Silfen Forum examines whether America is in decline

All members of the Penn community are invited to attend the David and Lyn Silfen University Forum on Monday, March 19, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Irvine Auditorium, where Penn President Amy Gutmann will host an esteemed panel of political experts who will discuss the question: "Is America Broken?"

With unemployment persistently high, financial markets unstable, and politics polarized, the American people are facing increasingly tougher times. Gutmann will moderate the panel of journalists, politicians, and political analysts in a wide-ranging discussion considering the state of the nation, what is at stake in the 2012 elections, and what can be done to ease political rancor. The panel also will take questions from the audience.

Joining Gutmann will be Charles Blow, columnist for The New York Times; Peggy Noonan, columnist for The Wall Street Journal and former speechwriter for President Reagan; former Pennsylvania Governor and Philadelphia Mayor Edward G. Rendell; former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson; and John Lapinski, an associate professor of political science at Penn and an election analyst for NBC News.

The Silfens are longtime Penn supporters, having funded two Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professorships, among several other philanthropic gifts. David Silfen, a senior director of The Goldman Sachs Group, has served as a University Trustee since 1998. 

“Lyn and I are proud to support these forums and help Penn continue taking education beyond the walls of the classroom,” says David Silfen. “These events showcase Penn at its absolute best, with students and faculty joining experts from around the world for enriching conversation on the most challenging questions confronting our society.”

Gutmann says David and Lyn Silfen’s vision and generosity benefit the University in so many extraordinary ways. “The Silfen Forum provides the kind of unique intellectual exchange that helps define the Penn experience,” she says. “This year’s topic is most timely and critically important for our national dialogue.”

Admission is free for Penn faculty, students, and staff, but tickets and a valid PennCard are required. Tickets are available through Friday, March 16, at the Annenberg Box Office. Any remaining tickets will be dispensed on May 19, beginning at 2 p.m. in Irvine.

The forum will also be broadcast live on the Silfen Forum website.