Dole Institute Announces Spring Semester Programs

January 31, 2023 - News

The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas has announced the continuation of its 20th programming year with a new slate of events for the spring semester. These programs are part of the Dole Institute’s 20th anniversary and in honor of the late Senator Bob Dole’s centenary in July.

“Our 20th programming year continues this spring emphasizing overlooked elements essential to a civil society: women’s leadership and the building blocks of democracy,” said Dole Institute Director Audrey Coleman. “We’re excited to host guests representing leadership at the highest levels, both nationally and internationally.”

This semester’s programs begin Feb. 1 with the first installment of the Presidential Lecture Series: First Ladies as Presidential Partners. This series underscores the two-person nature of the presidency and the influence first ladies have on their husbands’ administrations, women’s issues and U.S. culture.

The series is moderated by Diana Carlin, professor emerita of communication at St. Louis University, where she taught a course on women in politics that included first ladies, and a retired professor of communication studies at KU. She is a founding member of the First Ladies Association for Research and Education (FLARE), the presenting partner of this series. The series programs, which all begin at 7 p.m., are as follows:

  • Feb. 1: “Evolution of the Modern First Lady — How We Got from Lady Washington to Dr. Biden” with Michael LaRosa, press secretary to Jill Biden, and Anita McBride, chief of staff to Laura Bush
  • Feb. 9: “First Ladies and Power — Influential First Ladies You Might Not Know Much About” with Rebecca Roberts, author; Katherine Sibley, first ladies scholar, and Teri Finneman, KU associate professor and author
  • March 9: “First Ladies, Women’s Rights and Suffrage” with Nancy Kegan Smith, first ladies scholar, and Stacy Cordery, historian and biographer
  • March 23: “First Ladies, the ERA and Beyond” with Myra Gutin, president of FLARE, and Bob Bostock, consultant to the Nixon Presidential Library Foundation

This spring’s Dole Fellow is Qëndrim Gashi, associate professor at the University of Prishtina and Kosovo’s Ambassador to France from 2016 until 2021. He has served on supervisory boards of various private and state institutions and think tanks and has won a number of scholarships, awards and honors, including receiving the insignia of Commander of the French Legion of Honor in 2022. In Gashi’s role as Dole Fellow, he will be in residence for three weeks to lead a Dole Discussion Group series examining the topic of building democracy in Europe’s youngest country, the Republic of Kosovo.

The program on Feb. 22 will feature Atifete Jahjaga, the first woman president of the Republic of Kosovo, the first female head of state in modern Balkans and the youngest female world leader to be elected to the highest office.

Dates and guests are as follows, with all programming starting at 4 p.m.:

  • Feb. 15: “Building Democracy in the 21st Century: Kosovo’s Path to Independence and Democracy” with Pëllumb Kelmendi, political scientist and board member for the Society for Albanian Studies
  • Feb. 22: “Building Democracy in the 21st Century: Inclusiveness in Forming a Democracy” with Atifete Jahjaga, former president of the Republic of Kosovo (2011-2016)
  • March 1: “Building Democracy in the 21st Century: The Road Ahead to Maintaining a Democracy” with Enver Hasani, former president of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Kosovo (2011-2016)

This spring’s Discussion Group series will be presented in two parts, first examining democracy abroad, and then in late spring, the Dole Institute will welcome Dole Fellow Gerald Seib, retired Washington editor of The Wall Street Journal, back to discuss democracy at home.

The Discussion Group series focuses on a specific topic or issue and features guest experts in that field. They provide unique opportunities for KU students and the wider public to interact directly with the guests. The Discussion Group programs are made possible by Newman’s Own Foundation. This spring’s series is presented in partnership with the Kosovo American Education Fund. Gashi’s residency is made possible by the Jim Xhema Opportunity Fund.

For the Journalism and Politics Lecture, the Dole Institute is partnering with Kansas Public Radio to bring NPR’s Juana Summers to Lawrence in celebration of the Dole Institute’s 20th anniversary and KPR’s 70th anniversary. “An Evening with Juana Summers” will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 21. This program will feature a discussion on her remarkable career, her experiences covering race and politics in today’s climate, and the future of journalism.

Summers is a co-host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” alongside Ailsa Chang, Ari Shapiro and Mary Louise Kelly. She joined the program in June 2022. Summers previously spent more than a decade covering national politics, most recently as NPR’s political correspondent covering race, justice and politics.

The Dole Institute will also continue its partnership with the General Staff College Department at Fort Leavenworth to host the Fort Leavenworth Series. The series provides free historical lectures to the public facilitated by the world-class military history professors. Lectures are scheduled the first Thursday of each month, starting Feb. 2 at 3 p.m.

The 2023 theme is “military invasions.” Invasions play an important role in military history, often precipitating significant conflicts with important ramifications. The series will discuss invasions from the medieval period through the present, detailing their aspects and their legacies, especially in the current environment of world politics. The schedule:

  • Feb. 2: “Brittany to the Elbe: 9th Army’s Invasion of Europe in World War II” with Bill Nance
  • March 2: “The Union Invasion of Mississippi in 1863” with Angela Riotto
  • April 6: “Inchon 1950: The U.S. Amphibious Invasion in the Korean War” with Lou DiMarco
  • May 4: “The Invasions That Weren’t: French Efforts to Invade England 1740-1805,” with Jonathan Abel.

Detailed information on programs can be found at All programs will take place in-person at the Dole Institute and be livestreamed on the website. Additional spring programing will be announced in the coming weeks.

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 former U.S. Senators Bob Dole and Elizabeth Dole.

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