December 2019 Newsletter

Happy Holidays from the Goldfarb Center!
Letter from the Director

It is an unsettling time. As protests erupt across the globe, the Senate impeachment trial looms and campaign rhetoric escalates at home, uncertainty clouds the future. But one thing is for sure: it has never been a better time to be a student of public affairs. We have been busy this semester discussing inequality, media, elections and leadership. I am encouraged by the intellectual range of our students and their engagement in difficult questions of public affairs. I am buoyed by the work of colleagues to bring insightful speakers to campus to involve our students in thoughtful debate.
I leave for sabbatical with a full heart. Directing the Goldfarb Center has been a rewarding experience. I am grateful to those in the broader Colby family–parents and alums–who generously contributed to our programming on Mayflower Hill and Capitol Hill. The Goldfarb Center’s partnership with DavisConnects has been especially productive in connecting our students to the world of public affairs. I am appreciative of the Goldfarb Team, particularly Sherry Berard, for positive and energetic support. Thanks to Olivia Benissan, the primary author of this newsletter and Andrew Ordentlich, the student reporter. Our programs nearly always involve meals–a time to engage in civil discourse on the topic of the day. Dining services made each event a Colby family table where students, faculty, staff and guests could trade new ideas. Enormous gratitude goes to Bill Goldfarb whose vision continues to sustain our program. And finally, but most centrally, I am so very grateful for my life partner, Sandy Maisel, who lovingly supported me and Goldfarb programming for these past few years. I am proud of what we all accomplished together–and very excited by the potential that our new Executive Director, Kimberly Flowers, will bring in the New Year. Sandy and I–along with Kimberly–look forward to seeing as many of you in the DC area for our Hill to Hill networking event on Thursday, January 30th. Stay tuned for details–until then, and to all, the happiest of holidays and best wishes for the New Year.
Patrice Franko, Director; Grossman Professor of Economics and Global Studies

Fall 2019 Goldfarb Center Events

Putin, Russia, and the Media: Journalism in Contemporary Russia

Paul Josephson, Professor of History
October 1
It was a quiet, crisp Tuesday evening on the first of October. While a majority of students were busy preparing for a week of lectures and assignments, Goldfarb students, faculty, staff, and local residents gathered to hear Professor of History Paul Josephson deliver a cautionary tale of Putin, Russia, and the Media.

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are fundamental to our First Amendment rights in the United States, but as Professor Josephson demonstrated with an abundance of unsettling evidence, these freedoms are not universal. Professor Josephson highlighted the troubling reality of vice-like State control of information and deliberate stifling of journalistic freedom. By 2006, a majority of Russian media lay in control of the State. Television, the avenue through which most Russians receive information, is not free and open but monitored by the Russian government. The same goes for the internet. The Russian version of Facebook, VKontakte, is entirely controlled by the Kremlin. Restrictive laws continue to take effect regarding the control of information in Russia and fines are delivered to those who miss-speak, creating a constant battleground for freedom of expression.

It is also crucial to Putin that the Russian government protect the country’s morals. At risk of being corrupted by so-called Western moral values, including homosexuality and pornography, it is imperative that Putin stay on top of the happenings not only of his country, but the rest of the world.
While the legal constraints on media are troubling enough, journalists face violence in their battle to provide the truth and keep Russians and the world alike informed. Professor Josephson provided a now uneasy audience with up to date statistics on violence against Russian journalists: 58 journalists have been killed, 38 of which were targeted attacks, and 33 of those were murdered with impunity. Failure to prosecute, Josephson pointed out, doesn’t mean the Russian government was behind these attacks, but at the very least, perhaps subtly in support. Despite the violence, journalists continue to risk their lives to tell stories that keep the world informed.
Professor Josephson posited that what is most concerning for those of us who live in the United States are the parallels between Putin and President Trump. Putin coined the term “fake news,” a phrase famously touted by Trump in the face of media criticism. As you continue on to the next article, you will read about how here in the United States, our First Amendment rights are placed under attack.

