Upcoming Events

Past Events

2023 - 2024

Election 2024: Is The U.S. Media Up To The Task Of Covering Domestic Authoritarianism? A Conversation with Colin Woodard

Tuesday, April 23, 2024 | 6:00 PM | Page Commons

New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist Colin Woodard joined the Goldfarb Center for a conversation about the rise of authoritarianism, the role of the press, and the high-stakes 2024 election. Alison Beyea, Executive Director of the Goldfarb Center, and Grace Hillis, Class of ’24 moderated the Q&A session.

Deciding Factors: What Issues Will Swing the 2024 Election? A Conversation with Amy Walter

Friday, April 19, 2024 | 12:15 PM | Page Commons

From immigration to climate change to foreign policy, what issues will emerge as decisive in the 2024 election? Renowned political analyst and Editor-in-Chief of the Cook Political Report, Amy Walter, discussed what will be the deciding factors in the upcoming election. Alison Beyea, Executive Director of the Goldfarb Center, and Shane Baldwin, Class of ’25 moderated the Q&A session.

From Kabul to Portland: A Tale of Resilience and Hope in Afghanistan and Beyond

Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | 6:30 PM | Page Commons

The Student Executive Board of the Goldfarb Center and the Mid-Maine Global Forum are partnering to bring Masooda Habibzai to give a talk about her journey emigrating to the United States during the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 1996 to becoming a Family and Community Specialist within the Portland, Maine, public school system.

Ms. Masooda currently serves as an interpreter at the Multilingual and Multicultural Center for the Portland Public Schools. She has also recently returned from visiting her family in Afghanistan. 

Join us as we bring Mid-Maine Global Forum’s Global Forum series to Colby College for this event. A pre-lecture reception will take place at 6pm. No registration is required to attend.

Ukrainian Music and Poetry: Transcending the Anguish of War

Thursday, April 11, 2024 | 7:00 PM| Lorimer Chapel

Dr. Taras Filenko, a Ukrainian pianist and ethnomusicologist will give a lecture and recital incorporating eyewitness experiences of current life in Ukraine and historical Ukrainian culture. Colby students will join Dr. Filenko in this event, performing musical pieces and reciting poetry in Ukrainian and English. 

Co-sponsored by the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs, the Center for the Arts and Humanities, the Cultural Events Committee, and the Departments of Global Studies, Music, and German and Russian. 

Abortion, Guns, & The 1st Amendment: How Far Will the Supreme Court Go? A Conversation with Dahlia Lithwick

Tuesday, April 9, 2024 | 6:00 PM| Page Commons

The Supreme Court has a number of blockbuster cases on the docket – what can we expect? Dahlia Lithwick, one of the nation’s foremost legal commentators and author of The New York Times best-selling Lady Justice, joined the Goldfarb Center to discuss what’s ahead and the state of the Supreme Court. Alison Beyea, Executive Director of the Goldfarb Center, and Dev Purohit, Class of ’25 moderated the Q&A. 

American Homeboy Film Screening and Q&A with Director Brandon Loran Maxwell

Thursday, April 4, 2024 | 6:00 PM| Given Auditorium, Bixler Building

American Homeboy is a documentary film directed by Brandon Loran Maxwell that explores the complex origins of pachuco and cholo culture which sprouted from American soil more than 100 years ago in response to wartime sentiment, social alienation, and government discrimination only to become a pop culture phenomenon.

The film draws from rare interviews shot on 5k with leading Mexican American historians, academics, artists, activists, cholos, and former law enforcement officers against a backdrop of 50 hours of restored archival footage.

Watch the trailer here.

Co-sponsored by the Departments of Latin American Studies, Spanish, and Government, along with the Goldfarb Center and the Center for Arts and Humanities.

Will the Government Ban TikTok? A Conversation with Dexter Thomas

Tuesday, April 2, 2024 | 6:00 PM | Page Commons

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill targeting the social media company — but what’s next? Dexter Thomas, former on-camera correspondent for VICE News Tonight, joined the Goldfarb Center to discuss TikTok, technology, pop culture, and public policy. Q&A moderated by Alison Beyea, Executive Director of the Goldfarb Center, and Koto Yamada, Class of ’25.

Careers in Public Health and Policy Panel and Networking Event

Wednesday, March 13, 2024 | 6:30 PM | Grossman 209/210

Along with the Maine Public Health Association, Health Reach, DavisConnects, and Student Health on Campus, the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs invites any and all Colby students interested in learning more about career opportunities in the fields of public and environmental health to attend this career development and networking event. Panelists will cover a variety of topics, including the policy advocacy work they do in the fields of public and environmental health.

