Each year, the Matsui Forum addresses a topic of public importance to California and the nation. This annual program, featuring a distinguished panel of scholars and practitioners, seeks to educate and inspire Cal students about some of the most important issues of our day. Past Matsui Forum topics have included the importance of young voters in American politics, the future agenda of California’s leaders, the legacy of 9/11, and the changing role of technology in political campaigns.
Is social media changing politics? How are politicians using social media to communicate with voters? How are voters using it to communicate with politicians? Do new technologies mean that information moves faster than ever before – and is that good or bad? Is more information available to more people, or does the use of social media too often produce a flood of unreliable quips and soundbites rather than facts? A panel of experts looks at campaigning in the age of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
A decade after the deadliest terrorist attack in American history, we look back to see what has changed as a result of 9/11 – and what changes might still be coming. Did 9/11 make us more assertive as a nation or more fearful? Did our response in Afghanistan and Iraq make us safer or more at risk? How did things change here in the United States? Are we more aware of the threat posed by terrorists or have we grown complacent about the danger? And what about the generation that grew up in the wake of 9/11 – today's college students? Are they different than their elders because of 9/11? Did 9/11 alter their world view in some unique way or does every generation experience a defining moment?
Whoever wins the November election, California's next governor will take over a state with chronic budget deficits, immense policy challenges, and a system of governance that many view as broken. What should the new governor do? Tackle the budget deficits by cutting spending or raising taxes? Try to create a more stable revenue stream? Change term limits? Abolish the two-thirds vote requirement for the budget? Pursue other reforms?
We examined the options that faced the winner of one of the toughest political jobs in America.
The 2008 presidential election has seen an unprecedented surge in the registration of young voters, a group that has often been disengaged from politics. Will young people remain engaged in politics beyond this election cycle? What can be done to encourage young people to stay involved in politics? What difference might it make for the country?
These topics and more were covered during our Inaugural Matsui Forum held on Monday, April 27, 2009.