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September 2015 Palmetto Forum with Ed Madden

Palmetto Forum

The Palmetto Forum is a world affairs luncheon seminar designed to stimulate discussion of international issues within Columbia's professional community.

Members meet on the first Wednesday of the month at Columbia's Palmetto Club, located at 1231 Sumter Street. The forum's membership has expanded to over 300 subscribers, among them some of Columbia's most prominent citizens. 


Spring 2016 Palmetto Forum Lecture Series


Come Join Walker for the Last Palmetto Forum Luncheon of the Spring Semester!

$20 Lunch (Cash, Check, Credit Card payment here or Palmetto Club ticket only please) Please make checks payable to the Walker Institute. Thank you.

Race is a large issue in the 2016 Presidential contest, and the preferences of Black voters seem to hold the balance for the Democratic candidates. Dr. Todd Shaw, explained the diversity of the African-American vote in South Carolina and across the country. 

This talk explored terrorism aimed at achieving political goals in world affairs. Dr. Puchala disscused some instances of political terrorism in the past and then draw some lessons for the present.

February 2 - Dr. Stanley Dubinsky-Department of English Language and Literature & Dr. Harvey Starr-Department of Political Science
"Israel and its neighbors"

Events unfolding in the Middle East since the misnamed "Arab Spring" in 2010 frequently reference Israel as a main protagonist. However, salient developments in the last 2-3 years highlight the fact that the historic conflict between Israel and its neighbors is not a simple two-party conflict, as many have long (and wrongly) understood it to be. 


Fall 2015 Palmetto Forum Lecture Series


December 2 - Dr. Rajeev Bais
"Survivors of Torture in South Carolina"

November 4 - Dr. Anindya Majumdar
"Emerging India: A Story in the Making"

October 7 - Dr. Harvey Starr and Dr. Stanley Dubinsky
"Israel and its Neighbors"

September 2 - Dr. Ed Madden
"The Message from Ireland: We Do"


Spring 2015 Palmetto Forum Lecture Series


May 6 - Ms. Melody Banks
"Independent - Not seperate: Conflicts in Sudan"

April 1- Dr. Eric Brenner
"Ebola: Beyond Short-Term Media Hype"

March 4- Dr. Josef Olmert
"Israeli General Elections -- Regional and International Implications"

February 4- Dr. Caroline Nagel
"Islam and Islamic Radicals in Europe"


Fall 2014 Palmetto Forum Lecture Series


December 3- Dr. Paul MacKenzie
"World War I: The Forgotten War

November 5- Dr. Scott Buchanan
"Election 2014: The Aftermath"

October 1- Colonel Bryan P. Hernandez
"The Middle East and US National Security Issues"

Colonel Hernandez provided a short overview of the current regional situation, then focused on Iraq-ISIS, Afghanistan, and ended by briefly discussing the implications towards our US security policy.

September 5—Professor Robert Cox, Director Walker Insitute, Professor Gordon Smith, Deputy Director Rule of Law Collaborative and Professor Joel Samuels, Director Rule of Law Collaborative. 

"The Ukraine Crisis"

Three of USC’s experts on European affairs shared their insights on the Ukraine crisis and how relations between Russia and the West are changing.


Spring 2014 Palmetto Forum Lecture Series

February 5—Professor John Hsieh, USC Political Science
"Crisis in the East China Sea"
The dispute over the Diaoyu (or Senkaku) Islands has caused concerns about the confrontation among several stakeholders—China, Japan, and Taiwan.  And in case of a serious conflict, the United States will almost inevitably be dragged into it. Professor John Hsieh focused on the causes of the dispute, and the likely scenarios in the years to come.

March 5—Professor Joshua Grace, USC History
"Cars, Roads, and the Politics of Development in Tanzania"

In Africa, mechanics, drivers, and passengers have transformed cars and roads from technologies of imperial power into tools for pursuing different visions of social and economic change.