Panelists will include Angela Cole Westhoff, President and CEO of the Maine Health Care Association; Sergio Cahueque, Organizer with Defend Our Health; Megan Scott, Substance Use Prevention Manager with the Maine Center for Disease Prevention; and Colby alum Nikki Williams, Program Director for 211 Maine | United Way of Maine. 


Please RSVP to attend via Handshake. Refreshments Provided

Panel Discussion: Rethinking Rural: Celebrating Place, Bridging Divides

Thursday, March 7, 2024 | 7:00 PM| Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building

Join Colby Assistant Professor of Government, and Goldfarb Center Faculty Advisor, Nick Jacobs as he moderates a panel discussion with three of the country’s foremost experts on the needs and challenges of rural America. Gigi Georges is the Author of Downeast: Five Maine Girls and the Unseen Story of Rural America. Dee Davis is the President of the Center for Rural Strategies and the Publisher of The Daily Yonder. And Tony Pipa is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution where he leads the Reimagining Rural Policy Initiative. Co-sponsored by the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs, the Government Department, and the Center for the Arts and Humanities.

Panel Discussion: Rethinking Rural: Celebrating Place, Bridging Divides
Panel Discussion: Misinformation and AI in the Upcoming Election

Panel Discussion: Misinformation and AI in the Upcoming Election

Monday, March 4, 2024 | 7:00 PM| Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building

The 2024 election cycle is reshaping our political landscape. Please join the Goldfarb Center and Davis Center for AI for an extraordinary panel discussion moderated by Professor Sonya Donaldson and hear from leading experts on how misinformation and AI are impacting the upcoming election.

If you are planning on attending, we ask that you please register. The event will also be live-streamed and recorded.

2024 Freedom of Expression Symposium

Sunday, March 3, 2024 | 4:00 PM | Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building

Join us for the 2024 Freedom of Expression Symposium to hear student policy proposals aimed at combatting misinformation in politics. At this event, students who have advanced to the semi-final round of the Goldfarb Center’s annual policy competition will give oral presentations to a panel of distinguished judges for a chance to win a first place cash prize of $2,000. An appetizer reception will follow, and all are welcome to attend. 

Sunday, March 3, 2024 | 4:00 PM | Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building​
The Second Amendment & Supreme Court: Where are we today?​

The Second Amendment & Supreme Court: Where are we today?

Friday, February 23, 2024 | 12:30 PM | Bobby Silberman Lounge, Cotter Union

The Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs welcomes you to join us to discuss the history of Supreme Court decisions related to the Second Amendment and where it leaves us today for gun safety policies. The discussion will also focus on the connection between the role of gun safety policies and prevention of domestic violence. We are joined by two amazing experts: Margaret Groban and Bill Harwood.

Margaret Groban is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, National Domestic Violence Organizer, and Adjunct Faculty at the UMaine School of Law. Bill Harwood  is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the UMaine School of Law.

Please RSVP here. Pizza provided!

Student Trivia Night with the Goldfarb Center

Tuesday, December 5, 2023 | 7:30 PM| Cotter Union Colby Pub

Join the Goldfarb Student Executive Board for a fun night of trivia and camaraderie celebrating the end of the semester. Trivia topics will include Goldfarb events, policy, politics, and some random questions, too! We are offering BIG prizes (gift cards of up to $50 to all of your favorite Waterville restaurants!) and there will be plenty of food to go around! Bring your friends and your brains! *You do not need to be 21*

Student Trivia Night with the Goldfarb Center​
Conversation with the Colby Justice Think Tank Fellows​

Conversation with the Colby Justice Think Tank Fellows

Tuesday, November 28, 2023 | 4:15 PM| Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building

Join us to hear from twelve incarcerated and formerly incarcerated Fellows from Colby’s Justice Think Tank as they share their collaborative research and lived experience on how to build a more restorative response to harm than punitive incarceration. A reception will follow. 

Co-sponsored by the Goldfarb Center, Colby College Libraries, the Government Department, the Classics Department, and the Anthropology Department. The Think Tank is funded by the National Alliance for Higher Education and supported by Colby Across the Walls

Understanding Question 3: Maine's Pine Tree Power Referendum

Friday, October 27, 2023 | 1PM | Diamond Building Room 122

Have you been driving around Waterville and seeing signs asking you to vote YES or vote NO on Question 3/Pine Tree Power? Are you not really sure what that means but want to figure it out? Then please join us for a lunch event all about Maine’s Ballot Referendum Question 3. We will be joined by Maine’s Public Advocate, William Harwood, who will walk us through this ballot referendum question and answer any and all questions you might have. the Public Advocate’s office is responsible for representing consumer interests in regards to Maine utilities and has, notably, not taken a stance on Question 3. This means that Harwood is a valuable resource for understanding and explaining this referendum question and will lead us in an engaging conversation.

