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Frank Church Conference – Nov. 17, 2021

11:00-12:00pm

Keynote Speaker Celinda Lake

Watch the Keynote Address by Celinda Lake

Celinda Lake is the founder and President of Lake Research Partners in Washington, D.C., a national public opinion and political strategy firm.

She is one of the Democratic Party’s leading political strategists and one of the two lead pollsters for the Biden for President campaign in 2020.  Lake Research is known for its accuracy and cutting-edge research on issues including the economy, health care, the environment, and education. Her firm has served as tacticians and advisors to a wide range of advocacy groups, labor unions, non-profits, government agencies, companies and foundations, as well as dozens of elected officials in the U.S. and abroad.

Lake is one of the nation’s foremost experts on electing women candidates and on framing issues for women voters. American Politics called her a “super-strategist or, better yet, the Godmother;” and Working Woman said that she is “arguably the most influential woman in her field.” Her interviews and statistics have been quoted in numerous publications including the Washington Post, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and she has appeared on numerous news programs to discuss her work and provide expert commentary.

A native of Montana, Lake was born and raised on a ranch. She earned her master’s degree in political science and survey research from the University of Michigan, and a certificate in political science from the University of Geneva. She graduated summa cum laude from Smith College, which awarded her its Distinguished Alumna Medal in 2002. She received the lifetime achievement award from the American Association of Political Consultants, and she is the co-author of “What Women Really Want.”

Morning Panel: The View from the Mountain West

  • Interviewer Peter Fenn

    Peter Fenn

    Peter Fenn is the founder of Fenn Communications Group. Previously he served as Chief of Staff for Senator Frank Church; Executive Director of Democrats for the 1980s; and co-founder and first Executive Director for the Center for Responsive Politics. He has been a surrogate spokesman for several Presidential campaigns including President Obama. He serves on the boards of both the Frank Church and the Robert Dole Institute.

    Peter Fenn is the founder of Fenn Communications Group. Previously he served as Chief of Staff for Senator Frank Church; Executive Director of Democrats for the 1980s; and co-founder and first Executive Director for the Center for Responsive Politics. He has been a surrogate spokesman for several Presidential campaigns including President Obama. He serves on the boards of both the Frank Church and the Robert Dole Institute.

  • Bill Fish

    Bill Fish

    William H. Fish retired from financial services including positions as Managing Director of Aladdin Capital Management; Dresdner Kleinwort, and Citigroup in London; among numerous others. He was a legislative assistant to Senator Church. He holds degrees from Lewis and Clark College and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

    William H. Fish retired from financial services including positions as Managing Director of Aladdin Capital Management; Dresdner Kleinwort, and Citigroup in London; among numerous others. He was a legislative assistant to Senator Church. He holds degrees from Lewis and Clark College and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

  • Jen Johnson

    Jennifer Macdonald

    Jennifer Macdonald is a Senior Director for Morning Consult, leading a team in survey research. She focuses on guiding advocacy and messaging strategy for nonprofits across industries, including healthcare, finance and environment. Prior to joining Morning Consult, Jen managed a portfolio of trade and professional association clients for a D.C.-based consulting firm, focusing on qualitative research to inform their advocacy and strategic initiatives.

    Jennifer Macdonald is a Senior Director for Morning Consult, leading a team in survey research. She focuses on guiding advocacy and messaging strategy for nonprofits across industries, including healthcare, finance and environment. Prior to joining Morning Consult, Jen managed a portfolio of trade and professional association clients for a D.C.-based consulting firm, focusing on qualitative research to inform their advocacy and strategic initiatives.

Afternoon Panel: The View from Idaho

  • Vanessa Fry

    Vanessa Fry

    Dr. Vanessa Fry is the Interim Director of Boise State University’s Idaho Policy Institute where she leads research.

    She also serves as Associate Research Professor in the School of Public Service where she leads the MPA Capstone. In addition, she is an Adjunct Faculty Member at Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco where she received her MBA in Sustainable Management. She holds a BA in Biology from Wittenberg University and a PhD in Public Policy and Administration from Boise State University.

    Dr. Vanessa Fry is the Interim Director of Boise State University’s Idaho Policy Institute where she leads research.

    She also serves as Associate Research Professor in the School of Public Service where she leads the MPA Capstone. In addition, she is an Adjunct Faculty Member at Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco where she received her MBA in Sustainable Management. She holds a BA in Biology from Wittenberg University and a PhD in Public Policy and Administration from Boise State University.

