• Brent Scowcroft and the U.S.-UK Special Relationship – A Legacy Lost?

    Retired Air Force Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft died August 6th at the age of 95.  Since his death, there have been numerous tributes to him by those who knew him and served with him.  Those remembrances have highlighted his over six decades of service to this nation, as a military officer, as National Security Advisor to Presidents Gerald R. Ford and George H. W. Bush, and as a strategist and key advisor both in and out of government in the center of some of the most momentous national security policy decisions of modern times. 

    What has received less attention in these tributes is the key role that Brent Scowcroft played in strengthening the “special relationship” that has marked U.S.-UK relations since the Second World War.  Britain and the United States have enjoyed a unique relationship, an alliance grounded in a shared vision of an open, democratic rules-based liberal world order that they built together after World War II.  Even though both countries could—and often did—disagree on how best to implement that vision, both understand the common values and interests that vision represented.

    As President Bush’s National Security Advisor in mid-September 1989, Scowcroft found himself at the Economic Club of New York, sitting next to John Major, a nervous newly appointed British Foreign Secretary, in an elegant wood paneled room of a mid-town Manhattan hotel.  It was the eve of the opening of the United Nations General Assembly.  The audience included many leading members of New York’s business, financial, and foreign policy elite.  John Major delivered a standard speech on the importance of the transatlantic relationship, drafted by the Foreign Office, but when the question and answer period came, he looked visibly ill-at ease.

    Unlike Scowcroft—who had a doctorate in international relations from Columbia University and had taught at both his alma mater, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the U.S. Air Force Academy—Major had never been to university and had only had a few weeks of intense study of international affairs while on holiday in Spain.  Sensing his younger British colleague’s discomfort, Scowcroft deftly took over the question period and delivered a virtuoso performance.  Scowcroft treated Major with the utmost respect and the new British Foreign Secretary appreciated the cover and the courtesy.

    What was so evident that night was not only Scowcroft’s personal warmth, kindness and generosity, but also his exceptional grasp of international relations.  The Soviet empire was already on the ropes, and the Berlin Wall would fall two months later.  President Bush and his National Security Advisor were already shaping the contours of a new relationship with the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, and carefully navigated the U.S. and its allies through the most substantial realignment in international relations since the end of World War II and unique because it was accomplished without violence.  The period 1989-1993 was a period of global transformation, aptly described by Bush and Scowcroft in their book, A World Transformed.  It began with the collapse of the “Iron Curtain,” saw the reunification of Germany and the end of the Soviet Union, and ended with the mobilization of an unprecedented global coalition to rebuff Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.  During that period, Britain was America’s closest ally. That evening in September 1989, a member of the audience asked Scowcroft what the “Special Relationship” meant to him.  His answer was deceptively simple: “Trust.  Having someone on the other end of the telephone whose first reaction is “how can we help?”  Scowcroft’s kind and thoughtful actions that evening was consistent with his philosophy of international relations.  He was an “enlightened realist”, a firm believer in American global leadership exercised through alliances.  To Scowcroft and President Bush, none was more important than America’s relationship with Britain.

    In dealing with the extraordinary international challenges from 1989 onwards, President Bush had a trusted but difficult ally in British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.  She had had a long and intimate friendship with Ronald Reagan, which had begun years before either of them had been elected President or Prime Minister.  They were ideological soul-mates—both fierce anti-communists and robust champions of free markets and free trade.  Although President Bush shared these values, he was never an ideologue.  Thatcher had become accustomed to lecturing and occasionally dominating Reagan; President Reagan seemed comfortable with this, but President Bush was not.  Bush and Thatcher did not share a pre-existing friendship.  Cocooned in her unique relationship with President Reagan, Thatcher had neglected to cultivate a close relationship with Reagan’s vice president and likely successor.

