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February 16, 2011: News, Research & Events from the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy
Baker Institute Update: Does peace drive us crazy? Come to lunch and find out
The Associate Roundtable invites you to a lunch featuring journalist David Axe

How does a young reporter covering county government in South Carolina end up as a war correspondent in the Middle East? Freelance journalist David Axe explains on Feb. 23 when the Baker Institute hosts "Manufacturing War: How Peace Drives Us Crazy," Axe's personal take on the war in Iraq. A regular contributor to The Washington Times and Wired, Axe is also the author of a graphic novel memoir, "War Fix." His 11:00 a.m. presentation, which includes lunch, is open to the public, though an RSVP is required.

The program is sponsored by the Associate Roundtable, a Baker Institute Roundtable spinoff that's open to young professionals and rising leaders in the Houston area. Through events that focus on the public policy challenges of their generation, "the Associate Roundtable provides young professional Houstonians with a forum to connect, discuss and debate issues that directly affect their lives," said Christene Kimmel, the institute's director of development.

Mark Yzaguirre, a member since 2007, said the Associate Roundtable offers the opportunity to "regularly interact with public policy figures in a way that's unique in Houston."

"There are plenty of groups in town where you basically go and trade business cards," he said. "That's not what this is about. Here you can not only listen to policymakers and other experts in their fields, but also talk to them. Houston is a big city that offers a lot of arts and culture, but the Baker Institute is the only outlet I know of here that has such a high-quality public policy base, where you can discuss and learn more about everything from energy policy to health reform."

Although some Associate Roundtable programs are open to the public, the group recently hosted the first in a series of members-only breakfasts with institute fellows and scholars. John Diamond, Edward A. and Hermena Hancock Kelly Fellow in Public Finance, discussed U.S. budget issues, and Chris Bronk, fellow in information and technology policy (pictured above at the event), spoke on cybersecurity. "It wasn't something where you grabbed your breakfast and left, a bland networking event. You really engaged with the fellows and other members, and got something out of your time," Yzaguirre said.

Join us next Wednesday when the Associate Roundtable welcomes David Axe. For more information on how to become an Associate Roundtable member, please contact Starr Dickerson, development coordinator, at 713-348-4200 or by e-mail at

Institute's coverage of unrest in the Middle East continues

The Baker Institute is providing timely analysis as events unfold in Egypt and the broader Middle East. Visit our website to access interviews by media outlets that have turned to the institute for insights on the latest developments in the region. 

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The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy is a nonpartisan public policy think tank located on the campus of Rice University in Houston, Texas. The institute's distinguished fellows and scholars research and collaborate with experts from academia, government, the media, business and private organizations on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy.
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