Woodard Speaks at State of the Unions conference in Brussels

November 17, 2022

BRUSSELS – Pell Center visiting senior fellow Colin Woodard Nov. 16 addressed the State of the Unions conference, an annual event in the European capital convened by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Brussels-based Foundation for European Progressive Studies.

Woodard discussed the results of the U.S. midterm elections and their implications for Europeans, who since 2016 have wondered if they can still count on the U.S. to remain their primary economic, military and political partner, an issue that has become more poignant since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Co-presenters included GMF vice president Ian Lesser, Laurence Nardon of the French Institute of International Relations, and political consultant Arun Chaudhary of Social Changes. Before and after the meeting he shared the same insights with officials at the European External Action Service and members of the European Parliament.

On his return to the U.S., Woodard wrote a piece for the Maine Sunday Telegram on what European leaders were asking and what he had to say.

“My post-midterm message was that our country remains in crisis, one misstep away from a collapse of constitutional order and, with it, the federation itself,” Woodard, who is also that paper’s State and National Affairs Writer, wrote. “But that this month I’m more optimistic that we’ll pull through in the end, that the American experiment in self-government and the pursuit of human freedom and equality won’t perish from the Earth.”

Woodard, who is a visiting senior fellow at the Pell Center this year, is a longtime foreign correspondent who reported from more than fifty foreign countries and seven continents, including four years in Eastern Europe and the Balkans during that region’s difficult transition from totalitarian rule. As state and national affairs writer at the Portland Press Herald he received a George Polk Award and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. A graduate of Tufts University and the University of Chicago he is a past Pew Fellow in International journalism at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Study.

At the Pell Center he is creating a new project called Nationhood Lab which will deliver more effective tools with which to describe and defend the American liberal democratic tradition and better understand the forces undermining it.