    In the 1970s, both Brent Scowcroft and Margaret Thatcher had been Soviet hawks, skeptical of the value of détente.  By the late 1980s, however, President Bush, Brent Scowcroft, and Prime Minister Thatcher agreed that Mikhail Gorbachev was someone the West could work with to end the Cold War.  German reunification, however, presented a significant challenge for the Bush-Thatcher relationship.  To end the Cold War, Bush understood that there had to be a solution to the century-old “German question.”  To Bush and Scowcroft, the ideal outcome was a reunified Germany within NATO.  In that effort, they found an eager partner in West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, but the prospect of integrating a reunified Germany into NATO and the European Community appalled Mrs. Thatcher.  Her formative experience had been 1940—Britain’s “finest hour” standing defiantly and successfully against Nazi Germany.  Mrs. Thatcher even convened a group of experts on Germany to a day-long seminar at Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country retreat, to help her understand the potential threat posed by a reunified Germany.  Brent Scowcroft was acutely aware of Mrs. Thatcher’s concerns.  It took all of his and President Bush’s patient, personal diplomacy to persuade Mrs. Thatcher that a reunified Germany within NATO and the European Community was a prize worth winning.  Margaret Thatcher graciously acknowledged Scowcroft’s pivotal role in this relationship in a personal cable to him when Scowcroft’s wife, Jackie, was dangerously ill.  It concluded, “We, all of us, from the President down, depend on you very much.  You are an absolute tower of strength.”  George Bush and Margaret Thatcher respected and trusted each other, but the personal chemistry was never as strong as it had been between Reagan and Thatcher.  Brent Scowcroft was the emollient in the relationship, reducing the friction enabling these two world leaders to work effectively.

    The rapport Brent Scowcroft established with John Major in 1989 helped smooth the transition when, in December 1990, Major succeeded Thatcher as British Prime Minister.  Later, in his autobiography, John Major commented on how relaxed and easy his first formal bilateral with President Bush was: “There was no hesitation. No unease. No holding back. No probing to find out the other’s position. After a few relaxed courtesies we turned to business.” Brent Scowcroft’s quiet, personal diplomacy had set the tone and helped established the trust that sustained the Bush-Major relationship for the remaining two years of the Bush Presidency as they prosecuted the war against Saddam Hussein and dealt with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ethnic cleansing in the Balkans.  In 1993, on Prime Minister Major’s recommendation, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II honored General Scowcroft with an Honorary Knighthood in recognition of his contribution to the “Special Relationship.”

    Diplomacy requires tact, discretion, courtesy, graciousness, high intelligence and the ability to build lasting relationships of trust.  Brent Scowcroft had all of these qualities in abundance.  A soft-spoken man but with strong views, Scowcroft worked with—and had been buffeted by—some of the largest figures in national security policy, on both sides of the Atlantic.  He was at the center of countless key policy decisions, but typically the man in the background rather than the man out front.  He challenged orthodoxy, but rarely people.  He was fond of saying that the smartest thing he ever did was to surround himself with people smarter than he—which was difficult to do.  He garnered respect from all sides of the aisle, worked harder and longer than anyone else, and earned a trusted reputation for “speaking truth to power.”

     In addition to his contributions to sound policy, Brent Scowcroft will also be remembered for having established a sound model for the process by which policy is made and how a president’s National Security Advisor should best function.  Developed in reaction to the high-profile, globe-trotting Kissinger model, the Scowcroft model envisaged the National Security Advisor as a behind the scenes coordinator; an honest broker who managed the National Security Council process and ensured that the often differing viewpoints of key foreign policy agencies—State, Defense, Treasury, the intelligence community, and others—were presented to the President.

    Most of all, Brent Scowcroft should be remembered for the moral compass that underscored an unrelenting commitment to service, a determination to base policy on national interest grounded in the best analysis that could be brought to bear from whatever quarter, and an unwavering sense of his own humanity and the compassion that came with it.

    In 2009, the Air Force Academy established the Brent Scowcroft Professorship in National Security Policy to commemorate his distinguished service to his country and to serve as a continuing reminder of the professionalism, integrity, and critical intellect that marked that service.  When that professorship was established, Scowcroft’s charge was, again, deceptively simple—“teach cadets not what to think, but how to think.”  These days, such a mandate could not be more important, and not just for military academies.

    General Scowcroft’s death robs not only the United States, but also Britain and all of America’s allies, of its wisest soldier-scholar-statesman, its finest thinker and practitioner.

