Friday, November 07, 2014

Recap: 2014 Scholars & Policymakers Symposium

The two-day Scholars & Policymakers Symposium here at the Richard B. Russell Library came to an end last Tuesday, and it was a success! We were so lucky to have remarkable speakers, panelists, and moderators here to join us for this occasion celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Library. Thank you to all who participated!

Each of the four panel sessions covered one of our established collecting areas: politics of public good, social relations, economy, and environment. By having three panelists and a moderator for each, attendees heard a variety of viewpoints from individuals with different research specialties and life experiences. While opinions of those on a given panel may have differed, each discussion as a whole shed light on the topics at hand.

Throughout the symposium there was praise for the library’s namesake, Richard B. Russell. The event kicked off with opening remarks from Norman Underwood, current chairman of the Russell Library Foundation, who thanked the the Library's director Sheryl Vogt, for giving, “40 years and most of her heart to furthering Senator Russell's legacy and preserving his papers."

Without the strong foundation provided by the Richard B. Russell Collection, the Library could not have expanded in scope and collecting to the wide array of political papers it now holds. And truly, the core of this programming initiative was to recognize the scholarship that has grown from these archival holdings. From discussion of  early transportation efforts, labor unions, and the National School Lunch Program, to the history of race relations in the South, Georgia’s agricultural economy and poultry industry, and national security and foreign relations during the 1950s and 60s -- scholars reported clearly that their explorations through the collections of the Richard B. Russell Library provided great help in producing rich, new insights into modern American history.

Chris Lopez, oral history and audiovisual archivist, was able to record all of the panel sessions. The full video should be up on the YouTube channel soon. In the meantime, our staff has created an audio playlist on SoundCloud. We hope you enjoy the re-listening to the program, or enjoying it for the first time!

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