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The Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy regularly holds events pertaining to the Center’s three areas of focus: Energy & Environment, Global Security, and Leadership & Government.

We at the Baker Center hope to see you at one of our exciting and informative events in the near future!



ML Course April 5-6Data Science in the Energy Sector
Dr. Jacob LaRiviere

April 12-13, 2019 l 9am-5pm |  Howard Baker Center

Dr. Jacob LaRiviere is a senior research economist at Microsoft in the Office of the Chief Economist.  His research interests include Industrial Organization, Environmental & Energy Economics, and Behavioral Economics. He also serves as adjunct professor of Economics at the University of Tennessee and is a Fellow at the Baker Center for Public Policy.

This course will cover essentials of machine learning and econometrics with applications design for energy and electricity sector practitioners and policy makers.  The course will be couched using the economic framework of benefit-cost analysis and will then move to teach supervised and unsupervised machine learning techniques. We will pay special attention to clearly delineating causal inference versus prediction. Finally, the course will include components involving database management, data science hiring procedures and attend to the decision of using vendors versus in house resources to enable and scale data driven decision making.  At a high level, this course will have a similar flavor to an executive education course in a business school, however, due to the technical nature of the subject it will be slightly technical when required by the material.

This machine learning course will be offered at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy on the campus of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  The cost is $950 and includes complimentary breakfast, refreshments, and lunches.  Lodging is available at additional cost at nearby hotels.

For registration and other information, please contact Elizabeth Woody at or

Ashe Lec - Amb. Kenney 4_11_19

Ashe Lecture Series Featuring Ambassador Kristie Kenney

Thursday, April 11, 2019 | 5:00 to 6:00 pm | Toyota Auditorium

US Ambassador Kristie Kenney will walk us through the next steps for the US-North Korea talks, relations with China and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in Asia for the United States.

Ambassador Kenney, a frequent public speaker on leadership and foreign policy with a special focus on women’s groups, has served as U.S. Ambassador to three countries in her career. Those countries are Thailand, Philippines, and Ecuador. She also finds time to teach a course on leadership at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

This event is part of the Ashe Lecture Series. Ashe Lectures are sponsored by former Knoxville mayor and US Ambassador to Poland,Victor Ashe. For the series, ambassadors and mayors are invited to speak on a variety of public matters, including foreign relations, diplomacy, world affairs, and local government. The series also is part of the Center’s Leadership & Governance Program.

This event is free and open to the public. Guests may park in the Vol Hall Garage on White Avenue at no charge by requesting a parking voucher from Baker Center staff at the event.


4_22 Global Security Gause Lecture -2

Global Security Distinguished Lecture with Dr. Gregory Gause

Monday, April 22, 2019 | 5:30 to 6:30 pm | Toyota Auditorium

F. Gregory Gause, III is Professor and John H. Lindsey ’44 Chair of International Affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, as well as serving as head of School’s Department of International Affairs. His research focuses on the international politics of the Middle East, particularly the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf.

In this lecture, Dr. Gause will address some misconceptions about the conflict in the Middle East, often thought of as being between the Sunnis and Shiites. But sectarianism, while an important factor, is just one element of the struggle for power and influence in the region.

This event is a part of the Howard Baker Center’s Distinguished Global Security Lecture Series, which features distinguished speakers on some aspect of global security from nuclear safety and non-proliferation to terrorism and conflict. Co-sponsored by Haines-Morris Lecture Endowment

This event is free and open to the public. Guests may park in the Vol Hall Garage (1545 White Ave. Garage) at no cost by requesting a voucher from the Baker Center staff at the event. Directions to the Baker Center can be found here.


BDLS - Bob Corker

Baker Distinguished Lecture Series with Senator Bob Corker

Thursday, April 25 | 4:30 to 5:30 pm | Toyota Auditorium

Please join the Howard Baker Center in welcoming Senator Bob Corker for the Baker Distinguished Lecture Series. The Baker Distinguished Lecture Series (BDLS) was established in 2012 to recognize the contributions of notable individuals and promote the values of Senator Howard H. Baker, Jr., whose longstanding commitment to honorable public service has made an indelible mark on US history. The BDLS serves as a biannual forum in which guest speakers of national prominence are invited to speak on matters relevant in today’s society.

Bob Corker is a successful businessman, former United States Senator, and was previously named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME Magazine. Corker represented Tennesseans in the Senate from 2007-2018, where he served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and was an active member of the Senate Banking Committee and Senate Budget Committee. He was Tennessee’s commissioner of finance and mayor of Chattanooga before being elected to the Senate, but he spent most of his life in business. It’s that results-driven businessman’s perspective that allowed him to make a mark during his Senate tenure and become a national and global thought leader on fiscal, financial, and foreign policy issues. Corker graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1974 with a degree in Industrial Management. He and his wife of 32 years, Elizabeth, call Chattanooga home.

