Dialogue Speaker Series

Since launching our program in Fall 2021, Civic Dialogues has hosted speakers from across the political spectrum -- from Ganesh Sitaraman, senior fellow at the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress, to Rich Lowry, editor in chief of the conservative National Review.   A list of the speakers we've hosted thus far follows.  For a list of upcoming events, visit the Civic Dialogues calendar.

Gallery of Past Speaker Events

  • The pandemic laid bare several hidden truths about the U.S. labor market, raising questions and challenges for policymakers.  As the economy recovers, who is getting left behind and why?  How do we best prepare young people for tomorrow's economy?  What has caused inflation to rise?  The Marquette Civic Dialogues Program is thrilled to invite two influential voices in these policy debates to our campus.  Join us for this lively discussion.
  • Join us for a conversation with Alexander Heffner as he discusses the effects of divisiveness on discourse, campaigns, and governance, as well as the influence of new media, dis/misinformation, and filter bubbles that polarize American society.  What are possible prescriptions to correct this cycle?  How can we restore faith in civic life?
  • Join us for an important conversation about the social and ethical dilemmas posed by emerging digital technologies.
  • At a time when the political environment can feel hopelessly dysfunctional, business leaders from across the political spectrum have joined together to advocate for more, not less, civic engagement.  Come hear about their efforts to ensure equitable access to voting, and non-partisan, transparent election administration, and why they think it's imperative that college students participate in the democratic process.
  • A respected conservative voice, Mr. Lowry writes for Politico, and often appears on such public-affairs programs as Meet the Press.  He is the author of Lincoln Unbound, The Case for Nationalism:  How it Made Us Powerful, United, and Free and Legacy:  Paying the Price for the Clinton Years - a New York Times bestseller.  Lowry began his career as a research assistant for Charles Krauthammer.  In 1997 he was selected by William F. Buckley to lead National Review.
  • A roundtable discussion on our city's financial troubles and fiscal future, featuring Rob Henken, President of the Wisconsin Policy Forum.
  • Featuring the President of the American Conservation Coalition, Benji Backer.
  • Benji Backer is the founder and president of the American Conservation Coalition, the largest conservative environmental organization. Before he founded ACC at the University of Washington, Backer began his career in conservative politics well before he could vote — volunteering for campaigns in his home state of Wisconsin. He has represented a right-of-center environmental viewpoint nationally, including testifying among youth climate activists like Greta Thunberg in Congress. He has been named to Fortune 40 Under 40, Forbes 30 Under 30, GreenBiz 30 Under 30, and Grist 50. ABC News called him one of “5 youth climate activists you need to know.” A frequent contributor to multiple national media outlets, Backer is a board member of numerous organizations, including BridgeUSA and the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum. He also serves on the American Academy of Arts & Sciences' Climate Change Commission.
  • The US is estimated to lose 1/3 of its newspapers by 2025. Only 26% of Americans have a favorable opinion of the news media. The future of local news is uncertain. Join Marquette Civic Dialogues to hear from an expert panel on the challenges facing local journalism, opportunities for renewal, and how the news media can empower communities and strengthen democracy. Feb. 27, 5:30 to 7 p.m. AMU 163.
  • Dr. Matthew P. Hitt | Monfort Professor and Associate Professor of Political Science, Colorado State University. Dr. Joshua P. Darr | Associate Professor of Political Communication, Louisiana State University. Dr. Johanna L. Dunaway | Professor of Political Science, Texas A&M University. Ron Smith | Executive Director, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service & Instructor of Practice in Journalism, Marquette University. Reggie Moore | Director of Violence Prevention Policy and Engagement, Medical College of Wisconsin.
  • Join us as we discuss immigration policy and explore the lives of farming communities on each side of the US-Mexico border, with a panel offering diverse perspectives on the undocumented experience in Wisconsin.
  • Join us as we discuss immigration policy and explore the lives of farming communities on each side of the US-Mexico border, with a panel offering diverse perspectives on the undocumented experience in Wisconsin.
  • 2023 College Democrat-Republican Debate Moderated by Civic Dialogues
  • There were an estimated 36,500 vacancies this school year. Districts continue to struggle to recruit and retain teachers of color. Needs vary across districts and by subject area. Our panelists will offer different perspectives on how we might address these challenges.
  • U.S. history shapes national conversations on issues facing our country today. However, how we tell our history is far from uncontroversial. From state to state, history textbooks and curricula have made national headlines in recent years as lawmakers struggle to find consensus regarding what should and should not be taught in schools. Join Civic Dialogues for a guided conversation exploring how we tell our history and what it means to celebrate and reconcile with our nation's complicated past. Snacks and light refreshments provided.
  • With the Republican National Convention set to take place in Milwaukee in July 2024, there is no better time to delve into the current state of local and national Republican politics. Led by GOP diagnostician Charlie Sykes and featuring insightful discussions on a range of topics pertinent to conservatism and Republican constituents, this event aims to foster understanding and encourage civil discourse.

Sponsored by Civic Dialogues and hosted by @MKE Communities and Cultures FilmFest, this two-part event will occur on Thursday, October 12th, beginning at 4 PM.

Part I: Civic Dialogues Panel Event moderated by Charlie Sykes will be joined by panelists:
• Julia Azari (Professor of Political Science at Marquette University)
• James Widgerson (writer on WI politics and former owner/editor of RightWisconsin)
• Michael Behrens (J.D. Candidate at Marquette University Law School,, President of the Marquette Federalist Society and RNC field work volunteer)
• Olman Chaheine (a Marquette Evans Scholar, studying Real Estate and Finance, and President of the Marquette College Republicans).

Part II: Civic Dialogues Dinner in which students and members of the public can continue the conversation over dinner in a smaller setting guided by Marquette student facilitators.
  • The US government has always invested federal, state and local dollars in public health protection and prevention. Despite this public funding, however, Americans typically believe the current system is predominantly comprised of private actors with little government interference. In this lecture Colleen M. Grogan will discuss her new book, Grow and Hide (Oxford, 2023) which details the history of the American health care state and argues that the public has been intentionally misled about the true role of government.

Join Marquette Civic Dialogues and the Marquette University Political Science Department from 5 - 6:30 PM on Monday, October 23rd, for a discussion with leading scholar Professor Colleen Grogan (University of Chicago) about the current state of healthcare in America. Following Grogan's talk, Marquette Professor Giaimo, Susan and Professor Philip Rocco will join Dr. Grogan for a deeper dive into the issues, taking questions from the audience as time permits.
  • Join Marquette Civic Dialogues for a discussion with American historian and journalist Rick Perlstein for his talk " The Dog and His Mutton, the Authoritarian Ratchet, and the Janus Face:  Three Theses on How Conservatism Works."  Following Perlstein's talk, Marquette Professor Julia Azari will join the discussion for a deeper dive into the issues.  A Q&A with the audience will follow as time permits.
  • Join Marquette Civic Dialogues for a workshop with Bo Seo.  In this workshop, two-time debate champion, Bo Seo, teaches participants the fundamentals that have aided him in debate. These highly practical lessons range from grasping the dispute at hand, to making effective arguments and rebuttal, to using words and gestures to deliver the point. Together, the lessons will change participants’ view of how disagreements work, and will give them a range of tools they can use to better communicate with their co-workers, fellow students, or team members. It will give organizations seeking to harness the power of disagreement among their membership a way to “level up” their skills and shared knowledge.
  • Join Marquette Civic Dialogues and the Honors Program for a discussion about the impact of AI on education and the strategies faculty and students must consider as they navigate unchartered waters.