The Arthur N. Rupe Great Debate Series


The Arthur N. Rupe Foundation has made a major grant to establish a series of debates that will bring great minds from a variety of fields and disciplines to UCSB and the Santa Barbara community. The Arthur N. Rupe Great Debate Series will explore contemporary societal issues of national and international significance through the presentation of eminent figures who hold divergent viewpoints.

“Let us bring the greatest minds of our time together at UCSB,” explains Arthur N. Rupe, “and provide a forum to discuss and debate the nation’s and world’s vital questions. Let us seek out from around the globe eminent scholars in diverse fields, and challenge them and each other. Let and relevant issues, grapple with the facts, and create inspiring dialogue."

The format is a roundtable discussion in which the moderator establishes a framework for the topic, poses questions to the panelists, and facilitates a discussion among them. The moderator also invites members of the audience to ask questions of the panelists. The Rupe Distinguished Great Debate Series is presented by the College of Letters and Science and the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center.

In 2001-2002, the Series featured three debates. The inaugural one, entitled "The Impact of the Media on American Life," took place in June of 2001. It included three eminent panelists and moderator drawn from the print, broadcast, and electronic media discussing the effects of mass communication upon contemporary American society. Moderated by
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, at the University of Pennsylvania, the panel included CNN senior analyst and Emmy Award-winner Jeff Greenfield, Pulitzer Prize-winning commentator William Safire, as well as Richard Rodriguez, Peabody Award-winning broadcast essayist for The Newshour with Jim Lehrer.

"National Security vs. Personal Liberty" was the topic of the second Rupe Debate which featured a discussion of these issues in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11 upon our country. It included Judge William Webster, former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency, and Nadine Strossen, President of the American Civil Liberties Union and Professor of Law at New York Law School in March of 2002. The moderator was Daniel Linz, who teaches in the Department of Communication and the Law and Society Program at UCSB.

The next event in the Rupe Debate Series involved Senator George J. Mitchell, former Chairman of the Peace Negotiations in Northern Ireland, and Samuel P. Huntington, Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor at Harvard University discussing "The Conflict of Civilizations?" in April of 2002. The panelists explored the question of whether conflicts between the world's major cultures in the post-Cold War era are inevitable. This event was moderated by Benjamin Cohen, Louis G. Lancaster Professor of International Political Economy at UCSB.

In 2002-2003, the Rupe Series hosted a debate on the question, “Should the U.S. Ban Human Cloning and Genetic Engineering?” featuring Dr. Gregory Stock, Director of the Program on Medicine, Technology, and Society UCLA School of Public Health and George J. Annas, Edward R. Utley Professor of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights and Chair of the Health Law Department at the School of Public Health, Boston University in May of 2003 in UCSB Campbell Hall. It was moderated by James B. Cooper, Associate Dean, Mathematical, Physical, and Life Sciences at UCSB.

"Should the U.S. Ban Human Cloning and Genetic Engineering?"
Gregory Stock & George J. Annas
May, 2003
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"The Conflict of Civilizations?"

Senator George J. Mitchell & Samuel P. Huntington
April, 2002
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"National Security vs. Personal Liberty"
Judge William Webster & Nadine Strossen
March, 2002
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"The Impact of the Media on American Life"

with Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Jeff Greenfield, William Safire, & Richard Rodriguez
June, 2001
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