     Today, the U.S.-UK special relationship does not reflect the kind of mutual trust, shared vision, and foundation of common values and interests that had been its defining character.  But it can be again.  To honor General Scowcroft’s memory, we propose that the U.S. and British governments take the initiative to restore the trust now so badly frayed between Washington and London.  The relationship is too important, today’s political environment too fragile, and the stakes too high to assume this critical relationship will endure without proper sustenance.  Senior officials from each government, committed to reinvigorating the special relationship should be appointed to coordinate an ongoing strategic dialogue, culminating in an annual meeting of the President, Prime Minister, and senior cabinet ministers to chart policies on a full range of global and regional issues.

    And so, we mourn the passing of a great and good man, a master strategist.  Like Senator Claiborne Pell, Brent Scowcroft was the kind of public servant America’s Founders hoped for—a man of principle, unquestioned and unquestionable integrity, humility, and decency.  Brent Scowcroft was a soldier-scholar-statesman with great instincts and impeccable judgment who helped steered the world through the biggest and most dangerous realignment of global politics since the end of the Second World War.  We may not see his like again.

    Dr. Ray Raymond is a former British Diplomat and Emeritus Professor of Government and History at the State University of New York Stone Ridge.  He is also Adjunct Professor of Comparative Politics and International Relations at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and Adjunct Fellow at the Pell Center for International Relations, Salve Regina University, Rhode Island. 

    Dr. Schuyler Foerster is a retired Air Force officer who taught at the U.S. Air Force Academy as the Brent Scowcroft Professor for National Security Studies.  He currently is principal of CGST Solutions and is a visiting professor at Colorado College and Masaryk University in the Czech Republic.

    Raymond and Foerster are coauthors of “The US-UK Special Relationship at a Critical Crossroads,” Issue Brief, The Atlantic Council, 21 July 2017. 

  • Llewellyn King on Story in the Public Square

    Technology vs. Democracy with Llewellyn King

    Air Dates: March 12-17, 2019

    Democracy relies on facts, accurately reported and commonly understood—and journalists play an essential role in building that shared body of knowledge. Llewellyn King argues that technological change is placing great strain on our democratic societies.

    Llewellyn King is the creator, executive producer and host of “White House Chronicle,” a weekly news and public affairs program, airing nationwide on more than 200 PBS and public, educational and government (PEG) access television stations and the commercial AMGTV Network, and worldwide on Voice of America Television. Now in its 20th year on the air, “White House Chronicle” episodes can also be viewed on the program’s website or on Vimeo.

    King’s remarkable career in journalism began in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, where he was hired (at age 16) as a foreign correspondent for Time magazine. He also reported from Africa for London’s Daily Express, News Chronicle, and United Press.

    In addition to broadcasting, King writes a weekly column for the InsideSources Syndicate. Previously, his column was distributed by the Hearst-New York Times Syndicate and Knight-Ridder Newspapers. Over the years, King’s insightful reporting and analysis of the energy industry led to frequent guest spots on TV news shows, including NBC’s “Meet the Press” and PBS’s “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” and on CNN.

    Story in the Public Square broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs 8:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 4:30 a.m. & 11:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

  • Jeff Jackson on Story in the Public Square

    Destroy All Monsters with Jeff Jackson

    Air Dates: March 5 – 10, 2019

    Stories are sometimes told with a particular message for their audiences.  Other times, they are just stories. And in some cases, you can’t tell the difference. Enter the playwright, songwriter and novelist Jeff Jackson, who explores the intersection of fame and violence in a remarkable new novel.

    Jackson is a novelist, playwright, visual artist, and songwriter. His second novel Destroy All Monsters: The Last Rock Novel, was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in Fall 2018. On publication, it was critically acclaimed by many outlets, including The Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Review of Books and Publisher’s Weekly. It is described by the publisher as:

    “An epidemic of violence is sweeping the country: musicians are being murdered onstage in the middle of their sets by members of their audience. Are these random copycat killings, or is something more sinister at work? Has music itself become corrupted in a culture where everything is available, everybody is a “creative,” and attention spans have dwindled to nothing?”

