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Securing America’s Future: Rebuilding Trust in Turbulent Times

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OCTOBER 19th, 2023 – 8:30 am – 4:30 pm in the Student Union Building at Boise State University

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 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. To attend, please register by clicking the link below.

Register for the luncheon HERE

Securing America’s Future Conference Schedule

Thursday October 19, 2023
8:30 amWelcome Monica C. Church, Executive Director of the Frank Church Institute
8:35 - 8:45 am39th Annual Frank Church Conference IntroductionDr. Angie Bos, Dean of the School of Public Service
8:45 - 9:00 amOpening RemarksDr. Marlene Tromp, President, Boise State University; Dr. Sam Martin, Frank and Bethine Church Endowed Chair of Public Affairs
9:00 - 10:15 amPanel One: Safeguarding Democracy: Trust in the JudiciaryModerator: US Attorney for Idaho Honorable Josh Hurwit
Panelists: US Federal Judge for the District of Rhode Island Honorable William Smith, former US Federal Judge Honorable Ronald Bush, and former US Attorney Honorable Betty Richardson
10:15 - 11:00 amKeynote Speaker - Never Cross Over the Abyss: Maintaining Trust in American Institutions Takes VigilanceJames Risen - Two-time Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter and Author of "The Last Honest Man"
11:00 - 12:00 amPanel Two: Objective Fact, Truth, and the MediaModerator: Founder and Strategist at Peyron Strategic Communications Scott Peyron
Panelists: Idaho Capitol Sun reporter Mia Maldonado, Supervisory Correspondent for the Associated Press Rebecca Boone, Frank and Bethine Church Endowed Chair Dr. Sam Martin, and former KTVB news anchor Mark Johnson
12:00 - 1:20 pmJordan Ballroom Luncheon
Keynote Speaker - Parenting Democracy: Oversight’s Role in Building Trust
Gina Bennett - Former CIA Senior Analyst & counterterrorism expert, and Author of "National Security Mom"
1:20 - 1:30 pmSimplot Ballroom - Address by ASBSU and dismissal into Breakout sessionsBoise State University Student Body President Cheyon Sheen
1:30 - 2:10 pmSmall Group Breakout 1Speakers and Rooms TBD
2:15 - 2:55 pmSmall Group Breakout 2 Speakers and Rooms TBD
3:00 - 3:40 pmSmall Group Breakout 3Speakers and Rooms TBD
3:40 - 4:20 pmSmall Group Breakout 4Speakers and Rooms TBD

If you have questions or are interested in sponsoring this year’s conference, please email

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.