Washington & Jefferson College to Host Symposium on Democracy

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Washington & Jefferson College will host its inaugural Symposium on Democracy Feb. 12-15, 2018 in various locations on the W&J campus.

Old Main, Washington & Jefferson College

Old Main, Washington & Jefferson College

W&J College was established in the final days of America's Revolutionary War by leaders who foresaw the need for colleges devoted to preparing a well-educated citizenry for responsible participation in democratic self-government. In the 21st century this remains central to our mission.

Washington & Jefferson College will host its inaugural Symposium on Democracy Feb. 12-15, 2018 in various locations on the W&J campus in Washington, Pa.

This free and open-to-the-public series of lectures and events will feature experts on democracy from within and outside of the W&J College community, speaking on topics both timely and historical. The Symposium, an initiative of President John C. Knapp, Ph.D., will provide an opportunity for the community to engage in a thoughtful exploration of the state of democracy as a form of governance in the United States and across the world.

“Washington & Jefferson College was established in the final days of America's Revolutionary War by leaders who foresaw the need for colleges devoted to preparing a well-educated citizenry for responsible participation in democratic self-government,” Dr. Knapp said. “In the 21st century this remains central to our mission, as we continue to prepare our students for leadership in organizations, professions and society.”

The inaugural Symposium will highlight internationally-renowned experts on democracy, including Dr. Richard Carwardine, a celebrated historian and former president of Corpus Christi College at the University of Oxford, and Stephen B. Young, Global Executive Director of the Caux Round Table for Moral Capitalism. Additional panel discussions and presentations will be led by W&J faculty, staff, and students. The Symposium also will focus, in part, on the vision, values, and lives of the nation's founders – especially George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

“Washington & Jefferson College proudly bears the names of two of the most influential founders of this country and its values,” Knapp said. “We therefore have a special responsibility to contribute to public understanding of those who gave us our liberty and national creed of equality, while also exploring the ways in which the young nation and its leaders failed to live out their espoused values, including inconsistencies in matters such as slavery and women’s rights.”

Other Symposium topics will include the declining middle class as a threat to American democracy; election technologies' vulnerability to tampering or fraud; special exhibits and resources at W&J’s U. Grant Miller Library; and a variety of student-led sessions and projects.

Main events include:

Feb. 13: Stephen B. Young, Global Executive Director of the Caux Round Table for Moral Capitalism, will present a public lecture titled "Can American Democracy Survive Without a Thriving Middle Class?" at 6:30 p.m. in Allen Ballroom of Rossin Campus Center. Young, who was an Assistant Dean at Harvard Law School and later Dean and Professor of Law at the Hamline University Law School, is author of “Moral Capitalism,” a book written as a guide to use for the Caux Round Table ethical and socially responsible Principles for Business. The Caux Round Table is an international network of experienced business leaders who advocate a principled approach to business in the global economy.

Feb. 14: Dr. Richard Carwardine, a renowned historian and former president of Corpus Christi College at the University of Oxford, will present a public lecture titled "The Foundations of American Democracy: 1776-1865" at 6:30 p.m. in Olin Fine Arts Center. Carwardine specializes in American history from the American Revolution through the Civil War, and is best known as a leading authority on Abraham Lincoln. Carwardine served as president of Corpus Christi College at the University of Oxford until 2017. He continues to hold an appointment as Rhodes Professor of American History at Oxford and has been recognized as a Lincoln Prize laureate and a fellow of the British Academy. He is a founding member of the Learned Society of Wales and was elected to the Order of Lincoln by the State of Illinois on the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth.

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Erin Jones
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