2020 Spring Semester Newsletter


Dear Friends of the Goldfarb Center,
Like others in the Colby Community, the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs has been thinking of creative ways to keep students connected and engaged during this difficult time. Next Monday we will be kicking off a live speaker series on Instagram to discuss the pandemic response with congressional, state, and regional leaders. Join us for conversations with speakers like Senators Angus King and Susan Collins. Follow @GoldfarbCenter on Instagram or see the line-up below to learn more.
Despite the unusual start, I couldn’t be happier to have moved to Maine and joined Colby last month to lead the Goldfarb Center. I remain impressed by Colby’s leadership and the swift, difficult decisions that had to be made in response to Covid-19. Even though my time on campus was short, it is clear to me that a liberal arts environment like Colby’s can spark inspiration and foster good citizenship. As I build a new vision and programming for the Goldfarb Center, I will lean on you – the students, the faculty, the alumni, and the broader community – to create something remarkable.
May you and your loved ones be safe and healthy. Stay home and stay tuned.
Kimberly Flowers
Executive Director
Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs


Want to ask members of Congress questions about the pandemic response? Join the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs on Instagram (@GoldfarbCenter) next week for the launch of a live speaker series. Engage in a discussion about government policies and the coronavirus pandemic. The interviews with congressional and state leaders will be hosted by Kimberly Flowers, the new executive director of the Goldfarb Center.
The COVID Chat series, all hosted on @GoldfarbCenter’s Instagram account, includes the following line up:
• Senator Angus King 7 p.m., Mon., April 20
• Senator Susan Collins 7 p.m., Wed., April 22
• Henry Beck ’09, Maine’s state treasurer 7 p.m., Mon., April 27
• Rep. Matt Ritter ‘04 (D-CT) 7 p.m., Tues., April 28


Connecting Climate Change, Food Insecurity, and Conflict

On March 11, days before Colby students left campus to learn remotely, Kimberly Flowers, the new executive director of the Goldfarb Center, gave a lecture on linkages between the climate crises, global hunger, and protracted conflicts. Drawing on her years of international development experience with the U.S. government and, most recently, at one of the nation’s top think tanks, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Flowers explained how climate change poses a considerable threat to an already hungry world, particularly in fragile states also grapping with conflict.

Wealth Inequality: What It Looks Like and Why It Matters

The wealth gap between the ​haves​ and the ​have-nots​ is at an all-time high, and the disparity is even larger among marginalized sects of the population. In line with the Goldfarb Center’s theme of racial income inequality this year, Christel Kesler, associate professor of sociology, joined us on March 3 to examine the role of policy on the growing wealth gap in the United States. In addition to the overarching issue of wealth inequality, Kesler’s talk zeroed in on wealth discrepancies based on race and gender.

The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students

The Goldfarb Center, in collaboration with Campus Life, kicked off an inspiring and engaging semester of programming by welcoming Anthony “Tony” Jack, Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, to Mayflower Hill in mid-February. His research focuses on the closely-knit relationship between elite higher education institutions and privilege, particularly, how these institutions often fail poor students. Professor Jack noted that while institutions have become more diverse in many ways, many still fall short in addressing the inequities that pose as barriers to performing in a demanding and foreign environment.

Coronavirus Panel

In late February, members of the Colby Community gathered for a panel discussion on infectious disease and policy management. The discussion was initiated and moderated by Colby freshman Josh Brause ’23, freshman representative on the Goldfarb Student Engagement Committee. Panelists included Gail Carlson, associate professor of Environmental Studies; Susan Childers, instructor of Biology, Walter Hatch, associate professor of Government; and Laura Seay, Assistant Professor of Government. Goldfarb. The timely discussion centered around COVID-19, the virus responsible for our current pandemic. The situation has escalated significantly since the panel took place; what was at the time an isolated outbreak has since been declared a pandemic.