Regent University Robertson School of Government Dean's Corner
Dear RSG Friends,
February is a busy month at RSG. We have a number of events on campus about the ethics of power and leadership, whether applied to war, statesmanship, law, or the media.
This month our students will attend RSG's Ronald Reagan Symposium, led by Associate Professor Jeffry Morrison, and hear from world-class speakers like author Amity Shlaes, essayist Claire Berlinksi, Reagan Oral History Project Director Stephen Knott (now at the Naval War College) and Reagan Centennial chairman Stewart McLaurin. In class, our students will learn from Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Vernon Clark (ret.) and former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Our next major event is a conference on ethics and the media, co-sponsored with Regent's School of Communication and the Arts. More details about that event can be found here.
These events remind one that RSG's mission is to "train leaders in the Judeo-Christian principles" that underlie our society. We are committed to analysis and exploration of the ethics of governing in every sphere.
Eric Patterson, Ph.D.
Dean, Robertson School of Government
For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.
Dean Eric Patterson with bust of Abraham Kuyper at The Free University (Amsterdam).
Eric Patterson, Dean of the Robertson School of Government, was a senior advisor and keynote speaker at the second annual Abraham Kuyper seminar at The Free University (Amsterdam, The Netherlands). The conference theme was "Christianity and World Affairs" and Dean Patterson spoke on the topic: "Christian Realism for the 21st Century." Patterson says, "Christian realism is a way of thinking about politics in the tradition of Augustine and Reinhold Niebuhr. It applies the Christian understanding of human sin and a fallen world to political issues of power, pride, and security." He also emphasizes human potential (imago Dei) and moral responsibility.
The Kuyper seminar is named for Dutch prime minister, journalist, theologian, and founder of The Free University, Abraham Kuyper. His work has become well-known in recent years due to the popularization by Francis Schaeffer and Charles Colson of Kuyper's notions of sphere sovereignty and Christian worldview. "I was deeply honored to participate in the seminar and to emphasize key themes that Kuyper would have appreciated from his vantage as a statesman and as a Christian."
Juliana Melton and Tao Tang, RSG Senators with Regent University's Council of Graduate Students, began the semester with a plan in mind.
As COGS representatives, Melton and Tang work to provide a bridge between RSG students and Regent University's administration by building community, supporting a quality academic environment, and facilitating the interchange of ideas and interests for students.
From planning student events such a Dinner with the Dean or scheduling a townhall meeting, Melton says, "As a COGS Senator, I am called to lead and serve my school well. We not only plan events, but we also advocate for the needs of our students." Tang agrees, "It is our role to be available to help students and bring suggestions and concerns to the school administration."
Fluent in Spanish, Melton hopes to work in International Relations upon graduating from RSG with an M.A. in Government. She says her favorite class was Christian Foundations of Government taught by Dr. Eric Patterson, RSG Dean. The class emphasizes classical Christian thinking on issues of citizenship, virtue, and politics. Students read Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Niebuhr, Bonhoeffer, Colson, Wilberforce, and other Christian giants. "Dr. Patterson did an excellent job of incorporating faith and reason into our learning experience. I cannot imagine my Regent experience without this course."
Tang, a native of Shenzhen, China is fluent in two other languages (Japanese and English). He hopes to work in the nation's capital for an international organization upon graduating. When asked about his experience at RSG as an international student, Tang says, "The dean, the professors, and the staff are a great support and resource for the students. In addition to a quality education, the personal care and attention after class prepares students as well."
Both Melton and Tang are inspired by the Regent motto, "Christian Leadership to Change the World." They work to engage RSG students to be involved in events and the success of RSG.
Learn more about COGS.
Reagan Symposium Addresses "A Time for Choosing"
On Friday, Feb. 7, Regent University's Robertson School of Government hosted the 9th Annual Reagan Symposium: "A Time for Choosing." Featuring a panel of seven experts, the event honored the 50th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's televised campaign speech given on behalf of Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater in 1964.
