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Winter 2020 Newsletter

The Frank Church Institute Honors ties to President-elect Joe Biden

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Vice President Joe Biden greets Bethine Church during his visit to Boise State University to present the awards at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in 2009.

Bethine and Senator Frank Church were mentors to the young Senator Joe Biden when his wife and daughter were killed in an automobile accident soon after his election to the U.S. Senate. Biden worked closely with Church on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator (and later Vice President) Biden has remained a member of the Honorary Board of Directors of the Frank Church Institute for many years.

In 2010, Vice President Biden (below) was awarded the Frank and Bethine Church Award for Public Service. You can view his acceptance remarks here.

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Vice President Joe Biden accepting the Frank and Bethine Church Award for Public Service in 201

Secretary of State Designate Antony Blinken at Boise State University

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Secretary of State Delegate Antony Blinken

The Frank Church Institute partnered with the Boise State University Honors College in 2018 when Antony Blinken delivered the Distinguished Lecture. Blinken’s presentation was titled, “Is Democracy in Trouble? What Does the Rise in Populism and Authoritarianism Portend for Democracies Worldwide?”

Blinken’s stepfather, Samuel Pisar, who was an advisor to Senator Church, spoke at the Frank Church Conference in 2005 when he was interviewed on Reader’s Corner by Boise State President Bob Kustra. You can listen to the two interviews here:

Interview Part 1   |     Interview Part 2

Antony Blinken has held senior foreign policy positions in two administrations over three decades. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December 2014 as Deputy Secretary of State, the nation’s number two diplomat. As Deputy Secretary, Blinken traveled to 38 countries, helping to lead diplomacy in the fight against ISIS, the rebalance to Asia, and the global refugee crisis. He also built bridges to the innovation community, creating a full-time State Department presence in Silicon Valley and the State Department Innovation Forum, which enlists technologists in solving foreign policy problems.

Blinken is the nephew of Ambassador Alan and Melinda Blinken who is a Frank Church Institute board member.

How democracies survive and thrive in the 21st century

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Keynote speaker and Stanford professor Larry Diamond
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Former FBI Chief of Staff Chuck Rosenberg
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Former U.S. Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD)

The 37th annual Frank Church Conference with author Larry Diamond was held November 20, 2020 as part of the “Fridays with Frank” lecture series.

Other “Fridays with Frank” speakers included former FBI official Chuck Rosenberg and Congresswoman Donna Edwards.

View “Fridays with Frank” sessions here

“Please thank the Frank Church Institute for the excellent presentations. Everyone was fascinating, the information vital and the connections to the present U.S. situation very instructive. I appreciated every minute and put it on Facebook as perhaps the most important use of one’s time if they care for our democracy. Again, thanks to the panelists and moderators for an excellent Conference. The Senator would be so pleased!”

“Fridays with Frank” guest Gail Bray

Thank you for your support

Your support of the Frank and Bethine Church Chair of Public Affairs, the Frank Church Conferences, and the Frank Church Scholars are much appreciated.

Contributions to the Frank Church Institute can be made online at:

Checks should be made payable to the Frank Church Institute and mailed to:

Boise State University Foundation
1173 University Dr.
Boise, Idaho 83706-1045

Note: contributions to the Frank Church Institute qualify for a 50% Idaho income tax credit, and they may also be deductible under the CARES Act for Federal income taxes beyond the standard deduction.

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Executive Director –

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“America, long the world’s most principled nation, has strayed in recent years from that tradition. But there is a shining promise for this nation now, as there was in the beginning: few nations have our capacity for self-redemption. Because we are a free and open society – and determined to remain so – our errors can be examined soberly and corrected in time”

– Senator Frank Church, 1975