Please join the Government Department for our upcoming discussions of politics and current affairs in Maine, the United States, and the world. Unless otherwise noted, all events are open to members of the Colby College community and the general public. All Colby facilities are wheelchair accessible. Please contact the Government Department at 207-859-5300 with any questions.

2017 William R. and Linda K. Cotter Debate: American Democracy?
March 29 | 7 p.m. | Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building
In light of the exceptionally turbulent 2016 presidential elections, as well as a broad array of other on-going transformations, many now ponder the soundness of what Alexander Hamilton dubbed as our “grand experiment.” Are citizen’s sovereign or largely powerless? Can future generations redeem a government of, by, and for the people?
The 2017 William R. and Linda K. Cotter Debate will offer a wide-ranging and vibrant conversation about the democratic character of the United States in the 21st century.
Panelists include:
Benjamin Page, Gordon Scott Fulcher Professor of Decision Making, Northwestern University; author ofDemocracy in America? What Has Gone Wrong and What We Can Do About It (Forthcoming).
Roslyn Fuller, scholar; author of Beasts and Gods: How Democracy Changed Its Meaning and Lost Its Purpose (2015)
Peter Levine, associate dean and Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Tufts University; author of We are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: The Promise of Civic Renewal in America (2013)
Moderator: Joseph R. Reisert, Harriet S. Wiswell and George C. Wiswell Jr. Associate Professor of American Constitutional Law, Colby College
2017 George J. Mitchell Distinguished International Lecture: U.S. Senator Angus King
Lessons in foreign policy, from North Korea to Syria and back to Washington
April 19 | 7 p.m. | Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building
In January 2013 Angus King was sworn in as Maine’s first Independent United States Senator, filling the same seat once held by storied Maine leaders Edmund Muskie, George Mitchell, and Olympia Snowe. Senator King is a member of the Armed Services Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the Committee on the Budget, and the Committee on Rules and Administration. He cofounded the Former Governors Caucus, which brings together the Senate’s former governors to chart pragmatic approaches to solutions, as well as the Senate Arctic Caucus, which hones in on Maine and America’s growing interest in the Arctic. Learn more here >>>


Politics and Pizza Series: Democracy, Diplomacy, and Development Under Trump

March 31, 12pm in Diamond 122

Join Professor Laura Seay for free pizza & an informal discussion of what’s on the horizon for U.S. foreign policy and international relations during the Trump administration.


2017 Annual Government Department Goldfarb Lecture: Foreign Policy Challenges in the Age of Trump

April 9, 7pm, Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building

Ambassador Nicholas Burns will speak about foreign policy in the Trump Administration. Burns served in the United States government for twenty-seven years.  As a career Foreign Service Officer, he was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005 to 2008; the State Department’s third-ranking official when he led negotiations on the U.S.–India Civil Nuclear Agreement; a long-term military assistance agreement with Israel; and was the lead U.S. negotiator on Iran’s nuclear program. He was U.S. Ambassador to NATO (2001–2005), Ambassador to Greece (1997–2001) and State Department Spokesman (1995–1997).  He worked for five years (1990–1995) on the National Security Council at the White House where he was Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Affairs and Special Assistant to President Clinton and Director for Soviet Affairs in the Administration of President George H.W. Bush. Burns also served in the American Consulate General in Jerusalem (1985–1987) where he coordinated U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and before that, at the American embassies in Egypt (1983-1985) and Mauritania (1980 as an intern).

Evening Lecture with Former Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates P’17
May 3 | 7 p.m. | Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building
Cosponsored with the Oak Institute for Human Rights
Sally Yates served as a United States Attorney and later United States Deputy Attorney General, under President Barack Obama. With the inauguration of Donald Trump and the departure of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Yates served as Acting Attorney General until being dismissed by President Trump on January 30, following her instruction to the Justice Department not to defend Trump’s immigration-related executive order in court.