Due to the breadth of certain topics, three program tracks will offer conversations across both Fest 1 and Fest 2. Additionally, focused attention will be given to four different subjects during each half of the Festival. Spotlight: Health kicks off the week as a focused, two-and-a-half day forum.
As we plot a week of lectures, debates, and conversations on the state of world affairs and America’s unique role among them, we note that our timing aligns with unprecedented political gridlock in our nation’s capital. Views from home and abroad reveal an American political discourse defined, more than any time in recent memory, by dysfunction and animus instead of compromise and consensus. Global markets are skittish. Lenders are uneasy. As we grapple with seemingly irreconcilable differences over levels of budget deficits and debt, the world braces with us.
The threat of global terrorism has dominated much of U.S. foreign policy over the past decade. Will it dominate the next? Valued in some hot spots and eschewed in others, American interventions abroad are complex at the least. Leaked evidence regarding U.S. surveillance practices among allies and rivals both are straining diplomacy and trust. While the U.S. either denies it or maintains that such practice is in the name of national security, will allegiances shift?
Will BRIC nations emerge as economic powerhouses? Will their influence be sufficiently expansive to diminish a U.S. role? Iran, Israel, Syria, and the Maghreb: will the region be mired in conflict or primed for peace? What role will energy, natural resources, and water play between nations? Who will champion a moral obligation to help foster freedom, democracy, health, and economic progress around the globe? Many argue that American preeminence in industry, security, and defense, agriculture, medicine, education, as well as sheer innovation, renders us an indispensable superpower. Ten years from now, who else will join these ranks? Does it matter?