Understanding Our New World

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Understanding Our New World | Livestream Conversation Series via Zoom

A Year of Important Conversations

In April 2020, as it was becoming clear that the COVID-19 pandemic would indefinitely alter our daily lives, the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute launched the Understanding Our New World virtual conversation series.

Since April 2020 we have hosted more than 40 hour-long conversations with leaders in government, diplomacy, academia, philanthropy, and the military. Even as the pandemic eases, the Institute continues to provide these wide-ranging conversations that are respectful, probing, and civil — the kind of conversations that Paul Simon relished.

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Upcoming Events

A Conversation with Audra Wilson, President & CEO of the Shriver Center on Poverty Law
11:00 a.m. CT Wednesday, July 7
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Flyer: Conversation with Audra Wilson, 11 a.m. CT Wednesday, July 7


A Conversation with Candice Millard, New York Times bestselling author
2:00 p.m. CT Friday, July 9
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Flyer: Conversation with Candice Millard 2 p.m. CT Friday, July 09


A Conversation with Tim Knight, President & CEO of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation
10:00 a.m. CT Wednesday, July 21
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Flyer: Conversation with Tim Knight at 10 a.m. CT Wednesday, July 21

Past Events

Watch the full series on YouTube.

Nicole Perlroth – New York Times cybersecurity reporter – June 15, 2021

Susana Mendoza – Illinois Comptroller – June 4, 2021

John Gaddis – Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History and Distinguished Fellow of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy, Yale University – May 25, 2021

Angela Jackson – Illinois Poet Laureate – April 22, 2021

Jim Bullard  President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis – April 8, 2021

Elizabeth Hinton – Yale University Professor and Historian – March 25, 2021

Barbara Bodine  Director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University – March 11, 2021

Don Harmon – Illinois State Senate President (D-39th District) – March 8, 2021
Alexis Coe – Presidential Historian – February 19, 2021
Edward Larson – Pulitzer Prize-winning Historian – February 1, 2021
John Allen – President of the Brookings Institution – January 26, 2021
Timothy Lynch – Professor of American Politics at the University of Melbourne, Australia – January 19, 2021
Sharon Bush – Executive Director of the Grand Victoria Foundation – January 5, 2021


2020
Fredrik Logevall
– Pulitzer Prize-winning Historian – December 16, 2020
Jorge Castañeda
– Mexico's Former Foreign Minister – December 10, 2020
Eliot Cohen
– Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University – December 1, 2020 
Theresa Mah
– Illinois State Representative – November 12, 2020
Ertharin Cousin
– Former Executive Director of the World Food Programme – November 9, 2020
Margaret MacMillan
– Duff Cooper Prize-winning Historian – October 28, 2020
Kimberly Lightford
 – Illinois Senate Majority Leader (D-4th District) – October 20, 2020
Hanh Le – Executive Director of the Weissberg Foundation – October 6, 2020
John Danforth
– Former U.S. Denator (R-Missouri) – September 30, 2020
Pete Buttigieg 
– Former U.S. Presidential Candidate and Former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana – September 24, 2020
Richard Haass 
– President of the Council on Foreign Relations – September 21, 2020
Sherrod Brown
– U.S. Senator (D-Ohio) – September 18, 2020
Michelle Howard
– Retired United States Navy Four-Star Admiral – September 1, 2020
Mary Robinson – Former President of Ireland – August 26, 2020
Donald McHenry
– Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations – August 19, 2020
Carmen Rojas
– President of the Marguerite Casey Foundation – August 11, 2020
Jim Durkin 
– Illinois House Republican Leader (R-82nd District) – August 4, 2020
Juliana Stratton – Illinois Lieutenant Governor – July 30, 2020
Charles Ray 
– Former U.S. Ambassador  to Cambodia and Zimbabwe – July 21, 2020
Angelique Power 
– President of The Field Foundation – July 7, 2020
Leon Panetta
– Former U.S. Secretary of Defense and Director of the CIA – July 1, 2020
William Burns 
– President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – June 18, 2020
Emanuel "Chris" Welch 
– Illinois State Representative (D-7th District) – June 11, 2020
Darin LaHood
– U.S. Congressman (R-Illinois) – June 8, 2020
Rahm Emanuel – Former Mayor of Chicago – June 4, 2020  
Carl Hulse
– Chief Washington Correspondent for The New York Times – June 1, 2020
Dr. Teresa Amott
 President of Knox College – May 21, 2020
Jan Eliasson – Former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations – May 14, 2020
David Kennedy – Pulitzer Prize-winning Historian – April 29, 2020