Toll of Tragedy: Newsrooms Under Stress, Communities Under Attack

Rick Hutzel, editor of Capital Gazette Communications
David Shribman, editor emeritus, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Panel moderated by Marty Kaiser, former editor, Milwaukee Journal
Sentinel
October 4
Two distinguished editors, two gut wrenching firsthand accounts of communities devastated by gun violence. Capital Gazette editor Rick Hutzell and former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editor David Shribman shared stories of the June 28 shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, MD that left five dead and two wounded, and the October 27 Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, PA that left eleven dead and several others wounded. The panel, moderated by former editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and managing director of the University of Maryland Capital News Service, Marty Kaiser, impacted the robust and engaged audience, leaving us to think about the importance of our First Amendment.

Rick Hutzell began the panel by sharing the harrowing details of the shooting at Capital Gazette Communications that left five journalists dead, making this the largest killing of journalists in U.S. history. He later shared, packed with raw emotion, that had he not been away with his family, he would have been among those killed in the attack.

Hutzell and Shribman, as press editors, were charged with keeping their communities informed, not only speaking to them, but speaking for them. Moreover, when communities are grieving after instances such as these, the process of telling their story is also a method through which the community can heal. This is not an easy task, and one that Hutzell and Shribman did not take lightly. Not only were they tasked with handling the news, but they were also part of the communities that were under attack. Hutzell’s own newsroom was targeted, his friends and colleagues killed. Shribman was a member of the Squirrel Hill community and is himself Jewish.
David Shribman gave his account of the events following the deadly attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue. He discussed the importance of community; how a community grieves together and heals together. He described how an article in the aftermath of a tragic event can help victims move forward. He made the decision to post the Mourner’s Kaddish in Hebrew as the headline. He offered that “if you can’t find the words to express what you’re feeling, maybe you’re speaking the wrong language.”
Both Hutzell and Shribman shared the immense pride they have for their work and for fellow journalists. In the aftermath of these tragedies, news outlets from across the country swooped in to help. “All journalists are good people” said Hutzell. A changed audience left Roberts on that early fall afternoon.

67th Annual Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award

Hala Al-Dosari, Journalist, the Washington Post
Martin Smith, PBS FRONTLINE
Moderated by Quil Laurence, NPR News
October 4
The 67th annual Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award was given by the College in memory of Lovejoy, an 1826 graduate of Colby who was killed defending his printing press from a mob intending to stop him from printing anti-slavery articles. This year the Lovejoy was awarded posthumously to the 66 journalists and members of the media who died 2018, including Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist who was violently murdered just over a year ago at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.
Journalist Hala Al-Dosari is pictured to the left, accompanied by PBS FRONTLINE filmmaker and journalist Martin Smith and panel moderator Quil Lawrence of NPR News.
Leading up to the Lovejoy, Colby hosted a screening for Smith’s FRONTLINE documentary, “The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.” The FRONTLINE documentary investigates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia a year after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, journalist and outspoken critic of the Prince. FRONTLINE producer Martin Smith, who has a background in the Middle East, examines the Crown Prince’s reformism, along with public defiance and the Prince’s involvement in Khashoggi’s death.
Khashoggi’s death is not an anomaly. In his opening to the Lovejoy, President David A. Greene noted that the number of journalists killed, some by state actors, is disturbingly high. These murders go unsolved at a rate of 90%. Khashoggi was a critic of an increasingly aggressive nationlist regime. Though some have labeled Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman a reformist, even progressive, it is those like Khashoggi and Hala Al-Dosari who have put themselves at risk to tell a more truthful story of the oppressive regime Saudi Arabia truly is. Media outlets like Twitter are closely monitored, women activists tortured for dissenting against the Prince. Khashoggi’s death is precisely why Al-Dorsari felt it was her duty to speak out and continue in his place despite the great risk.
Martin Smith documented President Trump’s close ties to bin Salman. Freedom of the press is something we as Americans, and those all over the world, rely on to stay informed. Journalists dedicate themselves, at times putting themselves at great risk, to tell the stories that matter. We express gratitude for all who commit themselves to getting those stories out there.

