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Alumni-Faculty Forum: Forming a More Perfect Union: The Future of Democracy in America

May 20 @ 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm

AFF - More Perfect Union

McCosh Hall, Room 50

Sponsored by the Alumni Association of Princeton University


Julian E. Zelizer
Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs, Princeton University


Ashley Quarcoo *08
Senior Director of Democracy Programs and Pillars, Partnership for American Democracy

Lawrence Ashe, Jr. ’62
Senior Counsel at Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs LLP

Jim Marshall ’72
Attorney, former U.S. Congressman

Angela Ramirez ’97

Gabriel Debenedetti ’12
National Correspondent, New York Magazine


JZJulian Zelizer
Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs, Princeton University

Julian Zelizer has been among the pioneers in the revival of American political history. He is a CNN political analyst and a regular guest on NPR’s “Here and Now.” He is the author and editor of 23 books including: “The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society,” the winner of the D.B. Hardeman Prize for the Best Book on Congress; and “Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974,” co-authored with Kevin Kruse. The New York Times named “Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, The Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party” as an editor’s choice and one of the 100 Notable Books in 2020. His most recent books are “Abraham Joshua Heschel: A Life of Radical Amazement” and “The Presidency of Donald J. Trump: A First Historical Assessment,” which he edited. Next spring, Basic Books will publish “Myth America: Historians Take on the Biggest Lies and Legends About Our Past,” co-edited with Kevin Kruse. He is currently working on a new book about the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the 1964 Democratic Convention. Zelizer, who has published over one thousand op-eds, has received fellowships from the Brookings Institution, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the New York Historical Society and New America. He also co-hosts a popular podcast called “Politics & Polls.”


AQAshley Quarcoo *08
Senior Director of Democracy Programs and Pillars, Partnership for American Democracy

Ashley Quarcoo is the senior director of Democracy Programs and Pillars with the Partnership for American Democracy, where she leads policy, programs and pillar engagement. She is also a non-resident scholar with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Prior to joining the Partnership, Quarcoo was a senior fellow with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Democracy, Conflict and Governance Program. Her research focused on threats to democracy, social and political polarization and comparative approaches toward building social cohesion and democratic renewal. Quarcoo also recently served as senior research manager with the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship and American Identity Program. She has appeared on CBSN and WAMU’s “1A,” and her work has been featured in USA Today and Foreign Policy, among others. Quarcoo spent over a decade supporting peace-building and democratic development in post-conflict countries and countries transitioning out of authoritarianism. She worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development, where she supported strategy, policy and program development for a nearly $300 million democracy, human rights and governance foreign assistance portfolio. She has also served with the Department of State, as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill, and as a Teach for America corps member in New York City.

LALawrence Ashe, Jr. ’62
Senior Counsel at Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs LLP

Lawrence Ashe has had a long journey pertaining to tolerance through decades of involvement in Georgia’s civil-rights issues, and has gained national recognition for fighting discrimination in employment, voting and civil rights. Leaving Knoxville’s segregated schools for Hotchkiss, he acquired his conviction that integration is a two-way street. Ashe excelled at Princeton and then at Harvard Law, serving his NROTC commission in between. His successful private law practice in Atlanta included substantial pro bono civil rights work. One case compelled the Professional Golfers’ Association to admit female pros with full credit for their prior experience. He also has handled high-profile racial-integration cases, some of which resulted in death threats. In 1971, Ashe became the first white member of Atlanta’s Black Bar Association. In 1977, he was elected as the first white president of the 60-year-old Atlanta Urban League, “being the first one we found who was qualified.”

JMJim Marshall ’72
Attorney, former U.S. Congressman

Jim Marshall ’72 was originally class of 1970, but withdrew from Princeton in his junior year to enlist for infantry combat in Vietnam, where he was wounded three times, decorated and, years later, inducted into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame. He has been a member of the Georgia Bar since 1977, serving in various committees and leadership roles. He was a professor of law at Mercer University for nearly 20 years with an active side practice specializing in commercial litigation and business bankruptcy. After being involved as chair or co-chair for two political campaigns and having volunteered for or led multiple non-profits, he was elected mayor of Macon, Georgia, from 1995-99 and to the U.S. House of Representatives from 2003-11, serving on the Armed Services, Financial Services and Agriculture committees. Following Congress, Marshall taught a seminar at Princeton University on the limited utility of American military force and then became CEO and president of the United States Institute of Peace. He has published multiple op-eds regarding partisanship and is currently the president of Alumni and Friends of Princeton ROTC (AAF) and the Princeton Veterans Alumni Association (PVETS). Marshall is married to Camille Hope, a lawyer and bankruptcy trustee. Their children, Mary Marshall ’10 and Robert Marshall ’13, also practice law.

ARAngela Ramirez ’97

For 18 years, Angela Ramirez worked in the House of Representatives, serving as a policy aide, the executive director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and chief of staff for now-Senator Ben Ray Lujan of California. Ramirez was an original hire on the Biden transition team and is currently working in the Biden Administration, serving as deputy chief of staff at the Department of Health and Human Services. Previously she worked in the White House, serving as a member of President Biden’s legislative team that helped pass the American Rescue Plan and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. A native Californian, she has worked in state and local government, worked on numerous campaigns, and was included on Politico’s 2019 Power List. At Princeton, Ramirez studied political economy and was the first woman to co-chair the then-115 year-old humor magazine. And she has sold exactly two jokes to Comedy Central.

GDGabriel Debenedetti ’12
National Correspondent, New York Magazine

Gabriel Debenedetti ’12 is the national correspondent for New York Magazine, where he writes about politics and national affairs. Previously, he covered elections, the White House and Capitol Hill for Politico and Reuters. He appears frequently on MSNBC, CNN, CBS News, the BBC and NPR, and his work has appeared in the New York Times, the Economist, Politico Magazine and the New Republic. His book about the relationship between Joe Biden and Barack Obama, “The Long Alliance,” comes out this fall.




May 20
2:30 pm - 3:45 pm
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McCosh 50
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08540 United States
(609) 258 - 3000