This is an event that examines the state of the health of American democracy. This US presidential election is turning out to be the theater of the absurd. A man who brags about his sexual conquests and champions protectionism is now representing the party of family values and free trade. A woman who is rather cozy with Goldman Sachs is representing the party of the poor. Both are New Yorkers and America cannot remember the last time this happened.
American democracy has gone through various challenges but it has proved to be dynamic, resilient and, on the whole, downright impressive. Yet all is not well in the land of Manifest Destiny. Executive privilege has expanded, employment has contracted and terrorism has engendered fear. Unsurprisingly, this election asks tougher questions than before. Are we entering a brave new world with the two-party system beginning to crack? At a time of the global rise of the far-right, do we now face the age of Donald Trump?
This discussion will see four panelists examine the upcoming election with widely differing lenses. They will analyze the context that underlies this election and its implications for the future. Regardless of who wins, a genie has emerged from the bottle and the panelists will make sense of what is going on.
Avantika Chilkoti is a Kennedy Memorial Trust Scholar who started at Harvard this year after four years as a reporter at the Financial Times. In her career at the UK's leading business newspaper, Avantika was based in London, Mumbai and Jakarta. She has covered a range of important elections, from the defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka to the victory of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines. Avantika graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2011.
Glenn Carle is the author of The Interrogator and a thought leader on geopolitics. Before retiring as Deputy National Intelligence Officer, Carle led the 16 agencies of the intelligence community in preparing the United States government’s most senior assessments of threats to the nation. He led sensitive programs in the Directorate of Operations at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in four continents. Carle also served as a trade negotiator who concluded multi-billion dollar trade agreements for the United States.
Rebecca Riccio is the founding Director of The Social Impact Lab at Northeastern University, an innovation hub that bridges sectors, disciplines and generations to facilitate knowledge-building in the social impact arena. The Social Impact Lab houses several programs that Riccio has built on a foundation of 20 years’ experience working and teaching at the forefront of the social change arena, including Northeastern Students4Giving (NS4G), an experiential philanthropy education program, and Giving With Purpose, the world’s first massive open online course (MOOC), on effective charitable giving and informed civic engagement.
Elizabeth Dann is a lawyer, interfaith activist and president of the Board and co-founder of The Muslim Justice League, a civil rights organization that operates out of Boston. She works on Muslim civil rights, and studies the intersection of Islam, feminism and politics. Dann has interviewed with ABC, The Huffington Post Live and NPR. She is a recipient of the ICNYU Sarah Khan Memorial Award for public service and public outreach. Dann is a former Andover Newton Theological School and Hebrew College CIRCLE Fellow and Entry Into Practice Fellow at Legal Aid’s criminal defense practice in Queens, New York. An experienced interfaith educator, Dann received her JD from Georgetown University Law Center and her BA from Amherst College.
Atul Singh is the Founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Fair Observer. He teaches political economy at the University of California, Berkeley and at the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar where he also teaches world history. Singh is a formidable writer, a charismatic orator and an unconventional thinker with an uncanny ability to connect the dots. He worked as a corporate lawyer in London and led special operations as an elite officer in India’s volatile border areas where he had many near-death experiences. Singh has also been a poet, playwright, sportsman, mountaineer and a founder of many organizations. His knowledge is eclectic, and his friends often joke that it comes in handy when access to Google is limited.