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Dole Institute Spring Semester Lineup Includes Focus on First Ladies, Women Leaders – The Lawrence Times

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The Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas has announced a spring semester lineup of events focused on the influence first ladies have had on presidential administrations, women’s issues and U.S. culture.

“Presidential Lecture Series: First Ladies as Presidential Partners” will launch on Wednesday.


The series will be moderated by Diana B. Carlin, professor emerita of communications at Saint Louis University and retired professor of communications studies at KU, according to the Dole announcement. Carlin is also a founding member of the First Ladies Association for Research and Education (FLARE), the presenting partner of this series, according to the release.

“Our 20th year of programming continues this spring by emphasizing the overlooked elements essential to a civil society: women’s leadership and the building blocks of democracy,” Dole Institute Director Audrey Coleman said in the release.

“We are thrilled to host guests who represent leadership at the highest level, both domestically and internationally.”

All spring programs will take place in person at Dole, 2350 Petefish Drive, and will be live streamed via the Dole Institute website, doleinstitute.org.

Here is the lineup of programs for the first female series:

• 19:00 Wednesday 1 February: “Evolution of the Modern First Lady: How We Got Here Lady Washington a Dr. Biden” with Michael LaRosa, Dr. Jill Biden’s press secretary and Laura McBride, Laura Bush’s chief of staff • 19:00 Thursday 9 February: “First Ladies and Power – Influential First Ladies You May Not Know Much About” with Rebecca Roberts, author; Katherine Sibley, first lady scholar; and Teri Finneman, KU associate professor and author• 19:00 Thursday 9 March: “First Ladies, Women’s Rights and Suffrage” with Nancy Kegan Smith, first lady scholar and Stacy Cordery, historian and biographer• 19:00 Thursday 23 March: “First Ladies, the ERA and Beyond” with Myra Gutin, president of FLARE and Bob Bostock, adviser to the Nixon Presidential Library Foundation

For this spring’s Journalism and Politics series, Dole is partnering with Kansas Public Radio and will feature Juana Summers.

Summers co-hosts NPR’s All Things Considered, alongside Ailsa Chang, Ari Shapiro and Mary Louise Kelly.

Tuesday 21st February at 7.00pm Dole will host “An Evening with Juana Summers” to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Dole Institute and the 70th anniversary of KPR.

Summers joined All Things Considered in June 2022 and previously spent more than a decade covering national politics, “most recently as an NPR political correspondent covering race, justice and politics,” according to the release.

“This program will feature a discussion of her remarkable career, her experiences regarding race and politics in today’s climate, and the future of journalism,” according to the release.

Qëndrim Gashi, an associate professor at the University of Prishtina and Kosovo’s ambassador to France from 2016 to 2021, is Dole’s fellow this year.


Gashi will be in residence for three weeks to lead a series of focus groups examining the topic of democracy building in Europe’s youngest country, the Republic of Kosovo, according to the release.

The February 22 program will feature Atifete Jahjaga, the first female president of the Republic of Kosovo, the first female head of state in the modern Balkans and the youngest female world leader to be elected to the highest office, according to the release.

Later this spring, Dole will welcome back Gerald F. Seib, retired Washington editor of the Wall Street Journal, to discuss democracy at home, according to the release.

Dates and guests are as follows:

• 16:00 Wednesday 15 February: “Building Democracy in the 21st Century: Kosovo’s Path to Independence and Democracy” with Dr. Pëllumb Kelmendi, political scientist and board member of the Society for Albanian Studies• 16:00 Wednesday 22 February: “Building Democracy in the 21st Century: Inclusiveness in the Formation of a Democracy” with Atifete Jahjaga, former President of the Republic of Kosovo (2011-2016)• 16:00 Wednesday 1st March: “Building Democracy in the 21st Century: The Way Forward to Maintaining a Democracy” with Dr. Enver Hasani, former President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Kosovo (2011-2016)

The Dole Institute is also continuing its partnership with the General Staff College Department at Ft. Leavenworth to host the Ft. Leavenworth Series, which “provides free history lessons to the public facilitated by world-class military history professors,” according to the release.

“The 2023 theme is ‘military invasions’. Invasions play an important role in military history, often sparking significant conflicts with major ramifications,” according to the release. “The series will discuss invasions from the medieval period through the present, detailing their appearances and legacies, especially in the current environment of world politics”.

Lessons are scheduled for the first Thursday of each month, starting in February. Here is the ladder:

• 15:00 Thursday 2 February: “Bretany to the Elbe: 9th Army’s Invasion of Europe in World War II” with Dr. Bill Nance• 15:00 Thursday 2 March: “The Union Invasion of Mississippi in 1863” with Dr. Angela Riotto• 15:00 Thursday 6 April: “Incheon 1950: The United States Amphibious Invasion in the Korean War” with Dr. Lou DiMarco• 15:00 Thursday 4 May: “The Invasions That Never Were: French Efforts to Invade England 1740-1805” with Dr. Jonathan Abel

More information about each event is available on Dole’s website, and additional events will be announced later in the spring, according to the release.

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Dole Institute of Politics (courtesy photo)

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KU’s Dole Institute of Politics has announced a spring semester lineup of events focused on the influence of first ladies. Additional faculty will include Juana Summers, co-anchor of “All Things Considered” on NPR, and Atifete Jahjaga, former president of the Republic of Kosovo.

Molly Adams/Lawrence Times

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