Johns Hopkins Gazette: February 13, 1995

Les Aspin Kicks Off the Woodrow Wilson Symposium

By Steve Libowitz

     Rob Arena doesn't like to think small. In high school he
pulled the student newspaper out of the dark ages by encouraging
the editors to produce it using desktop publishing technology. He
was rewarded with the editorship the next year.
     After graduation from Hopkins, the junior economics major is
considering working on Capitol Hill; he'd like to begin the
interview process with Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. "Why
not start at the top," he said.
     So, last January, when the International Studies Forum
handed the reins of its 6-year-old Woodrow Wilson Symposium to
him and roommate Alex Stillman, Arena immediately planned to
change it from a small lecture primarily for international
relations majors to a spring version of the 29-year-old Milton S.
Eisenhower Symposium.
     "When people think of [international relations], they may
think of Georgetown," Arena said. "But Hopkins has an IR program
that is every bit as excellent, and we want to make this
symposium bigger so more people know about it."
     If the speakers they have signed are any indication, they
may well succeed.
     The symposium, which begins on Tuesday, Feb. 14, focuses on
current events, politics and international relations. The first
speaker in this year's event, titled "America and the World, or
America's World," is former defense secretary and congressman Les
Aspin, a key figure for years in U.S. national security policy.
He currently heads a joint executive branch/legislative oversight
committee on the future role of U.S. intelligence efforts. With
this talk, he also gives the Williams Memorial Lecture.
     On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the speaker will be former assistant
secretary of state and State Department spokeswoman Margaret
     The series concludes on Wednesday, March 1, with a talk by
former director of central intelligence and career CIA officer
Robert Gates.
     Each speaker will discuss the future U.S. role in world
     "We were convinced that Hopkins could attract big names to
campus for this symposium," said Stillman, whose experience in
organizing campus events includes serving as chairman of last
year's race relations forum. "And we chose these three not only
because they have been at the center of world events, but,
because they are now on the outside, we thought they would more
likely be frank in their perspectives."
     Arena said the speakers reduced their regular lecture fees
to accommodate the symposium's relatively small budget of
$20,000, which was underwritten by the offices of the deans of
Homewood Student Affairs, of Students, and of Arts and Sciences;
the Alumni Association; the Student Government Association; and
the Office of Special Events. 
     Stillman and Arena are confident that this year's enlarged
symposium will be successful, but they will not measure their
efforts by attendance.
     "I believe it already is successful because of the caliber
of the participants we are bringing here," Arena said. "But
overall, I will feel we succeeded if whoever attends walks away
pleased with the chance to interact with these prominent people." 
     All events in the series are scheduled for 8 p.m. in Shriver
Hall on the Homewood campus. A question-and-answer session will
follow each lecture.

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