Responding to the tragedies at the World Trade Towers, approximately 300 alumni in the New York City area gathered on November 28 for "September 11: Meeting the Terrorist Challenge," organized by the Duke University Metropolitan Alumni Association (DUMAA) and the Alumni Affairs clubs program. The program was inspired by President Nannerl O. Keohane, from her remarks at the Leadership Conference in late September, when she relayed how the campus responded with panel discussions and forums after the tragic event.
DUMAA president Susan Callahan '86, who was among the leaders attending the weekend conference, approached clubs director George Dorfman '85, A.M. '01 about organizing an educational forum for alumni, parents, and friends of Duke in the New York area. Dorfman pulled it together within two weeks, with the help and underwriting of Leslie Bains, the parent of two recent Duke graduates. Dorfman lined up two faculty experts: Bruce Jentleson, public policy and political science professor and director of the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, and Christopher Schroeder, Charles S. Murphy Professor of Law and public policy studies professor.
Jentleson, who spoke on the foreign-policy aspects of the terrorist acts, is the author of numerous articles, including "American Foreign Policy: The Dynamics of Choice in the Twenty-first Century," for a project of the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. Schroeder, who discussed domestic and legal issues raised by the attacks, is director of the Public Law program and co-chair of the Center for the Study of Congress, both at Duke. He has served as acting assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department and as chief counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Held in the lobby of HSBC USA Bank on Fifth Avenue, the free event began with a reception, followed by the two speakers and a question-and-answer period. According to Dorfman, the professors said they were pleasantly surprised and impressed by the questions people asked. The mood of the evening, says Dorfman, was "thoughtful," not somber, and those attending seemed "grateful, as life began returning to normal in the city, to have had the opportunity to learn more about what had actually occurred."
"Aside from addressing a significant alumni request," he says, "I think this event shows that Duke can meet the needs of one of our constituencies in a creative and responsive manner."