Wednesday, October 17, 2007

UI & Brookings Institution Present Forum on Energy and National Security

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 461

Tonight, October 17, the University of Iowa is teaming up with the Brookings Institution to present a forum on energy and national security, with particular focus on the place of biofuels and other alternative energy sources in the policy debate leading into next year's presidential election.

I've had the opportunity to review some of the white papers that will be discussed at tonight's forum, and they present some of the very best thinking about these issues to be found anywhere. These papers, "Tackling Trade and Climate Change: Leadership on the Home Front of Foreign Policy," by William Antholis and Strobe Talbott, "Stemming Nuclear Proliferation: Prevent and Manage the Rise of New Nuclear Powers," by Stephen P. Cohen and Michael E. O'Hanlon, and "Ending Oil Dependence: Protecting National Security, the Environment and the Economy," by David Sandalow, address separate policy issues, but share a strong interconnection. A common theme in each of the papers is the need for the next president to restore America's international leadership by first forging domestic political consensus; that, in turn, will require a president with the will to confront complicated issues and the commitment to work through those issues with both parties in Congress, and all segments and regions of our economy and society. A tough challenge, certainly, and it highlights an important consideration for selecting whom among the candidates most deserves your support: which candidate best combines the vision, the commitment and political skill to restore America's international leadership by building domestic consensus on the key issues facing the country, and, indeed, the wider international community?

These are all vital issues, and anyone interested in soaking up some truly cutting-edge thinking about them should attend tonight's event. Details are below, courtesy of the University of Iowa Lecture Committee.

When: Wednesday, October 17, 2007 at 7:30 PM
Where: Iowa Memorial Union
University of Iowa
125 North Madison St.
Iowa City, IA 52245
What: Energy and National Security: The Role of Biofuels in America's Policy Debate
Contact: Sharon Benzoni, Chair, University Lecture Committee

This event is open to the public and registration is not required.

The Event: The forum will consist of two panels, the first of which will discuss energy security and alternative energy sources, specifically focusing on biofuels. The second will discuss the role that energy plays in America's foreign policy. Each panel will discuss questions from the moderator for about 45 minutes, followed by a 15 minute question and answer session with the audience.

We are working with student and activist groups, as well as some of the UI’s departments and institutes, to generate some of the questions that will be asked during the forum.

The Moderator: Dean Borg of IPTV

The Panelists:
David B. Sandalow, an Energy and Environment Scholar at Brookings, is an expert on energy policy and global warming. During the Clinton administration, Sandalow served as assistant secretary of state for oceans, environment and science and as a senior director on the staff of the National Security Council. Sandalow will be releasing a book entitled, "Freedom from Oil: How the Next President Can End the U.S. Oil Addiction."

William Antholis, managing director of Brookings. Antholis has worked on foreign security and economic policy at the National Security Council and the State Department, and was director of studies at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Michael E. O'Hanlon, senior fellow at Brookings. O'Hanlon specializes in Iraq, North Korea, homeland security, the use of military force and other defense issues. He advised members of Congress on military spending as a defense budget analyst. He is the director of Opportunity 08.

John Miranowski, professor of economics and director of Institute of Science and Society at Iowa State University (ISU). Miranowski has previously served as director of the Resources and Technology Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service and was executive coordinator of the Secretary of Agriculture's Policy Coordination Council.

Steven Fales, associate director of the Office of Biorenewables Programs and professor in the Department of Agronomy at ISU. Fales coordinates the College of Agriculture's Bioeconomy Initiative, which focuses on developing technologies for converting crops and plant materials into chemicals, fuels, fibers and energy.

Jerry Schnoor, co-director of the UI College of Engineering's Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research. Schnoor, who also serves as Allen S. Henry Chair in Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and research engineer at IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, has extensive environmental research experience. He recently chaired a U.S. biofuels production colloquium for the National Research Council at the National Academy of Sciences.

Mani Subramanian, director of the UI Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing (CBB) and professor in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering. Prior to coming to the CBB, Subramanian was the global research and development director of biotechnology, bioprocessing and bioinformatics at the Dow Chemical Company.

Tonya Peeples, associate professor of chemical and biochemical engineering at the UI. Peeples' work focuses on research in the field of organisms that thrive in extreme environments. She is a member of the CBB and is director of the Ethnic Inclusion Effort for Iowa Engineering.

For more about the Brookings Institution's Opportunity '08 forums, please visit

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