Paul O'Dwyer Endowed Forum for Political Ethics


The Paul O'Dwyer Forum is an annual endowed event made possible by the generosity of GW alumnus and donor, Brian O'Dwyer, CCAS BA '66 and LAW '76, in honor of his father, Paul O'Dwyer. This endowed event series is focused on ensuring students and the GW community continue to emphasize the role of ethics in politics.

 

2024 Event Signup & Featured Speakers
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Rep. Jamie Raskin

REP. JAMIE RASKIN

Democrat from Maryland's 8th Congressional District

Rodney Davis

REP. RODNEY DAVIS

Republican from Illinois's 13th Congressional District (2013 to 2023)

 

 

 


 

 

History of the Forum

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The Forum, established in 2004, is designed to examine the role of ethics in politics. Each year a topic within the realm of ethics in politics is selected and guest speakers are invited to provide their perspectives.

Recent topics have included:

  • Ethics and Representation in Today’s Congress
  • Making Representation Meaningful: Staff Diversity in the U.S. Senate
  • Empowering Diverse Voices at the Table: The Ethics of Intentional Inclusion
  • The Ethical Uses of Fear in Politics
  • Fake News: Spotting Facts & Stopping Fiction
Brian O'Dwyer speaks at GW
GW alumnus Brian O'Dwyer, CCAS BA '66 and LAW '76, speaks at the Paul O'Dwyer Endowed Forum in the Jack Morton Auditorium at GW.

 


Guest speakers have included GSPM faculty, lobbyists, pollsters, reporters, elected officials and Congressional staffers, such as:

  • Mike Bishop, former representative from Michigan’s 8th district, GSPM Fellow
  • Dr. LaShonda Brenson, Senior Researcher at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
  • Don Cravins, GSPM Anthony Coelho Professor and former COS to Sen. Landrieu & COO at the National Urban League
  • Mr. Sopan Deb, The New York Times Culture Reporter
  • Sherri Dickerson, GSPM MPS '14, SVP & Chief Human Capital Officer, WMATA
  • Rev Quardricos Driskell, GSPM MPS ’12, Legislative and Political Affairs Manager, American Urological Association; GSPM Adjunct Professor; Pastor at Beulah Baptist Church
  • Ms. Mindy Finn, GSPM MA '10; Former U.S. Vice Presidential Candidate; and Founder of Empowered Women
  • J Francis, GSPM MPS '16 | Senior Director of Community Affairs for Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)
  • Mr. Major Garrett, Chief White House Correspondent, CBS News
  • Dana Gresham, GSPM Fellow and former COS to Sen. Jones & Principal at Mindset
  • Jenae Holloway, GSPM MA '14,  Associate Director, Editorial Special Events at Vogue
  • Cietta Kiandoli, Engagement Director for Senator Chuck Schumer
  • Mary Landrieu, former Senator (D-La.)
  • Connie Mack IV, former U.S. Rep. (R-Fla.)
  • Lance Mangum, GSPM MA '07,  Staff Vice President - Government Affairs, FedEx
  • Angie Martinez, Administrative Director for Senator Patty Murray
  • Gus Martinez, GSPM adjunct professor and senior legislative consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Scott McHugh, director, crisis management and security for  LyondellBasell Chemical, GSPM '12
  • Ms. Stephanie Schriock, GSPM MA '97 & President of Emily's List
  • Angela Struebing, GSPM adjunct professor and president of CDR Fundraising Group, GSPM '01
  • Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former Maryland Lt. Gov. (D)

 


Dean Riddle

"As stewards of democracy, it is imperative that we constantly scrutinize the ethical compass guiding our political landscape. The Forum, since its inception in 2004, stands as a beacon for this vital examination. By convening eminent voices to deliberate on the relationship of ethics and politics, we pave the path towards a more principled governance for generations to come."

