Two Upcoming Political Forums Will Cover Foreign Policy and Presidential Primaries

January 20, 2016

Quick Facts

bullet point Mike Gerson of the Washington Post will talk Jan. 25 about the impact of the president on the policy process.
bullet point A Presidential Primary forum on Jan. 26 will shed light on why South Carolina, and particularly York County, has become so popular with candidates.

Katarina Moyon

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA — With South Carolina's presidential primaries set for February, the West Forum has set up two forums this month to help inform Winthrop University students and others about foreign policy and the crucial role the Carolinas play in presidential primaries.

Katarina Moyon, co-chair for the John C. West Forum on Politics & Policy, said the forums are nice complements to the recent visits by presidential candidates. Over the last five months, Winthrop has hosted visits from nine candidates - Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Bernie Sanders (three times), Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley, Ben Carson and Donald Trump.

Moyon added: "These events will allow students and the community a valuable opportunity to learn more about how the political process plays out. Mike Gerson of the Washington Post will be able to talk about the impact of the president on the policy process, while the Presidential Primary forum will shed light on why South Carolina, and particularly York County, has become so popular with candidates. York County residents take presidential primary campaigns seriously, this will give them a better understanding of why their role is important."

The S.C. GOP presidential primary is Feb. 20. The Democratic primary for the Palmetto State is a week later on Feb. 27. Both are the first primaries held in the South.

Here are the details:

Mike Gerson: Foreign Aid and the Race for the White House
Jan. 25 at 4:30 p.m. in G01 Owens Hall

Mike Gerson, columnist for the Washington Post and former presidential speech writer, will speak about the 2016 presidential race and the importance of foreign aid. He will also give anecdotes of his days in the White House. Gerson will discuss the importance of foreign aid in the context of national security for the U.S. and economic development, and then take questions from the audience.

Presidential Primaries: The Importance of the Carolinas
Jan. 26 at 11 a.m. in Dina's Place, DiGiorgio Campus Center

Michael Bitzer, provost and political science professor at Catawba College, and Scott Huffmon, Winthrop political science professor and director of the Winthrop Poll, will discuss the presidential primaries in North and South Carolina. They will discuss how the role of each of the states has evolved and why they are important in the presidential primary process. Jim Morrill, the political reporter for the Charlotte Observer, will be the moderator. Attendees will be given a chance to ask questions.

The West Forum, named for former S.C. Governor John West, moved to Winthrop in 2008. Its goal is to highlight the importance of civic education and citizen participation in South Carolina and around the world. He envisioned the West Forum as a place where students could be informed about issues and be trained to fill important state positions.

For more information about the forums, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at or call her at 803/323-2404.

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