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The American Project

Matt Cutler looking at American Project folder

"The American Project: On the Future of Conservatism" is a multi-year program to propel innovative ideas for reimagining the future of America's conservative movement. The American Project is led by SPP Dean Pete Peterson, and co-director, Rich Tafel. "As a program founded by the likes of James Q. Wilson, Jack Kemp, and many other leading center-right leaders and scholars, Pepperdine School of Public Policy is honored to be chosen to be the home for this critical initiative," Dean Peterson stated. "This is a critical time in our nation's history to be considering the impact America's conservative movement can and should have on our politics and policy."

In Spring 2017, SPP gathered America's leading conservative activists and thought-leaders at Pepperdine's Malibu campus to assess where the conservative movement stands today and imagine its healthy future. Following this gathering, participants produced essays and media pieces offering innovative insights on conservatism in an age of rising populism and socialism. These meetings also produced a collaborative principles document entitled "A Way Forward", which defines a concept known as a "conservative of connection." The "A Way Forward" document was launched at a panel event at Pepperdine's Washington, DC Campus in October, 2017.

In the summer of 2018, SPP hosted, "Toward a Conservatism of Connection: Reclaiming the American Project" a three-day conference that first examined this crisis in conversation with researchers, followed by a look at the "Conservatism of Connection" through the lenses of public policy, religious liberty, and foreign policy. Panelists included leading academics, pundits, and activists.

 

Watch Toward a Conservatism of Connection: Reclaiming the American Project — June 2018


Reclaiming the American Project: The Strange Road to a Conservatism of Connection

Speakers:
Pete Peterson, Dean, School of Public Policy
Richard Tafel, Co-founder, the American Project


The Social Psychology of a Nation Coming Apart

Speakers:
Pete Peterson, Dean, School of Public Policy
Francis Hart Broghammer, Resident Physician, UC Irvine Medical Center


Little Platoons and Big Ideas: Conservatism and the Art of Connection

Moderator:
Ted McAllister, Edward L. Gaylord Chair, Associate Professor of public policy
Panelists:
Jeremy Beer, Chairman of the board, the American Conservative
Timothy Carney, Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute 
Elizabeth Corey, Associate Professor of political science, Baylor University
Joshua Mitchell, Professor of political theory, Georgetown University
Daniel Garza,  President, The LIBRE Initiative


Dinner and Keynote Address: Trump—Symptom or Catalyst?

Speaker:
Victor Davis Hanson, Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution


The Wisdom of Solomon: Finding the Balance in America's Religious Liberty

Moderator:
Rich Tafel, Cofounder, the American Project
Panelists:
Stephanie Barclay, Associate Professor, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University
Bruce Frohnen, Ella and Ernest Fisher Chair, Pettit College of Law, Ohio Northern University
Cherie Harder, President, The Trinity Forum
Suhail A. Khan, Director, External Affairs, Microsoft Corporation
Monica Mehta, Managing Principal, Seventh Capital


Viewpoint Diversity: Restoring American Higher Education as the Marketplace of Ideas

Moderator:
Pete N. Peterson, Dean, School of Public Policy and Co-founder, the American Project
Panelists:
Kaitlyn S. Carwin (MPP '18), Contributing Editor, the American Project
James Kirchick, Visiting Fellow, Center on the United States and Europe and Project on International Order and Strategy, Brookings Institution
Heather MacDonald, Thomas W. Smith Fellow, Manhattan Institute
Sarah Ruger, Director, Free Expression, Charles Koch Institute
Jon Shields, Associate Professor, Claremont McKenna College


Bill and Ted's Excellent Conversation: Why Conservatives Must Think
Historically

Speakers:
Ted V. McAllister, Edward L. Gaylord Chair and Associate Professor, School of Public Policy
Wilfred "Bill" McClay, G. T. and Libby Blankenship Chair, University of Oklahoma


Protecting Us Against Attack: What Is the Evolving Role of Foreign Engagement for America?

Moderator:
Terry McCarthy, President and CEO, Los Angeles World Affairs Council
Panelists:
Robert G. Kaufman, Robert and Katheryn Dockson Professor, School of Public Policy
William Ruger, Vice President, Research and Policy, Charles Koch Institute
Elizabeth Spalding, Associate Professor, Claremont McKenna College
Ryan Williams, President, The Claremont Institute


E Pluribus vs. Unum?: Conservatives and the Fight for the Underdog

Moderator:
Rich Tafel, Cofounder, the American Project
Panelists:
Ruben Barrales, President and CEO, Grow Elect
Art Estopinan, President, The Estopinan Group, LLC
Sarah Longwell, Senior Vice President, Berman and Company
Joshua Mitchell, Professor, Georgetown University
Avik Roy, President, The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity
John Wood, Jr., Director, Media Development, Better Angels


What Can Trump and Reagan Teach Us About the Future Leader of a Conservative Coalition?

Discussants:
Steve Hayward, Senior Resident Scholar, Institute of Governmental Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Henry Olsen, Senior Fellow, Ethics & Public Policy Center


A Way Forward: Next Steps for the Project

Speakers:
Pete N. Peterson, Dean, School of Public Policy and Cofounder, the American Project
Rich Tafel, Cofounder, the American Project


From Theory To Practice: Practical Steps to Transform Conservative Policy

Moderator:
Pete N. Peterson, Dean, School of Public Policy and Cofounder, the American Project
Panelists:
Rachel Barkley, Director of Outreach, House Republican Conference, US House of Representatives
Lanhee Chen, David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow, Hoover Institution
Tony Mills, Managing Editor, Real Clear Policy
Ryan Streeter, Director, Domestic Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute
Robert Traynham, Head, Public Policy Communications, Facebook


2017

The American Project: On the Future of Conservatism - DC Panel

Moderator:
Pete N. Peterson, Dean, School of Public Policy and Cofounder, the American Project
Jimmy Kemp, President, Jack Kemp Foundation
Panelists:
Richard Tafel, Raffa Social Capital Advisors
Ryan Streeter, American Enterprise Institute
Elizabeth Spalding, Professor, Claremont McKenna College
Abby Skeans, Glossator Advising
Joshua Mitchell, Professor, Georgetown University