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2017: Safe and Free

National Conferences

Safe and Free? Civil Liberties and the Fight for National Security
A two-day symposium featuring ten prominent Furman alumni

7:00 p.m. April 10 & 11, 2017
McAlister Auditorium
Furman University

Presented by Furman University’s Riley Institute and Department of Politics and International Affairs with support from J. Kelly Sisk Fund and Mayville Fund.

Ten Furman alumni spanning five decades of the Furman experience shared their expertise during this two-day symposium. These distinguished alumni shared their knowledge and experiences not only during the evening events, which were free and open to the public, but also throughout their days on campus--in classes, over meals with students and faculty, and in other small group settings.


On April 10, “Safe and Free? Civil Liberties and the Fight for National Security” examined the current national security environment and how we address the challenges we face in an increasingly complex world. How do military strategists, intelligence agencies, diplomats, scientists and technology specialists respond to threats nimbly while working within the existing constructs and the rule of law?


On April 11, speakers weighed the value of government surveillance against the importance of Americans’ civil liberties. Edward Snowden’s leaks that shone a spotlight on questionable government surveillance practices are viewed as criminal by some and patriotic by others. Who gets to decide what is revealed and when? We want the government to be able to provide for our safety, but how willing are we to sacrifice personal freedoms for a greater sense of security? 

Hope you were able to join us April 10th and 11th for two nights of powerful and insightful presentations and discussions on these critical issues. If not, please enjoy the videos. Both sessions were moderated by tenth Furman president and historian David Shi, Furman class of 1973

To view all biographies, click here.

To read an article from Furman News about Maj. Gen. Chris Ballard, click here.

April 10: The Fight for National Security
7:00 – 8:45 p.m.

Keynote Address: America’s Current and Future National Security Challenges

Lieutenant General John Mulholland, U.S. Army, ret., Furman class of 1978, former commander, Special Operations Command Central, and former associate director for Military Affairs at the CIA

Panel Discussion:

Major General Chris Ballard, Furman class of 1984, commander, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command

Sheana Cavitt, Furman class of 2004, senior professional, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab

Jennifer Lambert, Furman class of 2001, foreign affairs officer at U.S. Department of State

April 11: Spying on Americans? Balancing Safety, Free Speech, and Privacy
7:00 – 8:45 p.m.

Keynote Address: The Case for Government Surveillance

Vice Admiral Mike McConnell, U.S. Navy, ret., Furman class of 1966, former U. S. Director of National Intelligence

Panel Discussion:

Eli Dourado, Furman class of 2002, Director of Technology Policy Program, Mercatus Center, George Mason University; incoming head of Global Policy and Communications, Boom 

Maurice Owens, Furman class of 2000, head of D.C. office for Libra and former coordinator of the White House situation room

Michael RooseveltFurman class of 1981, former CIA senior intelligence officer

Jessica Taylor, Furman class of 2007, National Public Radio’s lead digital reporter

Press Coverage

Furman Press Release (April 6, 2017), Furman Press Release (April 13, 2017)