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About the Center for Critical Issues

Leadership, Knowledge, Impact

Beginning in 2003, the Riley Institute has hosted a string of high-quality symposia that “bring the world” to Furman and the broader community so students and others may hear diverse perspectives on critical issues.  


National conferences and other convenings focusing on issues of politics and policy occur throughout the year. They bring a nonpartisan lens to a broad spectrum of such critical emerging issues as the environment, national security, healthcare policy, women and politics, urban politics and policies, and globalization and political economy. Numerous internationally recognized speakers have headlined these events, including Bill Clinton, Christine Todd Whitman, Newt Gingrich, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Tom Brokaw, David Petraeus, Stapleton Roy, Mike McConnell, Howard Baker, Marian Wright Edelman and many more. The Institute’s 25-member student Advance Team assists with event management and speaker logistics. 


In addition to events on campus, the Riley Institute’s investment in developing strong bipartisan, policy-driven leadership finds expression statewide through a variety of annual programs throughout the state. Annual events include the annual Law and Society event, hosted in partnership with the Charleston School of Law and the Wilkins legislative and civic awards dinner. The Center’s expert convening capacity also supports and undergirds the work of the Center for Education Policy and Leadership through the annual Dick and Tunky Riley awards luncheon and the work of the Center for Diversity Strategies through the OneSouthCarolina event, the statewide gathering of DLI alumni. It also partner with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute to present the annual four-week long StraightTalk SC summer speaker series.


The Center for Critical Issues’ Fellows in Residence program showcases the Institute's deep commitment to Furman's engaged learning approach. Preeminent national and international scholars and experts are on campus for a week to teach classes, give public addresses, meet with students individually or in groups, and meet with citizens in the Greenville area and around the state. 

For more information please call Jill Fuson, Director of the Institute’s Center for Critical Issues (CCI) at 864.294.3280 or