The Wisconsin State Capitol and Monona Terrace are pictured from Lake Monona.

La Follette Forum 2022: American Power, Prosperity, and Democracy

The La Follette School hosted its third La Follette Forum, funded by the Kohl Initiative and the Center for European Studies, on Wednesday, May 4, 2022.

This event convened experts from academia, journalism, private industry, and public policy to address three of the most serious challenges confronting the U.S. in decades:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic, economic crises, and the threats they pose to the future of American prosperity
  • The rise of China and the challenge it poses to the world order and the future of global American power and leadership
  • The rise of authoritarianism and the threat it poses to the future of American democracy


Recordings of the three sessions are available on our YouTube page.

Watch recordings


Browse images from the Forum, which took place at Madison’s Monona Terrace.

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Mark Copelovitch addresses a panel of speakers at the La Follette Forum.

Session topics

Prosperity: Crises, Debt & the Future of American Economic Policy

In recent years, the Great Recession, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the global financial crisis have completely reshaped the U.S. economy and resulted in a troubling rise in inequality.

Illustration of a hand holding money.

Power: The Rise of China & the Future of American Foreign Policy

With China’s rapid rise as a world power, America’s role on the world stage is quickly evolving.

Illustration of the world.

Democracy: The Authoritarian Challenge & the Future of American Democracy

This panel will address what lessons can be learned from American history and other countries’ experiences with threats to democracy such as authoritarianism and populism.

Illustration of a group of people.


8:15 – 9 a.m.    Check-In and Breakfast

9 – 9:15 a.m.    Opening Remarks

9:15 – 10:45 a.m.    Session 1: Prosperity
Crises, Debt & the Future of American Economic Policy

11:00 a.m. – 1 p.m.    Lunch and Breakout Discussions

1:15 – 2:45 p.m.     Session 2: Power
The Rise of China & the Future of American Foreign Policy

3 – 4:30 p.m.     Session 3: Democracy
The Authoritarian Challenge & the Future of American Democracy

4:30 – 6 p.m.   Closing Remarks, Reception & Networking

La Follette Forum 2022 Advisory Committee

La Follette Forum 2022 Chair

Mark Copelovitch, Professor of Public Affairs and Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Ruben Anthony, President & CEO, Urban League of Greater Madison

Zach Brandon, Chamber President, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce

Barry Burden, Professor, UW–Madison Department of Political Science

Jason Fields, President, Madison Region Economic Partnership

David Haynes, Ideas Lab Editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Missy Hughes, Secretary & CEO, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Tana Johnson, Professor, UW–Madison La Follette School of Public Affairs & Department of Political Science

Michael Knetter, CEO, Wisconsin Foundation & Alumni Association

Jeff Mayers, President,

Jay Nash, President, Madison International Trade Association

John Ohnesorge, Professor, UW Law School

Jessie Opoien, Capitol Bureau Chief, The Cap Times

Randy Romanski, Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection