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Program The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress

Congressional Programs

Through conversations with scholars and public intellectuals, the Kluge Center plays a leading role at the Library of Congress in bringing innovative thinking to members of Congress and their staff.

Through conversations with scholars and public intellectuals, the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress plays a leading role in bringing innovative thinking to members of Congress and their staff.

The Kluge Center was created to bring together scholars and researchers from around the world to use the Library's rich resources and to interact with policymakers and the public. The Center's charter envisions it as a venue to "reinvigorate the interconnection between thought and action," and to meet these goals the Center has developed a number of programs for members of Congress and their staff.

Kluge Conversations

Kluge Conversations are special, members-only, off-the-record discussions with Kluge scholars and other prominent thinkers on issues of importance to Congress. They provide members of Congress with a non-partisan space to consider significant matters with some of the world's leading minds. Over breakfast, members are encouraged to engage in a dialogue with the speaker about issues of national and international significance. Past speakers have included, among others:

  • JD Vance
  • Yuval Levin
  • David Brooks
  • Alice Rivlin
  • Tara Westover
  • Bill Nye
  • Tim Hwang
  • Amy Mainzer
  • Tyler Cowen
  • David Ignatius
  • Minxin Pei

Kluge Scholars

The Kluge Center’s scholars-in-residence are available to engage Members in high level thinking about major challenges facing the nation. Current scholars in residence include:

  • Carla Freeman (Johns Hopkins University), specialist on US-China relations
  • Jesse Holland, author of the Black Panther series and How Slaves Built the Capitol
  • Susan Schneider (University of Connecticut), author of Artificial You, internationally renowned scholar who researches the impact of artificial intelligence
  • Constanze Stelzenmüller, leading authority on Germany’s role in Europe, and its relationship to Russia
  • Hal Brands, historian and scholar of international affairs.
  • Sarah Binder, political scientist and expert on the politics of legislative institutions.

US-China Relations and US-Russia Relations

Watch some of our past public and congressional events on US-China relations and US-Russia relations:

Sino-Russian Partnership vs. The American Interest

Are Sanctions on Russia Working?

Russia and US Elections

Creative or Destructive Force? Covid-19 and the European Democracies

Dinner events for congressional staff are made possible by generous support from the Carnegie Corporation.

Dinner & Democracy

Dinner and Democracy seminars focus on timely policy issues for high-level congressional staff. The format allows prominent subject matter experts to present research about key policy issues. Expert presentations are followed by a chance for participants to engage and to shape the conversation in an off-the-record venue. Often, historic and sometimes rare Library collections pertinent to the topic are also displayed at the event. Following the seminar, dinner provides staff with the opportunity to interact with colleagues across offices, chambers, and parties.

“The series was a great experience from beginning to end. Each of the sessions drew lively participation, and I made connections with staffers from both chambers and both parties in the discussions before and after.” –Senate Committee Counsel

Dinner & Democracy Series IV: Budgets and Spending

The fourth series looks at policymaking decisions around budgets, deficits, and social spending and consists of two interactive seminars, one focusing on lessons learned from the reforms that saved Social Security in 1983, and one on how to think about the accumulating federal debt.

This series is made possible by generous support from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

Dinner & Democracy Series III: The Promise and Perils of Data-Driven Policymaking (May-September 2019)

Rebecca Goldin, George Mason University

Martin Hilbert, University of California, Davis

The third series examined lessons learned from using data science to inform policy-making, and discussed some of the theoretical implications of machine learning, as well as the possible limitations of using data to inform policy choices. Participants examined case studies on the connection between video games and aggressive behavior, and learned about Simpson’s Paradox and other challenges with data.

This series was made possible by generous support from the Democracy Fund.

Dinner & Democracy Series II: Separation of Powers (May-August 2018)

Eric Schickler, University of California, Berkeley

Frances Lee, University of Maryland

The second series focused on three major inflection points in Congress's relationship with the other branches of government. Schickler and Lee presented case studies examining the historical context, focusing in particular on the separation-of-powers considerations behind congressional decision-making on three major pieces of legislation. They also looked for lessons relevant for Congress today.

This series was made possible by generous support from the Democracy Fund.

Dinner & Democracy Series I (August-December 2017)

David Moss, Harvard Business School

These discussions used case studies of key points in the development of American democracy to facilitate a better understanding of the legislative process and the art of compromise.

This series was made possible by generous support from the MacArthur Foundation.

For more information on these or other questions regarding our congressional programs contact us at or 202-707-3302.


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Scholarly Programs from the Kluge Center