This event is free and open to the public. Guests may park in the Vol Hall Garage on White Avenue at no charge by requesting a parking voucher from Baker Center staff at the event.

Baker Cafe With Wanamaker

Economic Policy After the 2016 Election

Friday, April 26 | 10:00 – 11:00 am | Reading Room 123

The Baker Cafe Series is an informal discussion about various topics. Guests are encouraged to ask questions that pertain to the topic and gain insight straight from the experts. We even provide refreshments!

Join Dr. Marianne Wanamaker for coffee and light discussion on some of the key changes in Federal economic policy that have occurred over the last two years, including a revision to the U.S. tax code, changes in education and environmental policy, reduced Federal regulation, and a great deal of upheaval in our trade relationships. What are the impacts of these changes, and what might we expect to see in the way of policy priorities moving forward?  Dr. Wanamaker spent the 2017-2018 academic year in the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and she will share her insights and experience on these and other issues.

This event is free and open to the public. Guests may park in the Vol Hall Garage on White Avenue at no charge by requesting a parking voucher from Baker Center staff at the event.




Below is a list of events held in Spring 2019, and a more extensive list of all events in our history can be found here. Included below most events is a link to watch the event online.

Special Events:

“Human Trafficking: Too Close to Home” with Jamsena Walker from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

“C-SPAN Interactive Bus Tour”

Leadership and Governance:

“Divided Government: Bipartisan Dysfunction, Bipartisan Solutions” a discussion with Ambassador Tim Roemer, Congressman Zach Wamp, and Issue One’s, Meredith McGehee

Baker Café Series:

“The History of the Non-Proliferation Treaty” with Dr. Matt Cook

“The South China Sea Dispute” with Dr. Krista Wiegand



Below is a list of events held in Fall 2018, and a more extensive list of all events in our history can be found here. Included below most events is a link to watch the event online.

Special Events:

“The Senate in Crisis: Lessons in Leadership from Howard Baker” by Ambassador Ira Shapiro

“Supercomputing and Data for Science – An Intersection of Technology and Science Policy” by Dr. Robert Harrison

“Senate Debate: Phil Bredesen vs. Marsha Blackburn”

“Is Civility Dead?” A discussion and book signing by Dr. Keith Bybee

“Careers in Public Service” A Panel Discussion featuring UT faculty, City of Knoxville employees, and City of Oak Ridge employees

Ashe Lecture:

“The Challenge of Iran” by Ambassador Steve Mull

Global Security Lecture:

“Rebel Power: Why National Movements Compete, Fight, and Win” by Dr. Peter Krause

Energy and Environment Forum:

“The Antiquities Act, National Monuments, and the Regional Economy” by Dr. Paul Jakus

“Multidisciplinary Science for Understanding Human Activity at Scale” featuring Dr. Amy Rose

Baker Café:

“What’s New in the Renewable Energy Economics and Policy?” by Dr. Bill Park

“Policy and the Evolution of Nuclear Energy” by Dr. Matt Cook

“Free Trade or Tariffs?” by Dr. Matthew Murray

“UN Peacekeeping Missions Post-Conflict” by Dr. Brandon Prins

“Proposed Changes to the Endangered Species Act: The Good, the Bad, and the Inconsequential” by Dr. Charles Sims

“Zero Emission Vehicles: Where are They Going?” by Dr. David Greene

“The Evolution of the Death Penalty in Tennessee” by Dr. John Scheb


Below is a list of events held in Spring 2018, and a more extensive list of all events in our history can be found here. Included below most events is a link to watch the event online.

Special Events:

“Electric Mass Transit as an Option for Urban Mobility” Panel Discussion

“The Role of Energy Innovation in Transforming Global Relationships” hosted by the European Union, the Bredesen Center, and the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy.

“Tackling the Opioid Crisis” featuring Eric Eyre and Patrick McGinley

Ashe Lecture:

“U.S. National Security Challenges and Trump’s Foreign Policy” by Ambassador Nicholas Burns

“Being Muslim Today: Building Bridges in an Age of Uncertainty” by Ambassador Akbar Ahmed

Global Security Lecture:

“War’s Forgotten People: Human Migration and Refugees” featuring Dr. Curtis Bell, Dr. Tricia Hepner, and Drocella Mugorewera. Moderated by Dr. Krista Wiegand

Energy and Environment Forum:

“Missing the People for the Trees: Elucidating the Role of Human Behavior in the Ecology of Lyme Disease” by Dr. Andrew Platinga

“Narrating the Anthropocene, or, Learning to Live with the Trickster” by Dr. Robin Craig

“Dam Removal and Operation in An Age Of Complex Hydro Systems” by Dr. Desiree Tullos

“Trace Impressions of Being: Loss, Change, and Wonder in the Fuegian Archipelago” by Dr. Laura Ogden.


Below is a list of events held in Fall 2017, and a more extensive list of all events in our history can be found here. Included below most events is a link to watch the event online.

