A Conversation with Karl Rove
Right-wing political guru Karl Rove will speak on campus Dec. 3, political science professor Peter Feaver confirmed Wednesday.
“He’s one of the most consequential public figures of recent times,” Feaver said. “People who liked what he has been involved with and who didn’t like what he’s been involved with both would find it fascinating to come hear him firsthand.”
Feaver worked with the former deputy chief of staff and chief political strategist for President George W. Bush while working on the National Security Council from 2005 to this year.
During “A Conversation with Karl Rove,” which will be held in Page Auditorium, Rove will likely discuss his involvement with the 2000 presidential campaign, his career within the Bush administration and his perspectives on the 2008 presidential election.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Duke College Republicans Chair Sam Tasher, a junior.
He added that he hopes students of all political persuasions will attend the event.
“The requirement to bring someone to Duke to have a talk is not that everyone must agree with everything this person has said or done,” Feaver said. “You don’t get a good education by only listening to people you agree with.”
Although some students may oppose the policies of such a high-profile and controversial figure, Rove’s speech presents a rare chance for those students to engage him in discussion and gain more insight on current issues, said Duke Democrats President Samiron Ray, a sophomore.
“As chief architect of many Bush administration policies from the past few years, hopefully this will allow Duke students to question him in a very pointed way,” Ray said. “We don’t want this to turn into a glorified revisionary speech-we want this to be pretty down-to-earth and raw.”
Rove is the first big-name political speaker to come to campus since former secretary of state Colin Powell in 2005, Tasher said, adding that Duke’s struggles to attract influential political thinkers may contribute to the perceived political apathy of the student body.
But senior Isel Del Valle, Duke University Union’s Major Speakers Committee chair, said although Duke has not attracted as controversial a figure as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who visited Columbia University this fall, a roster of provocative speakers-including conservative author David Horowitz, who visited in 2006, and Ross Wilson, U.S. ambassador to Turkey-have held talks on campus in recent years.
She added, however, that Rove is the first “amazing political speaker” to come this year and that the interactive format of the presentation will encourage students to get involved.
“It’s a conversation, not a canned speech,” she said.
Feaver said although he will conduct a public interview with Rove during the event, students will have the opportunity to ask questions at the conclusion of the talk.
“He’s very capable of communicating and engaging the audience, whether they agree or disagree with him, at a pretty high-caliber conversation,” he added.
The event will be co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science, the Sanford Institute of Public Policy, the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost and Duke University Union.
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