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.
The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress 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 for the Library to "reinvigorate the interconnection between thought and action at a high level," and to meet these goals the Center has developed a number of programs to help promote the Center to members of Congress and their staff.
Kluge Conversations are special members-only, off-the-record discussions with Kluge scholars and other prominent thinkers on issues of importance to Congress. They are intended to provide to members of Congress a non-partisan space to consider topical matters with some of the world's leading minds. At these events, over an intimate breakfast, members are encouraged to engage in a true two-way conversation with the speaker about current issues important to Congress. Past speakers have included, among many others:
- JD Vance
- David Brooks
- Alice Rivlin
- Bill Nye
- Amy Mainzer
- David Ignatius
Dinner & Democracy Series
Dinner & Democracy Series I (August-December 2017)
The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress hosted four special bicameral, bipartisan discussions for congressional staff with award-winning Harvard Business School professor David Moss. These monthly discussions leveraged case studies of key points in the development of American democracy to help facilitate a better understanding of the legislative process and the art of compromise. The sessions also provided an opportunity for across-the-aisle engagement among senior congressional staff in an off-the-record, social setting.
This series was made possible by a generous donation by the MacArthur Foundation. External
"I thoroughly appreciated attending Professor Moss' seminars, because they reinvigorated all the reasons why I first wanted to be a public servant and work for Congress. It is easy to fall susceptible to the cynicism that exists on the Hill—the politics can wear people down until we all have an 'us versus them' mentality. However, through Professor Moss' seminars, I wa sreminded of the founding principles upon which our Constitution was built on—principles that were just as, if not more, complex and convoluted as ones we debate today. And I thought, if our founding fathers could debate, negotiate, and come to an agreement back then—well, we could do it today too."
- Senate Committee staffer
"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 chamber sand both parties in the discussions before and after. As someone who has both taken and taught history classes, these sessions were remarkably well done, and a real pleasure to attend. The issues were framed in interesting ways, and Professor Moss did an excellent job of managing the discussion. And it was a particular pleasure to visit some relevant primary documents from the Library's collections before the sessions began."
- Senate Committee Counsel
Dinner & Democracy Series II: Separation of Powers (May-August 2018)
Building on the successful Dinner & Democracy series for Congressional staff last year, the Kluge Center is hosting a second semester focused on three major inflection points in Congress's relationship with the other branches of government. For the three sessions, two popular political science professors—Dr. Eric Schickler from the University of California, Berkeley, and Dr. Frances Lee from the University of Maryland—will present 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 and look at lessons to be learned for Congress today. The second series topics cover:
- Empowering the First Branch:
The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 was arguably Congress's first serious effort to cope with its role in legislating and oversight for a government that had grown immensely after the New Deal and WWII. This discussion will explore the political conditions which encourage or enable a major reorganization of the legislative branch of government and what lessons this action has for today's Congress.
- Congressional Control of the Federal Bureaucracy:
The Administrative Procedures Act of 1946 was the seminal action by Congress to institutionalize the regulatory process in the executive branch after the dramatic expansion of the federal government during this period. This discussion will explore the conditions leading up to this action, its long term consequences, and the current state of the relationship between Congress and the regulatory system.
- The Power of a Budget: Reasserting Congressional Prerogative:
The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 was passed in the context of clashes between presidents and Congress on numerous fronts, as well as other major legislative action. This discussion will explore how the Act represented an attempt to reassert legislative prerogatives in the fiscal realm, an attempt that has major ramifications to this day.
This series was made possible by a generous donation from Democracy Fund. External
Library of Congress Chairs in U.S.–China and U.S.–Russia Relations
Thanks to a grant from the Carnegie Corporation External of New York, the Library of Congress has established two chairs at the John W. Kluge Center specializing in U.S.-Russia and U.S.-China relations. The chairs will lead policy-relevant research, programming, and bipartisan legislative discussion on U.S. relations with Russia and China. The focus will be on the present state of relations and the public policy challenges likely to face legislators in the future. The Chairs in U.S.-Russia and U.S.-China Relations are appointed by the Librarian of Congress.
Through these chairs, the Library seeks to bridge the gap between scholars and policymakers by bringing insights from research to policy and practice. Each of these scholars will use their time at the Library to conduct research, consult with other experts, and engage with congressional staff and members, as well as other major players in the policymaking community, on areas of vital importance to U.S. foreign policy. Read the press release
James Goldgeier is a professor of international relations and served as dean of the School of International Service at American University from 2011 to 2017. He is also a visiting senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and has held a number of public policy appointments, including director for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian affairs on the National Security Council staff. Goldgeier is a published author of four books, including "America Between the Wars: From 11/9 to 9/11" (co-authored with Derek Chollet), "Power and Purpose: U.S. Policy toward Russia after the Cold War" (co-authored with Michael McFaul), and "Not Whether But When: The U.S. Decision to Enlarge NATO."
Minxin Pei is the Tom and Margot Pritzker '72 professor of government and the director of the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at Claremont McKenna College. He is also a non-resident senior fellow with the Asia program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Pei was formerly a senior associate with the Asia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Listed as one of the top 100 public intellectuals by Foreign Policy (2008), Pei is the author of several books, including "From Reform to Revolution: The Demise of Communism in China and the Soviet Union," "China's Trapped Transition: The Limits of Developmental Autocracy," and "China's Crony Capitalism: The Dynamics of Regime Decay." Pei is also a contributor to a number of periodicals, including Journal of Democracy, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Nikkei Asian Review, Fortune.com, Project Syndicate and Foreign Affairs.
For more information on these or other questions regarding our congressional programs contact us at [email protected] or 202-707-3302.