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Former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, who represented Wisconsin in the Senate for 18 years, opens Lawrence University’s 2012 Povolny Lecture Series in International Studies Thursday, Sept. 20.

Feingold presents “While America Sleeps – A Wake-up Call for the Post-9/11 Era” at 7:30 p.m. in Stansbury Theatre in the Music-Drama Center. The event is free and open to the public.

He is spending part of the Fall Term at Lawrence teaching in the government department as the college’s Stephen Edward Scarff Distinguished Visiting Professor. Lawrence recognized Feingold with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at its 2011 commencement ceremony.

The address is based on Feingold’s 2011 New York Times best-selling book of the same title, which examines the challenges America faces as a nation since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, including national security and constitutional values. Feingold argues the oversimplification of complex problems have helped undermined America’s ability to effectively adjust to its new place in the world.

Among Wisconsin’s highest-profile elected officials, Feingold spent 28 years in public service as both a three-time state senator (1982-92) and U.S. Senator (1993-2011). While in Congress, Feingold established himself as one of the Senate’s most independent voices, casting the lone vote against the Patriot Act in 2001, opposing President Obama’s decision to expand the war in Afghanistan and fighting against NAFTA and other financial deregulation and trade agreements he considered unfair.

After leaving public office, Feingold founded Progressives United, a grassroots organization designed to counter corporate influence in politics.

Mark Frazier, professor of politics and the academic director of the India China Institute at The New School in New York City, delivers the series’ second address. Frazier examines the pending change in leadership in China in “Who is Xi? The Knowns and Unknowns in China’s Political Future” Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium.

The Povolny Lecture Series, named in honor of long-time Lawrence government professor Mojmir Povolny, who passed away in August, promotes interest and discussion on issues of moral significance and ethical dimensions.