Makayla Hipke
Dole Institute of Politics

Dole Institute announces loaded schedule ahead of midterms

Tue, 08/21/2018

LAWRENCE – The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas has announced its programming lineup for the fall 2018 semester. The schedule will include a variety of programs focusing on the upcoming midterm elections in November, as well as events related to military caregiver support, political polarization in America, modern intelligence gathering and more.

Programming will kick off in September with the annual Journalism and Politics Lecture, featuring a panel of Kansas journalists discussing how they cover the midterm elections. Mid-September will bring the annual Constitution Day program; this year, panelists will examine the enduring legacy of the 14th Amendment on its 150th anniversary.

September will also see the return of the endowed Elizabeth Dole Women in Leadership Lecture, featuring women who break barriers, make significant contributions to their fields and reach positions of leadership. This installment will welcome three women working on the frontlines of the military caregiver crisis, the focus of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. The panel discussion includes Meg Kabat of the Department of Veteran Affairs and Dole caregiver fellows Robyn Loveland and Carolyn Tolliver-Lee.

In early October, the institute will launch the Edward F. Reilly Lecture, a newly endowed program that will explore the role of civil discourse and bipartisanship in contemporary politics. The inaugural lecture will welcome Rob Robertson of Better Angels, a nonpartisan nonprofit whose aim is to heal political divides in our nation.

October will also feature a special screening of “Big Sonia,” the documentary about one of the last remaining Holocaust survivors in Kansas City, and a Q&A with its co-directors. The following week, Sonia Warshawski, the subject of the film, will arrive for a free public talk and Q&A. Late October will bring former CIA official Ron Marks to the institute for an evening program on modern intelligence gathering.

November will begin with a program honoring the 2018 Dole Leadership Prize recipient. Late in the month, the institute will begin its biennial election breakdowns with the Kansas Elections Conference, featuring a forthcoming panel of experts and strategists from across the state. The National Post-Election Conference will follow in early December with a deep dive on the midterm elections and a look ahead at 2020.

Fall 2018 discussion groups will be led by fellow Kelly Dietrich, founder of the National Democratic Training Committee (NDTC). His series of seven programs will focus on midterm elections and their intersection with technology and data, gleaning real-world examples from the campaigns as they happen.

Afternoon programs will include a historical program on World War II relief posters and a continuation of the monthly Fort Leavenworth series.

The 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 in KU’s West District 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,

Evening programs

Journalism and Politics Lecture: The Kansas Midterms

Tuesday, Sept. 11 – 7 p.m.

The race to Election Day is heating up, providing one of the state’s most fascinating midterm cycles in recent memory. Guests can get an inside look at many of the seats in play at the 2018 Journalism and Politics Lecture. A panel of Kansas journalists discuss how they cover the midterm elections, highlight key races across the state and predict what might happen on Election Day. Panelists will include Mary Clarkin of the Hutchinson News, Caroline Sweeney of KCTV5, Jim McLean of KHI News Service and Hunter Woodall of the Kansas City Star.

2018 Constitution Day program
Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the 14th Amendment

Sept. 18 – 7 p.m.

Proposed after the Civil War and ratified in 1868, the 14th Amendment is perhaps the single most important amendment to the Constitution. The 14th Amendment guaranteed citizenship to the former slaves and their descendants, and it also guaranteed "due process of law" and "equal protection of the laws" with respect to actions by state and local governments. Over time and as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court, the 14th Amendment has dramatically expanded the civil rights of all Americans and been the basis for landmark Supreme Court decisions in the areas of racial discrimination, gender discrimination, same-sex discrimination, criminal justice and privacy rights. Explore the amendment’s history, importance and enduring legacy in this panel discussion moderated by Stephen McAllister, U.S. attorney for the District of Kansas.  

Elizabeth Dole Women in Leadership Lecture

Sept. 30 – 4 p.m.

When Sen. Bob Dole was hospitalized at Walter Reed Hospital in 2011, Sen. Elizabeth Dole became a firsthand witness to the hardships experienced by the caregivers to our nation’s veterans. The experience prompted her to found the Elizabeth Dole Foundation in support of military caregivers. The 2018 Elizabeth Dole Women in Leadership Lecture will focus on the frontlines of this care crisis. The panel discussion will include Meg Kabat, national director of the Caregiver Support Program for the Department of Veteran Affairs, and Dole caregiver fellows Robyn Loveland of Nebraska and Carolyn Tolliver-Lee of Kansas.

Better Angels: Can We Depolarize America?

Oct. 4 – 7 p.m.

In strained political times, Better Angels is taking on deep divisions in the United States. A nonpartisan nonprofit, the core of the group’s mission is to heal political divides in our nation through community-based alliances, workshops and constructive debate. Regional coordinator Rob Robertson arrives for a program examining Better Angels and its approach to reducing political polarization. This is the first installment of the Edward F. Reilly Lecture, a newly endowed program that will explore the role of civil discourse and bipartisanship in contemporary politics.

Unmasking the Spy: Intelligence Gathering

Oct. 30 – 7 p.m.

