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The Public Affairs Forum promotes discussion and the exchange of views and information on contemporary and historical events and public policy issues. The CCDU invites guests from academic institutions, think tanks, businesses, government offices, and non-profit organizations to participate in a series of public affairs lectures, media presentations, roundtable discussions, class sessions, and informal gatherings to exchange information with Claremont Colleges students and faculty and community guests. Invited guests typically participate in 8-10 hours of presentations and meetings.The setting provides an opportunity for the rigorous assessment of ideas. The Public Affairs Forum provides scores of students with the opportunity to painstakingly examine the assumptions and substance of public policies with field experts.

In 2004-2005, the CCDU hosted Dr. James Walsh, Executive Director of Harvard University's Managing the Atom project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Walsh is an expert in international security studies, with a focus on nuclear nonproliferation policy and the Middle East. He made a presentation on nuclear politics and Iran, participated in a class discussion on the future of a Palestinian state, engaged students in small group settings.

This past year, Dr. Walsh testified before the United States Senate on the issue of nuclear terrorism. His comments and analyses have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Times of London, the Christian Science Monitor and numerous other publications. Dr. Walsh's writings have appeared in several scholarly journals including Political Science Quarterly, the Nonproliferation Review, International Studies Review, and Contemporary Security Policy. Dr. Walsh is founder and chair of the Harvard International Working Group on Radiological Weapons. He is also editor of the book series, Terrorism: Documents of International & Local Control, and is currently working on a book about Iran. Before going to Harvard University, Dr. Walsh was a visiting scholar at the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, one of the country's three nuclear weapons labs. Previously, he was named a Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar by the United States Institute for Peace and won the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship from the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He is a frequent contributor to CNN and National Public Radio.

In addition, the CCDU was host to Judd Legum, the Deputy Research Director of the Center for American Progress. An author of The Progress Report and frequent contributor to The Nation and Z, he is actively engaged in public policy research and analysis. He delivered a lecture on the need for greater transparency in public policy decision-making, participated in a roundtable broadcast production on presidential politics, and engaged students in a small group discussion on advanced argumentation theory.