Dmitry Kostyukov / The New York Times

The former Secretary of State and presidential runner-up will speak to Cornellians over Zoom on Thursday.

October 26, 2020

John Kerry to Speak to Cornellians Leading Up to Election

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Five days before the Presidential election, Cornell students will get the opportunity to ask questions to former Democratic nominee John Kerry.

Kerry — the runner-up in the 2004 presidential election and the Secretary of State under President Barack Obama — will speak to the Cornell community in a Zoom event on Thursday at 5 p.m.

Titled “A Conversation with John Kerry 68th Secretary of State (2013-2017),” the event is organized by the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs, and is sponsored by the government and history departments.

The event is also hosted as a part of the Belnick Family LaFeber/Lowi Presidential Forum, which takes place leading up to presidential elections. Named in honor of Profs. Walter LeFeber, history, and Ted Low, government, the forum aims to  inform students about major political issues facing the United States.

First, there will be a discussion between Kerry and moderator Steve Israel, a former Congressman and head of Cornell’s politics institute. Then, the floor will open up to students’ questions for the former Secretary of State.

Kerry grew up in Massachusetts and attended Yale University for his undergraduate degree in political science in 1966. He then joined the Navy, serving for four years. He would go on to attend Boston College Law School, graduating in 1976.

After losing a race for a spot in the House of Representatives in 1972, Kerry went into law. He practiced for ten years until he won Massachusetts’ Lieutenant Governor position in 1982. Two years later, he was elected as a Senator of the state, a seat he held until he entered the Obama cabinet in 2013.

Before then, Kerry ran for President himself in 2004 against incumbent President George W. Bush, but falling short by 19 electoral college votes in a narrow two-point loss.

Two elections later, Kerry was appointed to serve as Secretary of State during  President Obama’s second term. Notable foreign policy accomplishments during Kerry’s tenure included the Iran Nuclear Deal, the reopening of the American embassy in Cuba and the U.S. signing onto the Paris Climate Agreement.