U.S. Power: Stress, Strength & Strategy

Featuring Michael O’Hanlon

Sunday, September 30, 2018 – 4:00pm  |  Finger Lakes Community College

President Donald Trump has sent shock waves through the capitols of the West with his tolerance of dictators and his criticisms of long-term alliances such as NATO. Is this the beginning of a realignment of U.S. power? Is it blip or bombshell?

Few people have studied the posture and capabilities of the U.S. military and the foreign policy initiatives it supports in greater detail than Michael O’Hanlon.  Dr. O’Hanlon, a Canandaigua native and Canandaigua Academy Graduate of Distinction, is a senior fellow in Foreign Policy at Washington D.C.’s Brookings Institution and Director of Research for its Foreign Policy program. A member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, he is the author of numerous influential books and monographs regarding the projection of U.S. power, including his 2015 title, The Future of Land Warfare and his more recent monograph, Beyond NATO: A New Security Architecture for Eastern Europe. Also on point is his 2005 book co-authored with Michael Levi, Neither Star Wars nor Sanctuary: Constraining the Military Uses of Space. An adjunct professor at Columbia, Princeton and Syracuse universities, he has appeared as an expert commentator on television and radio over 3,000 times since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The GME Canandaigua Forum is pleased to bring Mr. O’Hanlon’s incisive assessments of the state of the U.S. military — and what that means for the world — to our stage for the third time.

Our moderator is Michael’s childhood friend, Steven Swartout, a Canandaigua Academy Graduate of Distinction himself for his vast contributions to our community and outstanding law career, particularly as Lead Counsel with Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company. Now retired, for today’s discussion, Mr. Swartout prefers the description: citizen.

The Arab World: What We Don’t Know but Need to Know; Mistakes We’ve Made and What We Can Do About Them

Featuring James Zogby

Sunday, October 14, 2018 – 4:00pm  |  Finger Lakes Community College

No other region has delivered more pain to the United States over the last 25 years than the Middle East. Yet i remains mostly a mystery to us.

Dr. James Zogby is one of America’s foremost experts on the Arab World. He mixes careful research, long life experience in the region, and compassionate understanding with hard-eyed realism to create his unparalleled depth of knowledge. Dr. Zogby is the founder and President of the Arab-American Institute, a Washington D.C based organization that performs policy and political research for the Arab- American community. He has tapped the life experiences and aspirations of peoples of all social strata in the Arab World via extensive scientific polling across every country. Since 1992, he has written a weekly column on American politics for major Arab newspapers, published in 14 Arab and South Asian countries. He has been a regular commentator on television outlets in both the U.S. and Arab countries, been active in Democratic political circles, was Senior Advisor to Vice-President Al Gore on Ethnic Outreach and was appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom for two terms by President Obama.

One is hard-pressed to suggest an American who can offer deeper insight than James Zogby into what we know, don’t know, and should know regarding the people, cultures, and ferment of the Arab World. It is a region which many Western countries have attempted to colonize, manipulate, dominate, and sometimes merely placate, without success. Perhaps we must reach first for understanding.

As moderator for this program, we welcome back a formidable interviewer and familiar friend of the Forum, Evan Dawson. Mr. Dawson is the daily host of “Connections” on WXXI radio, Rochester’s leading issues-oriented discussion show.

Final Arguments in People vs. Planet

Featuring Gina McCarthy

Sunday, January 27, 2019 – 4:00pm  |  Finger Lakes Community College

The GME Canandaigua Forum calls a key witness in the federal case of People vs. Planet.

The five warmest years in the global temperature record have all come since 2010. The ten warmest since 1998. The twenty warmest since 1995. Yet the political global climate change argument rages on. The eye of this storm is a bloodshot, defiant gaze.

As the 13th Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 2013-2017, Gina McCarthy was at the center of the swirl. After barely surviving a bruising confirmation battle – including a 136 day (longest ever for the agency) vote delay in the Senate – Ms. McCarthy went on to become a strongly proactive EPA leader. She sought to redefine the “waters of the United States” in the Clean Water Act in order to try to prohibit pollution in upland U.S. watersheds, finalized the politically controversial Clean Power Plan seeking to reduce the use of coal in alignment with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, and vigorously defended the EPA in the early stages of the Flint, Michigan municipal water crisis. Her successor, Scott Pruitt, made it his priority to challenge and overturn most of her initiatives.

Currently Director of Harvard University’s C-Change – the Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment, part of the Harvard School of Public Health — Ms. McCarthy remains an outspoken critic of climate change deniers. She is dedicated to the proposition that people and planet must work in concert to promote environmental health and clean air quality throughout the world, and develop workable solutions to mitigate the existential crisis of this and subsequent generations: climate change and its effects on humans and other species.

WXXI radio host Evan Dawson, who frequently focuses on the Rochester region’s environmental issues on his Connections show, returns as our program moderator.


Coloring the Conservation Conversation (Birdsong)

Featuring J. Drew Lanham

Sunday, March 24, 2019 – 4:00pm  |  Finger Lakes Community College

“In me, there is the red of miry clay, the brown of spring floods, the gold of ripening tobacco. I am, in the deepest sense, colored.” So writes Dr. J. Drew Lanham, our final guest of the 2018-2019 GME Canandaigua Forum series, in his book, The Home Place – Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature.

Naturalist, songbird ecology expert, black man, Audubon Society Board member, Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Biology at Clemson University, Dr. Lanham is a person of great scientific skill, wondrous passion regarding the benefits of conservation, and sharp cutting wit. “There are essential tools for birding. There are your binoculars, your spotting scope, your field guide, and if you’re black – you’re going to need probably two or three forms of ID!”

Active on a number of conservation boards, particularly in his native South Carolina, Dr. Lanham’s research originally focused on how forest management and other human activities impacted species such as songbirds, small mammals and butterflies. But his interests have now broadened beyond classical science to investigations of how ethnicity, especially for black Americans, relates to wildlife and other conservation issues, and how birders and hunters (he is both) might bridge philosophical gaps to the ultimate benefit of conservation goals. His is a completely original voice.

When you revel in birdsong, do you hear jazz or folk? Maybe it doesn’t matter, as long as you color the conservation conversation.

The Forum is pleased to welcome FLCC Professor of Environmental Conservation John Van Niel, who will join Dr. Lanham as moderator of this program.

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