Discussion Groups

Some of our most refreshing events are weekly discussion groups at the Dole Institute. Hosted by Dole Fellows, each weekly discussion focuses on a specific topic or issue and features an expert in that field. These events are oriented toward KU students, but are also open to the public.

These small discussion groups provide hands-on knowledge and direct interaction with experts.

Past Discussion Groups

International Trade in the 21st Century


The Big Ideas in International Trade, from Truman to Obama

February 13, 2019

Ethan Corson and guest Scott Handler kick off our spring discussion group series with a look at the ideological underpinning for U.S. trade policy since the 1940s. Handler previously served as a White House Fellow and special advisor to the U.S.…

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The Collapsing Consensus: Trade in the Era of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders

February 20, 2019

Free trade was once considered an area of broad bipartisan consensus. Is trade really to blame for some of the negative effects attributed to it, or is it a scapegoat for other, larger challenges in the U.S. economy? Joining Ethan Corson in…

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A View from the Capitol: How Congress Looks at International Trade

February 27, 2019

Ethan Corson and Jordan Haas break down the politics of trade from the perspective of those who have worked on the issue with members of Congress. Haas played a lead role in advancing Barack Obama’s trade legislative agenda, including serving as…

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Trump’s Trade Policies, Two Years In

March 06, 2019

This session presents a deep dive into the policy decisions, philosophies and results of the Trump Administration’s approach to international trade. Ethan Corson and guest Atman Trivedi will break down a host of topics, including the withdrawal…

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Were Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers Made in China? How Trade Affects Kansas

March 20, 2019

In the fifth week of discussion groups, Ethan Corson adopts a local perspective. Alongside guest Mike Matson, Corson will shift the focus to the ways that trade and policy decisions affect the Sunflower State. Matson is the director of industry…

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Rise of the Independents: Candidates and Reform in 2018 and Beyond


Hyperpartisanship: How did we get here, and how to we fix it?

February 21, 2018

Political parties can seem more concerned with partisan advantage than finding common-ground solutions to the nation’s problems. Jim Jonas is joined by guest Matthew Dowd, a best-selling author, cultural commentator and chief political analyst for…

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The Shifting Electorate

March 07, 2018

The American political parties and the makeup of the electorate are experiencing enormous changes. What effects will the rapidly changing political landscape mean for Kansas and the country in 2018 and beyond? For this discussion, Jim Jonas welcomes…

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Third Parties and Independent Movements in Kansas

March 14, 2018

What are the prospects for independent and third party efforts underway in Kansas in 2018 and beyond? How can voters who do not feel an affinity for either major party participate in Kansas elections and have an equal voice? Lawrencian Scott Morgan…

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Challenging the Duopoly

April 04, 2018

This discussion examines the legal, infrastructural, communication and electoral disadvantages for independents and third parties, and what is happening in the reform space to challenge those barriers. Jonas welcomes Chad Peace, who holds extensive…

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Hacking the System: Examining Unite America’s Plan

April 11, 2018

Unite America aims to strategically elect independent candidates to office who can break through the political gridlock and serve as a voice for all those in the center –– not as a traditional third party, but as America’s first “Unparty.”…

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Kyle Bailey

April 18, 2018

Jonas welcomes Kyle Bailey for his penultimate discussion group installment of the semester. Bailey owns over a decade of experience managing and fundraising for independent candidate campaigns, referenda campaigns, and advocacy organizations. In…

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Jackie Salit

May 02, 2018

Jonas caps discussion groups with a visit from Jackie Salit, president of IndependentVoting.org, one of the nation’s leading organizing centers for independent voters. In addition to support for specific candidates, Salit and IV have supported…

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