Former Senator Gary Hart, who was instrumental in producing an extensive recent report about national security, will be the first speaker in a new Yale lecture series in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Hart will speak Tuesday night and begin the series on “Democracy, Security, and Justice: Perspectives on the American Future” that will last at least through the end of the semester, organizers said.
“It’s a moment where there’s a real need for education,” Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead said. “In my own mind, I think of all the lecture series that are starting up as a kind of para-curriculum … It’s something alongside the regular curriculum.”
Brodhead said topics of discussion may include Islamic culture, modern intelligence and the morality of retaliatory action.
The plan is for speakers from inside and outside the Yale community to talk at Battell Chapel on most or all Sunday nights starting the weekend after the Tercentennial celebration.
Although the series will usually run on Sundays, Hart will kick off the series this Tuesday because that is when he can come to campus and organizers said they thought he would make an excellent first speaker.
“It was just a natural to start this off with Gary,” said History professor John Gaddis, who is helping to organize the series.
Hart has worked extensively on security issues in recent years.
In the spring, a commission he co-chaired with former Senator Warren Rudman presented an extensive report entitled “Seeking A National Strategy: A Concert for Preserving Security and Promoting Freedom.”
Some of Hart’s predictions about terrorism seem eerily prescient now. A headline from a December 13, 1999-January 17, 2000 Yale Bulletin and Calendar article reads “Gary Hart warns of impending attack on U.S. mainland.”
Brodhead compared Hart to Cassandra, the mythical prophetess who predicted the future accurately but never was believed.
“[The Hart-Rudman report] didn’t receive the attention it clearly deserved,” Brodhead said.
Organizers said Hart is an excellent first speaker for the new series.
“He’s thinking about the relationship between democracy and security in interesting ways,” said professor Cynthia Farrar, who is coordinating the lecture series.
Hart will be on campus much of Tuesday and Wednesday and he likely also will participate in other events, Gaddis said.
The regular Sunday night talks will exist alongside many other campus events planned in reaction to the terrorist attacks.
“In no way is this intended to preempt any of that,” Farrar said.