International Affairs Symposium

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Functions of Fear: Conflict, Compliance, Chaos.

Lewis & Clark’s 61st International Affairs Symposium

April 10-12, 2023

The Lewis & Clark College International Affairs Symposium is one of the most prestigious events within the Oregon academic and civic communities. It has been highly acclaimed by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. It is also the oldest student-run symposium in the United States. 

The focus of the symposium is controversy, emphasizing the confrontation of opposing viewpoints. It is our hope that through debate our audience develops a more thorough understanding of the complexities surrounding international dilemmas. Organized entirely by students, this event concentrates on the most pressing themes and topics in international relations today. 

The International Affairs Symposium features a series of five debates, each tackling a controversial issue in international politics. Each debate features two highly qualified expert speakers who fundamentally disagree on the topic. The debate-oriented format of this event ensures that these expert talks are interesting, engaging and contentious without exception. Come learn about current events around the world in an entertaining way and see why the L&C International Affairs Symposium remains the oldest student-run symposium in the country!

The L&C IA Symposium is an exciting event with free admission TO ALL. Both the Lewis & Clark Community and the public are invited! Come hear globally renowned experts debate controversial issues in International Affairs. Participate in the open Q&A session after each debate! Ask your follow up questions to the experts after the debates, challenge their assumptions, discuss your thoughts on the subject and deepen your understanding of the world around you!

  • When: April 10–12
  • Where: Lewis & Clark College’s Council Chambers
  • How: Free admission
  • Why: Learn about international politics in a fun, contentious, engaging format
  • Who: You!

This year’s L&C IA Symposium theme is Functions of Fear: Conflict, Compliance, Chaos. 

Guests who attend each symposium session will develop a progressively more nuanced and robust understanding of the multifaceted role fear plays on the global stage and the controversies inherent in its use.

Questions? Contact us!

  • I was a committee member and am currently one of the cochairs of the International Affairs Symposium. It is a great feeling getting to see a year’s worth of work come alive. I have also been able to meet and work with some of the most talented people.

    Eliana Essman BA ’25
    International Affairs | Religious Studies | Carlsbad, California
    More about Eliana
  • Being a member of the International Affairs Symposium taught me confidence when presenting ideas, while being a cochair this year taught me to look at the bigger picture goals. I am immensely proud of the committee we put together this year!

    Loren Pawelski BA ’24
    International Affairs
    More about Loren

2023 Planning Committee

If you have any questions or comments, please contact the IA Symposium Committee at

Student Cochairs

Eliana Essman 

Loren Pawelski

Student Steering Committee

Syd Brown

Liam Conley

Logan Drain

Heather Galles

Zach Gilburne

Ela Gore

Dani Rivas Clavel

Hashim Salman

Faculty Advisor

Bob Mandel, Professor of International Affairs

  • Five

    L&C’s five academic student-led symposia reflect our commitment to inquiry, innovation, collaboration, and global engagement.