Programs and Seminars

The Gary L. McDowell Institute hosts seminars and conferences, as well as international lecturers, who speak on the problems and prospects of leadership. Open to students, faculty, and the community, the lectures offer access to some of the world's top scholars and diplomats.

Lecturers have included Václav Klaus, former president of the Czech Republic; Emily Chamlee-Wright, president and CEO of the Institute for Humane Studies, George Mason University; John Bolton, former assistant to the president for National Security Affairs (NSA) and a former ambassador to the United Nations; Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, emerita, Harvard University, and a former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See; Glyn Davies, a top diplomat in the State Department; Mary P. Nichols, retired professor of political science, Baylor University; Colleen Sheehan, professor of political science and director of The Matthew J. Ryan Center, Villanova University; political scientist Robert Faulkner; Sir David Cannadine, a renowned British historian; and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. Wood, among others.

The Institute also sponsors great books seminars. Past seminars have focused on ancient and modern statesmanship. One, for example, celebrated the 20th anniversary of Harvey Mansfield Jr.'s influential book "Taming the Prince: The Ambivalence of Modern Executive Power," which examines the historic definitions and scope of executive power.

Past Seminars and Conferences

Tolerance and Civility
Discussion Leader: Teresa M. Bejan, Associate Professor of Political Theory and Fellow of Oriel College
University of Oxford

James Madison as "Father of the Constitution"?
Discussion Leader: Lynn Uzzell, Lecturer
University of Richmond and University of Virginia

Abraham Lincoln and the Problem of Democratic Sovereignty
Discussion Leader: Michael P. Zuckert, Nancy Reeves Dreux Professor of Political Science
University of Notre Dame

Not for Turning: The Leadership and Legacy of Margaret Thatcher
Keynote Speaker: Robin Harris, author
Not for Turning: The Life of Margaret Thatcher

Democratic Greatness? Tocqueville on American Ambition
Discussion Leader: Robert K. Faulkner, Research Professor of Political Science
Boston College

The Promise and Peril of an Energetic Executive
Discussion Leader: James W. Ceaser, Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics
University of Virginia and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution

Creating the Commercial Republic
Discussion Leader: Ralph A. Rossum, Salvatori Professor of American Constitutionalism
Claremont McKenna College