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  • Afghanistan End Game: Event Report

    On Wednesday, August 1, the Pell Center and Newport CIV jointly hosted an evening conversation with two prominent experts on the course of the war in Afghanistan.  Dr. Bernard Finel of the National War College and Dr. Mark Jacobson of the German Marshall Fund of the United States engaged an audience of more than 100 people with assessments of where we stand after nearly 11 years of fighting. America’s war … Read More

  • Statement on the 40th Anniversary of the Pell Grant

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Newport, RI—To mark the 40th anniversary of the Pell Grant, Dr. Jim Ludes, executive director of the Pell Center at Salve Regina University, issued the following statement: Forty years ago, in the middle of the Nixon Administration, the United States Congress created Basic Educational Opportunity Grants, later renamed Pell Grants.  This bipartisan investment in America’s young has provided a remarkable return on its investment. The Pell Grant … Read More

  • Do Facts Matter? Should they?

    Former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once famously quipped: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” If only it were so simple. New research and events demonstrate that facts, science, and evidence don’t really matter when we’re discussing controversial issues—even if the controversy is engineered. A recent letter in the journal Nature examines the relationship between science literacy and the perception of risk from … Read More

  • Quick Hits: Faith and Politics; Climate Change; Iranian Nukes

    A few quick hits before the weekend and next week’s healthcare conference. Faith and Politics: Demonstrating the principles we discussed at the most recent roundtable lunch, Congressman Paul Ryan took on the social-justice teachings of the Catholic Church this week and revealed that “Cafeteria Catholicism” is a bipartisan practice. Climate Change: New data and analysis reveals that some Antarctic ice sheets are melting from underneath.  It’s 2012, could we have … Read More

  • God and American Politics

    I just returned from the Pell Center round-table with Professor Dan Cowdin on the role of God in American politics.  It was a lively conversation that affirmed just how intimately intertwined are issues of faith, identity, and public values. As the conversation ensued, we made reference to several texts from American history.  I’ve linked to each below. President John F. Kennedy’s Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association (1960) Rev. … Read More

  • The Briseno Family: Heroes among Heroes

    In 2004, I was working as a legislative assistant in the U.S. Senate when I came across a story about a grievously wounded soldier from Northern Virginia and his devoted parents who refused to give up on him. The soldier is Jay Briseno.  An Army reservist, he deployed to Iraq in 2003 and was shot in the back of his neck, severing his spinal cord.  In the course of surgeries … Read More

  • Roundtable Question: What Role for God in American Politics?

    The Pell Center’s next roundtable lunch and conversation will be: The Time: Wednesday, April 18, at 12:00 PM. The Place: Wakehurst 003–Basement The issue: God and American politics. Featuring: Dr. Dan Cowdin, Associate Professor Religious and Theological Studies and Dr. Jim Ludes, Executive Director of the Pell Center. “Pay Caesar what belongs to Caesar — and God what belongs to God.” — Jesus Christ in Mark (12:17) “I certainly believe … Read More

  • Energy Geopolitics: Thinking about China’s Defense Spending

    Webster’s defines “geopolitics” as: a study of the influence of such factors as geography, economics, and demography on the politics and especially the foreign policy of a state a governmental policy guided by geopolitics a combination of political and geographic factors relating to something (as a state or particular resources) And during the Cold War we talked about geopolitics, or so it seemed, with a lot more frequency than we … Read More

  • New Event: Healthcare Reform and Rhode Island

    On Monday, April 30, 2012, the Pell Center for International Relations will host a half-day conference on the state of healthcare reform in Rhode Island.  Featuring keynote remarks from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, and a who’s-who of healthcare officials and policy makers, the conference is intended to take stock of what’s planned and what’s possible as we await the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The … Read More

  • Dennis Weichel: American Hero

    Specialist Dennis Weichel of the Rhode Island National Guard is an American Hero.  He deployed to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban and al Qaeda.  He died saving a little girl from being struck by a truck. After more than ten years of persistent conflict around the world, there are some who would say that we have grown desensitized to the loss of American lives overseas.  But Specialist Weichel, the father … Read More

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