Member Activities

In 2020, Truman HQ hosted dozens of events focused on issues ranging from Hong Kong to the Transatlantic Relationship to the future of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. We also hosted a number of book talks with authors such as George Packer, Dan Drezner, Mira Rapp-Hooper, Ganesh Sitaraman, Stephen Wertheim, and Elizabeth Shackelford. Some of our events and links are included below!

Truman Highlights:

May 28, 2020:
“Truman Book Chat With George Packer,” a book talk with legendary U.S. foreign policy journalist and author George Packer on his latest book, “Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and The End,” moderated by Truman President & CEO Jenna Ben-Yehuda.
June 22, 2020:
“Fragility & the Global Development Agenda Under COVID-19” with Nancy Lindborg, President and CEO of the United States Institute of Peace and Lois Quam, President and CEO of Pathfinder International, and Jenna Ben-Yehuda on the future of global development efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Democracy and Development Expert Group)
June 30, 2020:
“Shields of the Republic,” a book talk with Mira-Rapp Hooper and Tyson Barker, moderated by Transatlantic Expert Group Leader, Laura Kupe. (Transatlantic Expert Group)
July 8, 2020:
“The Dissent Channel” a discussion with Elizabeth Shackelford, John Dinger, moderated by Truman Board Member Lionel C. Johnson focused on strengthening dissent opportunities at the State Department, how to rebuild U.S. diplomatic tools, and the future of the State Department more broadly. (Homeland Security Community Resilience Expert Group)
July 14, 2020:
“US-North Korea Relations amid COVID-19,” featuring Derek Stewart, Elizabeth Beavers, and Jean Lee discussing prospects for trust-building and future bilateral talks. (Asia Expert Group)
July 24, 2020:
“Federal Police in American Cities and the Future of Domestic Security”, a member-only discussion with Carrie Cordero, Robert M. Gates Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security; and CNN Legal and National Security Analyst. (Homeland Security Community Resilience Expert Group)
August 6, 2020:
“The Great Democracy,” a Truman Book Talk on national security with Ganesh Sitaraman, Chancellor Faculty Fellow, Professor of Law, & Director of the Program in Law and Government at Vanderbilt Law School, moderated by Truman EVP Jon Margolick.
September 16, 2020:
“The Future of US Policy in Latin America with Juan Gonzalez and Rebecca Bill Chavez,” a conversation with former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Westen Hemisphere Affairs, Juan Gonzalez, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Dr. Rebecca Bill Chavez. Moderated by Truman Americas Expert Group leader, David Heaton. (Americas Expert Group)
December 8, 2020:
"Tomorrow, The World," a Book Talk with Dr. Stephen Wertheim," a discussion where Dr. Stephen Wertheim, Deputy Director of Research at the Quincy Institute, traces America’s transformation to the crucible of World War II, especially in the months prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
December 15, 2020:
“Toward a Progessive Transatlantic Future: Voices from the Next Generation,” a discussion with next generation Transatlantic security experts exploring topics ranging from the NATO alliance to climate change to changing demographics, as well as their vision for the Transatlantic relationship moving forward in the Biden-Harris administration. Featuring Cindy Romero, former Strategic Communications Advisor, USAID, and Truman members Tyson Barker, Head of the Tech and Foreign Policy Program, German Council on Foreign Relations; Laura Kupe, Counsel, House Committee on Homeland Security; and Jeff Mankoff, Non-Resident Senior Associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and moderated by Rachel Rizzo, Programs Director, Truman Center & Truman National Security Project. (Transatlantic Expert Group)

Our efforts outside of Washington, DC have helped elevate concerns in our communities, while also raising the profile of the Truman brand. Truman Chapters reflect the geographic diversity that is unique to the US, which also reflects the social and economic realities that are so often a factor in how foreign policy is perceived. Holding meaningful events that allow Chapter members to tap into the security concerns of local communities presents the Chapter and its members as trusted, credible validators of progressive national security and foreign policy. These engagements make national security and foreign policy accessible for the surrounding community when they otherwise might -- and often do --  appear removed from everyday life outside of the Beltway. 

Highlights from 2020: 

After the onset of the novel coronavirus, members working in local government in various cities across the country came together to form the COVID-19 Response Working Group. Together, they shared resources to assess phased reopening metrics. Members also shared tools such as interactive scorecards and a frontline guide for operational decision-makers, and discussed inter-state collaboration initiatives. 

Several Truman Chapters held events highlighting white nationalism as a national security threat. Our Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco Chapters co-hosted a combined event highlighting the racist rhetoric directed toward the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in the wake of the coronavirus. Panelists discussed the security implications of racism and the demonization of minority groups to a wide audience of attendees listening in from all over the country. The Truman Seattle Chapter hosted a notable event marking the 3rd anniversary of the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. The event featured Congressman Adam Smith and Truman members.  

Truman Headquarters (HQ) also denounced white nationalism and the violent rhetoric directed toward protesters demonstrating in response to police killings of Black Americans. Notable actions include: our declaration that racism is a national security issue; a public statement against the use of  military force on American civilians; and the unlawful presence of unidentified federal law enforcement officers in Portland, Oregon. 

In August 2020, Truman co-produced its first ever podcast in partnership with Truman member Bunmi Akinnusotu, host of the What in the World? podcast. The episode took a deep look into the world’s reaction as the US grappled with protests and racial injustice, its own democratic values, and the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.