    Jackson lives now in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he has been an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina, teaching film. In his most recent artistic endeavor, since completing “Destroy All Monsters” Jackson has become a singer and songwriter for the band Julian Calendar, which performs live and has released an album, “Parallel Collage,” available on Spotify and Bandcamp.

    Story in the Public Square broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs 8:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 4:30 a.m. & 11:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

  • Alice Robb on Story in the Public Square

    Why We Dream with Alice Robb

    Air Dates: February 26 – March 3, 2019

    Poets, rock stars, authors—and even we mere mortals—all share a nightly sojourn—a temporary stay–in the land of dreams. Alice Robb argues they are not just flights of fancy, but critical to health and happiness in our waking hours too.

    Robb is a science writer whose work has been published in The New Republic where she was a staff writer, The New York Times, The BBC, The Atlantic, among others. She graduated from Oxford with a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology. Her book, Why We Dream, published in November of 2018, is described by Houghton Mifflin:

    “Robb draws on fresh and forgotten research, as well as her experience and that of other dream experts, to show why dreams are vital to our emotional and physical health. She explains how we can remember our dreams better—and why we should. She traces the intricate links between dreaming and creativity, and even offers advice on how we can relish the intense adventure of lucid dreaming for ourselves.”

    Story in the Public Square broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs 8:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 4:30 a.m. & 11:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

  • Mike Stanton on Story in the Public Square

    The life of Rocky Marciano with Mike Stanton

    Air Dates: February 19-24, 2019

    There are not a lot of examples of perfection in life—except in the world of sports. On rare and exciting nights, a baseball pitcher can throw a perfect game or a basketball player can have a perfect night shooting. But a perfect career—that’s the rarest of accomplishments. Mike Stanton recounts the life of Rocky Marciano, who finished his heavyweight championship career with a perfect 49 and 0 record.

    Mike Stanton is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Connecticut and the author of the best-selling 2003 book, The Prince of Providence: The True Story of Buddy Cianci, America’s Most Notorious Mayor, Some Wiseguys, and the Feds; and the recent critically acclaimed, Unbeaten: Rocky Marciano’s Fight for Perfection in a Crooked World.

    A long-time investigative reporter for The Providence Journal before leaving to join the UConn faculty, Stanton was a leading member of The Journal team that won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, exposing widespread corruption at the Rhode Island Supreme Court. In 1997, he received the Master Reporter Award, for career achievement, from the New England Society of Newspaper Editors. He has also won prizes from Investigative Reporters and Editors, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and the Associated Press. He is a graduate of Syracuse University and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

    Story in the Public Square broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs 8:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 4:30 a.m. & 11:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

  • Jason Rafferty on Story in the Public Square

    Health in the LGBTQ Community with Jason Rafferty

    Air Dates: February 12-17, 2019

    Recently, the Trump administration proposed defining gender as an individual’s assigned sex at birth. But the medical community—including Dr. Jason Rafferty—tells us gender is not so simply expressed.

    Rafferty graduated from Harvard Medical School and obtained post-graduate training through the Triple Board Residency at Brown University. He has additional Masters’ degrees from Harvard University in public health concentrating on Maternal and Child Health, and education focused on adolescent development and psychology.

    Currently, he works in an integrated medical home at Thundermist Health Centers, in the Gender & Sexuality Clinic at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, and the Co-occurring Disorders Program at Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital. He is involved with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), frequently reviewing policy and publications related to LGBTQ health. He is a member of the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) where he sits on the Sexual and Reproductive Health Subcommittee. He is a board member for both Physicians for Reproductive Health and the Partnership for Male Youth. Dr. Rafferty is a 2017 Laughlin Fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists which recognizes graduating trainees deemed likely to make a significant contribution to the field of psychiatry.

    Story in the Public Square broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs 8:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 4:30 a.m. & 11:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

  • Karen King on Story in the Public Square

    Untold Stories of Christianity with Karen King

    Air Dates: February 5-10, 2019

    Even for the devout, questions about the earliest history of Christianity can seem lost behind a shroud of history and official church teachings. Karen King traces the power of stories told and untold in the growth of the early church.