Your RSVP is appreciated to ensure enough pizza is ordered for everyone.

Co-sponsored by the Goldfarb Center and the Government Department. Contact Willa Spalter or Zane Schiffman with any questions. 

Understanding Question 3: Maine's Pine Tree Power Referendum​
Lovejoy Award Ceremony​

Lovejoy Award Ceremony

Friday, October 20, 2023

The Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award of Colby, established in 1952, is awarded to a journalist who continues the Lovejoy heritage of fearlessness and commitment to American freedom of the press. The award is granted annually to a member of the press, regardless of title, who, in the opinion of selection committee members, has contributed to the country’s journalistic achievement. This year’s award winner is Evan Gershkovich, an American Journalist currently detained in Russia. 

The presentation of the Lovejoy Award will take place at 4pm on Friday, October 20 at Colby’s Gordon Center for the Performing Arts and will include a discussion of the winners’ work with the Wall Street Journal’s World Coverage Chief Gordon Fairclough and Lovejoy Selection Committee Member Mindy Marqués Gonzales, vice president and executive editor at Simon and Schuster and former editor of the Miami Herald. President Greene will offer remarks and present the award. Evan’s parents, Ella Milman and Mikhail Gershkovich, will accept the Lovejoy Award on his behalf. The public is invited to attend the free event.

William R. and Linda K. Cotter Discourse and Deliberation Series

Working to Recognize Wabanaki Tribal Sovereignty: A conversation with tribal and Maine legislative leaders

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

For more than 40 years, legislation in the state of Maine has prevented the Wabanaki Nations — the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, Mi’kmaq Nation, Passamaquoddy Tribe, and Penobscot Nation — from exercising their inherent tribal sovereignty.

Please join Maulian Bryant LL.D ’22, Penobscot Nation Ambassador; Aaron Dana, Passamaquoddy Tribal Representative to the Maine House of Representatives; Rachel Talbot Ross, Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives (D-Portland); and Rick Bennett, Maine State Senator (R-Oxford) as they discuss how this has resulted in decades of social and economic impacts to the Wabanaki people and how they are building a movement for tribal sovereignty in Maine.

Learn more about this issue, the history of Wabanaki sovereignty in Maine, and the unique and precedent-setting approaches the Maine legislature and Wabanaki tribal leaders are using to address both by visiting the website for the Wabanaki Alliance.

The Creator's Game: The indigenous roots of the game called "Lacrosse"​

The Creator's Game: The indigenous roots of the game called "Lacrosse"

Monday, October 2, 2023

The game of Lacrosse is one of the Haudenosaunee’s most revered traditions, a celebration of health, strength, courage, leadership,  and fair play, and spirituality as a “medicine” game. 

Join Michael-Corey Francis Hinton, citizen of the Passamaquoddy Tribe (Sipayik), and partner with the law firm of Drummond Woodsum as he discusses the history of the Creator’s Game and how its traditions and values impact indigenous and non-indigenous communities today. 

This event is sponsored by Colby Athletics, the Center for the Arts and Humanities, and the Goldfarb Center and is part of the Play Seminar Series, which is co-sponsored by the Departments of Cinema Studies, English and Creative Writing, Government, Sociology, Spanish, the Latin American Studies Program, and the Oak Institute for Human Rights. 

Reception and Panel Discussion with Ghetto Gastro

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Ghetto Gastro, a globally-recognized collective of chefs, is made up of curators and cultural practitioners who use food as a tool to tell stories about the Bronx, where they come from, and the cultures that inspire them. Their work reflects the ethos and spirit of working across disciplines, geographies, and cultures for the sake of community empowerment, community building, and social justice.

Ghetto Gastro’s visit to Colby’s campus represents a campus-wide co-sponsorship of this momentous event, including the Colby Arts Office, Campus Dining, Campus Life, SGA, the Center for the Arts and Humanities, the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs, the Department of African American Studies, and the Lunder Institute for American Art as partners.

A pre-panel reception starts at 6PM with appetizers, cocktails, and mocktails inspired by the Black Power Kitchen. The panel discussion begins at 7PM and will be moderated by Erica Wall, Director of the Lunder Institute for American Art. The reception resumes following the panel with a celebratory battle of the DJs. 

