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COVID-19 Conversations

In a time of social distancing and school closures, The Riley Institute's new video series brings Furman — and the world — into the homes of students through video chats with notable leaders.

The Riley Institute's Center for Critical Issues "brings the world to Furman" by hosting a diverse roster of speakers on campus each year. While our events are on hold due to COVID-19, we're bringing the world to the fingertips of our Advance Team, a select group of Furman students interested in government and public policy, through our new video series COVID-19 Conversations.

Each week, a few members of the Advance Team sit down for an intimate, virtual conversation with a past speaker to discuss the coronavirus's impact on life's many dimensions.

Eric Spitler, former Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, shares his perspective on the differences between the Great Recession and the evolving financial implications of COVID-19 while students inquire about the virus’ impact on the Federal Reserve and the demand for universal basic income legislation.

It was just six years ago that the Ebola virus swept across Liberia, where Deborah Malac was actively serving as U.S. ambassador. In that time, Malac played an important role in coordinating the U.S. response to the epidemic in the West African country. Revisiting what she learned as a leader during the outbreak, Malac shares why she believes transparent communication remains important as ever in the fight against COVID-19.


Episode Three: Angela Maria Kelley on Immigration

As the global community seeks to slow the spread of COVID-19, countries have imposed strict travel restrictions and shut down their borders. In the United States, the health crisis has complicated the nation’s long-standing immigration debate. Angela Maria Kelley, who currently serves as the senior strategic advisor for immigration at the nonprofit Open Society Foundations, is working to address these evolving immigration challenges firsthand.


Episode Four: Rep. Neal Collins on South Carolina’s Response Efforts

As South Carolina moves toward reopening, legislators like Rep. Neal Collins are weighing concerns on both sides of an intensifying debate about public health and the economy.

Collins, a 2004 Furman graduate who represents District 5, speaks with Advance Team members about what the state is doing to expand testing and meet the needs of students and teachers as well as communities of color.