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    Rod Gramer

    Rod Gramer is president and CEO of Idaho Business for Education. Previously he was a reporter and editor for the Idaho Statesman; and Executive News Director for KTVB in Boise and television news executive for stations in Portland, OR and Tampa, FL. He co-authored “Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church.” He represents Idaho on the Education Commission of the States and Chairs the WAMI Idaho Advisory Board for the University of Washington. He is a graduate of the University of Idaho.

    Rod Gramer is president and CEO of Idaho Business for Education. Previously he was a reporter and editor for the Idaho Statesman; and Executive News Director for KTVB in Boise and television news executive for stations in Portland, OR and Tampa, FL. He co-authored “Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church.” He represents Idaho on the Education Commission of the States and Chairs the WAMI Idaho Advisory Board for the University of Washington. He is a graduate of the University of Idaho.

  • Jen Johnson

    Jennifer Macdonald

    Jennifer Macdonald is a Senior Director for Morning Consult, leading a team in survey research. She focuses on guiding advocacy and messaging strategy for nonprofits across industries, including healthcare, finance and environment. Prior to joining Morning Consult, Jen managed a portfolio of trade and professional association clients for a D.C.-based consulting firm, focusing on qualitative research to inform their advocacy and strategic initiatives.

    Jennifer Macdonald is a Senior Director for Morning Consult, leading a team in survey research. She focuses on guiding advocacy and messaging strategy for nonprofits across industries, including healthcare, finance and environment. Prior to joining Morning Consult, Jen managed a portfolio of trade and professional association clients for a D.C.-based consulting firm, focusing on qualitative research to inform their advocacy and strategic initiatives.

2019 Conference

The 36th Annual Frank Church Conference on Public Affairs

Democracy in an Age of Anxiety: Russian Intrusion, Chinese Confrontation, Populist Disruption

Monday, October 14, 2019 in the Simplot Ballroom at Boise State University

Keynote Speaker: Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.

About the Keynote Speaker

Read the Conference Program

2018 Conference

The 35th Annual Frank Church Conference – Global Struggle for Democracy. October 18, 2018, in the Simplot Ballroom at Boise State University

Speakers include: Kenneth Wollack, former President of the National Democratic Institute; David Salvo, Deputy Director, Alliance for Securing Democracy, German Marshall Fund of the U.S.; Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Director, Transatlantic Security Program, Center for a New American Security; and Shanthi Kalathil, Director, International Forum for Democratic Studies, National Endowment for Democracy. Other speakers include David Bieter, Mayor of the City of Boise, Peter Fenn, President of the Fenn Communications Group; Seth Ashley, Associate Professor, Department of Communications, Boise State University; and Steven Feldstein, Frank and Bethine Church Chair of Public Affairs, School of Public Service, Boise State University. While the conference is open and free to the public, advance registration will be required for the luncheon.

2017 Conference

2017 Conference poster
The 34th Annual Frank Church Conference – America’s Future: Refugees, Migration, and National Security.

On October 23, 2017 Boise State University and the Frank Church Institute hosted 34th annual Frank Church Conference on public affairs. The conference focused on refugees and was themed “America’s Future: Refugees, Migration and National Security.”

Click here for more information about the 2017 Frank Church Conference
Click here to read essays on the subject of America’s Future: Refugees, Migration and National Security.


2016 Conference

2016 Conference Poster
Clash of Cultures: The Middle East in Turmoil

Ambassador Thomas Pickering, a distinguished U.S. diplomat who served as U.S. Ambassador to six countries, including Israel and Russia, as well as the United Nations, was the keynote for the session. The conference included a number of Middle East experts including Dr. Graeme Bannerman, the Middle East Institute; Dr. Nader Hashemi, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies; Stephen Schlesinger, the Century Foundation; and and Ambassador Gerald Feierstein, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs.

Visit: Clash of Cultures: The MIDDLE EAST in TURMOIL


2014 Conference

2014 Conference Poster
Wilderness: America’s Heritage

In 1964, Senator Frank Church sponsored and managed the passage of the Wilderness Act in the U.S. Senate. How did the Wilderness Act of 1964 become public law? What kind of framework did the Wilderness Act establish? How has the Wilderness Act functioned during the past fifty years? What challenges to the Wilderness Act should be considered for the future?

Visit: Wilderness: America’s Heritage


2013 Conference

2013 conference poster
Watching the Watchers: Security vs. Liberty

In 1975-76, Senator Frank Church chaired the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to investigate the national intelligence agencies and make recommendations to the Senate. What were some of the lessons of the Church Committee investigation, and how are they relevant to current intelligence revelations? In the post 9/11 world, how does an open society reconcile the clash of freedom with a government’s desire for secrecy? Or, as Church stated, how does America avoid crossing the “abyss from which there is no return?”