Covering the Campaigns: The Media’s Role in a Chaotic World

Former Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) and NewsCenter Maine
Weekend Anchor Hannah Dineen ’17
Moderated by Sandy Maisel, Goldfarb Family Distinguished Professor of
American Government
October 6
How can we make sense of the byzantine world of politics framing the 2020 presidential and Congressional elections?
On Sunday, October 6, the Goldfarb Center was joined by former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), who served 16 terms in the United States House of Representatives and Hannah Dineen ’17, weekend anchor and political reporter for NewsCenter Maine. The discussion was moderated by Professor of American Government Sandy Maisel.
The family/homecoming brunch was to honor the donors who have supported student internships through the Sandy Maisel Student Research Fund; it was wonderful to connect those who had given so generously to the students whose lives were changed by January and summer experiences.
To a packed room, panelists Frank and Dineen discussed the responsibility of journalists to guide us through the chaotic political world we live in as we gear up for the 2020 elections. Dineen outlined the scope of NewsCenter Maine, and their commitment to covering issues specific to the state of Maine. Dineen shared that NewsCenter Maine is part of Tegna Inc., which gives the outlet access to broadcasting from other stations across the country. In addition to covering the Presidential race and especially the New Hampshire primary, Dineen and the NewsCenter team will be providing the state with coverage for the congressional and U.S. Senate races, each of which is expected to be extremely competitive.
As we head into the 2020 elections, Frank cautions us to be skeptical of what we read online. According to Frank, the internet is a source of misinformation, leading many to believe things that are wildly inaccurate. This point led Frank and Dineen into a discussion about press responsibility in informing the public. Congressman Frank shared his concern that often the media cover what the public wants to hear rather than leading the public by covering other important issues. Frank and Dineen also discussed how ratings can provide a barrier to responsible reporting. While Dineen shared that there is a pressure to get news out to the community as soon as possible, Frank cautioned that the race to get news out the fastest emphasizes speed rather than accuracy, which is a problem.
Media can be a source of information but it can also be a distraction. As the discussion turned to the Trump impeachment case, Frank warned that this may distract us from other important issues such as healthcare and climate change. Frank advised that we must be critical when seeking out information. He expressed fear that the abundance of false information on the internet will have a long term effect on our society’s ability to distinguish between what is accurate and what is not.
The media have a responsibility to report accurately and ethically, but, as the public who consumes this information, we have the ability and responsibility to ensure that the information we’re receiving reflects the true issues impacting us, and to be skeptical of the things we read, making sure that the information we receive is accurate. We thank former Congressman Barney Frank and journalist and alumna Hannah Dineen for joining us and Professor Sandy Maisel for moderating the panel.

Latin America’s Growth Conundrum: A Trade Perspective

Augusto de la Torre, former chief economist for Latin America at the World Bank; former Governor of the Central Bank of Ecuador
October 24

Why do some countries succeed in growing economically while others fail? This question has perplexed macroeconomists, including Augusto de la Torre, for decades. De la Torre currently is Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in New York. Until recently, he served as the World Bank’s Latin America and Caribbean Chief Economist. In attempting to answer this question, de la Torre argues that countries that were able to increase export share were the ones that succeeded. The dominant paradigm of import substitution industrialization failed to latch on to a bigger engine of growth. His empirical research demonstrates the learning that comes from exporting, driven in part by technological spillovers. Key to gaining from trade is the institutional quality that guides entrepreneurship and innovation. Playing to the region’s cultural capital and investing in the social agenda can position countries to identify niche markets and take advantage of the gains from trade.

