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Secretary of Defense Gates returns to Williamsburg to give major address: Sen. Warner also to give remarks to group at World Forum

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, a member of the William and Mary Class of 1965, will return to Williamsburg next week to deliver a major address during the World Forum on the Future of Democracy.Gates delivers the keynote address during 2007 commencement exercises at the College. By Stephen Salpukas.

Gates’ speech, which will be given Monday Sept. 17 during a luncheon of conference delegates at the Williamsburg Lodge, comes on the heels of President George W. Bush’s State of the War address to the nation Thursday night. In his address, President Bush outlined plans to reduce troops in Iraq over the next several months.

Sen. John Warner, the senior Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, will also be in Williamsburg for Monday’s lunch at the World Forum to introduce Gates, as well as give extended remarks.

While the lunch is not open to the public, a special event will be held for the community later that evening at William and Mary Hall. That event, “The Future of Democracy: Why does it matter?” will be hosted by Jim Lehrer, executive editor and anchor of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.

Panelists who will join Lehrer during Monday evening’s public session include former Supreme Court Justice and current William and Mary Chancellor Sandra Day O’Connor, former U.S. Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger and Prof. Ali Ansari, director, Institute for Iranian Studies, University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

Monday night’s William and Mary Hall event is both free and open to the public but tickets are required. While several thousand tickets have been distributed, there are seats still available to the public. The William and Mary Hall box office will be open Monday from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

The Jim Lehrer program on Sept. 17 is part of a three-day program of the World Forum on the Future of Democracy. The conference, which is the culminating event of the year-long International Conference Series on the Future of Democracy and a Signature Event of America’s 400th Anniversary, will be held Sept. 16-18 in Williamsburg, Va. The three-day event will bring together noted scholars on democracy, government officials, political practitioners, advocates and commentators from around the world to examine the global advance of democracy, the challenges that emerging democracies face, and democracy’s prospects for the future.
The conference is being hosted by the Jamestown 400th Commemoration Commission, Jamestown 2007, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William and Mary. For a listing of participants and panels, and for the most updated information on the World Forum on the Future of Democracy Conference, as well as for press registration, please visit