Upcoming Programs

Upcoming 2020 Programs — Save the Dates

How to Save a Constitutional Democracy … Including Ours

Tom Ginsburg, Leo Spitz Professor of International Law and Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago; member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Thursday, January 16, 2020
7:30 p.m.  Spring Lake Village Auditorium
5555 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa
Members & SLV Residents: No Charge; Non-members: $10

No reservations required.

Around the world, we see liberal constitutional democracies under threat, and many Americans believe that our own institutions are at risk as well. What can be learned from other countries in terms of institutional decline and erosion?  Drawing on comparative experience, our speaker will identify the risks he sees to American democracy, as well as potential sources of resilience.  While some of our risks are hard-wired into the Constitution, there are many others that are within our grasp, even in an era of serious political polarization.

Tom Ginsburg focuses on comparative and international law from an interdisciplinary perspective. He holds BA, JD, and PhD degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. His latest book, How to Save a Constitutional Democracy, was co-authored with Aziz Z. Huq and can be ordered through Copperfield’s.

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WACSC proudly presents
Ambassador (ret) Kathleen Stephens

at our Annual Dinner where her topic will be

The U.S. – South Korea Alliance:
Linchpin under Stress?

Ambassador (ret) Kathleen Stephens was U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea 2008-2011.   She is currently President and CEO of the Korean Economic Institute of America, Washington, D.C.

Friday, January 31, 2020
Hyatt Regency Hotel
170 Railroad St., Santa Rosa
5:15 p.m. No-Host Cocktails; 6:00 Dinner

Members: $65; Non-members: $75  (parking fee included)

Meal Selections:  Maple Glazed Chicken Breast, Zinfandel Braised Pork Loin or Butternut Squash Risotto

Anna Grzymala Busse Reservations

Reservations close 1/24/2020 (or earlier if capacity is reached).

Successive American and South Korean leaders have termed the alliance between the two countries a linchpin of stability in Asia.  Today the alliance faces new strains and challenges: how to forge a coordinated approach to the task of denuclearization and peace on the Korean peninsula, and how to manage trade relations at a time of heightened U.S. – China tensions and a downgrading of South Korea-Japan relations.

Is the U.S.-South Korea alliance a Cold War anachronism, unable to weather the era of China Rising, America First, and Korea’s own nationalist moment? Will South Korea have to “choose” between China and the U.S., and if so, what will it choose? Is the “blood-forged” alliance with South Korea a burden or a benefit to the United States? Will North Korea ever peacefully give up its weapons?

Ambassador Stephens was the first woman to serve as Ambassador to the Republic of Korea and the first Ambassador to speak the Korean language. Her first visit to South Korea was in the 1970s as a Peace Corps volunteer and she then returned in the 1980s as a diplomat at the U.S. Embassy. Additional diplomatic assignments included postings in India, China, Yugoslavia, and Northern Ireland.

She has also served as Acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (2012); Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 2005 to 2007; involved in the Six-Party Talks efforts with North Korea; and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (2003-2005)

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Indonesia’s Democracy and Economic Development

Puspa Delima Amri, Ph.D. in Economics and Political Science from Claremont Graduate University and MA in international relations from the School of Advanced International Studies Johns Hopkins University.

Thursday, February 20, 2020
7:30 p.m., Spring Lake Village Auditorium
5555 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa
Members & SLV Residents: No Charge; Non-members: $10

No reservations required.

She is assistant professor of economics at Sonoma State University, a research associate at the Claremont Institute for Economic Policy Studies and a regular visiting fellow at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta, Indonesia’s oldest think tank, focusing on economic, socio-political affairs and foreign policy.

Indonesia is a rare case of democratic persistence in Southeast Asia. With free and fair elections, a flourishing civil society, and a decentralized political system, Indonesia today is arguably the region’s most vibrant democracy. In recent years however, experts have documented signs of emerging fragility, such as lack of guarantees for religious freedom, human rights problems, and a politically polarized society with rising intolerance.

These fragilities facing Indonesian democracy are by no means unique; it is part of a global trend of democratic retreat. Indeed, while democratic transitions were initially marked with optimism, cross-country experience suggests that these transitions are messy at best. Progress with economic and political reforms often stagnate and along with it, progress towards improving income distribution. When leaders fail to deliver a continually improving economy, support for democracy may wane within societies, which in turn affects the quality of democracy itself.

Has Indonesia entered such a phase?  Are we seeing serious, unresolved challenges in maintaining a healthy and vibrant democracy? To what extent do economic conditions such as GDP growth, unemployment and a disparate income distribution help explain changes in Indonesia’s democratic quality? This presentation will use a framework for comparing democracies among nations to the case of Indonesia. Using statistical analysis that leverages variations in democratic quality and economic conditions, the presentation will assess whether local economic conditions (economic growth, employment, and income inequality) are related to institutional democratic quality in Indonesia over the past decade.

Dr. Amri’s work in political economy factors such as macroeconomic and financial outcomes, financial crises and regulations, economic voting, and political business cycles has appeared in academic journals such as European Law Journal, Open Economies Review, Journal of Financial Economic Policy, ASEAN Economic Bulletin and International Interactions.

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Impeachment vs. Re-Election: How Politics, Issues, and Money Influence US Campaigns and Elections

David McCuan, Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, Sonoma State U.

Thursday , March 12, 2020
12:00 noon, Flamingo Hotel
2777 4th St.
Santa Rosa, CA 95405

Luncheon: Members: $36; Non-members: $46

Meal Selections: Grilled Chicken Breast Alfredo or Roasted Vegetable Plate

Anna Grzymala Busse Reservations

Reservations close 3/5/2020 (or earlier if capacity is reached).

The 2020 U.S. national and state elections take place during an unprecedented time in our nation’s history.  Politics is dominated by polarization, negativity, compressed news cycles, and division that extends across multiple lines.

Professor McCuan will discuss how the results of the March 3rd Super Duper Tuesday are affecting the race in light of changing economic conditions, global trade pressures, and evolving demographics.  Moreover, the race for the Presidency is also about important national and sub-national elections affecting the future direction of our country and relationships with other nations. Less than eight months before this important election takes place, the country is locked into a fierce battle between President Trump and his political opponents.

This talk examines the ramifications of the impeachment process and the dynamics affecting political actors and institutions as the process of elections unfolds.  Additionally, we will analyze how changing demographics, money, and issues such as the economy and foreign policy all join to determine election outcomes.

Dr. McCuan was a Fulbright Teaching Scholar in 2009-2010, working in the Department of International Relations and European Studies, Masaryk University, Czech Republic where he taught courses in US National Security Policy, Terrorism, and US Foreign Policy.  His doctorate was granted from the University of California – Riverside in 2002.

For our reservation and cancellation policy, please click here.

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