Liesl Riddle, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Professional Studies


 

Past Events

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2023: Ethics and Representation in Today's Congress

O'Dwyer Ethics in Politics Event on Representation in Congress

The March 9, 2023 "O'Dwyer Ethics in Politics Event on Representation in Congress" explored the ethics of representation in politics and the instrumental role that leaders play in ensuring diversity, inclusion and a sense of belonging within our public institutions. Speakers included:

  • Mike Bishop, former representative from Michigan’s 8th district, GSPM Fellow
  • Angie Martinez, Administrative Director for Senator Patty Murray
  • Cietta Kiandoli, Engagement Director for Senator Chuck Schumer
2022: Making Representation Meaningful: Staff Diversity in the U.S. Senate

The Graduate School of Political Management was pleased to present the 2022 Paul O'Dwyer Endowed Event, Making Representation Meaningful: Staff Diversity in the U.S. Senate.

This event brought together a distinguished panel of former U.S. Senators and their Chiefs of Staff to discuss strategies and tactics for improving diversity among staffers on Capitol Hill.

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies recently found that "while people of color account for 40 percent of the U.S. population, they make up only 7.9 percent of Senate staff directors and 15.7 percent of top roles. While African Americans account for 12.4 percent of the U.S. population, they make up only 2.6 percent of Senate staff directors and 2.4 percent of non-staff director top staff."

The conversation was moderated by Dr. Lara Brown, Director of GSPM, and featured the following panelists:

  • LaShonda Brenson, Senior Researcher, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
  • Former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
  • Don Cravins, GSPM Anthony Coelho Professor; Former Chief of Staff to Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA); and COO at the National Urban League
  • Dana Gresham, GSPM Fellow; Former Chief of Staff to Senator Doug Jones (D-AL); Principal at Mindset
2021: Empowering Diverse Voices at the Table: The Ethics of Intentional Inclusion

GW Today reports: 
Empowering Diverse Voices at the Table: The Ethics of Intentional Inclusion

The Graduate School of Political Management was pleased to present the 2021 Paul O'Dwyer Endowed Forum for Political Ethics, Empowering Diverse Voices at the Table: The Ethics of Intentional Inclusion

This 2021 event explored the ethics of representation in democratic politics and the instrumental role that leaders play in ensuring diversity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging within our public institutions.

The conversation was moderated by Rev Quardricos Driskell, GSPM Cert ’09, MPS ’12, Legislative and Political Affairs Manager, American Urological Association; GSPM Adjunct Professor; Pastor at Beulah Baptist Church, and featured the following panelists:

  • Sherri Dickerson, GSPM MPS '14 | SVP & Chief Human Capital Officer, WMATA
  • J Francis, GSPM MPS '16 | Senior Director of Community Affairs for Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)
  • Jenae Holloway, GSPM MA '14 | Associate Director, Editorial Special Events at Vogue
  • Lance Mangum, GSPM MA '07 | Staff Vice President - Government Affairs, FedEx
2019: The Ethical Uses of Fear in Politics

The Ethical Uses of Fear in Politics

Many political leaders have invoked fear in order to drum up popular support for military action, persuade Americans to accept new policies, or to tighten their grasp on power. The panelists of the 2019 Paul O'Dwyer Endowed Lecture explore the ethical considerations of using fear for political purposes.

As part of the continuing celebration of The George Washington University Museum & Textile Museum's Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms exhibit, the Graduate School of Political Management was pleased to host a panel considering the ideal depicted in Rockwell's painting, "Freedom from Fear." While Rockwell suggests that the freedom attending democracy provides people with a sense of security and ensures their right to live without fear, leaders often intentionally use fear to motivate people to take action. But is it ethical for leaders to use fear, and if so, then, where does one draw the line between motivation and abuse?

Joined by Dr. Matt Dallek, GSPM professor and author of Defenseless Under the Night: The Roosevelt Years and the Origins of Homeland Security, experts from across corporate, military, and political sectors to discussed how our nation has historically used fear in politics and the myriad ways we see fear intersecting within the fields of communications and advocacy today.