Known for its soaring rhetoric and no-nonsense approach to conservatism, the speech launched Reagan to national political prominence and helped set the tone for the next 25 years of his career.
Amity Shlaes, Forbes columnist and New York Times bestselling author kicked off the event with her paper, "The President Who Said 'No': Calvin Coolidge." Shlaes is also the chairman of the board of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation and drew parallels between Reagan and Coolidge in her presentation.
Read the full story.
Religion and Violence in the Middle East
Eric Patterson, Dean of the Robertson School of Government, provided a briefing on "Religion and Violence in the Middle East" for civilian government experts on the campus of Joint Reserve Base Anacostia-Bolling on January 30. Dr. Patterson's lecture focused on key themes regarding religion and violence that are found in his book Politics in a Religious World: Toward a Religiously-Literate U.S. Foreign Policy (2012). He observes, "despite all of the violence in Africa and the Middle East, it is historically about power, position, and wealth rather than about theology. The same is true about other so-called 'wars of religion:' nobody was killing over theology and scripture in Northern Ireland or Lebanon. First and foremost they were competing for primacy and scarce resources."
Patterson goes on to note, "However, it is also clear that religious factors can deepen and broaden a conflict. Most often, it is religion-as-group-identity (e.g. Lebanese Maronites vs. Sunnis) or the manipulation of religious symbols (Orthodox Serbs vs. Catholic Croats) by elites that draws religious factors into the conflict."
His briefing focused on trends in the Middle East through 2025. "I am sad to report that almost all trends are negative for the region," he says. "The political, economic, and demographic factors are all pointed in the direction of further instability for the next decade and beyond. And, when religious factors do play a role, they are not very helpful. For instance, most violence in the region is Muslims killing Muslims and the main geo-political fracture is the Saudi-Iranian (i.e. Wahabbi-Sunni vs. Shia) contest in the Gulf. These divisions are simply not going to go away."
Patterson says the main purpose of the briefing was to highlight how to distinguish between religious and cultural variables on the one hand and non-religious factors causing violence on the other. This will assist analysts, diplomats, military personnel, and aid workers representing the U.S. government in foreign context that are highly religious.
"Christian Views of Peace" Debate Sparks Conversation
Regent University's School of Divinity partnered with the Robertson School of Government (RSG) to host a dialogue, "Christian Views of Peace: Non-Violence vs. Just War," on Tuesday, Feb. 4. Moderated by Divinity Dean, Dr. Amos Yong, Dr. Eric Patterson spoke from the just war position while guest lecturer, Dr. John Fairfield, a professor and research fellow for Eastern Mennonite University's Center for Interfaith Engagement, spoke from a non-violence perspective.
Fairfield began the conversation with his stance on non-violence. "I use the metaphor of the surgeon's scalpel. Every cut is a wound, a trauma which must heal. We only let the most highly trained individuals who know how to heal wield a scalpel. Likewise, it takes great skill to execute the rule of law correctly. [When we use violence] we abuse the rule of law and make a monster of it. We must not use coercion beyond our competence of the trauma it causes."
Read the full story.
Ethics and Media in News Culture Conference
Regent University's School of Communication & the Arts and the Robertson School of Government are collaborating to present our first Ethics in Media and News Culture conference from Friday, March 21 to Saturday, March 22, 2014 at Regent University. We will have keynote speakers, including scholars and professionals. Our esteemed doyen of communication ethics, Dr. Clifford Christians, has agreed to serve as a keynote speaker. The conference will focus on the ethical responsibility of media sources that collaborate with self-proclaimed "whistleblowers" who leak classified information and will provide a forum for the sharing of ideas, presentation of research findings and discussion of professional issues relevant to media ethics. Also among the speakers is RSG Adjunct Professor, Rear Admiral Larry Baucom (USN, Ret.).
Read the official "Call for Papers."
View event details
Executive Leadership Series
Thursday, February 13, 2014
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Saturday, March 15, 2014
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