The LearningLife Forum: Witness to History series will kick off 2011 with a true Minnesota luminary: former U.S. Vice President, Senator, and Ambassador Walter Mondale.
Mondale will be interviewed by the Humphrey Institute's Larry Jacobs. Jacobs is director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, an expert in American political history and policy, and the author of 10 books.
Many LearningLife participants will know that this will not be the first time the two have teamed up: Mondale and Jacobs have been Headliners and Great Conversations presenters, and each spring for the last several years, Mondale and Jacobs have co-taught a popular undergraduate course at the U focusing on national security issues and public policy.
Says director of LearningLife programming Margy Ligon, "When [they] spoke at a Headliners event last year, the audience gave them a spontaneous standing ovation. As one participant said, 'the Mondale/Jacobs Headliners event was simply extraordinary. I actually had tears in my eyes because of the privilege of hearing Mondale speak in such an intimate, informal setting.'"
The January event, when Mondale will share some of the insights that have come from his unique perspective on American history, promises to be just as memorable.
"Especially in today's contentious political climate, it's inspiring to meet someone who spent his entire life in public service and never compromised his commitment to civil liberties. He's had a front row seat on American politics since 1960 and no one is better at getting him to talk about what he's witnessed during this time than political science professor Larry Jacobs," says Ligon.
The event will be held on January 20 at 7 p.m., on the U of M St. Paul campus.
It is offered in conjunction with the publication of Mondale's autobiography, The Good Fight: A Life in Liberal Politics. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing at the event.
Although he is perhaps best known as a vice president, Mondale has been a pivotal figure in Minnesota--and American--politics since 1948. After receiving his law degree from the U of M in 1956, he worked as a practicing lawyer until Governor Orville Freeman appointed him to the first of two terms as the state attorney general.
Mondale served in the U.S. Senate for 12 years (1964-76), and was elected U.S. vice president on the Democratic ticket with Jimmy Carter in 1976. He was the Democratic nominee for president in 1984, and served as the U.S. ambassador to Japan from 1993-96.
In addition to shaping domestic policy on a number of fronts, Mondale also has worked tirelessly on U.S. foreign policy and balancing national security with the country's constitution. He led a historic investigation of the intelligence services as part of the Church Committee and shaped the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that established a process for the government to obtain warrants to conduct domestic surveillance of potential terrorists. He is the author of numerous articles on domestic and international issues, as well as the book, The Accountability of Power: Toward a Responsible Presidency.
The LearningLife Forum: Witness to History is a yearlong exploration of the people, ideas, and discoveries that have shaped our collective experience. In its inaugural year, this monthly forum examines firsthand perspectives on the decisive moments and movements that have shaped our history. With topics ranging from milling to music, and civil rights to civic responsibility, the series allows participants to spend memorable evenings engaged in lively discussions with some of Minnesota's most legendary public figures.
Complete details for the event, including ticket information, are available on the LearningLife Web site.