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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Former secretary of state to visit

Getting one step closer to fulfilling its mission to bring the world to A&M’s door, the MSC Wiley Lecture Series will be hosting Former U.S. National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on April 1 to discuss the effect of hyper partisanship on American politics and foreign policy.
Rice’s lecture, “The Impacts of Modern American Politics,” will include discussions on revolutions around the globe, the value of the American dollar, America’s deficit and debt obligation and treaties with other countries.
Following Rice’s prepared remarks will be a question-and-answer period moderated by Rice University professor Joseph Brinkley. Taylor Arnold, chair of the Wiley Lecture Series and sophomore general studies major, said Rice will address how modern politics has impacted U.S. international policies.
“Partisanship has had a great effect on how we as a country conduct ourselves internationally,” Arnold said. “Dr. Rice’s extensive career in politics over the last decades make her one of the experts on the topic as she has been in Washington. The relevancy of the program comes from the impacts partisanship are having on the United States, especially if you look internationally.”
Reid Geissen, Wiley Lecture Series’ main program director and junior philosophy major, said the increasing polarization of the U.S. Congress has had a huge impact on the progress of the country and that Rice’s experience in government lends her a unique perspective into current political affairs, especially in the international arena.
“In the [U.S.], the thing that is most frequently observed now is a sense of helplessness in government in trying to solve bigger issues,” Geissen said. “Everyone’s interested in the success of our country in terms of the economy and our standing in the world. We think it’s important to look at how this dysfunction in Washington affects those. Everyone is aware of a lot of the issues we face in the world. Everyone is aware of the gridlock in congress and even in the executive branch, and the repercussions. Condoleezza Rice has a lot on insight, specifically on the international side of this topic.”
Under former President George W. Bush, Rice first served as the National Security Advisor and later became the 66th U.S. secretary of state. Before entering the Bush administration, Rice was a professor of political science at Stanford University, a post she has since resumed. Her experience as both an academic and a government official is something Geissen said allows her to speak to the state of government.
The Wiley Lecture Series, Geissen said, aims to bring the world to Texas A&M and that Rice’s expertise in international issues, serve that purpose.
“Condoleezza Rice is someone that has not spoken to the general student body at Texas A&M and has not been this accessible to the student body,” Geissen said. “She’s one of the premier and most well-known diplomats to come out the government in the last decade. In that way, we are fulfilling our goal by having one if the most recognizable faces in diplomacy come to campus. But also, given her expertise in that area, as well as others, and the research she has done as a professor at Stanford, she brings an incredibly wide array of knowledge on a variety of topics that fold into our mission of addressing domestic and international issues.”
Freshman sociology major Chandra Kovvali said she believes the U.S. government has ceased functioning as an effective conduit of the opinion of the American public, and was interested in attending the lecture to discover why.
“Americans today are more divided about politics,” Kovvali said. “While our politicians are elected to serve in the best interest of the citizens, the term ‘best interest’ had become relative to each politician.”
Ultimately, Geissen said he hopes people gain a deeper understanding of how the U.S. government functions in today’s political landscape, as well as a more informed perspective on current issues.
“My hope is that people will leave not only understanding our state of affairs politically, but also with a broader and more informed perspective on all the other issues in the news today,” Geissen said.
Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m. in Rudder Auditorium, are available through the MSC Box Office.

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