    Karen L. King is the Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana and a doctorate from Brown. King was appointed to the Divinity School in 1997 and from 2003 to 2009 served as the Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History. In October 2009, she became the first woman appointed as the Hollis Professor of Divinity, the oldest endowed chair in the United States (1721).

    Trained in comparative religions and historical studies, she pursues teaching and research specialties in the history of Christianity. Her particular theoretical interests are in discourses of normativity (orthodoxy and heresy), gender studies, and religion and violence.

    Story in the Public Square” broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs 8:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 4:30 a.m. & 11:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

  • Rosella Cappella Zielinski on Story in the Public Square

    The Costs of War with Dr. Rosella Cappella Zielinski

    Air Dates: January 5-6, 2018

    The costs of war are measured lives and treasure.  As of the day we produced this episode, 6,979 Americans have lost their lives in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Dr. Rosella Cappella Zielinski warns that the financial costs of these wars have profound meaning for the United States, our politics, and our economy.

    Rosella Cappella Zielinski is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Boston University.  Her research interests include how states economically mobilize for national security requirements and how domestic political and economic considerations influence foreign policy and the persecution of conflict.

    Zielinski is the author of the 2016 book “How States Pay for War,” from Cornell University Press, winner of the 2017 Robert Jervis and Paul Schroeder Best Book Award (International History and Politics Section, American Political Science Association). The book as described by Cornell University Press:

    “Armies fight battles, states fight wars. To focus solely on armies is to neglect the broader story of victory and defeat. Military power stems from an economic base, and without wealth, soldiers cannot be paid, weapons cannot be procured, and food cannot be bought. War finance is among the most consequential decisions any state makes: how a state finances a war affects not only its success on the battlefield but also its economic stability and its leadership tenure. In How States Pay for Wars, Rosella Cappella Zielinski clarifies several critical dynamics lying at the nexus of financial and military policy.”

    In a recent article for Foreign Affairs, “How U.S. Wars Abroad Increase Inequality at Home,” Zielinski argues that changes in how the U.S. finances foreign wars (along with globalization, technology changes, and other factors) has contributed to “staggering” economic inequality in America.

    Zielinski has also contributed to the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs with her June 2018 paper: “How Do War Financing Strategies Lead to Inequality? A Brief History from the War of 1812 through the Post-9/11 Wars.”

    Story in the Public Square broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs 8:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 4:30 a.m. & 11:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

  • Rethinking Cyber Training

    Rethinking Cyber Training for the Non-Cyber Warrior: Conference Summary and Conclusions

    NEWPORT R.I. – Today the Pell Center released the summary and conclusions from the “Victory Over and Across Domains: Cyber Training for the Non-Cyber Warrior” conference held on September 6-7, 2018 at Salve Regina University. The conference convened an interdisciplinary group of experts from the United States, Australia, France, and Canada to discuss how best to train the non-cyber warfighter to fight in— and through—an increasingly contested and complex battlespace saturated by adversary cyber operations.

    Participants hailed from academia, the military services, the cyber and defense industries, government, and the defense policy community. The conference was held under Chatham House Rule to encourage frank discussions among participants. It sought to address three pressing questions:

    • How should the military train to fight through a contested battlespace?
    • What unique challenges exist when trying to integrate cyber operations with traditional kinetic operations?
    • How can the military and the defense industry best bridge the gap between today’s training technologies and future service needs?

    The intimate interdisciplinary forum provided by Salve Regina University’s Pell Center provided a unique opportunity to address some of the more challenging questions tied to military training, future war, and readiness. Jennifer McArdle, Assistant Professor at Salve Regina University and the conference organizer, stated, “The conference topic could not have been timelier. US competitors and potential adversaries will use cyber operations against US and allied military platforms and systems. All warfighters, not just our cyber mission forces, must be trained to fight in that environment.”

    The conference was generously supported by CAE, a leading defense training company. “Cyber events around the world are increasing in their frequency and intensity,” said Gene Colabatistto, CAE’s Group President, Defense & Security.  “Training our military forces to recognize and counter these events must become a key part of the military’s training syllabus. We anticipate that synthetic environments will play a key role in this training, which is why CAE is continually investing in internal research and development, including new products, so our virtual environments are more immersive and realistic.”