The International War Against Democracy: Current Threats and Building a Stronger Future

September 12, 2023

Democracies worldwide are under sustained attack. At the heart of all democracies are their institutions, with the justice sector at its core, buttressed by media, civil society and others which reflect the voice of those nations’ peoples. These institutions are the focus of anti-democratic forces’ efforts, in all parts of the world, including the US. To defeat these dictators, autocrats and other anti-democratic leaders and movements requires urgent action at all levels: locally, nationally and through multilateral coordination. Drawing on his decades-long career as a diplomat and public servant, Ambassador (retired) Robert Gelbard ’64, LL.D ’02 shares his call to action and offer insights into preserving a future for global democracy. 

Robert S. Gelbard is a former U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, East Timor and Bolivia. In addition to his ambassadorial postings, Mr. Gelbard has served in several senior Foreign Service positions under Presidents Clinton, George H. W. Bush, and Obama, including as President Clinton’s Special Representative for the Balkans. A decorated public servant, and Peace Corps volunteer, the Ambassador has had a long and distinguished career in diplomacy and democracy-building. He is also a former Colby Trustee

Linda Cotter Speaker Series

Unlivable: How a changing climate will force a global migration

August 9, 2023

Climate change is making the same parts of the world that are the most populated hotter and drier, leading to growing food scarcity and widespread economic impact that is together expected to drive large-scale migration over the coming decades. In this talk, we’ll look at the climate-driven migration already underway, consider how it affects the U.S. border and security, and also what a hotter climate means for where people live inside the U.S. Abrahm Lustgarten shares his perceptions on this critical issue.

Co-hosted by the Mid-Maine Global Forum and the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs, the Linda Cotter Speaker Series honors Linda Cotter, founder of the Mid-Maine Global Forum and late wife of former Colby College president William Cotter.

2022 - 2023

Policy and Practice Solutions for Addressing Childcare Shortages

May 31, 2023

On May 31, 2023, the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs partnered with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston to host “Policy and Practice Solutions for Addressing Childcare Shortages,” a half-day event bringing together stakeholders on the leading edge of identifying solutions to Maine’s childcare crisis, one of the more vexing public policy issues of the day. The convening highlighted the relationship between childcare access challenges and the workforce, private sector opportunities to shift the current policy landscape on this issue, and practices being utilized by several Maine-based companies to support working parents. In addition, the event also sparked an original student-faculty research project led by Professor Nick Jacobs in collaboration with Claudia Miner ‘23; Gabriel Rivas Orellana ‘23; and Zoe Onyango ‘25. Read more about the event in Colby News.

2023 Freedom of Expression Symposium

April 18, 2023

Congratulations to the winners of the 2023 Freedom of Expression Symposium!

An annual policy competition sponsored by the Goldfarb Center, the Freedom of Expression Symposium is an opportunity for any student on campus to pitch their brilliant idea for making the world a better place through policy change. The theme of the 2023 Symposium was healthcare. Read all of the inspiring policy ideas presented at this year’s competition here

Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights: Protecting People and Innovation

April 13, 2023

AI is transforming our lives. As tech companies, researchers, and users advance the technology, what policies should govern its use? How should we think about our rights and responsibilities in this changing landscape? In what ways can computer scientists and policy experts work together to create effective guidelines and regulatory practices to create a responsible AI future?

Sorelle Friedler Ph.D., the Shibulal Family Associate Professor of Computer Science at Haverford College and co-author of the Biden Administration’s AI Bill of Rights, took part in a conversation co-hosted by the Davis Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs, and the Departments of Computer Science, Science, Technology, and Society (STS), and Anthropology about the policy challenges presented by this technology and how lawmakers, practitioners and advocates are responding. 

Sick in the System: Addressing Healthcare Inequalities in Prisons

April 7, 2023

A lunch with Joseph Jackson, Executive Director of the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition

Join us for a conversation with Joseph Jackson, a leading advocate for prison healthcare reform in Maine. With 19 years of personal experience inside the Maine Department of Corrections, Jackson brings a unique perspective to the topic. As the Advocacy Director of the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, he has overseen the proposing, pushing, and enacting of many pieces of legislation related to prison healthcare. Jackson’s insights and experiences will challenge and inspire us to think critically about the role of healthcare in the criminal justice system.

In addition to his role at MPAC, Mr. Jackson is the Founder of Maine State Prison charter of the NAACP and served on its Executive Committee in several capacities. While incarcerated, earned his Associate and Bachelor’s degrees with summa cum laude honors from University of Southern Maine. He was the first prisoner in Maine to be selected to University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA in the Creating Writing graduate program and he is the Advocacy Director with Maine Inside Out.

