University of Idaho - I Banner
A student works at a computer


U of I's web-based retention and advising tool provides an efficient way to guide and support students on their road to graduation. Login to VandalStar.

Challenges to Liberal Democracy on Global Scale Is Topic of 2023 Borah Symposium

September 25, 2023

MOSCOW, Idaho — How a rise in autocratic governments has replaced international cooperation and the global spread of democracy will be among topics discussed during the 76th annual University of Idaho Borah Symposium, Monday through Wednesday, Sept. 25-27, in Moscow. The symposium is free and open to the public. A full list of events and times is below.

In her keynote, speaker Fiona Hill, a Brookings Institution distinguished senior fellow and a former deputy assistant on Russian affairs to President Donald Trump, will address the challenges to democracy on the world stage.

The Renfrew Colloquium, “Updating Senator Borah: A Nuclear Kellogg-Briand Pact,” will be presented by David Koplow, professor at Georgetown University Law Center. The original pact, signed in 1928, outlawed war as an instrument of national policy. Koplow will present a proposal to outlaw the threat of nuclear weapons as an instrument of national policy. Former Gov. Dirk Kempthorne will give the closing address.

“As we find ourselves approaching the second winter of Russia's war against Ukraine, it is clear that there is no more pertinent a subject for the Borah Symposium,” said Borah committee member Dakota Roberson, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and member of the Council on Foreign Relations. “The initial shockwaves of the invasion reverberated through global foreign policy and national defense circles, challenging long-held assumptions that open warfare against a large economy aspiring to align itself with the Western bloc was nearly unthinkable. Alongside a distinguished assembly of speakers, we will examine the conditions that precipitated this crisis, inviting a critical reevaluation of our preconceptions while endeavoring to understand how international cooperation can be improved to prevent such war in the future.”

7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25, International Ballroom, Bruce M. Pitman Center

  • Fireside Chat moderated by Professor Kenton Bird of the UI School of Journalism and Mass Media
  • Discussant: Fiona Hill, distinguished senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings and former deputy assistant to the president of the United States and senior director for European and Russian affairs, National Security Council

12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26, Vandal Ballroom, Bruce M. Pitman Center

  • Renfrew Colloquium: “Updating Senator Borah: A Nuclear Kellogg-Briand Pact”
  • Presented by David Koplow, Scott K. Ginsberg Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center

7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26, Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, 508 S Main St.

  • Documentary screening: “Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes”

7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27, International Ballroom, Bruce M. Pitman Center

  • Plenary Address
  • Presented by Dirk Kempthorne, former governor of Idaho and former U.S. interior secretary

The Borah Symposium honors the legacy of former U.S. Senator from Idaho William Edgar Borah (1864-1940) by considering the causes of war and the conditions necessary for peace in an international context. Held every year since 1948, this University of Idaho event offers new ideas for overcoming the obstacles to world peace and introduces audiences to the most contemporary global problem solvers of our time. Themes and speakers for the annual events are selected by the faculty-student Borah Foundation committee, with administrative and fiscal support provided by the staff of the Martin Institute.

Media Contact:

Romuald Afatchao
Associate Director of the Martin Institute

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at


University Communications and Marketing

Fax: 208-885-5841


Web: Communications and Marketing

U of I Media Contacts