 Special Events:

#Multi-tasking in the Age of Trump and Twitter Panel Discussion featuring Bryan Lanza, Jonathan Martin, and Mark Braden (moderator)

“Leading Tennessee Forward” Leadership and Governance Lecture Series:  

Diane Black

Mae Beavers

Randy Boyd

Bill Lee

Karl Dean

Global Security Lecture Series: 
Michael Hanna on “The Evolving Lines of Conflict in the Post-ISIS Middle East

Sarah Sewall on “Civilians and the War on Terror”

Ashe Lecture: 
US Ambassador James Knight on “Central Africa and International Terrorism” 

Energy & Environment Forum:

Bistra Dilkina on “Network Design Approaches to Biodiversity Conservation”

Spencer Meyer on “How Public Policy Nudges Helped Conserve the Private Landscape: Historic Trends and a Bold Future for the New England Landscape”

Michael Blum on “After The Flood: The Socioecology of Rodent-Borne Disease Risk in Post-Katrina New Orleans”

Tony Clevenger on “The Changing Landscape of Transportation: Designing Roads for Wildlife Conservation”

Other Events: 

Baker Distinguished Lecture with Peyton Manning on Leadership

“Constitution Day! I Have A Right To…” panel discussion with Prof. Dwight Aarons, College of Law, Prof. Joan Heminway, and Prof. Bill Mercer, and Prof. John Scheb as moderator

Open House: Meet Us. Learn More. Get Involved.

Ice Cream Social for Students.

Below is a list of events held in Spring 2017, and a more extensive list of all events in our history can be found here. Included below most events is a link to watch the event online.


Senior Recognition Ceremony, May 10, 2017

Student teams present their policy solutions to win cash prizes!, April 23, 2017, 1:30 pm

Distinguished Global Security Lecture:  US – Turkey Relationship: A Troubled Alliance? Dr. Bulent Aliriza, Center for Strategic & International Studies, Washington DC, April 19, 2017, 3 pm [Link to event]

Baker Café: Climate Change & Social Justice,  Lisa Reyes Mason, Assistant Professor, College of Social Work, April 18, 2017, 1 pm

Ashe Lecture: Poland and the World,  Ambassador Pitor Wilczek is Polish Ambassador to the United States, April 12, 2017, 5:30 [Link to event]

Presidents, Kings & Convicts (brown bag lunch and book signing), Bob Clement, former US Congressman (1988-2003), President of Cumberland University and son of former Gov. Frank Clement, April 11, 2017, 12:30 pm [Link to event]

Energy & Environment Distinguished Lecture:  Michelle Bell, Mary E. Pinchot Professor of Environmental Health, Yale University, April 10, 2017, 5:30 pm [Link to event]

Energy & Environment Forum: Caela O’Connell, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, April 6, 2017

Global Security Lecture:  Dr. George Varughese, The Asia Foundation, Nepal, March 27, 2017 [Link to event]

Baker Café: Visions of Mars,  Rachel Kronyak, doctoral student in Geology,  March 8, 2017, 3:30 pm

Global Security Lecture: Thomas Gillespie, Professor, Department of Geography, UCLA, Global Security Lecture, March 2, 2017 [Link to event]

The Last Lecture: Dr. Jimmy Cheek, UT Chancellor Emeritus, held in partnership with UT Mortar Board, February 27, 2017, 5:30 pm [Link to event]

Leadership & Governance Panel: The First Amendment on Campus, Jeffrey Rosen, National Constitution Center; David Reidy, Philosophy, Bonnie Ownley, Faculty Senate; John Haas, Communications; Cynthia Polk-Johnson, Student Life; student representatives and others, February 27, 1:15-2:45 pm [Link to event]

Energy & Environment Forum: Andrew Light, University Professor of Philosophy, Public Policy, and Atmospheric Sciences, and Director of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University, February 24, 2017 [Link to event]

Energy & Environment Forum: Gary Parker, W. H. Johnson Professor of Geology, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, February 23, 2017 [Link to event]

Institute for Nuclear Security: CYBER Brown Bag lunch, Louis Kuykendall, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation & the Fusion Center, jointly held with Cyber & Information Security Consortium, February 17, 2017, Noon [Link to event]

Baker Café: Crisis in South Sudan: Democracy, Mass Killings, and the International Response, Eric Keels. Baker Center Post-doctoral Fellow, Global Security, February 1, 2017, 5:30 pm

Baker Café: Human Trafficking: Too Close to Home, Anita Vorhees, Baker Center Student, February 2, 2017, 12:30 pm, Link to event

Presidential Inauguration Viewing – Toyota Auditorium, January 20, 2017

Info Session and Orientation, January 18, 2017, 12:15 pm

Energy & Environment Forum:  Alternative Fuel Vehicles and the Future of the Global Energy System, David McCollum, Baker Fellow, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria, January 12, 2017 [Link to event]

All past Baker Center events can be found HERE.

Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy

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