Addressing the Challenges of Gun Violence in America with Data Informed Solutions

February 9, 2023

Featuring Daniel W. Webster, ScD, MPH, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, joined by Darcie N. McElwee, United States Attorney for the District of Maine

Dr. Webster, one of the nation’s leading experts on the prevention of gun violence, has published widely on the impacts of gun policies on homicides, suicides, and gun trafficking and has led studies of community violence intervention programs, youth violence prevention, and intimate partner violence. He is the lead editor and contributor to Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis.

Unrest in Iran: Recent Protests and the Future of Women's Rights

February 8, 2023

A conversation with award-winning journalist Azadeh Moaveni

Azadeh Moaveni is a journalist, writer, and associate professor at NYU, where she directs the Global Journalism Program. Her books and articles explore the interaction between gender and armed conflict, and how women’s rights, security, and political participation are impacted by war and authoritarianism. As a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and Time Magazine, she covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has reported from Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Tunisia. 


2022 William R. and Linda K. Cotter Debate Series

Is the Era of Big Government Over, or is it Just Beginning?

Thursday, November 17, 2022 | 7:30 p.m. | Diamond Building-Ostrove Auditorium

Over the past three years, Americans have witnessed a profound change in the size and scope of government not seen in decades: public-health mandates, direct cash payments to individuals, growing divisions between “red” and “blue” states, and trillions of dollars in new spending. While not perfect, many look back and see evidence that government works, that it can be made to work better, and that the time has finally come to redefine Americans’
relationship with public authority in a country long skeptical of “big” government. Others have taken the opposite lesson: experts got more wrong than they did right, because they are apt to usually get it wrong; massive spending continues to create moral hazard in the marketplace; big government is a root cause of the country’s deepening political divisions. What does “good
government” look like in an era of growing inequality and social division? What lessons should we take from the last few years in redesigning government programs? Can we fix government, or is it doomed to repeat its mistakes?

The fall Cotter Debate will bring to campus two leading thinkers to discuss both sides of this issue, to reflect on Americans changing relationship with government, and to consider what should be done to make it work better. Megan McArdle is a Washington Post columnist who writes regularly on issues related to government policy, finance, and the economy. The author of The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success, she has also written for The Atlantic, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, and Bloomberg View. Donald Moynihan is the McCourt Chair at the McCourt School of Public Policy, where he co-directs the “Better Government Lab.” His research has informed key policymakers from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget to the United Nations, and was cited in both President Obama’s and President Biden’s budget

The debate will be moderated by Nicholas Jacobs, assistant professor of government at Colby.

A dessert bar and Goldfarb branded swag will be available.

Ukrainian Photojournalists to Receive Lovejoy Award for Courage in Journalism Their coverage of the atrocities in Mariupol “defines courage”

Friday, October 14 | 4 p.m. | Lorimer Chapel, Colby College

In its continuing efforts to recognize individuals who put themselves at personal risk for the sake of truth-telling, Colby College will honor two Ukrainians with the 2022 Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for Courage in Journalism.

Mstyslav Chernov, a visual journalist and writer, and photojournalist Evgeniy Maloletka are being recognized for exceptional bravery in covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine, specifically in Mariupol, for the Associated Press. They will receive the award Friday, Oct. 14 at 4 p.m. The annual event will take place in Lorimer Chapel on Colby’s campus.

“Just as Elijah Lovejoy risked his life to expose atrocities, Mstyslav Chernov and Evgeniy Maloletka knew that showing the world what was happening in Mariupol was a cause worthy of the ultimate sacrifice,” said President David A. Greene. “Their selflessness in the face of extreme danger comes through in every photograph, video, and personal account of the Russian invasion and will forever be part of the history of this war. We are honored to have their names and their work associated with the Lovejoy Award.” 

Havel and Our Crisis

An International Conference of Scholars and Leaders

September 28-30, 2022

The Goldfarb Center is proud to be one of the supporting partners for this conference at Colby, which will include lectures, talks, discussions, film screenings, and theater performances honoring Václav Havel. Havel (1936-2011) was one of the 20th century’s greatest champions of freedom, democracy, human rights, European integration, and transatlantic cooperation. The conference organizer is Visiting Assistant Professor of Government Milan Babik. 


Ukraine War: The Holiday from History is Over

Linda Cotter Speaker Series

August 4, 2022

Heather Conley, president of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S., spoke about the war in Ukraine, Russian politics, and Europe’s impact on and influence on both. Conley is most known for developing the acclaimed Kremlin Playbook series, a dedicated research project that examined the doctrine and methodology of Russia’s malign behavior across Europe. She spent 12 years at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she most recently served as senior vice president for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic. Conley frequently appears as a foreign policy analyst and Europe expert on CNN, MSNBC, BBC, NPR, and PBS, among other prominent media outlets. Co-hosted by the Mid-Maine Global Forum and the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs.

