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Notre Dame Forum to consider presidential debates

| Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Notre Dame will host a forum to analyze the 2016 presidential election in the context of previous and upcoming presidential and vice presidential debates, according to a University press release Tuesday.

This year’s Notre Dame Forum, titled “Debating Our Future,” will invite members of the Notre Dame community to join discussions surrounding the election, examining the role of debate in the democratic process, the release stated.

According to the release, the forum will also feature an analysis of past debates, led by former debate moderators Jim Lehrer and Bob Schieffer, as well as Dorothy Ridings, former president of the League of Women Voters. Lehrer, Ridings and University President Fr. John Jenkins all currently serve on the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD).

The first forum event will be held 7 p.m. on Sept. 14 in the Leighton Concert Hall of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, according to the release. Jenkins will serve as convener.

“Healthy democracies foster serious, open debate among candidates of the issues,” Jenkins said in the release. “Our focus on this year’s presidential debates will provide an opportunity to reflect on the issues, evaluate the candidates and consider the character of our nation’s electoral process.”

The CPD is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that has sponsored all presidential debates since 1988 and has led a number of additional voter education initiatives, the release stated. Jenkins was elected to the CPD’s board of directors in 2011.

According to the release, the Notre Dame Forum was launched by Jenkins in 2005 and has since featured talks by experts on a variety of issues, such as immigration, sustainability, global health, the global marketplace, K-12 education and faith.

The University will host campus debate watches and other events in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, according to the release. The CPD has announced it will host presidential debates Sept. 26, Oct. 9 and Oct. 19, with a vice presidential debate Oct. 4.

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