Panels to focus on democracy

Jackie Valley

The 8th Annual Symposium on Democracy begins today, seeking to address the question posed in its title, “Democracy and Peace? Historical Links and Implications for World Order.”

Steven Hook, acting chair of the political science department and chair of the Symposium Committee, said the symposium will explore democracy-related issues, such as promoting democracy through military means and whether the United States is still a democracy with government surveillance of e-mails and phone calls in the wake of Sept. 11.

“These are the most vital questions facing our country today – what we stand for as a nation and how we relate to the rest of the world,” he said. “We are very isolated today and are not very well-trusted, yet we continue to try to mold other countries around our model, and we haven’t been very successful when we try to impose democracy by force.”

The first panel discussion – “The Democratic Peace in Theory and Practice” – will begin at 1:45 p.m. in the Kiva today. At 3:45 p.m. following the panel discussion, there will be guided campus tours with Thomas Hensley and the May 4th State Historical Marker Commemoration in the Kiva. There will also be a Student Forum with Scholars in Room 313 of the Student Center at 3:45 p.m.

Hook said the forum “gives students an opportunity for face-to-face contact with these scholars” to discuss the themes of the symposium.

At 7:30 p.m. there will be a showing in the Kiva of Emmy award-winning producer Edward Gray’s documentary, Security Versus Liberty: The Other War, which is part of the PBS series “America at a Crossroads.”

Hook said Gray will speak about his experience making the documentary about domestic liberty in the United States. A question-and-answer session will also be included.

The symposium will continue tomorrow in the Kiva with three panel discussions:

• 9:45 a.m. – “Critical Perspectives on Democracy and Promotion”

• 1 p.m. – “Democracy and the Global War on Terror”

• 3 p.m. – “U.S. Foreign Policy After 9/11”

The symposium will conclude 7:30 p.m. in the Kiva with the keynote address by political activist and author Tom Hayden.

Hook said he expects Hayden to discuss the parallel between the Vietnam War and the current Iraq War in his speech “Kent State: Memories of the Future.”

All events in the Kiva and Student Center are free and open to the public.

Hook said the symposium, sponsored by the President’s Office, began eight years ago to honor the memory of May 4, 1970 and those who were killed or injured on that day.

“It started because many people in the university community felt the university needed to do something constructive related to the May 4 tragedy,” he said.

Contact student politics reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].