2021 - 2022

A Conversation with Musician, Entrepreneur, and Podcast Host, Eric Nam: Rising Violence Against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders

April 28, 2022

In March 2021, Colby faculty led a community conversation about the ongoing and increasing violence directed at Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders. The conversation ranged from the role of immigration policies, historical events, stereotypes, and other factors that relate to the uptick in violence.

The Goldfarb Center continued the dialogue with Korean-American pop superstar Eric Nam. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Eric is a multi-faceted singer, songwriter, entertainer, and host. He is one of the most popular and recognizable celebrities in Asia and has been named GQ Korea’s Man of the Year, Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia, and YouTube’s Artist Trending On The Rise. As a student at Boston College, Nam focused on international studies and social justice issues and was a very active member on campus. He has used his voice to speak out about hate crimes and inspires students to be changemakers. 

The conversation was moderated by Colby Assistant Professor of Psychology Jin X. Goh, who is also a member of the Goldfarb Faculty Advisory Committee. This was an in-person only event.

2022 Symposium Winners

April 26, 2022

The annual theme for 2021-22 was Freedom of Speech. In April 2022, eight student semi-finalists presented their policy proposals on Freedom of Speech. Topics ranged from Free Speech at Colby: Problems and Recommendations, to Enhancing Freedom of the Press in the United States.

The winners were decided by a faculty panel, which included Professors Christel Kesler, Aaron Hanlon , and Jin Goh, all members of the Goldfarb Faculty Advisory Committee. The top prize went to Serena Klebba ’25 for her work on Freely Informing Consent: A Pland to Change Mandated Pre-Abortion Counseling, second place went to Amir Jiru ’24 and Chris Ward ’24 who teamed up to focus on Misinfo Ed: Addressing Social Media Misinformation Through Education, and third place was awarded to Anna doRosario ’25 for her compelling thoughts on A Turning Point: Time for an “FDA for Tech”

Politics & Pizza

April 15, 2022

The Government Dept. and the Goldfarb Center co-hosted a discussion regarding the current War in Ukraine with Colby Professor Kenneth Rodman, William R. Cotter Distinguished Teaching Professor of Government.
Professor Rodman spoke about whether Putin will be sent to the Hague and the politics of accountability for war crimes in Ukraine. The images of civilians massacred at Bucha have increased calls for responsibility for war crimes, aggression, and even genocide. Can the International Criminal Court or other bodies prosecute Russian military commanders and top political officials for these crimes, and what are the political implications of their trying to do so?

The Global Pandemic Response: Reflections & Next Steps

George J. Mitchell International Lecture Series
April 7, 2022

Each year the Mitchell Series brings a prominent policy leader to campus for a dinner and lecture designed to foster interaction with students, faculty, and members of the greater Waterville community. The series is in honor of former U.S. Senator, statesman, international negotiator, and Waterville native George Mitchell. 

The prestigious guest speaker for 2022 is Gayle E. Smith, who has served as a top advisor on international issues for three American presidents and is one of the world’s leading experts on global development and global health security. In 2021, Smith took on a temporary role at the request of the Secretary of State and served as US State Department’s Coordinator for Global COVID Response & Health Security, where she played a leading role in the US effort to end the global pandemic. She is currently the CEO of the ONE Campaign. Dr. Nirav Shah, the Maine CDC Director, introduced Gayle at the Colby event.

Check out a recorded version below and learn more about Gayle Smith and the Mitchell Flagship Event.

Colby Faculty Panel: Global Perspectives on Free Speech

March 28, 2022

The Goldfarb Center hosted a panel related to this year’s annual theme, Freedom of Speech, with Colby professors speaking to the topic through a global lens. Questions that were addressed included how do policy approaches to free speech vary across countries? Is the US approach to free speech exceptional? What kinds of historical and contemporary factors help us understand different countries’ orientations toward free speech? What global and geopolitical forces shape policies on free speech?

The panel included Jen Yoder, the Robert E. Diamond Professor of Government and Global Studies and a member of the Goldfarb Faculty Advisory Committee, Jun (Philip) Fang, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology, and Nazli Konya, Visiting Assistant Professor of Government.  Christel Kesler, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology, moderated the panel discussion.

This event was live streamed at colby.edu/livestream

Social Media Political Polarization-Free-Speech-Social-Media-Political-Polarization-Free-Speech-SocialMediaPolitical Polarization Free Speech

Social Media, Political Polarization, & Free Speech

March 17, 2022

How has social media shifted the way we consume and share information? Has the surge of digital platforms driven (or not) America’s growing political divide? What policies can balance the protection of free speech with malicious disinformation campaigns?