Tough Love: A Discussion with Ambassador Susan Rice 

October 25

September 16, 2012 was a pivotal moment in former National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s career. On September 11, 2012, a tragic attack on a U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya  left four U.S. citizens dead, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens. Described as the “bogeyman” of the Benghazi scandal, Rice faced sharp criticism from the Right. Crippling public and professional resentment toward Rice halted her career and ultimately cost her opportunity to become Secretary of State under President Obama. In her book, Rice described herself as a mere “bit player,” leaving her to question why she was the one to suffer the most from the blistering backlash. Rice decided, however, that she would no longer let herself be defined by those who have nothing but animus toward her: It was her turn to tell her own story.

During the discussion, Ambassador Rice echoed many of the life lessons included in her newly released book, Tough Love. Guided by questions from Nena Burgess ’22 and Montgoris Family Assistant Professor of Government Carrie LeVan, Rice shared her story, from her ancestral legacy, to next moves in her career. For Rice, her story begins far before she was born. From Jamaican immigrants on her mother’s side, and formerly enslaved ancestors on her father’s side, Ambassador Rice described how her upbringing was built on a dream to rise up through each new generation. She described what “tough love” meant to her growing up, loving fiercely but not uncritically.
One lesson she shared with the packed room was about self-image in a world full of bigotry. Rice stated that you can’t change who you are. You simply have to bring your best knowledge and experience; any prejudice others harbor is not yours to bear. Rice learned many lessons along the road to National Security Advisor. Starting her career off as a breastfeeding young mother in an arena full of older white males provided challenges. Being a young black woman in Washington meant she had to be twice as good to be recognized as equal. It also meant that there were people rooting for her to fail. But that did not discourage Rice. She was raised to strive for excellence, and she was not going to fall short. These lessons and many more are included in Tough Love. We thank Ambassador Rice for her service and for joining us here at Colby for an informative and empowering discussion. We also want to thank Trustee Chip Smith, who arranged for Ambassador Rice to visit Colby.

Cotter Debate: Can Our Institutions Respond to Current Threats to American Democracy?

Bruce Cain, Charles Louis Ducommun Professor in Humanities and
Sciences, Stanford University
David Brady, Bowen H. & Janice Arthur McCoy Professor in Leadership
Values, Stanford University
Moderated by Sandy Maisel, Goldfarb Family Distinguished Professor of
American Government
October 28
The Cotter Debate Series was established in 1999 to recognize William R. Cotter, Colby’s President from 1979 to 2000, and his wife Linda K. Cotter.
For the first Cotter Debate in the 2019 series, members of the Colby community were joined by David Brady, the Bowen H. and Janice Arthur McCoy Professor of Political Science and Leadership Values, and Bruce Cain, the Charles Louis Ducommun Professor in Humanities and Sciences and the Eccles Family Director of the Center for the Study of the American West, both at Stanford University. Though Brady and Cain are friends and colleagues, the two scholars hold different views on this crucial and timely topic. The debate was moderated by Professor of American Government Sandy Maisel.

The debate, sponsored by the Goldfarb Center, addressed whether American governmental institutions are capable of responding to the threats to decision-making norms, viewing this question through the lens of the first three years of the Trump administration. Professor Brady began by framing what he sees as cracks in our current political system. Speaking on our current polarized climate, he concluded that “our institutions are not solving problems.” This, he explains, leads to mistrust. Trust between all the elements, however, trust is needed for democracy to work. As Brady stated in his opening remarks, democracy’s reliance on trust renders it frail. Universal suffrage, regular elections with turnover, mass political parties, and free press are basic tenets of democracy that have been found lacking many times in the last century.
Professor Cain had an alternate view on the situation. While Brady and Cain agree that polarization is hindering democracy, Cain suggests that Brady does not pay enough deference to backsliding or regressing toward past errors. These days, young people have little faith in governmental institutions to work in a fair and unbiased way, to solve problems. Not only is there deep divide between Democrats and Republicans, the individual parties are being sorted into smaller factions. Cain also offers that Trump is a beneficiary of this lack of faith and political ambivalence.
Many fear that the United States is speeding on a path away from democracy. Several have pointed out the autocratic and oligarchical nature of our current government. With foreign interference in our elections and disinformation spreading like wildfire across social media, it is evident that our current climate is highlighting the frailty of democracy that Professor Brady pointed out. So, are American governmental institutions capable of responding to the threats to decision-making norms?

