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A 'Flip' Chat With...Gara LaMarche, Senior Fellow, NYU Wagner School of Public Service

September 19, 2011

(This video was recorded as part of our 'Flip' chat series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our previous chat with NextGen:Charity co-founder Jonah Halper.)

In conjunction with the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I attended a Philanthropy New York event last week titled "Balancing Civil Rights & National Security: A Debate Led by Gara LaMarche."

During the event, LaMarche, now a senior fellow at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service and until this summer the president and CEO of the Atlantic Philanthropies -- a New York City-based foundation that endeavours "to make lasting changes for people who are disadvantaged by their economic situation, race, nationality, gender, age, disabilities, immigration status, sexual orientation, political affiliation or religion" -- moderated a discussion on how the Bush administration's efforts to protect Americans after 9/11 led to an increase in civil rights violations around the country.  LaMarche also invited the panelists -- American Civil Liberties Union board president Susan Herman, author of Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy; Eric Ward, program executive for the human rights and reconciliation initiative at Atlantic Philanthropies; Rosa Brooks, a professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center; and Karen J. Greenberg, visiting fellow and director of Fordham Law School's Center on National Security -- to weigh in on what future administrations (and the current one) could do to protect and extend civil liberties while keeping the country safe from terrorist attack.

After the session, I had a chance to chat with LaMarche about the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act, the successes and failures of the "war on terrror," the philanthropic response to 9/11, and some of the big challenges confronting the United States today.

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)


(Running time: 12 minutes, 46 seconds)

What do you think? Has the "war on terror" outlived its usefulness as a metaphor? To what extent does "national security" involve more than just physical attacks on the homeland? And, in an increasingly interdependent world, what should organized philanthropy be doing to help defuse the many threats to security confronting the U.S.? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

-- Regina Mahone

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Quote of the Week

  • "[L]et me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...."

    — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States

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