The Frank Church Conference is an annual fall event hosted by the Frank Church Institute, its Board of Directors, and the School of Public Service at Boise State University. The 2023 conference, “Securing America’s Future: Rebuilding Trust in Turbulent Times,” marks the 39th iteration of this event, which began in 1983.
As a U.S. Senator from Idaho from 1957 — 1981, Frank Church made a mark passing legislation and developing bipartisan relationships to foster responsible American foreign policy; protect national wilderness; and defend individual citizens from encroaching state surveillance due to growing domestic agencies including the CIA. It is in this spirit that the Frank Church conference has continued. Each year, conference organizers invite the public to gather for a day to discuss vexing problems facing the American public sphere, and to encounter new ideas from policy experts, academics, and individuals who work in government at both the state and national level. A major objective is to build relationships among people who think in diverse ways about public life and to encourage new forms of democratic engagement at the local, state, and national levels.
The conference takes place in the Student Union Building on the Boise State campus. In the past, it has convened high school, college, law school and graduate students; activists and practitioners in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors; scholars and educators; businesspeople; and more. The agenda includes two keynote addresses, two panel discussions, and breakout activities for the large group.
As it has been for 39 years, the conference is free to attend for students and the public.
There is an optional catered luncheon with keynote speaker, Gina Bennett.