February 08, 2008

Institute's spring schedule offers forums, speakers

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A Nobel Prize laureate, award-winning journalists, an Illinois congressman who has won widespread bipartisan praise, a corruption-fighting federal prosecutor and a medical doctor honored by Time magazine highlight the spring schedule for Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

Speakers include Wole Soyinka, the 1986 Nobel Prize winner for literature; Patrick J. Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Peoria; Ray Suarez, senior correspondent for PBS' "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer"; New York Times chief Washington correspondent David E. Sanger; and Dr. Tieranona Low Dog, a former member of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

The events are free, and institute officials encourage SIUC students and the general public to take advantage of these opportunities.

Here's the current schedule:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 26 – 7 p.m., SIUC Student Center, Ballroom B. Ray Suarez, senior correspondent, "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."
  • Thursday, Feb. 28 – 5 p.m., SIUC Student Center, Ballroom D. Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka, 1986 Nobel Prize laureate for literature.
  • Wednesday, March 19 – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., SIUC Student Center Ballrooms. A conference featuring Dr. Tieraona Low Dog on the future of complementary medicine within the American health care system.
  • Thursday, March 27 – 7 p.m., Shryock Auditorium. Patrick J. Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
  • Saturday, April 5 – 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Springfield Hilton Hotel Grand Ballrooms and the Illinois State Capitol. "Youth Government Day." Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, keynote speaker. Registration is required and is limited to high school students.
  • Wednesday, April 16 – 7 p.m., SIU School of Law Auditorium. David E. Sanger, chief Washington correspondent, New York Times.
  • Wednesday, April 23 – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., SIUC Student Center Ballrooms. A forum on the state's fiscal condition and how the current state budget situation affects its citizens.
  • Monday, April 28 – 7 p.m., SIUC Student Center, Ballroom B. U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Peoria.

Suarez will deliver the Jack and Muriel Hayward Lecture Series. Suarez has more than 30 years of journalism experience with news organizations including CNN, ABC Radio Network in New York, CBS Radio in Rome, WMAQ-TV in Chicago, and National Public Radio. His most recent book, "The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America," explores the attitudes and beliefs of the people behind the voting numbers and how the political divide is manifesting itself across the country.

Soyinka is a playwright, poet, novelist and activist, and the first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. He is an adviser with Black Mountain Institute, an international literary center at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Soyinka's lecture is part of a two-day symposium hosted by SIUC's Department of Theater. For more information on the symposium, visit www.dce.siu.edu or call 618/536-7751.

The conference on complementary health care looks at its past, present and future and explores legal, regulatory and consumer protection concerns the public and policymakers should consider. Organizers hope the program will foster interdisciplinary research by University faculty. Low Dog is a former member of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine and a faculty member at the Program on Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. In 2001, she was named Time magazine's "Innovator in Complementary and Alternative Medicine."

Fitzgerald, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois since Sept. 1, 2001, will deliver the Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture. Fitzgerald's prosecutorial career includes cases against former Illinois Gov. George Ryan on federal fraud and racketeering charges and former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby for obstruction, perjury and lying to the FBI in connection with a probe into the leaked identity of former CIA official Valerie Plame. Previously, Fitzgerald served 13 years in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, including chief of the Organized Crime-Terrorism Unit, where he participated in prosecutions in cases such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and against John Gotti and other Gambino crime family members.

On April 5, Giannoulias presents the keynote address at the annual "Youth Government Day" in Springfield. More than 1,500 high school and community college students have participated in the free, daylong event. A discussion on the different roles in the public policy arena and a visit to the Illinois State Capitol Building are among the activities for students exploring careers in government and public service. For more information, or to register, visit www.paulsimoninstitute.siuc.edu or call 618/453-4009.

Sanger is the chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, and also appears on PBS' "Washington Week with Gwen Ifill." Prior to his White House assignment, Sanger's coverage included examining the mix of economics and foreign policy. He also served as correspondent and bureau chief in Tokyo — covering and providing analysis on a variety of topics, including China's growth as an emerging industrial and military power, Japan's economic growth and North Korea's nuclear weapon's program. Sanger's appearance is part of Asian American Heritage Month events at SIUC. The award-winning reporter is a two-time member of Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting teams.

The forum on the state budget looks at Illinois' budget woes, and analyzes the state's response in addressing the issue. Participants will examine the gap between the state's spending and revenue and consider the impact today's decisions has on the long-term fiscal health of our state. More information on the program and its speakers will be announced later.

First elected in 1994, LaHood is serving his seventh term representing Illinois' 18th congressional district, which covers all or parts of 20 counties in central and western Illinois, including Peoria and Springfield. The former chief of staff to U.S. House Minority Leader Robert Michel, LaHood announced in July he is not seeking re-election this fall. He also served in the Illinois House of Representatives and is a former junior high school social studies teacher. LaHood earned his bachelor's degree in education and sociology from Bradley University in 1971.

The institute is also in the planning stages for two additional programs to be announced later.

For more information on any of these programs, contact the institute at 618/453-4009 or visit www.paulsimoninstitute.siuc.edu.