees from Brown University, Duke University, Bard College, and the University of Antwerp.

Professor Randall's Athenaeum talk is part of the Science and Skepticism series co-sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies.

Photo credit: Rose Lincoln

Tuesday, November 07, 2017 - Lunch Program
NAFTA Endangered: Mexico-U.S. Prosperity in the Trump Era
Roderic Camp, Carlos Garcia de Alba, and David Dreier, panelists

Bucking traditional Republican consensus favoring free trade and calling the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) the “worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country,” President Trump has made good on his campaign promise to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, and is currently reconsidering America’s membership in NAFTA. Former U.S. Representative David Dreier, a leader in the 1993 creation of NAFTA, Ambassador Carlos Garcia de Alba, Mexico’s Consul General in Los Angeles, and Roderic Camp, professor of government at Claremont McKenna, will discuss the origins of the trade agreement, its contributions to North American prosperity, and its imperiled future under President Trump. 

Carlos García de Alba is the Consul General of Mexico in Los Angeles, and has served in the Mexican Foreign Service since 1987. He was promoted to ambassador in 2006, and was confirmed by the Mexican Senate as Consul General in April 2016. He served as executive director for the Institute for Mexicans Abroad from 2009 to 2011, and as Ambassador of Mexico to Ireland from 2011 to 2016. He previously served as Chargé d’Affaires at the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as Consul General of Mexico in Dallas, and as Commercial Counselor at the Embassy of Mexico in Italy.

Ambassador de Alba has published numerous articles on foreign policy issues, youth, environment, agricultural economics and public administration. He has given over 300 lectures and courses on various subjects in several countries. de Alba has a BA in Economics from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Xochimilco, a Master’s Degree in Political Science and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Rome. 

David Dreier was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1980, where he served until January 2013. In Congress, he served as the youngest—and the first from California—chairman of the Rules Committee, playing a pivotal role in fashioning all legislation for debate in the House.

Dreier introduced the first NAFTA legislation in 1987, and worked closely with President Clinton to build the bipartisan support for passage in 1993. During his tenure in Congress, he was a strong ally of both Democratic and Republican administrations in support of passage of free trade agreements. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the board of the International Republican Institute. Dreier is the founding chairman of the bipartisan House Democracy Partnership, which works directly with legislatures in seventeen countries around the globe, helping to build institutions in new and re-emerging democracies. Additionally, he was the founding chair of the Congressional Trade Working Group that has built support for trade agreements for more than twenty years. He was recently awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the Mexico’s highest honor for citizens of other nations.

Dreier received his B.A. from Claremont McKenna College in 1975 and his M.A. in American government from Claremont Graduate University the following year. 

Roderic Camp is the Philip McKenna Professor of the Pacific Rim at Claremont McKenna College. He serves as a founding member of the Advisory Board, Mexico Institute, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Smithsonian Institution and is an elected member of the Council on Foreign Relations, New York City. Camp is a member of the Editorial Board of Mexican Studies and is an Advisory Editor, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin America.

He is a frequent consultant to national and international media, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, and BBC. He is the author of numerous articles and thirty books on Mexico, seven of which have been designated by Choice as outstanding academic books. His most recent publications include: Politics in Mexico, Democratic Consolidation or Decline? (Oxford University Press, 2013) and the Oxford Handbook of Mexican Politics (Oxford University Press, 2012). He is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from St Olaf College for his scholarship and teaching on Mexico, and the Order of the Aztec Eagle from the Mexican government for his scholarly contributions to the study of Mexican politics.

He received a B.A. and M.A. from George Washington University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.

This panel is co-sponsored by the Dreier Roundtable.

Image credit: Alex Covarrubias, Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, November 07, 2017 - Evening Program
Digesting the Outcomes of the 19th Party Congress in China
Bruce Dickson

The Chinese Communist Party will hold its 19th Party Congress in mid-October. Outcomes will reveal whether norms of succession have been institutionalized or remain under the control of individual leaders, in particular CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping. Decisions on which leaders will be promoted, reappointed or retired will have a major impact on policy decisions in coming years. Bruce Dickson, expert on China and Chinese politics, will analyze the outcomes of the 19th Party Congress for both leadership succession and policy making in China.

Bruce Dickson received his B.A. in political science and English literature, his M.A. in Chinese Studies, and his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan. He joined the faculty of The George Washington University and the Elliott School in 1993. 

Dickson's research and teaching focus on political dynamics in China, especially the adaptability of the Chinese Communist Party and the regime it governs. In addition to courses on China, he also teaches on comparative politics and authoritarianism.

