January 16, 2019

Charting Illinois’ future, statesmanship initiatives, speakers lead Simon Institute spring 2019 schedule

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A summit of Illinois college students in March to consider the state’s future is one of the featured events planned by SIU Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute this spring.

The summit, “Renewing Illinois: Ambitious Dreams and Practical Steps to Revive the Prairie State,” will be in Carbondale March 28-29.

Interest in starting a discussion

John T. Shaw, Institute director, said the summit is designed to encourage a vigorous discussion and generate creative ideas on how to get Illinois moving again with the help of bright Illinois students.

“With a new governor and a new administration coming into office in Springfield, it’s important to focus on the hopes and concerns of students from colleges and universities across our state,” Shaw said. “We want this summit to be both aspirational and practical. We want to find tangible ways to persuade Illinois students to stay in the Prairie State after college and make it even better.” 

Organizers expect students from about two dozen Illinois colleges and universities, Shaw said. 

The Institute is developing a policy book for participants to review before the summit and also will schedule presentations by Illinois political leaders and policy experts. A detailed agenda will be released in February. 

‘Pizza and Politics’ series returns

With the continued focus on policy challenges confronting Illinois, the Institute will again host several state representatives this semester for its popular “Pizza and Politics” series. The lectures are at the Institute, 1231 Lincoln Drive, Carbondale. The series is free but an RSVP is encouraged.

Speakers this semester are:

  • Jan. 28 – 5 p.m., State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Westchester, chair of the House Higher Education Committee.
  • April 8 – 5 p.m. – State Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis.

Work on Statesmanship Initiative continues

The Institute will continue to work on its Statesmanship Initiative this spring, examining ways to improve the quality of leadership in Illinois and across the United States. 

Former U.S. Ambassador Harriet Elam-Thomas will discuss the importance of civility in public affairs during a luncheon speech at the Institute on March 21. Elam-Thomas had a 42-year career as a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, including U.S. Ambassador to Senegal from 2000 to 2002. She retired with the rank of career minister. Elam-Thomas is a professor and director of the diplomacy program at the University of Central Florida. She is the author of the 2017 book “Diversifying Diplomacy: My Journey from Roxbury to Dakar.” 

Morton-Kenney lecture is April 11 

Barbara Walter, a political science professor at the University of California San Diego, is the spring 2019 Morton-Kenney lecture guest. Walter is an expert on international security with an emphasis on civil wars. 

Walter will be the 45th lecturer in the series sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the Institute. The series is in the spring and fall of each year. 

The late Jerome Mileur, originally from Murphysboro, was a professor emeritus in political science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and retired in 2004 after a 37-year teaching career there. He established the series in 1995 in honor of two of his political science professors — Ward Morton and David Kenney — who inspired him as a student.

Mileur, who died in September 2017, earned his bachelor’s degree in speech communication in 1955, and a doctorate in government in 1971, both from SIU Carbondale.