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Former State Department official to speak at Bridges to the Future

Anne-Marie Slaughter speaks Thursday as part of the Bridges to the Future lecture series.

Anne-Marie Slaughter, Princeton University professor of politics and international affairs, continues DU’s Bridges to the Future lecture series on Feb. 2. The theme for this year’s series is “Undercurrents of the 2012 Election.” Slaughter’s talk will stream live at

Slaughter will talk about the fundamental and far-reaching changes that have developed on the global political scene since the end of the 20th century, and she will outline the steps she believes the United States must take to remain relevant as the 21st century unfolds.

A former director of policy planning for the State Department in the Obama administration, Slaughter says many Republican politicians remain mired in an early-model philosophy of international affairs, played out by governments as “a power game between rival states.”

But, she says, modern international policies, as practiced by the Obama administration, must take into account new, extra-governmental players and population-driven issues.

“The implications of these two different views are very important for how we think about American power and leadership in the 21st century,” Slaughter wrote in an email interview.

This presentation is part of DU’s lead-up to the first 2012 presidential debate, scheduled for Oct. 3 in Magness Arena at the Ritchie Center for Sports & Wellness. For more debate-related events, visit DU’s 2012 Presidential Debate website. Have questions or a debate-related event you’d like to add to the official event calendar? Contact Winter Wall Walker at 303-871-4672.

“A growing number of critical global issues such as terrorism, global criminal networks, climate change, global pandemics, resource scarcity and economic development … are created by and directly affect people,” she writes. “Tackling these problems requires the engagement of a much wider range of economic and social actors — corporations, NGOs, foundations, universities, civic groups and religious institutions, as well as state and municipal groups.”

And, she says, the ascendance of communication technology, particularly social media used by political activists, “creates a new set of foreign policy tools and strategies” that must be taken into account.

Slaughter views the opportunity to speak at DU as a “different form of teaching.”

“My aim is to get my audience to realize that how we see the world around us, how we read the newspapers or take in the news, depends on our mental maps of what’s ‘out there’ in this thing we call the international system,” she writes. “If you change your mental maps, new features of the landscape emerge, and with them a whole host of new ways to think about and address the problems that the people of all countries face in the 21st century. And different ways of thinking give rise to different ways of doing.”

The Bridges to the Future series was created in 2002 in an effort to understand and learn from the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. The series aims to engage all residents of Colorado in a debate about the nation’s history, responsibilities, values, dreams and hopes for the future.

“As DU prepares to host the first presidential debate in October, we are exploring the various political undercurrents that will influence the election,” says DU internal communications specialist Jordan Ames. “We look forward to hosting Dr. Slaughter and hearing her insights on the future of international affairs.”

Slaughter currently is the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton. Before taking the position in the Obama administration, she was the dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs for seven years. She is a frequent expert commentator and contributor to domestic and international media outlets and has more than 20,000 followers to her Twitter account, @SlaughterAM.

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