Makayla Hipke
Dole Institute of Politics

Dole Institute announces summer 2017 programming

Fri, 05/12/2017

LAWRENCE – The Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas has announced its lineup of programming for summer 2017, including a discussion group series on the U.S.–Mexico border.

“We’re delighted to offer these opportunities to the community this summer,” said Dole Institute Director Bill Lacy. “We have an interesting lineup and some timely topics.”

Dole fellow Christina Luhn’s discussion group series will explore the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico, focusing on border security, immigration and trade. Luhn has experience with border relations in both the public and private sectors and worked in economic development for several years in the California-Baja Mexico border region.

Additional programming will include an examination of Vietnam’s Battle of Xuan Loc with James Willbanks, a discussion on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with guide Ian Taylor, and a book talk on the transition from battle to the home front with author Frank Lavin.

The institute will have its annual historical interpreter visit July 12 during the Youth Civic Leadership Institute. Summer will also include ongoing installments of the popular Fort Leavenworth Series, typically held on the first Thursday of each month.

All events are free, open to the public and located at the Dole Institute unless otherwise noted.

The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics is dedicated to promoting political and civic participation as well as civil discourse in a bipartisan, philosophically balanced manner. It is located on KU’s West Campus and houses the Dole Archive and Special Collections. Through its robust public programming, congressional archive and museum, the Dole Institute strives to celebrate public service and the legacies of U.S. Senators Bob Dole and Elizabeth Dole.

More information on all programs, as well as ongoing additions to the schedule, can be found on the Dole Institute’s website,

Beyond the Border: U.S.-Mexico Relations
Summer Discussion Group
3 p.m. May 24 and  31, June 21 and 28, and July 11 

For many, the U.S.-Mexico border presents a problem, for others, an economic opportunity. An expert in cross-border economic development, Christina Luhn will lead a summer discussion group series exploring the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico with a focus on border security, immigration and trade.

The Last Stand of South Vietnam
Director’s Series
3 p.m. May 25

In 1975, South Vietnam’s 18th Infantry Division led an improbable final stand against North Vietnamese forces. Outnumbered 7-1 by their foes, the 18th earned the nickname “The Supermen” as they held the line in the Battle of Xuan Loc for 12 days. James Willbanks explores the fall of this last defensive line before Saigon, which led to South Vietnam’s surrender nine days later.

Clausewitz and Jomini: Their Interaction
Fort Leavenworth Series
3 p.m. June 1

Both Carl von Clausewitz and Henri Jomini experienced and studied the wars of Napoleon from unique perspectives, yielding two very different theories of war. Sean N. Kalic and Lt. Col. Christopher Johnson provide an overview of two of the greatest military theorists of all time, drawing out where their ideas are complementary and where they differ.

World War II: Homefront to Battlefront
3 p.m. June 14 

Frank Lavin shares the tale of a World War II foot soldier who finds himself thrust into a world where he and his unit grapple with the horrors of combat, the idiocies of bureaucracy, and the oddities of life back home—all in the same day. Lavin’s book “Homefront to Battlefront” follows his father Carl Lavin, an Ohio native who enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 18, taking him from training across the U.S. and Britain to combat with the 84th Infantry Division in the Battle of the Bulge. This program includes a book sale and signing.

Napoleon’s Rise and Decline
Fort Leavenworth Series
3 p.m. July 6 

It was an era dominated by the actions of one man. Mark T. Gerges examines the rapid rise and eventual downfall of Napoleon: how he harnessed societal changes and military organizational reforms to lead France to victories across Europe, and how his opponents narrowed the gap of French superiority by building upon their defeats and adapting aspects of France’s own reforms.

Climbing Kilimanjaro
3 p.m. July 27

Standing as the highest point on the African continent at 19,341 feet, Mount Kilimanjaro is considered a fairly accessible mountain summit, involving an arduous trek at high altitudes with no technical climbing. Mountain guide and trekker Ian Taylor will return to the Dole Institute to share the challenge and beauty of climbing one of the seven summits of the world.

Crossing No Man’s Land: The Birth of Combined Arms
Fort Leavenworth Series
3 p.m. Aug. 3 

From 1914-1918, a nearly unbroken line of trenches stretched 400 miles across France and Belgium, creating a deep and deadly dilemma for the soldiers of the Great War. The land in between was No Man’s Land, and Richard S. Faulkner explores how trying to drive opponents out of their trenches led the armies of World War I to give birth to modern warfare.

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