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Speaker Series Explores the Future of America’s Role as a World Leader

March 27, 2023

“Have the United States' days of world dominance come to an end?” That’s the question at the center of discussion at the University of Northern Colorado’s inaugural Goodman Speaker Series on Wednesday, April 5. The event is sponsored by UNC’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences and features a conversation and reception with Alexander Cooley and Daniel Nexon, authors of America’s Exit from Hegemony: The Unraveling of the American Global Order.  

The event is the first of what alumni and philanthropic supporters Casey (10’) and Lindsey (‘10 and ‘14) Goodman hope becomes an annual event that attracts authors, speakers and academics from top tier institutions and programs across the country. Their goal is to provide students, and others in the northern Colorado community, with opportunities to hear and learn about timely and relevant topics that offer perspectives they may not be accustomed to.  

Brook Blair, Ph.D., professor of Political Science and International Affairs, as well as Casey’s former professor, mentor and collaborator on the project, chose the book for the inaugural event. 

“Cooley and Nexon's treatment of the United States' ‘exit’ from its traditional role as guarantor of world order is even more salient now than upon its publication in 2020,” Blair said. “Given Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and the dramatic nature of China's diplomatic forays into the very heart of Middle East politics in 2023, the question of the United States' commitment to maintaining the international order of its own making is of signal importance for policymakers, social scientists and the public in general. Cooley and Nexon do their readers a great service in allowing them to identify a series of key events and developments that have led to this pivotal moment in time. “     

The idea for the speaker series was inspired by the Goodmans’ own experiences as UNC students. For Casey, those experiences included being part of the model Arab League, studying Chinese and spending a semester abroad in China. For Lindsey, it was working as a student tour guide for a wide range of students, and for both of them, it was seeing a Congressional debate on campus. 

“We really wanted to make this something where we were bringing in an opportunity that otherwise these students might not have access to,” Casey said. “A lot of the lessons we learned (at UNC) …have helped me navigate the ins and outs of my career. It shaped how I approach the world in general. So much of your success today is dependent upon how well you can navigate and interact with people. Through my time in the humanities…I learned how to articulate and interact with people who have differing opinions.” 

The inaugural Goodman Speaker Series is scheduled for Wednesday, April 5, from 5-7 p.m., at the Campus Commons Multipurpose Room. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is requested (uncalumni.org/goodman-2023).  

About the authors 

Alexander Cooley is Director of Columbia University's Harriman Institute for the study of Russia, Eurasia and Eastern Europe and the Claire Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College of Columbia University.  

Daniel Nexon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He has held fellowships from Stanford University's Center for International Security, Cooperation and at the Ohio State University's Mershon Center for International Studies. 

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