The conversation was moderated by Dr. Matthew Dallek and featured the following panelists:

  • Ben Fallon, GSPM '98 - Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Legislative Affairs, Office of the Director of National Intelligence
  • Gus Martinez - Senior Legislative Consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton; GSPM Adjunct Professor
  • Scott McHugh, GSPM '12 - Director of Crisis Management and Security, LyondellBasell
  • Angela Struebing, GSPM '01 - President, CDR Fundraising Group; GSPM Adjunct Professor
2018: Generational Political Leadership -The Ethics of Commitment

GW Today reports:
Generational Political Leadership -The Ethics of Commitment

Prominent former politicians and speakers from business and industry explored the challenge of restoring civility and ethics to American politics in Reimagining Disruption, a two-day symposium created by the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management in collaboration with the GW School of Business.
Two annual endowed lectures – the Paul O’Dwyer Lecture Series for Political Ethics and the Richard W. Blackburn Endowed Lecture on Civility and Integrity – bookended the conference, which included GW faculty and alumni among the presenters seeking to reboot political discourse.

"The purpose of Reimagining Disruption was to bring together the best minds and politics and businesses to figure out how we could start talking with each other rather than at each other,” GSPM Director Lara Brown said. “We heard some great suggestions from our panelists, and we hope that this event sparks a commitment to civility and the process of politics, rather than any particular policy outcome.”

Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D) and former U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV (R-Fla.) shared how their families’ commitment to public service shaped their own careers at the Paul O’Dwyer Lecture, endowed by New York attorney Brian O’Dwyer, B.A. ’66, LLM ’76, in memory of his late father.

 

2017: Fake News - Spotting Facts & Stopping Fiction

Fake News - Spotting Facts & Stopping Fiction

The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management held the Paul O’Dwyer Lecture “Fake News: Spotting Facts & Stopping Fiction” on April 26, 2017 in the Jack Morton Auditorium. The panelists discussed the ways in which digital and social media shaped the 2016 election, and how fake news items made an impact on the electorate. Panelists included:

  • Mr. Sopan Deb, The New York Times Culture Reporter
  • Ms. Mindy Finn, GSPM MA '10; Former U.S. Vice Presidential Candidate; and Founder of Empowered Women
  • Mr. Major Garrett, Chief White House Correspondent, CBS News
  • Ms. Stephanie Schriock , GSPM MA '97 and President of Emily's List
Past Speakers

Each year, several distinguished speakers have been invited to the University to share their perspectives and experiences on the selected timely topic. Guest speakers have included GSPM faculty, lobbyists, pollsters, reporters, elected officials and Congressional staffers, such as:

  • Mike Bishop, former representative from Michigan’s 8th district, GSPM Fellow
  • Dr. LaShonda Brenson, Senior Researcher at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
  • Don Cravins, GSPM Anthony Coelho Professor and former COS to Sen. Landrieu & COO at the National Urban League
  • Mr. Sopan Deb, The New York Times Culture Reporter
  • Sherri Dickerson, GSPM MPS '14 | SVP & Chief Human Capital Officer, WMATA
  • Ben Fallon, assistant director of the Office of National Intelligence for Legislative Affairs, GSPM '98
  • Ms. Mindy Finn, GSPM MA '10; Former U.S. Vice Presidential Candidate; and Founder of Empowered Women
  • J Francis, GSPM MPS '16 | Senior Director of Community Affairs for Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)
  • Mr. Major Garrett, Chief White House Correspondent, CBS News
  • Dana Gresham, GSPM Fellow and former COS to Sen. Jones & Principal at Mindset
  • Jenae Holloway, GSPM MA '14 | Associate Director, Editorial Special Events at Vogue
  • Cietta Kiandoli, Engagement Director for Senator Chuck Schumer
  • Former Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.)
  • Former U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV (R-Fla.)
  • Lance Mangum, GSPM MA '07 | Staff Vice President - Government Affairs, FedEx
  • Angie Martinez, Administrative Director for Senator Patty Murray
  • Gus Martinez, GSPM adjunct professor and senior legislative consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Scott McHugh, director, crisis management and security for LyondellBasell Chemical, GSPM '12
  • Ms. Stephanie Schriock , GSPM MA '97 and President of Emily's List
  • Angela Struebing, GSPM adjunct professor and president of CDR Fundraising Group, GSPM '01
  • Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D)