LBJ School launches virtual series, “LBJ In the Arena,” to explore public policy’s critical role in dealing with COVID-19

AUSTIN, Texas, March 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — In recent weeks, the way Americans live, work, learn and govern has been reshaped by COVID-19. In response, the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, one of the country’s leading centers for public policy scholarship, will convene LBJ In the Arena, an eight-week virtual event series exploring the impact of COVID-19 on our communities, starting April 1, 2020.

“In the Arena,” a phrase made famous by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1910 and the overarching theme of the LBJ’s School 50th anniversary in 2020, will feature the policymakers, practitioners, scholars, business leaders and creative thinkers who are leading the response to and recovery from the coronavirus. Speakers will explore the issues of emergency response, urban policy and cities, national security, food and supply chains, public finance and equity – all impacted by COVID-19.

“In launching LBJ In the Arena, we will bring participants to the frontline of public policy and governance,” explained LBJ School Dean Angela M. Evans. “The LBJ School has always been at the forefront of the policy issues impacting our country, and COVID-19 offers a real-time opportunity to learn how policy is shaped, implemented and evaluated.”

LBJ In the Arena will meet virtually on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. CT via Zoom. Registration for these virtual sessions can be found on the LBJ School Eventbrite page. All session content, including associated videos, readings and summaries, will be made available every Friday on the LBJ School website and YouTube page. Initial sessions:

  • April 1, 2020: LBJ In the Arena: On the Frontline: Restarting Our Cities
    LBJ Urban Lab Director Steven Pedigo will sit down for a one-on-one conversation with Professor Richard Florida, one of the world’s leading thinkers in urban studies. Florida is the University Professor at the University of Toronto and co-founder of City Lab.
  • April 8, 2020: LBJ In the Arena: FEMA: Leading in the COVID-19 Crisis
    Renowned public management scholar and LBJ Professor Don Kettl leads a conversation with Admiral Thad Allen, who was the lead federal official for the responses to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and who served as national incident commander for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Allen brings his expertise on addressing large-scale, complex disasters and operational challenges that require unity of effort among diverse stakeholders to our current context.
  • April 15, 2020: LBJ In the Arena: Managing the Fiscal Meltdown
    LBJ Professors James Galbraith, a world-renowned economist, and Michael Lind, one of the nation’s foremost public intellectuals, unpack the human impact of the economic crisis set off by the current public health crisis. Galbraith and Lind bring a set of perspectives that bridges history, economic theory and practical experience in the international and national policy making arenas.

About the LBJ School of Public Affairs
The LBJ School, founded by President Lyndon B. Johnson, celebrates its landmark 50th anniversary in 2020. Ranked #8 among the nation’s graduate public affairs schools by U.S. News & World Report, the LBJ School makes a difference, not only within the walls of academia, but also in the public and social dialogue of the world. Contributing viable solutions to society is the LBJ School’s legacy and its signature arena. Its effectiveness in channeling the purpose and passion of students into professional careers is evident in the success of more than 4,500 graduates who are the living legacy of President Johnson’s bold and fearless action. The University of Texas at Austin is home to the LBJ School. For more, visit

CONTACT: For more information: Margaret Justus, Justus Communications LLC, 281-250-8253 or Dr. Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Assistant Dean for Civic Engagement: 312-480-1868,

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