Failing at Life: Reflections from a Serial Social Entrepreneur on How to (Not) Change the World

Oliver Sabot ’02, Partner and Executive Coach, Slingshot Advisory
November 14
Oliver Sabot has had a diverse career since graduating from Colby in 2002. Sabot served as an executive at the Clinton Foundation, published research in top scientific journals, and founded one of the fastest-growing networks of quality schools in Africa, which was recognized with a Global Transformative Business award by the Financial Times. Though his impressive résumé screams of success, Sabot has failed repeatedly, with organizations he worked tirelessly to build falling flat, and his own wellbeing collapsing.

In this talk, Oliver reflects on the path anyone can take from Colby to helping solve some of the world’s most pressing problems based on the lessons he has learned the hard way.
While the idea of failure may be paralyzing to some, Sabot saw these instances as learning opportunities. During his talk, he made sure to share these lessons with a refreshing level of honesty and humility. From teaching in a rural village in Angola, only to find months later that his students were not learning because they could not understand his American English, to having investors pull money from an important entrepreneurial project, to family crises, Sabot shared important life lessons he learned through the turmoil.
Sabot had naive notions about the world that ended up hurting him and others, leading him to these instances of failure. One critical lesson he learned was that arrogance and certainty are ultimately enemies of success. Being uncertain, he shared, is valuable and leads to growth. Taking risks and doing things that are scary often reap unforeseen benefits. Another lesson he learned was that letting himself feel anger, shame, and other painful emotions ultimately helped him get better and improve his overall wellbeing.
At the beginning of his talk, Sabot asked the audience if they saw themselves as change-makers. Unsurprisingly, a majority of people raised their hands. He later prompted the audience with questions like, “what is one thing you feel certain about in life?” and “what is breaking your heart right now?” These questions allowed audience members to tie their own life experiences to the lessons he bravely shared.
Audience members left Sabot’s talk with several tools: how to frame failure as an important lesson, to be uncertain and take risks, and to lean into the negative feelings that arise through adversity.

Cotter Debate: Can Universal Basic Income (UBI) Decrease Inequality in the US?

Amy Cortes Baker, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of
Pennsylvania
Michael Strain, John G. Searle Scholar and Director of Economic Policy,
American Enterprise Institute
Moderated by Rob Lester, Assistant Professor of Economics
November 20
As a packed audience filled into Ostrove lecture hall we heard Amy Castro Baker, Professor of Economics at UPenn, and American Enterprise Institute’s Michael Strain debate the feasibility and efficacy of Universal Basic Income (UBI) in the United States. According to Mike, Liberals and Libertarians alike are in favor of the idea because of the freedom UBI allows. Professor Baker is drawn to UBI as an approach to alleviate the long and slow recovery many are facing after the 2008 recession.

For Baker, this is a matter of assembling a more just economy. Baker argues that providing a flexible cash benefit for all Americans addresses the dynamic nature of day to day needs, while sidestepping some of the structural, bureaucratic barriers that many seeking government assistance must navigate.
Strain, however, isn’t convinced that UBI is the answer. He argues that UBI moves us in the wrong direction by diminishing our existing social safety net. Moreover, he brings up the issue of reciprocity, questioning the ethics of people receiving government assistance without ensuring they actively contribute to society through the labor force. Baker’s philosophy on the matter, however, is one of autonomy rather than accountability: “It’s not what you do, but that you are a human being.” Moreover, she explains that as human beings, we have a responsibility to treat others with dignity, value, and worth.
Professor Baker is optimistic that as more data come out, including through her project, SEED, more policymakers will take interest in UBI. Strain, however, is not as convinced, particularly in light of today’s political divisiveness. What do you think? Does Universal Basic Income have the potential to help address income inequality?

