Every year the Vanderbilt University Speakers Committee, a committee of the Vanderbilt Programming Board, organizes and hosts the IMPACT symposium, a multi-day event in which important speakers from across the United States discuss and debate current events and controversial topics. This year’s symposium takes place March 19-21 and will host five different speakers discussing the topic “Rise of the Rest: What is the Future of American Foreign Policy?”
Senator Lamar Alexander:
Lamar Alexander currently serves as a US Senator representing Tennessee and formerly served as the Governor of Tennessee for four consecutive terms.
To date, he has been elected three times to serve as Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, a post he held from 2007-2012. Currently, Alexander serves on committees overseeing education, clean air, highways, science, appropriations, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Prior to his current job as Senator, he served as U.S Education Secretary, University of Tennessee president, and Harvard Professor.
Outside of politics, he assisted in founding America’s largest provider of work site day care. He is married to Honey Alexander, and they have four children and four grandchildren. Additionally, he is a classical pianist and the author of seven books.
Alexander will speak Monday, March 19 at 6:30 pm in Benton Chapel.
General Wesley Clark:
Wesley Clark is a retired United States General, who rose to the rank of four-star general as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe in 38 years of service. Currently, he holds many roles such as investment banker, author of three books, alternative energy leader, and teacher at UCLA’s International Institute.
Clark graduated first in his class at West Point and was a Rhodes Scholar. When he worked for NATO, he served in several high-ranking positions including Director of Strategic Plans and Policy and led NATO forces to victory in Operation Allied Force in Yugoslavia. For his achievements Clark has been awarded many prestigious honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a purple heart, and honorary knighthoods from the British and Dutch Governments.
Additionally, General Clark now holds essential roles with several non-profit companies including VoteVets, Project H.E.R.O, the International Crisis Group, and the United States Institute of Peace.
Clark will be discussing foreign policy with Governor Huntsman on Tuesday, March 20 at 7 pm in Langford Auditorium.
Governor Jon Huntsman:
Jon Huntsman most recently ran for the Republican nomination for the 2012 presidential election. Previously, he had served as Ambassador to China from 2009-2011. Additionally, Huntsman served two terms as the Governor of Utah.
Huntsman began his political career working for Ronald Regan and has also been Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Asia and U.S Ambassador to Singapore. He is one of the founding directors of the Pacific Council of International Policy and has served on many boards dealing with Asian international relations.
Outside of politics, Huntsman is married to Mary Kay Huntsman and has seven children (including the famous “Huntsman daughters”). He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania from whom he has received four honorary doctorate degrees.
Huntsman and Clark will be discussing foreign policy on Tuesday, March 20 at 7 pm in Langford Auditorium.
Vicente Fox is one of the world’s most preeminent voices on contemporary geo-politics as well as business in the developing world. He is most well-known for serving as the President of Mexico from 2000-2006, during which time he played a vital role in Mexico’s democratization and helped to build up the nation’s economy.
As a child, he was very poor and grew up on the San Cristobal Ranch in Guanajuato State, where he developed a passion for solving the problem of poverty in Mexico.
He studied Business Administration at the Universidad Iberoamericana and then received a Top Management Diploma at Harvard Business School.
Outside of politics, he has adopted four children, Ana Cristina, Vicente, Paulina, and Rodrigo.
Fox will be discussing foreign policy with Bill Richardson on Wednesday, March 21st at 7 pm in Langford Auditorium.
Bill Richardson served as Governor of New Mexico for two terms, leaving office in 2010. Currently, he serves as chairman of APCO Worldwide’s Global Political Strategies and as Special Envoy for the Organization of the American States. He also ran for the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 2008.
He has served as congressman for 15 years in the state of New Mexico, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Secretary of the U.S Department of Energy.
Outside of politics, he serves as Senior Fellow for Latin America at Rice University and on the advisory board of Abengoa International, a biofuel production company. He received his BA and MA from Tufts University and has been married to his wife Barbara for 37 years.
Richardson and Fox will be discussing foreign policy on Wednesday, March 21 at 7 pm in Langford Auditorium.