Forum

CMU impresses with inspiring Cèilidh speakers

As part of the festivities of Céilidh weekend, Carnegie Mellon University tradtionally invites renowned speakers to come and discuss their areas of expertise.

Last Tuesday, Commander of United States Central Command General Lloyd Austin III spoke on Central Command’s significance in national defense. Central Command includes the Middle East and Central Asia, stretching from Kazakhstan to Egypt, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.

On Friday, former Supreme Court Justice David Souter spoke on the importance of the humanities for a healthy nation. Carnegie Mellon tends to focus closely on science and technology, given the strength of those programs, but these excellent speakers showcase that the university also values its commitment to the humanities.

General Austin oversees all of the United States operations in the Middle East and Central Asia. General Austin’s talk focused on recent policies in that region, most notably the aftermath of the American invasion of Iraq and the security situation in Afghanistan.

He also spoke on United States’ relationships with our various allies in the region, and the complex interlocking web of different alliances, religious affiliations, and ethnic conflicts that contribute to the state of the region today. Meanwhile, Justice Souter spoke on the importance of humanities for building a stable nation.

Both General Austin and former Justice Souter are more than experts in their respective fields; they both play, or have played, an essential role in the governance of our nation. The decisions these two have made over their careers have certainly affected the lives of many people in a myriad of ways.

While theoretical speakers are always interesting, people who had such direct and concrete impacts on the world make for fascinating lecturers.

As a school dedicated to the emergence of new technologies, it is also important to remember the policies and controversies that impact our social and political rights, as well as the impact that our nation has in relation to the rest of the world.

These speakers served as a resounding reminder of these various influences upon our lives and the necessity of having strong leaders to continue formulating the policies that will further change our lives.