ESIA lecture series addresses foreign policy challenges

Former congressman Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.) addressed challenges to American leadership in the 21st century with GW students, diplomats and members of the foreign service community in the Stuart Hall Lounge Thursday night.

The lecture, sponsored by the Elliott School of International Affairs, was the second in a three-part lecture series featuring Hamilton.

He discussed what the president and Congress must do to meet America’s foreign policy challenges. Hamilton said the United States faces security and economic challenges in the 21st century that U.S. leadership must be prepared to address.

The diversity of (security challenges) is daunting, Hamilton said. He cited threats from non-state entities, information terrorism and trans-national issues as three important areas of concern. The U.S. will need expertise, leadership, and luck to face these growing challenges, he said.

Hamilton outlined four necessary components of American leadership to advance U.S. interests in the coming years. Americans must understand that U.S. leadership is essential to confronting these challenges and elect leaders who listen to the American people, he said. The right kind of presidential leadership and a responsible Congress that works with the president will also be essential to avoiding security problems.

While American leadership has its flaws, Hamilton said the world has benefited from it.

The world is safer and more prosperous due to American leadership, he said. We may not get it right every time, but the influence is constructive.

Hamilton, who served in Congress for 33 years, said he is a great fan of (the) Elliott School. He chaired three committees – including the House International Relations Committee, the Joint Economic Committee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence – before retiring from public service last year. Hamilton currently serves as director of the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars.

Hamilton’s lecture last week also touched on topics from his Oct. 14 lecture, entitled Foreign Policy Consultation Between the President and Congress.

The final lecture in this series will be April 18th in the Stuart Hall Lounge. The topic for the speech has not been announced. Information about the lecture series is available at the Elliott School Web site,

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