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Former Indiana Senator to speak at Forum

Kristen Durbin | Thursday, February 24, 2011

Former U.S. Senator Evan Bayh will speak Thursday about government’s role in the marketplace, one of the themes of the Notre Dame Forum’s year-long conversation about the global marketplace and the common good.

Bayh, a Democrat who represented Indiana in the Senate from 1999 to 2011 and served two terms as Indiana’s governor, will continue the conversation in this year’s Forum events. He will present his views on the role of government in relation to the common good and the development of an equitable society, said Ed Conlon, associate dean of the Mendoza College of Business and chairman of the Working Committee for the Notre Dame Forum.

“The common good is the integrating theme for the Forum, so we’ve looked at it from a standpoint of the marketplace, the professions and science and technology so far,” Conlon said. “This is an opportunity to look at how government contributes to the common good.”

Conlon said Bayh’s political experience at both the state and federal levels make him well-suited to understand and assess the challenges and opportunities that government has in contributing to the common good and the improvement of the economy, especially in America.

“The connection between government and the common good should be obvious to people in that a government should improve the quality of life of its citizens,” Conlon said. “But the real question is how the government can make the best possible contributions to the common good.”

Conlon said Bayh’s public decision not to seek reelection in November 2010 came as a result of his growing frustration with the function of government and its role in American life. This sentiment relates to the discussion of the government and the common good, Conlon said.

“[Bayh] was frustrated that the government was no longer functioning as it should, but because he’s not running for office, he’s at a point where he can be an honest critic and say what he thinks with regard to this topic,” Conlon said.

Conlon said Bayh is an important political voice in Indiana and his participation in the Forum would strengthen the connection between Notre Dame and the state of Indiana.

“It’s a good opportunity to have a person who is important to the state come to Notre Dame,” Conlon said. “When I talked to [Bayh] about the Forum and what we had in mind, he resonated with the topic immediately and said it’s a great thing to discuss.”

In addition to Bayh’s lecture, a number of other events will continue the Forum dialogue this semester, including Friday’s annual Green Summit, which will center on the theme, “Purchasing Power.”

The Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Religious Values in Business at Mendoza will also host a major conference in partnership with the United Nations Global Compact and the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education titled, “The UN Millennium Development Goals, The Global Compact, and The Common Good.” The conference will take place March 20 to 22 and will address the moral purpose of business in advancing the global economy.

An April event sponsored by the School of Architecture will examine the contributions of architecture to the quality of life in the world, especially the effects of “new urbanism” on life in cities, Conlon said.

The third annual student-led Human Development Conference, sponsored by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies, took place Feb. 11 and 12 and continued the ongoing Forum dialogue by focusing on the theme, “Unleashing Human Potential: Global Citizens in Pursuit of the Common Good.”

Conlon also said Mendoza’s Ten Years Hence speaker series, “Business for the Common Good,” provides a unique opportunity for students from all disciplines to engage in the Forum discussion during the spring semester.

“This is a course that picks out themes that are likely to shape the future over the next 10 years,” Conlon said. “It brings in people who are experts on the subject matter or are highly involved in the issues at hand.”

Bayh’s lecture, “Government and the Common Good,” will take place Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Leighton Concert Hall of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC). Tickets will be available to the public at the DPAC ticket office one hour prior to the event. Tickets are free but are limited to two per person.