Lee Hamilton to discuss U.S. foreign policy in March 27 Manatt-Phelps Lecture at ISU

AMES, Iowa -- With Obama administration plans for U.S. troop withdrawals in Iraq and Afghanistan in the coming years, where will the American foreign policy focus go next? Former Indiana congressman and U.S. foreign policy leader Lee Hamilton will share some ideas at the 10th annual Manatt-Phelps Lecture in Political Science at Iowa State University on Tuesday, March 27.

The vice chairman of the nation's 9/11 Commission and co-chair of the Iraq Study Group, Hamilton will talk on "American Foreign Policy after Iraq and Afghanistan" at 8 p.m. in the Memorial Union's Great Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Hamilton served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965 to 1999 and now directs the Center on Congress, a non-partisan educational institute based at Indiana University in Bloomington. The center was established to improve the public's understanding of Congress, including its impact on the lives of ordinary people. He also serves with former White House National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft as co-chairman of the U.S. Department of Energy's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future, and is co-chairman of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, serving with retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer.

As a congressman, Hamilton chaired the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran. He also was chairman of the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress and worked to promote integrity and efficiency in the institution.

Hamilton served as vice-chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (known as the 9/11 Commission), which issued its report in 2004. He was co-chairman, with former Secretary of State James A. Baker, of the Iraq Study Group, which in 2006 made recommendations on U.S. policy options in Iraq.

"I think first we've made a lot of progress in making the country safer," Hamilton said in a Sept. 11 article in The Republic of Columbus, Ind. "We are certainly safer today than we were on 9/11. But I don't think we're as safe as we could be. I agree with those who say we have diminished the capability of Al-Qaeda. But we have not removed it. And so I think Al-Qaeda remains a threat to the country. I do not think it's an existential threat, the existence of the country is not an issue. But they can still do us harm, and we want to do all we can to make ourselves, this country, more secure."

Hamilton was co-chairman of the Independent Task Force on Immigration and America's Future, which issued a report in 2006 calling for reform of the nation's immigration laws and system.
From 1999 through 2010, he was president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars -- a Washington, D.C., institution where scholars, policymakers and business leaders engage in comprehensive and non-partisan dialogue on public policy issues.

Thomas and Elizabeth Phelps and Charles and Kathleen Manatt established the annual Manatt-Phelps Lecture in Political Science. The annual fall lectures focus on significant developments in international political economy during the previous year, and how the issues affect and are affected by Iowa.

The event is also sponsored by ISU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Iowa State University Foundation; and ISU's Committee on Lectures, which is funded by the Government of the Student Body.

Charles Manatt, former United States ambassador to the Dominican Republic (who passed away in July), gave the first lecture in the series in 2002. Other lecturers have included U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.); U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.); Jorge Dezcallar, ambassador of Spain to the U.S.; and Lloyd Axworthy, former Canadian minister of foreign affairs.

For more information, visit the Manatt-Phelps Lecture in Political Science website.