Retired general, former defense secretary James Mattis to talk democracy

Closeup of U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis speaking at a lectern.
U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis speaks during the 9/11 Observance Ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Sept. 11, 2018. (DoD photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

Former Secretary of Defense and retired U.S. Marine Corps four‑star Gen. James Mattis will be speaking at WSU Pullman later this month as part of the Foley Institute distinguished lecture series.

Democracy at home and abroad will be the focus of the event, which kicks off at 4 p.m. March 24 inside Bryan Hall Auditorium. The event, which will also be broadcast via the Foley Institute’s Youtube channel, is free and open to the public.

Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine is likely to be a central topic of discussion, Cornell Clayton, director of the Foley Institute, said.

“We’ll likely be talking a lot about Ukraine, NATO and its role going forward, China and the situation with Taiwan, as well as the continuing controversies in the Middle East such as what is happening in Afghanistan and nuclear arms agreement with Iran,” Clayton said. “Aside from these international issues, I am sure there will be some discussion about the Jan. 6 insurrection and challenges to democracy at home. There will also be time for questions from the audience.”

Clayton said the Foley Institute began working to get Mattis to the Pullman campus two years ago, but plans were shelved due to the pandemic. Mattis’ appearance will be only the second in‑person event for the institute since the pandemic began, and the first featuring a distinguished lecturer from outside of the university.

Mattis’ distinguished military career and his time as secretary of defense gives him perspective few people have on the current situations here and abroad, Clayton said. In September, Mattis was on hand for WSU Tri‑Cities’ unveiling of an expanded Veterans Memorial as well as the dedication of the new General James Mattis Leadership Library.

For more information on Mattis’ appearance and future Foley Institute events, visit the center’s website.

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