His current research examines the political consequences of economic reform in China, the Chinese Communist Party’s evolving strategy for survival, and the changing relationship between state and society. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the US Institute of Peace, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Professor Dickson's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Keck Institute for International and Strategic Studies at CMC.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017 - Evening Program
The 2016 Election One Year Later
Andrew Busch, Jack Pitney, and Michael Nelson, panelists

Michael Nelson, editor of The Elections of 2016 (Sage/CQ), and CMC’s own Andrew Busch and Jack Pitney, professors and authors of "Defying the Odds: The 2016 Elections and American Politics" (Rowman & Littlefield), will join in a panel discussion to examine the 2016 elections. What have we learned about the reasons for the surprising victory of Donald Trump? What have the results of the election been so far? And, after one year, where are American politics headed?

Michael Nelson is the Fulmer Professor of Political Science at Rhodes College, a senior fellow at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, and senior contributing editor and book editor of the Cook Political Report. John J. Pitney, Jr. is the Roy P. Crocker Professor of American Politics at Claremont McKenna College. Andrew E. Busch is the Crown Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College.

This panel discussion is sponsored by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government.


Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - Evening Program
"Mirabai speaks....": The Emergent Voice of Medieval Saint
Nancy A. Martin

Nancy Martin, chair and associate professor of Religious Studies at Chapman University, will explore how regular people participate in co-creating the voice of the immensely popular Hindu saint Mirabai, highlighting marginalized speech excluded from the Hindi literary canon of her works.

Nancy M. Martin is chair and associate professor of Religious Studies and director of Schweitzer Institute at Chapman University and Life Member of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. Martin is recognized both for her expertise on devotional Hinduism and for her work in comparative religious ethics. A leading authority on the woman saint Mirabai, her publications also explore multiple dimensions of the bhakti path and address issues of gender, religious identity, and communal relations in India. As the co-founder and co-director of the Global Ethics and Religion Forum (2001-2009), she also organized a series of conferences and programs internationally, examining major ethical challenges from diverse religious perspectives, and she has edited of a series of volumes on related topics.

Martin received her MA from the University of Chicago and her Ph.D. in comparative religion from Graduate Theological Union. 

Professor Martin's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Kutten Lectureship in Religious Studies at CMC.

View Video: YouTube with Nancy Martin

Thursday, November 09, 2017 - Lunch Program
Unconventional Leadership Story and Quest for Self
Gloria Walton

Rest and self-care are buzzwords proponents of wellness use to encourage balance in a busy life. If you are the leader of a grassroots nonprofit with a monumental mission, a million dollar budget, and hundreds of staff and volunteers, how do you create space and time for renewal? As the youngest recipient of the Durfee Sabbatical Fellowship, Gloria Walton will discuss her rather unconventional leadership story and quest for self.

Gloria Walton is president & CEO of Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), a South LA-based community organization widely recognized as a leader in the development of cutting-edge strategies to ensure that everyone—regardless of race, socio-economic standing, gender, origin or orientation—has an equal voice in the democratic process.

Under Walton’s leadership, SCOPE has played a pivotal role in several significant campaigns, including serving as an anchor organization in winning statewide alliance efforts to pass California’s Proposition 30 (which increased taxes for upper income earners and restored $6 billion in education funding, temporarily ending budget cuts to education for the first time in years); and Proposition 47 (which reformed the three strikes law by reducing non-violent crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and put the cost savings into rehabilitation, social programs, and mental health services). Walton also led the organizing effort for SCOPE’s green jobs programs that couple entry level positions with job training to create career pathways into good, green jobs targeted for workers in low-income neighborhoods.

In 2016 Walton received the NAACP-LA’s Empowerment Award, the LA League of Conservation Voters Environmental Justice Champion Award, and the Center for Community Change’s Champion in Community Organizing Award. She was a recipient of the James Irvine Foundation Fund for Leadership Advancement grant award and was named one of Liberty Hill Foundation’s Leaders to Watch in 2011.

Walton currently serves on the board of directors of California Calls, the coordinating committee of the Black Worker Center, and is a founding advisory board member of a national collaborative known as BOLD (Black Organizing for Leadership & Dignity).

Additionally, Walton holds a Governor-appointed seat on the SB 246 Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program Technical Advisory Council and sits on the Office of Planning and Research Advanced Energy Communities Project Technical Advisory Committee. She is also a member of the Safeguarding California Climate Justice Work Group convened by the Resources Legacy Fund.

Walton has authored multiple pieces for the Huffington Post, The Nation, and online blogs for the Center for Community Change, Equal Voice for America’s Families, and the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, covering topics ranging from environmental racism and clean energy jobs to voter engagement and racial justice.

Ms. Walton's Athenaeum presentation is part of the "Behind the Veil: Women, Race, Leadership, and Social Change in the Nonprofit Sector” (“BTV”) speaker series. BTV explores leadership models and perspectives by harnessing the power of first person narrative and storytelling by nonprofit CEOs on the front lines of social change.  

View Video: YouTube with Gloria Walton


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