Institute of Politics previews speakers for Winter Quarter

United States Ambassador to Sweden Mark Brzezinski and his wife, journalist and blogger Natalia Brzezinski, will kick off the UChicago Institute of Politics 2014 Winter Quarter speaker series on Jan. 7 with a presentation titled “U.S.-Sweden: Shared Responsibilities for Humanity’s Future.”   

The speech will be followed by the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the UChicago institute and the U.S. Embassy in Sweden, which has agreed to provide annual internship opportunities for UChicago students at the embassy so they can gain practical working experience in foreign affairs. This will be the institute’s first international internship partnership since its inception in early 2013. 

Ambassador Brzezinski, a European security expert, was appointed by President Obama in 2011 to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Sweden. He and his wife blog regularly about their experiences in Sweden on their website, “Brzezinski Blog,” and Natalia also writes on women’s leadership in the United States and Sweden for the Huffington Post.   

The event will take place at noon Jan. 7 at the Institute of Politics building at 5707 S. Woodlawn Ave. Attendees are advised to take precautions for the cold weather.

Other highlights for the institute’s 2014 Winter Quarter events, which are free and open to the public, include:

Friday, Jan. 10: In the wake of the U.S. economic crisis, the widening gap between the rich and the poor has drawn unprecedented public attention. University of California-Berkeley professor, former U.S. Labor Secretary and noted economic policy expert Robert Reich’s documentary Inequality For All explores how the extreme inequality the U.S. is now facing can be traced to economic and policy changes that began over 30 years ago. After the screening, Reich will take questions from the audience moderated by Institute of Politics Director David Axelrod. (7 p.m., Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St.)

Monday, Jan. 13: Axelrod will moderate “On Grace & Politics: A Conversation with Anna Deavere Smith and Toni Preckwinkle.” The conversation is based on Smith’s work in progress, On Grace, which explores the idea of grace in multiple disciplines. Smith is a renowned actress/playwright known for her roles in Nurse Jackie, The West Wing and others. (7 p.m., Logan Center for the Arts) 

Wednesday, Jan. 15: The University of Chicago's Martin Luther King Celebration 2014 will feature a keynote address by Deval Patrick, governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since 2006. A community reception will be held in Ida Noyes Hall immediately following the celebration. (6 p.m., Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave.)

As part of its ongoing partnership with the University of Chicago’s MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, the Institute of Politics will host three lunchtime programs on Ethical Issues in Health Care Reform:  

Wednesday, Jan. 8: Assoc. Prof. Elbert Huang will discuss “The Impact of Health Reform on the Doctor-Patient Relationship.” Huang, director of the Center for Translational and Policy Research of Chronic Diseases, is a general internist who studies clinical and health care policy issues at the intersection of diabetes, aging, and health economics. His research examines the constraints, either clinical or financial, that health care providers encounter when caring for patients with chronic diseases.

Wednesday, Jan. 29: Nancy Ann DeParle will discuss “The ACA & the Transformation of American Health Care.” DeParle, a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, was director of the White House Office of Health Reform. She is best known as a chief architect of the Affordable Care Act and served as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services during the Clinton administration.

Wednesday, March 5: Bechara Choucair, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health since 2009, will deliver a talk on “Healthy Chicago & The Affordable Care Act.” With the full support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Choucair recently unveiled “Healthy Chicago,” the first citywide comprehensive public health agenda.