    “The Pell Center exists to bring together people from a multitude of perspectives, including academia, industry, and the military, to solve big challenges,” said Jim Ludes, Vice President for Public Research and Initiatives at Salve Regina University. “For the men and women of the U.S. and allied militaries, that includes thinking critically about how technologies best meet the needs of the warfighter. We were delighted to support this kind of deliberation.”

    Read the full conference summary: “Rethinking Cyber Training for the Non-Cyber Warrior”

     

  • Elizabeth Kolbert 2019 Pell Center Prize Winner

    Elizabeth Kolbert Named 2019 Recipient of the Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square

    NEWPORT, R.I. – Elizabeth Kolbert, best-selling author and staff writer for The New Yorker, has been named the 2019 recipient of the Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square. Awarded annually since 2013, the prize honors a storyteller whose work has significantly influenced the public dialogue.

    Kolbert’s most recent book, “The Sixth Extinction,” a masterpiece of environmental writing, received the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 2015 and was selected by The New York Times as one of the 10 best books of the year. Kolbert is also the author of “Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change,” and she edited “The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2009.”

    “It’s a real honor to be receiving the Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square,” Kolbert said. “The characters I’ve been writing about in recent years are often the sort that can’t speak for themselves – birds, corals, rhinos, bats. I hope the tales of these creatures – most endangered, some already extinct – have helped people understand that human stories are not the only ones worth attending to.”

    Kolbert will receive the Pell Center Prize during a ceremony, free and open to the public, March 4 at the Pell Center at Salve Regina University. The next day, Kolbert will tape an episode of the Story in the Public Square for public television and SiriusXM Satellite Radio that will be broadcast in the spring.

    “The challenge posed by climate change, by human actions that cause it, and by our collective inaction to tackle it will be the defining, tragic story of the century.  Elizabeth Kolbert is telling the stories we need to hear, now, to understand the consequences we will face in this century,” said Jim Ludes, executive director of the Pell Center.  “It is our hope that in recognizing her, we will help spur further public discussion and action on the threat posed by the changes humanity is forcing on the planet’s environment.”

    “There is no more pressing issue for the country and world than the environment and the devastating impact of burning fossils fuels on species from amphibians to humans,” said G. Wayne Miller, Providence Journal staff writer and Story in the Public Square director. “Elizabeth Kolbert brings us this story like no other, and does it by both sounding alarm and offering hope in her reporting and beautiful prose.”

    Kolbert is the seventh recipient of the Pell Prize. Two-time Pulitzer winner Dana Priest received the inaugural prize in 2013; Emmy-winning screenwriter and actor Danny Strong was the 2014 winner; Lisa Genova, the best-selling author of “Still Alice” and three other novels, was honored in 2015; Pulitzer-winning photographer Javier Manzano won in 2016; filmmaker Daphne Matziaraki, whose documentary “4.1 Miles” was nominated for an Oscar, was honored in 2017; and last year, Pulitzer-winner and New York Time staff writer Dan Barry won.

    Kolbert is also a two-time National Magazine Award winner, and has received a Heinz Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a National Academies communications award. Kolbert is a visiting fellow at the Center for Environmental Studies at Williams College and lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

    In a summary posted on Pulitzer.org, publisher Henry Holt described Kolbert’s latest book: “Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

    “This time around, the cataclysm is us. In ‘The Sixth Extinction,’ two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino.

    “Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.”

    The March 4 ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. Space is limited and registration is required at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pell-center-prize-for-story-in-the-public-square-tickets-55280102274.

    Founded in February 2012, Story in the Public Square is an initiative to celebrate, study and tell stories that matter. A partnership of the Pell Center and The Providence Journal, a GateHouse Media property, the program sponsors public seminars, discussions and other events; annually names a national story of the year; and produces the eponymous Telly-winning, nationally broadcast weekly program on public television and SiriusXM satellite radio, now in its third year. Find broadcast stations and times in your area at http://bit.ly/2R8px8Z.

    Visit Story in the Public Square at pellcenter.org, follow on Twitter via @pubstory, and like on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StoryInThePublicSquare/.