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41st annual Idaho State University Frank Church Symposium set Feb. 29-March 2; theme is ‘Democracy for a Changing World’

Posted February 17, 2012

Idaho State University's International Affairs Council is proud to present the 41st Annual Frank Church Symposium, featuring the theme of "Democracy in a Changing World," Feb. 29-March 2.

Keynote speaker Margaret Daly HayesMargaret Daly Hayes, the first director of the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at the National Defense University and adjunct professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., will deliver the keynote address "Challenges to Democracy in a World of Change" at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 29 in the Pond Student Union Wood River Room. A reception will follow.

Hayes' research interests include political economy and security, as well as civilian-military relations and intergovernmental/NGO relations on peacekeeping operations.

The symposium's main panels will be held in the Pond Student Union Salmon River Suite on the Pocatello campus.

Joseph Hearst Memorial lecturer Gawdat Bahgat This year's theme is especially relevant given the challenges to freedom and democracy around the world, from the Middle East to Asia to our own individual democracy in the United States, according to symposium organizers.

The symposium's panels will cover a range of topics, including women and gender, technology, media and trends, the future of democracy, economics and countries in transition.

The International Affairs Council, an Idaho State University student organization funded by the Associated Students of ISU, will host the symposium.

Richard H. Foster lecturer Merlyna LimAdmission is free to the public and the events run 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Feb. 29, 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. March 1, and from 9 a.m. until noon on March 2. In addition, the keynote speech will be offered in the evening on Wednesday, Feb. 29 at 7:30 p.m.

For more information on the symposium and its speakers and panel members contact Tomarra Byington at or visit

Below is the schedule:

• Wednesday, Feb. 29

• 9 a.m. – Welcome to the Frank Church Symposium, introduced by Walter Daniel Radovitch, International Affairs Council President

• 9:15-10 a.m. – Joseph Hearst Memorial Lecture by Gawdat Bahgat "Egypt, Islam and the United States."

10:15-11:45 a.m. – Round table discussion "Toward a Democratic World: Countries in Transition" with Ross Burkhart, Luis Bitencourt, Alejandra Vallejo and Lars Eggersten.

1:30-3 p.m. – Round table discussion "Markets, Money and Masses: Economics and Democracy" with Eggersten, Vallejo, Margaret Daly Hayes and Michael Gold-Biss

• 7:30-9 p.m. – Keynote address "Challenges to Democracy in a World of Change" presented by Margaret Daly Hayes in the Wood River Room of the Pond Student Union with reception to follow

• Thursday, March 1

• 9 -10:15 a.m. – Round table discussion "A Safe Society: Military and Security Concerns of Democracy" with Hayes, David Gray, Vallejo, Bitencourt

• 10:30-11:45 a.m. – Round table discussion "The Role of Women and Gender in Democratic Institutions" with Bahgat, Zehra Arat and Gold-Biss

• 1:30-3 p.m. – Round table discussion "Inputs of Democracy: Trends, Technology, and Social Media" with Bahgat, Gray, Burkhart and Merlyna Lim.

• 3:15-4:15 p.m. – Richard H. Foster Lecture "Lessons from the Arab Spring: The Roles and Limits of Social Media in Political Activism and Changes" by Merlyna Lim.

• Friday, March 2

• 9 -10 a.m. – Careers in International Affairs and student discussions with delegates or students only.

• 10:15-11:45 a.m.  – Round table discussion "Into New Frontiers: The Future of Democracy"

• 11:45-noon – Closing comments presented by the International Affairs Council President

Biographies in Brief

2012 Frank Church Delegates

1.     Zehra Arat

        a.     Zehra Arat is a Professor of Political Science in the School of Natural and Social Sciences at Purchase College, the State University of New York. She received her Ph.D. in 1985 from Binghamton University, SUNY. Her areas of expertise include democracy, human rights/women's rights, and politics of developing countries.

        b.     More information:

2.     Lars Eggertsen

        a.     Lars Eggertsen is an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah.

         b.     More information:

3.     David Gray

        a.     David Gray specializes in international and national security affairs. He currently teaches graduate and undergraduate courses at Campbell University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Norwich University.

         b.     More information: please contact IAC Correspondence Chair Tomarra Byington at

4.     Luis Bitencourt

        a.     Dr. Luis Bitencourt currently serves as an Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of National Security Affairs at the National Defense University. His research interests include hemispheric security, terrorism, trade, and democracy.

         b.     More information:

5.     Michael Gold-Biss

        a.     Dr. Michael Gold-Biss currently serves as an Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of National Security Affairs at the National Defense University. His research interests include civilian-military relations, democratization, political violence and terrorism, defense economics, and force transformation.

        b.     More information:

6.     Gawdat Bahgat

        a.     Dr. Gawdat Bahgat received his Ph.D. in 1991 from Florida State University, an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from American University Cairo in 1985, and his bachelor’s degree in political science from Cairo University in 1977. His research interests include energy security, counter-terrorism, international political economy, the Middle East, Caspian Sea/Central Asia, and American foreign policy among others.

        b.     More information:

7.     Alejandra Vallejo

        a.     Alejandra Vallejo comes to the Frank Church Symposium from Washington, D.C. where she serves as the Chief of Corporate Affairs Unit of the Inter-American Investment Corporation.

        b.     More information:

8.     Ross Burkhart

        a.     Dr. Ross Burkhart is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the Co-Director of the Canadian Studies Program at Boise State University. He received his Ph.D.  from the University of Iowa in 1996 and his research interests include analyzing cross-national democratization patterns and US-Canada environmental relations.

        b.     More information:

9.     Merlyna Lim

        a.     Merlyna Lim is an Assistant Professor with the Consortium of Science, Policy, and Outcomes in the School of Social Transformation-College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. Her research interests include political economy in relation to globalization, identity politics, and democratization.

         b.     More information:

10.  Margaret Daly Hayes

         a.     Dr. Hayes is Vice President of Evidence Based Research, Inc, a defense research consulting firm. From November 1997 to March 2004 she served as the first Director of the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS) at National Defense University. Dr. Hayes has specialized in U.S.-Latin American political economy and security issues throughout her career. Prior to assuming her position at CHDS, she led studies on U.S.-Latin American Naval and Air Force cooperation with Latin American countries for Evidence Based Research, Inc., and as a visiting fellow at the Center for Naval Analyses. She served as External Relations Advisor of the Inter-American Development Bank from 1987 to 1991. Prior to joining the Bank, she was Director of the Washington Office of the Council of the Americas from 1984 through 1987. She has also served as Senior Western Hemisphere staff person on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Associate Director of the Center of Brazilian Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and as Senior Analyst in the Policy Sciences Division at CACI, Inc. Dr. Hayes has also taught at George Mason University. She is the author of many publications, including numerous reports, book chapters, and journal articles.

          b.     More information:

About the IAC: The International Affairs Council (IAC) was first organized in the early 1970s with the goal of sponsoring an annual international affairs symposium on the Idaho State University campus. The Frank Church Symposium on International Affairs has allowed the IAC to continue its search for understanding. In the spring of each year since 1972, speakers have been brought to Pocatello for three days to discuss problems in the international arena. Representatives from over 45 nations have participated in IAC forums to date.