The Goldfarb Center hosted a high-level panel discussion, tackling these questions and more and exploring the nexus between social media, political polarization, and free speech. Panelists included Roger McNamee, a tech venture capitalist and author of Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe; Renée DiResta, technical director of Stanford Internet Observatory; and Chris Vlasto, an ABC News senior executive producer. Kimberly Flowers, executive director of the Goldfarb Center, moderated the conversation.

For more information on Roger McNamee, please visit www.prhspeakers.com

Screening of The Social Dilemma Documentary

March 15, 2022

The Goldfarb Center hosted a screening of the film The Social Dilemma, directed by Jeff Orlowski. The documentary centers around the idea of the manipulation and influence of social networks.
The first 40 students were lucky to receive a Goldfarb Center-branded fleece blanket and book copies of Roger McNamee’s book ahead of the Social Media event! 

Researching for Public Impact: How to Use Your Knowledge to Impact Policy

March 11, 2022

The Goldfarb Center hosted a workshop that helped inform students on writing compelling and jargon-free policy briefs. Participants moved through each step of the policy brief drafting process and actively shaped their idea into a first draft. The workshop also included practical information on how to distribute your policy brief for maximum impact.

The workshop was led by Andrew Pope and Kristina Mensik from the Scholars Strategy Network. Andrew is the Director of Training at the Scholars Strategy Network. In this role, he works closely with staff and leaders from across the network to develop trainings that empower scholars to use research to improve public policy. Andrew has a PhD from the History Department at Harvard University. Kristina is the Trainings Fellow at SSN, where she supports researchers in the policy process. In addition, Kristina is a policy advocate and researcher largely focused on state legislatures, incarceration, and political participation.

Building Bridges: How Can Academic Research and Public Policy Inform Each Other?

March 10, 2022

Check out the Goldfarb Center’s online recording of this hour-long event where we considered the role that academic research plays in informing and impacting public policy. Learn from Maine lawmakers and policy advocates about ways you can help drive evidence-based public policy on pressing contemporary issues. And learn more about the Maine Scholars Strategy Network, an organization working to strengthen democracy and improve public policy by linking academic expertise with journalists, civic organizations, and policymakers. 

Winifred Tate, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Colby moderated the panel that included Rep. Jessica Fay, serving House District 66 in the Maine House of Representatives, Rep. Charlotte Warren, serving House District 84 in the Maine House of Representatives, and Julie Ann Smith, Executive Director, Maine Farm Bureau.

Politics & Pizza: War in Ukraine

March 4, 2022

The Colby Government Department hosted a panel discussion in light of recent events in Ukraine. The panel examined the current situation in the region, and more importantly, the underlying reasons why. The panel also discussed the stakes of the invasion, and international response.

The event featured William R. Cotter Distinguished Teaching Professor Ken Rodman, Visiting Assistant Professor Milan Babik, and Visiting Assistant Professor Tizoc Chavez. It was moderated by Robert E. Diamond Professor of Government and Global Studies Jennifer Yoder. 

The Role and Rise of Disinformation

February 17, 2022

The Goldfarb Center welcomed Lisa Kaplan ’13, founder and CEO of Alethea Group, who discussed disinformation in the digital age. From public policies to social media tactics, Kaplan explored how the general public, government, and private companies alike can protect and mitigate disinformation and social media manipulation in today’s world. 

The event was hosted in-person for the Colby community. The recorded event can now be live-streamed at colby.edu/livestream.


Free Speech in the Classroom: Conflict and Contradiction

January 11, 2022

The Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs hosted a conversation featuring Jan Plan visiting faculty Bernardine Dohrn and William Ayers. The talk was a contemporary conversation about how to respond to the desires, demands, and questions in classrooms today. What contradictions and conflicts, complexities and controversies, emerge when we consider free speech in the classroom? This is part of a series of events the Goldfarb Center has hosted this year in line with its focus on freedom of speech.

Hong Kong's Crackdown on Free Speech: A Conversation with Nathan Law

December 7, 2021

The Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs hosted a conversation with Nathan Law, a well-known democracy activist and the youngest Legislative Councilor in Hong Kong history, about the lack of free speech and expression in Hong Kong. Law spoke about the history and current state of free expression in Hong Kong and the need to raise international support for the advancement of its democracy and human rights. He also discussed his new book, Freedom: How We Lose It and How We Fight Back, which was released the same day. 

In 2016, Nathan Law became Hong Kong’s youngest elected lawmaker at just 23. A year later, he was imprisoned by the Chinese authorities for his part in the Umbrella Movement. He has since been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his pro-democracy advocacy and named one of TIME magazine’s People of the Year 2020. 

