Fireside Forum

Tuesdays in February at 7pm in the UWM Student Union Fireside Lounge

Free and open to the public.


Our annual live lecture series co-sponsored by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel pairs national and international guests with Wisconsin-based experts to explore and compare global and local aspects of issues facing our community.

2016 Fireside Forum Series

In 2015, more than 190 world leaders committed to a list of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to address global inequality and promote more sustainable societies over the next fifteen years. These goals are universal, designed to apply not just the developing world, but to communities like ours.

The 2016 Fireside Forum series will use the SDGs as a point of departure for a discussion of inequality and its impacts in Milwaukee and around the world. The sessions will be framed by the following guiding propositions:


Community violence has identifiable causes and implementable cures.

Speaker:           Dr. Stephen Hargarten, Professor and Chair of Emergency             Medicine, Associate Dean for Global Health, Medical College of Wisconsin

Respondent:     Pardeep Kaleka, Educator and former Milwaukee Police Officer

Here and abroad, the roots of violence reach deep into a society, tapping into complex conditions like poverty, racism, joblessness, and hopelessness. How do we ensure that all members of our communities can live their lives without fear?


Note Room Change: Due to the Democratic Debate at UWM this week, this installment of the Forum will be held in the Student Union Wisconsin Room. The program returns to the Fireside Lounge on February 16th.

Where you live or how much money you have shouldn’t impact your ability to enjoy a healthy life.

Speaker:           Susan Kim, O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University

Respondent:     Dr. Geoffrey Swain, Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer, City of Milwaukee Health Department

At the global, national and local level, unequal distribution of money, power and resources impacts conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work and age. How do we give everyone a chance at living a healthy life?


Access to inclusive, quality education and vocational training at all levels is essential to promote prosperous, sustainable communities.

Speaker:           Dr. Rebecca Winthrop, Director, Center for Universal Education, The Brookings Institution

Respondent:     Dr. Demond Means, Commissioner, Opportunity Schools Partnership Program and Superintendent, Mequon-Thiensville School District

Universal access to quality education is a basic human right that promotes a brighter individual and collective future. How do we provide educational opportunities in our community and to all our world’s children?

February 23:      INEQUALITY AND WORK:

The opportunity for people to support themselves and their families and contribute to their community through gainful employment is key to achieving a more equitable and stable society.

Speaker:           Nancy Donaldson, Director, International Labor Organization (Washington, DC)

Respondent:     Sheila Cochran, Chief Operating Officer/Secretary-Treasurer, Milwaukee Area Labor Council

Around the world, communities facing high unemployment particularly among their youth are especially vulnerable to social unrest. How do we make family-supporting jobs available for all who are willing to work?

The 2015 series included:

  • Unsettled, Resettled: Refugees and Their Adopted Communities 
  • Hungry Cities: Urban Food Insecurity in Milwaukee and Around the World
  • Young, Frustrated and Mad: Global Youth Unemployment and Unrest
  • Bringing the Story Home: The Economics of International News

Watch the 2015 series.