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Wayne Vance
Center on Congress

Steve Hinnefeld
University Communications

Last modified: Monday, September 28, 2009

Center on Congress celebrates 10th anniversary

Sept. 28, 2009

Note to media: Lee Hamilton will be available for interviews 1:15-2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 8. Contact Wayne Vance at 812-856-4706 for details.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Center on Congress at Indiana University will celebrate its 10th anniversary in a series of events at IU Bloomington Oct. 8-9, including two events at which center director Lee Hamilton will address the public.

The celebration also marks the official debut of Hamilton's new book, Strengthening Congress, published by Indiana University Press, which details the steps Congress should take to re-establish the power and influence envisioned for it in the Constitution and to work more effectively with the executive branch.

"The two days of activities are being planned in partnership with the numerous departments, faculty and staff at IU Bloomington who have worked with us over the past decade to improve the public's understanding of Congress and strengthen civic engagement," Hamilton said.

Lee Hamilton

Lee Hamilton

Hamilton, who served Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965 to 1999, founded the center because he felt there was a need for a nonpartisan institution to educate young people and adults about the crucial role of the legislative branch in government, and to equip them with the knowledge and skills to be active and effective in revitalizing American democracy.

The two public events focus on "Strengthening Congress" and are open to members of the IU community as well as other residents of Bloomington.

  • On Thursday, Oct. 8, at 4 p.m., Hamilton will be the featured speaker at the Robert G. Gunderson Forum in Rhetoric and Public Culture. The forum, organized by the IU Department of Communication and Culture and hosted by professor John Louis Lucaites, will be in the Moot Court Room of IU's Maurer School of Law, at 211 S. Indiana Ave. Garage parking is available one block south.
  • On Friday, Oct. 9, at 10:30 a.m., Hamilton will join a panel of experts on Congress, politics and the media to analyze the themes explored in the book. Moderator will be Edward G. Carmines, the Warner O. Chapman Professor and Rudy Professor of political science at IU Bloomington and research director for the Center on Congress. Panelists will include John Bodnar, Chancellor's Professor of History; Marjorie Hershey, professor of political science; Sylvia A. Smith, veteran Washington editor of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette; and Matthew Tully, political columnist for the Indianapolis Star. The program is also in the Moot Court Room of IU's Mauer School of Law.

On Thursday, Hamilton will have lunch with students in IU Bloomington's new Political and Civic Engagement program and speak and take students' questions in two political science classes.

On Friday afternoon he will take part in a roundtable discussion at the IU School of Education, in which faculty, graduate students and Indiana high-school social studies teachers advise the Center on Congress on how to stay at the cutting edge of developing educational resources that will interest today's students. Hamilton and School of Education Dean Gerardo Gonzalez will make opening remarks, and Terrence C. Mason, professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, will facilitate the discussion.

The anniversary celebration concludes Friday evening at a dinner for invited guests, co-hosted by Hamilton and IU President Michael A. McRobbie.

About the Center on Congress and its director

The Center on Congress developed out of Hamilton's recognition during his 34 years in Congress that the public should be more familiar with the institution's strengths and weaknesses, its role in our system of government, and its impact on the lives of ordinary people every day. The center offers programs, projects and resources that foster an informed electorate that understands our system of government and participates in civic life.

Lee Hamilton was a leading voice in Congress on foreign affairs and economic policy. He chaired the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Joint Economic Committee, and the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress. Since leaving Congress he served as co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group and also as vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission. He is president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C

For more information, see