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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions


Dean Glenn Altschuler engages audiences in Israel on the American presidential election process

School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions, April 21, 2016

On a visit to Israel in March, Glenn Altschuler addressed two “lively and loud” audiences on the subject of American politics and the 2016 presidential primaries.

The Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies and dean of the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions, Altschuler spoke at the University of Haifa and at the home of Thomas Genton, the U.S. Embassy’s Counselor for Press and Cultural Affairs, outside of Tel Aviv. “I was asked to speak as part of the embassy’s ‘distinguished Americans’ series, which made no sense to me,” says Altschuler. “because I am not a distinguished American. But then, I realized I had been asked to speak on April 1.”

To the embassy audience of 60+ government and civil society leaders, students, academics, and media representatives, Altschuler spoke about the increasingly ideological homogeneity of the Republican and Democratic parties, polarization and gridlock in Congress, the primaries, voting patterns and voter turnouts, super PACs and campaign funding, the influence of terrorism, national security considerations on voters, and the cult of personality in U.S. politics.

“Professor Altschuler was a captivating speaker, witty beyond compare, and with a true command of this subject,” remarked Ruth Ish-Horowicz, a public affairs officer at the Embassy. “I can’t tell you how impressed the guests were and how much praise we received for the program. He has certainly raised the bar for all our subsequent speakers.”

Altschuler’s talk stimulated a vibrant Q&A among those in attendance, whom Altschuler characterized as “well informed, argumentative, with strong opinions and views across the political spectrum.”