Is intelligence gathering in the 21st century more like James Bond, Jack Ryan… or something else entirely? A 33-year veteran of the U.S. national security community, Ron Marks will guide guests through the realities and challenges of a career in intelligence. Marks worked as a CIA official and clandestine service officer before later serving as intelligence counsel to Senate Majority Leaders Bob Dole and Trent Lott.

2018 Dole Leadership Prize

Nov. 7 – 2 p.m.

The Dole Leadership Prize is awarded annually to an individual or group whose public service leadership inspires others. The award comes with a $25,000 prize. The recipient of this award will be announced at a later date.

Post-election conferences

2018 Kansas Elections Conference

Nov. 28 – 1 p.m.

Explore the 2018 Kansas elections and their implications in this conference with political experts, journalists and strategists from across the state. Panelists will be announced at a later date.

2018 National Post-Election Conference

Dec. 5-6

The Dole Institute’s nationally-recognized Post-Election Conference delves into the key strategies of elections to examine how and why they are won and lost. A panel of journalists, pollsters, campaign strategists and political consultants will visit the institute to dissect the midterms and what the results could mean for 2020. Panelists will be announced at a later date.

Afternoon programs and special events

Fort Leavenworth series
The Italian Home Front in World War II

Sept. 6 – 3 p.m.

A wide variety of complex and diverse aspects defined the Italian experience as both enemy and ally during World War II. Lou DiMarco will lead an examination of these themes, drawing on topics such as daily life in Italy during the war, the role of the Mafia and the Italian resistance movement. The Italian experience was unique in many ways and greatly impacted the formation of the post-war Italian Republic.

Discussion groups

Political Campaigns, Top to Bottom: Data, Door Knocking and the 2018 Midterms

Sept. 12, 19, 26; Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24 – 4 p.m.

Technology has transformed every aspect of the modern political campaign, from polling to messaging to fundraising and beyond. Kelly Dietrich, founder of the National Democratic Training Committee (NDTC) and KU alumnus, leads a discussion group series on the midterm elections and their intersection with tech and data. Dietrich and his guests will glean real-world examples from the midterms as they happen, offering audience members an unparalleled look at the inner workings of today’s campaigns.

Fort Leavenworth series

Retreats, Riots and Reds: The Russian Annus Horribilis
Thursday, Oct. 4 – 3 p.m.
When Tsar Nicholas II took personal command of the Imperial Russian Army in 1915, he hoped to salvage the military situation on the eastern front. The issues on the front line paled, however, in comparison to the troubles at home. Sean Kalic and Gates Brown illustrate the vital connection between the home front and the front line of battle by examining the effects of the Russian revolutions on the Russian army.

Red/Blue Workshop

Oct. 5 – 8 a.m.

This workshop will be held in conjunction with the Oct. 4 Edward F. Reilly Lecture. The Red/Blue Workshop brings together conservative-leaning and progressive-leaning participants for moderated activities and discussions. While observation of this event is open to the public, participation is by invitation only.

“Big Sonia” Screening and Filmmaker Q&A

Oct. 12 – 2 p.m.
One of the last remaining Holocaust survivors living in Kansas City, Sonia Warshawski is a bridge between cultures and generations. Fondly nicknamed “Big Sonia” for her diminutive stature and larger-than-life personality, Warshawski has served as an inspirational public speaker at schools and prisons while running the tailor shop she’s owned for over 30 years. Join the institute for a screening of the documentary “Big Sonia,” which offers a portrait of the power of love and hope over bigotry. A Q&A will follow the screening with co-directors Leah Warshawski (Sonia’s granddaughter) and Todd Soliday.

In Conversation with Sonia Warshawski

Oct. 19 – 2 p.m.

Follow up the screening of “Big Sonia” with an in-person visit from the film’s titular subject, Sonia Warshawski. Joined by her daughter, Regina Kort, Warshawski will discuss her experiences as a survivor of the Holocaust and reflect on the documentary made by her granddaughter, Leah Warshawski.

Work, Fight, Give: American Relief Posters of World War II

Oct. 25 – 3 p.m.

Hal Wert visits to present a new window on understanding a watershed event in our nation’s history. Using a vast collection of poster art, poster stamps, banners and programs issued during World War II, Wert focuses on those who gave of their artistic talents to design posters that were aimed at the heart of Americans. The poster imagery employed by the National War Fund and its relief agencies will allow guests to experience the stupendous effort to aid those in need.

Fort Leavenworth series
Mr. Polk’s War

Nov. 1 – 3 p.m.

A sharp divide characterized the relationship between the home front and the front line during the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. Despite advances in communication technology, most Americans viewed war through a romantic lens, which bore little resemblance to the reality of the soldier experience. Greg Hospodor addresses the gulf between those two perceptions and its later implications.

Fort Leavenworth series
The War of 1812 on the Home Front

Dec. 13 – 3 p.m.

The War of 1812 brought great danger to those whose homes sat at the overlap between the home front and the fighting front. Many along the 37-mile long Niagara River witness raids and violence in both directions. The most powerful and destructive operation occurred in December 1813 —when it was over, every home along the river except one was burned to the ground, and hundreds of American civilians were forced to flee. Rich Barbuto shares this fascinating tale in the final Fort Leavenworth installment of 2018.

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