A Dinner to Celebrate Professor Patrice Franko!

December 5

On this special night, the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and others from the Colby Community said “Thank You” to Professor Patrice Franko. Not only is she an outstanding professor of economics but she has also served as the dedicated, hard-working director of the Goldfarb Center for the past three years.

Individuals shared their sincere gratitude to Patrice for all of the hard work and endless hours of work she provides to her students and the Goldfarb Center. Her inspiration and love for teaching is something that we can all learn from. Professor Franko and her husband Professor Sandy Maisel will be heading off for a well-deserved sabbatical and we wish them all the best.


Trip to the State House in Augusta

 
Henry Beck ’09, Maine State Treasurer
Emily Cook ’11, Senior Legislative Aide
Brooke Barron ’09, Senior Policy Advisor to the Speaker of the
Maine House
Will Palmieri ’21 intern
November 6
Goldfarb students ended the semester with a trip to the state house of Maine. Hosted by State Treasurer Henry Beck ’09, the panel of Colby alums (and a current student intern) testified to the importance of state level change. Both Brooke Barron and Emily Cook had intensely productive but often frustrating experiences on Capitol Hill in DC; along with Henry Beck they pointed to the exciting nature of change when representatives meet their constituents in the grocery store-or come to Augusta to testify on issues critical to their communities. Relationships with the other party are healthier as representatives are personal and grounded in a shared reality. The Goldfarb Center explored future opportunities for Colby students to contribute to political organizing along with providing research for members. It was a terrific way to end the semester!

A Note from the GSEC Co-Chairs

Chasity McFadden ’20 and Adam Bowes ’21
First, we want to say thank you to Professor Franko for all her amazing work these past years with Goldfarb. We have learned so much from her and appreciate all her training in leadership. Goldfarb certainly will not be the same without her, but we wish her the best on her sabbatical! We are also very excited to welcome in Ms. Flowers and are excited to work with her this coming semester.
Second, thank you to Adam Bowes for all his work as an excellent co-chair this year. GSEC has been absolutely blessed to have his leadership this past semester. Best of luck to Adam as he goes abroad! Lastly, we want to welcome in Genesis Cazalez-Contreras as the second co-chair this spring. Genesis has served on GSEC for several years and has continually demonstrated her passion for Goldfarb. We are very lucky to have her as a co-chair in the spring!
This coming semester is going to be amazing and we are really excited to see all the important work that Goldfarb does!

A Note from the Colby Mock Trial Team

This semester, Colby Mock Trial competed at 4 tournaments: UNH, Coast Guard Academy, Brandeis, and Fordham.

Colby Mock Trial has been working with many attorneys from Waterville and Portland to develop legal skills and learn more about courtroom procedure. These efforts have been a result of partnering with the Office of General Counsel at Colby, which has provided the team with many incredible resources.
Tournament performance for Colby Mock Trial is off to a great start this year. At UNH, the B Team won an honorable mention. Serena Desai won a first place witness award. Jordan Miller and Varun

Boopathi earned individual attorney award. Honorable mentions were won by Nina Antone, Angie Liu, Charlotte Hurson, and Sarah Kaplan. The Coast Guard Academy tournament was also immensely successful. Parker Sikora and Nina Antone won attorney awards for being a part of the top 3 attorneys. Hannah Weil won an individual witness award as well. At Fordham University, Colby’s A team came away with a winning record and received positive commentary from many judges.

In January, the Mock Trial Team will compete at UMass Amherst in preparation for regionals, which will be in Providence, Rhode Island in February. Colby Mock Trial could not compete without the generosity of the Brody Fund through the Goldfarb Center and is grateful for the contributions it has made to help the team grow.

Happy Holidays to all from the Goldfarb Center!