Kennedy Library Presents Special Forum Series: Responding to Terrorism

For Immediate Release: October 15, 2001
Further information: Tom McNaught (617) 514-1662

Terror is not a new weapon. Throughout history it has been used by those who could not prevail, either by persuasion or example. But inevitably they fail, either because men are not afraid to die for a life worth living, or because the terrorists themselves came to realize that free men cannot be frightened by threats, and that aggression would meet its own response. And it is in the light of that history that every nation today should know, be he friend or foe, that the United States has both the will and the weapons to join free men in standing up to their responsibilities.

President John F. Kennedy
Address to the United Nations
September 25, 1961

In response to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the John F. Kennedy Library and Foundation are presenting a series of special programs to foster public discussion and debate concerning the nation’s response to terrorism. The public forums will address such topics as religious tolerance, presidential decision-making, military options, the role of the media, security and civil liberties, international criminal justice, and humanitarian relief.

The series is sponsored by The Boston Globe, WBUR 90.9 FM, The Lowell Institute,, and The Carnegie Corporation of New York.

The forums are free and open to the public. Seating is limited. Reservations are highly recommended, as those who have called to reserve a space will be seated first. Those with reservations will be seated in the main hall and two spillover auditoriums on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reservations may be made by calling 617.929.4571. All forums will be held at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, Columbia Point, Boston. For directions, visit the Kennedy Library web page at

For more information on the public forums, to view transcripts and news articles on the forums and related subject matter, to participate in on-line discussions, or to listen to rebroadcasts of the forums, members of the public are encouraged to listen to WBUR 90.9 FM or visit the Kennedy Library’s web page at, WBUR’s web page at, and The Boston Globe’s web page at

As the speakers’ schedules may be affected by world events, the public are encouraged to call 617.929.1247 to confirm a particular day’s forum before coming to the Kennedy Library.

Responding to Terrorism

Promoting Religious Tolerance in the Face of Religiously Motivated Terrorism
Monday, October 22 - 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

One of the most enduring legacies of President Kennedy is his commitment to religious tolerance. Join our panelists as they confront the religious misunderstandings that continue to fuel division in our world. Speakers include: Father Bryan Hehir, Chair of the Executive Faculty Committee of the Harvard Divinity School; Professor Leila Ahmed, author of Women and Gender in Islam; Robert Leikind, Director of the New England office of the Anti-Defamation League; Ambassador Charles Stith, former minister of the Union United Methodist Church and Ambassador to Tanzania at the time the U.S. Embassy was bombed. Moderating the session will be Dick Gordon, host of WBUR’s The Connection.

Presidential Decision-making: The U.S.Response to Terrorism
Monday, October 29 - 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Joseph Nye, Dean of the Kennedy School of Government and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs leads a panel, including Harvard Professor Jessica Stern, former member of the National Security Council and author of The Ultimate Terrorist, and Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant, concerning the choices facing President George W. Bush and his administration's handling of the crisis to date.

The Wrong Response: Recalling the U.S.Internment of the Japanese
Sunday, November 4 - 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.

Congressman Robert T. Matsui will share his and his family’s experience in Japanese-American internment camps in the U.S. after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and will comment on the dangers of a similar backlash against Arab-Americans in response to the recent attacks on the U.S. The session will be moderated by MIT Professor Kenneth Oye.

On the Roots of Terror
Monday, November 5 - 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

In 1979, Moorhead Kennedy was taken hostage in Iran while serving as the Acting Economic Advisor at the US Embassy in Tehran. Since his release, he has worked to educate others about acts of terrorism and how to respond to their underlying roots.

Presidents and Foreign Policy Crises
Wednesday, November 7 - 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

David Gergen, advisor to four presidents and author of Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership, will discuss the foreign policies of presidents he has known and comment on the military and leadership challenges facing the current administration.

Race in the Military
Sunday, November 11 - 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.

As the country commemorates Veterans’ Day and faces an unprecedented military threat, Gail Buckley, author of American Patriots: The Story of Blacks in the Military from the Revolution to Desert Storm, discusses the long, and at times tortuous, history of African Americans in the U.S. military.

Bringing International Criminals to Justice
Monday, November 12 – 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

How should the world community punish those who commit crimes against humanity? Justice Richard Goldstone, former Chief Prosecutor for the International Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, and Michael Ignatieff, Director of the Carr Center on Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, discuss the development of a system of international justice to confront the perpetrators of such actions, be they former heads of government such as Slobodan Milosevic or international terrorists such as those who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Defending an Open Society: Balancing Security and Liberty
Wednesday, November 14 – 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

In responding to terrorism on its own shores, how can the U.S. protect security and civil liberties? NPR chief legal correspondent Nina Totenberg moderates a panel including: Michael Horowitz, Chief of Staff to Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff, Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice; Philip Heymann, former Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, and Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration. Now Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; U.S. Congressman Bill Delahunt (D-MA), former state prosecutor in Massachusetts; Nancy Gertner, U.S. District Judge for the District of Massachusetts; and John Shattuck, former Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Washington office, and national ACLU staff counsel 1971 to 1984. Now CEO, Kennedy Library Foundation

The U.S.Response: A Reporter's View from the Front Lines
This Forum Has Been Postponed to February or March 2002

CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour has reported from the battlefields of the Gulf War, Bosnia, and Kosovo -- and is currently on assignment covering the U.S. response to world terrorism. In a visit to the Kennedy Library, she shares first-hand accounts of her most recent reporting.

Searching for a Better World in the Face of Terrorism
Sunday, December 9 - 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.

Prior to the terrorist attack in New York, CARE, one of the world's pre-eminent humanitarian relief and development organizations, was leading the fight against hunger and for healthier living conditions for the Afghan people. Join Peter Bell, President of CARE, as he discusses the challenge of protecting relief workers and the importance of continuing relief efforts in developing countries as a means to combat division, oppression, and terror at its roots. Joining Bell will be author and ethicist Sissela Bok.

Assessing the Military's Options
Wednesday, December 12 – 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

As Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, General Wesley K. Clark oversaw NATO's military intervention in the former Yugoslavia. Drawing on his new book, Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat, he comments on the current U.S. military and diplomatic efforts to confront and debilitate international terrorist networks. The session will be moderated by Boston Globe reporter Kevin Cullen.

Protecting Human Rights: The United States, the United Nations, and the World
Sunday, January 6 – 4:00 to 5:30

As United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson has traveled the globe in an effort to advance freedom, promote peace, and protect human rights. In this forum, she will comment on the roles of, and relationship between, the United Nations and the United States in these endeavors.

Overcoming Hatred: Brokering Peace in War Torn Lands
Monday, March 4 – 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

Former Senator George Mitchell will discuss his experience as a negotiator in Northern Ireland and the Middle East, mediating among centuries-old antagonists.

What Would JFK Do?
Sunday, April 21 – 4:00 to 5:30

President Kennedy’s Special Assistant Theodore Sorensen played a key role in forming JFK’s foreign policies. Despite the passage of time and the collapse of the Soviet Union, many of Kennedy’s core beliefs about human nature, international relations, and the role of the U.S. in the world remain relevant to our time. Mr. Sorensen will articulate President Kennedy’s views and apply them to the current international situation.