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Washington Post columnist visits Grand Rapids

Posted on August 27, 2008

E. J. Dionne, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington Post columnist, and commentator on NPR, CNN, and NBC's "Meet the Press," will deliver a keynote address about the revival of civil society in America.

The event is sponsored by Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies and Advocates for Senior Issues, with a grant from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation.

Dionne’s keynote address, “Democracy’s Challenge: Reclaiming the Public’s Role,” will be held Thursday, September 18, at 7 p.m., at St. Cecilia Music Society, at 24 Ransom St. in downtown Grand Rapids. The event is free and open to the public.

The evening will also include:

• College Student Panel
Hauenstein Center Director Gleaves Whitney will moderate the evening and participate in panel discussions. Other participants include Diana Sieger, president of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, and students Caron Creighton (Michigan State University), Aaron Dame (Michigan State University), and Laura Vlieg (Loyola University).

• Community Panel & Questions
The evening will conclude with a nine-member community panel answering questions from the audience. Panelists include:
  • Rev. Tom Couch, Calvary Church
  • Stephen Drew, Drew Cooper & Anding, Attorneys and Counselors
  • DeDe Esque, Nokomis Foundation and League of Women Voters
  • Martha Gonzalez-Cortes, the Hispanic Center
  • Shelley Irwin, WGVU-TV & Radio
  • Bob Levine, M.D., retired surgeon and Legislative Board member of Advocates for Senior Issues
  • Alice O’Connor, Executive Board, Advocates for Senior Issues
  • Shana Shroll, West Michigan Executive Office for the Secretary of State
  • Colin Sullivan, Teacher and “We the People” coach, Hudsonville High School
E. J. Dionne is a twice-weekly columnist for the Washington Post, writing on national policy and politics. He spent 14 years at The New York Times, covering local, state, and national politics, and also served as a foreign correspondent in Paris, Rome and Beirut. Dionne began his column for the Washington Post in 1993. He is a university professor at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution. Dionne has been a frequent commentator on politics for National Public Radio, ABC’s “This Week,” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.” His book Why Americans Hate Politics (1991), won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a National Book Award nominee.

For more information, contact the Hauenstein Center at (616) 331-2770, or visit

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