October 24, 2003

Cornell Political Forum Wins Gold Certificate

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The Columbia Scholastic Press Association recently awarded the Cornell Political Forum, a nonpartisan student magazine, a Gold Medalist Certificate for its spring/summer 2003 issue.

The forum has received several awards from the association in the past, including two Gold Crown Awards and two Silver Crown Awards. Additionally, in 1995 a member of the forum was awarded the first James A. Perkins Prize for Interracial Understanding and Harmony at Cornell.

Founded in 1987 and recently revived from a yearlong hiatus, the Cornell Political Forum is a “journal of intellectual debate” devoted to providing a “respectable arena for informed discussion,” according to its statement of philosophy.

Glossy Magazine

With 36 full-sized pages, a glossy color cover and a printing of 2,500 copies, the latest issue is themed “On Parallels Between the Cold War and the Post-9/11 Era” and includes scholarly essays written by students and a campus quotes feature on “the greatest dangers to peace.”

It also includes interviews with prominent experts such as Prof. Peter Katzenstein, government; former Attorney General Janet Reno ’60; TV commentator Pat Buchanan and Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union. The magazine is funded in part by the Student Assembly Finance Commission and the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.

CPF editor-in-chief Daniel Braun ’04 said the forum has a “special niche on campus” and an “important purpose of promoting political discourse and diverse views. You can’t have a healthy democracy without a plurality of ideas and debates,” he said.

Braun attributes the success of the magazine to a committed advisory board and a hardworking team of students. In presenting the topics of the magazine, he said it is “important to do it in an interesting way,” making sure to incorporate as many people as possible. He said the latest issue has had an “extremely happy response” and has been found as a “refreshing change” to other types of student publications.

Though the forum tries to address and assess current events, Braun said, the purpose is to create something of more lasting value than the newspapers, something with a timeless element. For this reason, the forum features essays with what is, according to Braun, a “deeper thesis.” He hopes that the pieces in the magazine will still be relevant in the future.

In the magazine, Braun writes of the “enormous unpredictability as [the world] tries to cope with a variety of unexpected dangers” and that “the solution though is not to blindly lash out at real or imagined threat.”

He explains that the forum is “seeking to enhance and deepen our understanding of vital issues and processes by encouraging a vigorous, innovative, diverse and balanced examination of key concerns and developments.”

The next issue, which is expected to be released by the end of the semester, will be themed “Science and Society in the 21st Century.” It will feature interviews with the president of Oxfam America, Raymond Offenheiser; Soli Sorabjee, the attorney general of India; Nobel laureate Prof. Roald Hoffmann, chemistry and N.R. Narayana Murthy, chair of Infosys Technologies Ltd.

In addition to the magazine, the CPF is also responsible for hosting public events on campus “to reach all facets” of Cornell’s community, Braun said. Yesterday, the forum hosted a debate on U.S. foreign policy between Katzenstein and Prof. Barry Strauss ’74, history.

Last year, the forum brought Buchanan and Strossen to debate on civil liberties in a post-9/11 America. They also hosted speak-out sessions last year on Ho Plaza, allowing students to express their opinions on the war in Iraq.

Archived article by Phillip Kim