Miller Center, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions Team To Launch National Discussion and Debate Series

June 8, 2007 — The Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia and MacNeil/Lehrer Productions have announced their partnership to produce a National Discussion and Debate Series, beginning this fall.

The series will address major issues facing the United States – its role in the world, its responsibilities to its citizens, and how it fulfills the principles upon which it was founded. The first debate is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, September 18 at the historic Rotunda at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“Too often, the idea of ‘debate’ in this country is overtaken by sound bites and squabbles rather than a reasoned, informed exchange of ideas,” said Gerald L. Baliles, Director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs. “This series is an extension of the Miller Center’s mission to examine important issues, and through it we aim to contribute to the national conversation with a genuine, thoughtful give-and-take that will both inform people and provoke dialogue.”

“We are delighted to partner with the Miller Center on this debate series,” said Les Crystal, President of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions.  “The Center’s commitment to serious discussion of the critical issues facing our citizens meshes well with the mission of MLP since its founding more than thirty years ago.”

Newsmen Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer started MacNeil/Lehrer Productions in 1981 to produce their nightly PBS news broadcast, and MLP’s achievements include more than thirty awards for journalistic excellence, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Award and a Television Critics Circle Award. The company has expanded its efforts to produce documentaries for PBS, cable and commercial broadcast network television, video production, interactive multimedia productions, and educational and community outreach initiatives.

Founded in 1975, the Miller Center of Public Affairs is a leading nonpartisan public policy institution that aims to fulfill Jefferson’s public service mission by serving as a national meeting place for engaged citizens, scholars, students, media representatives and government officials to research, reflect, and report on issues of national importance to the governance of the United States, with special attention to the central role and history of the presidency.