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Institute’s spring series will explore U.S.-China relations

The Institute for Freedom & Community’s spring series on U.S.-China Relations will include four discussions on the political dynamics between the U.S. and China in addition to a special election event with NPR host Amy Walter and Manhattan Institute President Reihan Salam on March 16. 

All speaker events are free and open to the public. They will also be streamed and archived online.

The spring speaker series will begin on February 27 with a lecture by award-winning and New York Times best-selling author John Barry on “Pandemics, China, and the Coronavirus.” Barry has worked directly with the White House in the Bush and Obama administrations on pandemic preparedness and response, as well as with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, national security entities, and state and local health departments.

The series will continue on March 4 with a moderated panel on the computer science statistical tools and methods used by the Chinese government to track citizen activities. The panel, titled “China: Big Data, AI, and Privacy,” will feature Director and Research Scientist of the Counter-Power Lab at Berkeley Xiao Qiang, Rhodes Scholar and Researcher at the University of Oxford Jeffrey Ding, and former Associate Director of the Think Tank at the Paulson Institute Joy Dantong Ma.

Elizabeth Economy and Evan Osnos will follow on April 2 for a moderated discussion titled “U.S.-China Today: The Third Revolution.” Economy is an acclaimed author and expert on Chinese domestic and foreign policy and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Osnos is a journalist with The New Yorker and National Book Award winning author, specializing in politics and foreign affairs spanning the U.S., the Middle East, East Asia, and China.

To round off the spring speaker series, Sheena Greitens and Minxin Pei will speak at St. Olaf on April 16 for a moderated discussion about the politics of domestic security and the nature of the current regime in China titled “Freedom and Coercion in China.” Greitens is a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and an associate in research at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. Minxin Pei is the Library of Congress Chair in U.S.-China Relations (2019) and a non-resident senior fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

The Institute’s spring programming will also include a special election event titled “The State of the Presidential Election” on March 16. The conversation will feature nationally-recognized political analysts Reihan Salam and Amy Walter on the U.S. presidential primary and the issues and trends that will shape the presidential debates. 

Established at St. Olaf in 2014, the Institute for Freedom and Community encourages free inquiry and meaningful debate of important political and social issues among students, faculty, and the general public. To that end, the Institute will sponsor a range of fall programming opportunities, in addition to the lecture series, to further cultivate civil discourse within the context of the liberal arts. 

Please visit the Institute’s website for the full list of spring speakers. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for the quarterly newsletter to receive regular updates and information about Institute programming.