Law signed copies of his book that were given away to audience members after the event.


On the Docket: A Legal, Medical, and Historical Perspective on Reproductive Autonomy and What Is Happening Now at the U.S. Supreme Court

November 30, 2021

The Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs hosted on campus two leading voices on reproductive rights: Skye Perryman, formerly the chief legal officer and general counsel for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and currently president and CEO of the Democracy Forward Foundation, and Dr. Jen Villavicencio, an obstetrician-gynecologist with a public policy expertise who works in anti-racism and reproductive justice in addition to providing abortion care.

This event explored historical, legal, and medical perspectives regarding reproductive autonomy in the United States with a particular focus on the current U.S. Supreme Court term. Our speakers examined recent changes to abortion laws, including the Supreme Court’s consideration of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which was heard on December 1, and its implications on medical care, health care access, and the law. Panelists also discuss Texas Senate Bill 8 and other developments in reproductive health policy.  The event was moderated by Kimberly Flowers, Executive Director, Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs.

Does Free Speech Give Us Better Science?

November 16, 2021

Conventional wisdom holds that science flourishes in a free, open society with robust free speech norms. But as misinformation spreads during a global pandemic, costing lives and undermining scientific credibility, is it time to rethink conventional wisdom? The Goldfarb Center hosted an interdisciplinary Colby faculty panel for a conversation about the compatibility of free speech and scientific inquiry and what we can do to protect both. 
The conversation was, organized by members of the Goldfarb Faculty Advisory Committee, including Christel Kesler,  Associate Professor of Sociology & Goldfarb Faculty Associate Director, Aaron Hanlon, Associate Professor of English, and Dasan Thamattoor, J. Warren Merrill Professor in Chemistry and Natural History.

Q&A with ACLU'S Senior Staff Attorney Emerson Sykes on Free Speech Protections on Campus

November 12, 2021

The Goldfarb Center hosted a thoughtful talk with one of the nation’s top First Amendment litigators on free speech issues ranging from protest rights, Black student activism on campuses, and​ the recent string of state classroom censorship bills. The event was an open Q&A session where Colby students had the opportunity to ask Mr. Sykes anything​, which might include discussing his current ​cases and free speech work, ​free speech protection trends, or the historical role of student activism.

Fighting Hate Speech, Defending Free Speech: A Conversation with Nadine Strossen

November 4, 2021

The Goldfarb Center hosted a conversation with civil liberties leader and free speech expert Nadine Strossen, former ACLU president, and author of Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship. The event officially kicked off a series of programming related to freedom of speech, the center’s theme this year. Ms. Strossen engaged in a robust Q&A with Colby students, faculty, and staff on issues ranging from how to effectively resist hate speech to free speech on college campuses. She talked about constitutional rights, the role of social media, and much more. 

Paul Wachtel
Karen Petrou

Fed Up: Should the Federal Reserve be responsible for addressing economic inequality?

October 28, 2021

The Federal Reserve, one of the nation’s most important institutions, is essential for economic stability. It has held a particularly critical role in protecting our economy during the pandemic. Some feel, though, that recent interventions by the Fed have been too aggressive and politicized and that the central bank mandate should not expand beyond monetary and regulatory policies. The pandemic exacerbated inequalities, especially among more marginalized populations, but is it the role of the Fed to address such inequities? How can this powerful independent institution be best utilized to create economic stability for all Americans? 
The fall Cotter Debate brought to campus two experts who discussed both sides of this issue. Karen Petrou is the co-founder and managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics and author of Engine of Inequality: The Fed and the Future Wealth of America. Paul Wachtel is a professor of economics in the Stern School of Business at New York University. The debate will be moderated by Rob Lester, associate professor of economics at Colby.

2021 Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award

October 1, 2021

This year, the Lovejoy Award honored eight journalists for their courage and determination while facing intimidation by the U.S. Department of Justice. These journalists from the New York TimesWashington Post, and CNN, were subjected to the U.S. government’s subpoena of phone and email records related to leak investigations. They never wavered from their pursuit of important stories under these circumstances and remained resolute in their commitment to freedom of the press. The 2021 Lovejoy Award winners are Matt Apuzzo ’00, Adam Entous, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau, Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima, Michael S. Schmidt, and Barbara Starr.

New York Times reporters Matt Apuzzo ’00 and Adam Goldman joined in a conversation with Nancy Barnes, senior vice president and editorial director at NPR and a member of the Lovejoy Award Selection Committee. President Greene offered remarks and presented the awards.

Elijah Lovejoy