April 2—Professor Brad Epperly, USC Political Science
"Democratic Backsliding in the Heart of Europe? Constitutional Change in Hungary and its Implications for the Constitutional Court"

After the 2010 elections, the Hungarian political party Fidesz acquired a constitutional majority in the country's unicameral parliament. Since then, a flurry of constitutional changes have occurred. Many of these directly target the autonomy and power of the Hungarian Constitutional Court -- the only other locus of political power in the country.

May 7—Dr. Robert Cox, Director of the Walker Institute
"Why Germany is a Leader in Renewable Energy"

Germany seems an unlikely candidate to be a global leader in wind and solar power.  After all, the country is relatively still and dark.  But, Germany has become a global leader in renewable energy because the government sees this as an important strategic direction, and has vigorously promoted leading edge technologies.


Fall 2013 Palmetto Forum Lecture Series

September 4 - Dr. Payal Shah, USC College of Education
"Girl's Education and Empowerment in Gujarat, India"
This discussion explored the issues related to gender and education broadly in India and provided a case study from the work that Dr. Shah does with adolescent aged girls in a public residential school in Gujarat.

October 2 - Dr. Simon Hudson, Director and Endowed Chair for the Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development
"South Carolina's Place in the Global Tourism Industry"

In this entertaining but educational presentation, Dr. Hudson discussed South Carolina’s competitive position in the global tourism industry - one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. This growth goes hand in hand with an ‎increasing diversification and competition among destinations.‎

November 6 - Joel H. Samuels
"A Window On America's Most Important Piracy Case"

In this talk, Professor Samuels explored the seminal United States Supreme Court decision in United States v. Smith (1820). Smith, an early piracy case, has influenced developments in both domestic and international law on piracy, universal jurisdiction, and a range of broader themes. He then told the fascinating tell of the "pirates" and of their prosecution and then he connected the case to the modern day, both in the context of piracy and terrorism prosecutions.

December 4 - Keith Kenney
"How the Journalism School Helps to Rebuild the former Soviet Republic of  Georgia"

In this talk, Professor Keith Kenney discussed how former republics in the Soviet Union, as well as other newly independent countries, often struggle to become independent. Georgia, for example, lacked the ability to generate electricity when it became independent in 1991. It also lacked a functioning legal system, political system, economic system, news media, and so on. The US government has been helping Georgia to create these systems because Georgia is strategically located and because its previous president, Mikheil Saakashvili, was a friend of the US government. After providing such context, Professor Keith Kenny explained what has been accomplished in the Journalism School Partnership Program grant and what remains to be done in the next 8 months.


Spring 2013 Palmetto Forum Lecture Series


February 6 - Dr. Donald Puchala, Director Emeritus  Walker Institute
"The Economics and Politics of Energy"
The last decade has seen a revolution in the global energy economy. The United States, Russia, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Brazil appear to be winners in the new great game of energy competition. Ultimately, the ecosystem of the planet Earth will be the likely loser.

March 6 - Professor Paulette Kurzer, University of Arizona
"Risks to the Defense Industrial Base: The Offshoring and Outsourcing of U.S. Manufacturing"

From fasteners to night vision devices, many advanced manufacturing goods and technologies essential to U.S. national security have moved overseas.  Using telecom equipment and high tech permanent magnets as examples, Professor Kurzer explained why these sectors have disappeared and what we should do about it.

April 3 - Dr. Josef Ohlmert, USC Political Science
Israel’s International Relations and Strategic Priorities

How have elections in both Israel and the United States affected the relationship between these two countries?  How have they affected Israel’s relations with its neighbors?

May 1 - Dr. Doyle Stevick
"Why is the Holocaust Controversial in Central and Eastern Europe?"

The countries of Central and Eastern Europe have a problematic relationship with the Holocaust, its history and legacy. Professor Stevick explained international efforts underway to reform the way the holocaust is taught and local reactions to those efforts.



If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Walker Institute at (803)777-8180 or at