Visit: Watching the Watchers: Security vs Liberty


2012 Conference

2012 Conference Poster
Afghanistan After America

British Prime Minister Harold McMillan once said, “Rule number one in politics is: never invade Afghanistan.” How is it then that his admonition has been so ignored? Why has the United States never understood Afghanistan—and probably never will? What are the lessons of the past and options for the future in Afghanistan?

Visit: Afghanistan After America


2011 Conference

2011 Conference Poster
The Arab Spring

By force of this year’s Arab revolts and revolutions, the prospect of achieving power across the region has unleashed a debate over the character of the emerging political orders. The moment has been described as dramatic as any in the Arab world, as autocracies crumble and vibrant parties begin building a new order. What will be the outcome of this struggle for the future?

Download the Arab Spring Conference Flyer [.pdf]


Previous Conference Flyers

About the Institute Conferences

A long roster of distinguished participants include: former President Gerald Ford; former Vice Presidents Al Gore and Walter Mondale; former Senators Mark Hatfield, Slade Gorton, Edmund Muskie, and Gaylord Nelson; former White House Counsels Ted Sorensen, Leon Panetta, and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.; and former Ambassadors Joseph Sisco, Andrew Young, and Paul Warnke.

The widely ranging conference subjects include:

 Frank Church ConferenceKeynote Speaker
1982War or Peace? The American RoleSenator Frank Church
1983International Issues in the Middle EastAssistant Secretary of State Joseph Sisco
1984Political Repression and Social ControlUnited Nations Ambassador Andrew Young
1985Americanism: Activism or Apathy?President Gerald Ford; Senator Edmund Muskie
1986Responding to Revolution: At Home and AbroadAssistant Secretary of Defense Paul Warnke
1987Who Decides? The Domestic Sources of American Foreign PolicyAssistant Secretary of State David Newsom
1988Prospects for PeaceWhite House Advisor Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
1990Our Public LandsSenator Gaylord Nelson
1991The New World: Changing U.S.-U.S.S.R. RelationsAdvisor to Russian Duma Andrei Kortunov
1992The World After the Soviet UnionAdvisor to Soviet General Secretary Georgi Arbatov
1994Honor in Public ServiceUnited Kingdom M.P. Dudley Fishburn
1995The Impact of Global Arms SalesCongressman Robert Drinan
1996Troubled Waters: Preserving Life's Most Precious ResourceFounder of Sightline Institute Alan Thein Durning
1997What is National Security?Senator Mark Hatfield
1998The Dragon Stirs: A New Dawn for China and the U.S.Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China He Yafei
1999Juggling Pragamatism and Principle: Intervention and the BalkansMajor General William Nash
2000The Presidency: Leadership and the Paradox of PowerWhite House Counsel Theodore Sorensen
2001Lights Out in the American West! Oil, Water, Gas & ConservationWhite House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta
2002America's Image Abroad: Leadership? Hubris? Indifference?Reverend Forrest Church
2003Secrecy in GovernmentVice President Walter Mondale
2004The American Presidency: Principled LeadershipSenator George McGovern
2005Global Flash Points: Clash of CulturesHolocaust Survivor Samuel Pisar
2007Global Warming: Beyond the Inconvenient TruthVice President Al Gore
2007Tipping Points: Presidents, the Constitution & National SecuritySenator Gary Hart
2008America's Challenges: Perils and PossibilitiesSenate Intelligence Committee Counsel F.A.O. Schwarz, Jr.
2009The Global Environment: From Kyoto to CopenhagenU.N. Informantion Center Director William Davis
2010Eagle & Dragon: The U.S. & China in the 21st CenturyDeputy Secretary of State David Shear
2011The Arab SpringAmbassador Christopher Hill
2012Afghanistan After AmericaAmbassador Ryan Crocker
2013Watching the Watchers: Security vs. LibertyJournalist Jonathan Alter
2014Wilderness: America's HeritageScholar Douglas Brinkley
2016Clash of Cultures: The Middle East in TurmoilSecretary of Defense Leon Panetta
2017America's Future: Refugees, Migration and National SecurityAssistant Secretary of State Anne Richard
2018Global Struggle for DemocracyNational Democratic Institute President Ken Wollack
2019Democracy in an Age of AnxietyAmbassador Michael McFaul
2020How Democracies Survive and Thrive in the 21st CenturyProfessor Larry Diamond