Wednesday, October 29, 2008 : 4:00pm to 6:00pm
University Park Campus
Doheny Memorial Library
Admission is free.
Experts engage a panel of student leaders on whether the millennials will be an important swing vote in the election.
Religion has been an important point of discussion in this year's presidential election. In the Republican primaries, the public debated the qualifications of Mitt Romney, a Mormon, and Mike Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister. Later, the media focused on Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama's pastor for 20 years, while pollsters analyzed why Catholics favored Hillary Clinton and Protestants leaned to Obama.
This discussion will take place immediately before the presidential election and will look at whether the millennial generation will be an important swing vote in the election and, if so, how their values, use of technology and worldviews could change the direction of American politics.
The panel will feature Varun Soni (moderator), dean of religious life at USC; Morley Winograd, executive director of the USC Institute for Communication Technology Management and co-author of Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube and the Future of American Politics; Michael Hais, co-author of Millennial Makeover; Valarie Kaur, writer, filmmaker and lecturer in religion and ethics; and Ahmed Younis, senior consultant for Gallup and a senior analyst for the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and the Muslim-West Facts Initiative.
Various commentators have argued that today's college students reflect a different set of values from Gen Xers as well as from their parents' generation, the baby boomers. Millennials seem much more interested in spirituality than institutional religion. Many embrace people of different faith traditions, have a global worldview and are committed to living socially responsible lives. This is a departure from the “culture of narcissism” that social commentators ascribed to their parents' generation.
Hence, are we witnessing a new idealism that will transform American politics? Will this generation's commitment to building social networks among their peers also place moral value on extended family relationships? Will their commitment to social responsibility transform the way the United States relates to developing countries?
Organized by Don Miller (Religion and the Center for Religion and Civic Culture), Diane Winston (Journalism and Religion) and the Center for Religion and Civic Culture. Co-sponsored by the USC Judith and John Bedrosian Center on Governance and the Public Enterprise, the USC Unruh Institute of Politics, the USC Knight Chair in Media and Religion, the USC School of Religion and the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development.
View video of the event here.