Les Aspin Kicks Off the Woodrow Wilson Symposium By Steve Libowitz Rob Arena doesn't like to think small. In high school he pulled the student newspaper out of the dark ages by encouraging the editors to produce it using desktop publishing technology. He was rewarded with the editorship the next year. After graduation from Hopkins, the junior economics major is considering working on Capitol Hill; he'd like to begin the interview process with Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. "Why not start at the top," he said. So, last January, when the International Studies Forum handed the reins of its 6-year-old Woodrow Wilson Symposium to him and roommate Alex Stillman, Arena immediately planned to change it from a small lecture primarily for international relations majors to a spring version of the 29-year-old Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium. "When people think of [international relations], they may think of Georgetown," Arena said. "But Hopkins has an IR program that is every bit as excellent, and we want to make this symposium bigger so more people know about it." If the speakers they have signed are any indication, they may well succeed. The symposium, which begins on Tuesday, Feb. 14, focuses on current events, politics and international relations. The first speaker in this year's event, titled "America and the World, or America's World," is former defense secretary and congressman Les Aspin, a key figure for years in U.S. national security policy. He currently heads a joint executive branch/legislative oversight committee on the future role of U.S. intelligence efforts. With this talk, he also gives the Williams Memorial Lecture. On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the speaker will be former assistant secretary of state and State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler. The series concludes on Wednesday, March 1, with a talk by former director of central intelligence and career CIA officer Robert Gates. Each speaker will discuss the future U.S. role in world affairs. "We were convinced that Hopkins could attract big names to campus for this symposium," said Stillman, whose experience in organizing campus events includes serving as chairman of last year's race relations forum. "And we chose these three not only because they have been at the center of world events, but, because they are now on the outside, we thought they would more likely be frank in their perspectives." Arena said the speakers reduced their regular lecture fees to accommodate the symposium's relatively small budget of $20,000, which was underwritten by the offices of the deans of Homewood Student Affairs, of Students, and of Arts and Sciences; the Alumni Association; the Student Government Association; and the Office of Special Events. Stillman and Arena are confident that this year's enlarged symposium will be successful, but they will not measure their efforts by attendance. "I believe it already is successful because of the caliber of the participants we are bringing here," Arena said. "But overall, I will feel we succeeded if whoever attends walks away pleased with the chance to interact with these prominent people." All events in the series are scheduled for 8 p.m. in Shriver Hall on the Homewood campus. A question-and-answer session will follow each lecture.
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