Ben Rhodes to speak at IU

The former deputy national security advisor to President Obama, Ben Rhodes, will be visiting IU in late February to speak about America’s role in the world.

The Hutton Honors College will be host to Rhodes at 3 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Solarium in the Indiana Memorial Union. His talk, “America’s Role in the World,” will offer an interactive question-and-answers session to audience members.

“Given that we’re living in a world that’s very complex, his expertise is something students can really benefit from,” said Charlene Brown, director of extracurricular programming at the Hutton Honors College.

The talk will be part of the “Many Worlds, One Globe” multi-year series.

According to an IU press release, Rhodes served in his position from 2009 to 2017. He oversaw the president’s national security communications, speechwriting, public diplomacy and global engagement programming. He also actively engaged with Burma, Laos and Vietnam and led negotiations with the Cuban government to normalize relations.

He had worked with former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Bloomington, who is a current IU law professor. It was through Hamilton IU was able to have Rhodes speak informally a couple of years ago and now on a more formal platform.

“If anyone is interested in working in the White House, they would benefit from listening to Ben Rhodes; he worked there for eight years,” Hamilton said in the release. “He was a major advisor to the president and wrote many of his speeches. Ben listens carefully, distills the essence of what he hears and writes it down clearly. If called for, he provides his own perspective.”

The event is free and open to the public.

The “Many Worlds, One Globe” series will also include Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder, co-creators of the award-winning podcast Serial, on March 31, and Irshad Manji, founder of Moral Courage TV, on Oct. 2 and 3, according to the press release.

“This campus brings wonderful speakers, and this is one I think will be especially interesting,” Brown said.

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