November 6, 2023

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm, Central Time

Law & Democracy Series: The Inner and Outer Work of Democracy

University of Nebraska College of Law, McCollom Hall, Lincoln, NE

Law & Democracy Series

The Law and Democracy Series involves a number of speakers and events occurring at the University of Nebraska College of Law that address the degradation of democracy, the deep polarization in our political culture, and the role of lawyers in preserving and thinking about democracy and the rule of law. This Series is provided by generous support from Barb and Ron Schaefer.

Event Description:

On the last day of the American Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin famously responded to a woman who asked whether we had a monarchy or a republic: "A republic, if you can keep it." He touched upon the reality that behind every iconic but nascent institution in America, behind every political value, there was an "inward work" of conscience behind it; every hard-won right had a corresponding responsibility. As democracies are struggling around the world, it's easy to focus on outer, constitutional structures alone and to forget that freedom is ultimately an inside job, requiring certain cultivated habits of the heart and mind.

Please join Preeta Bansal for a conversation and an interactive exercise about the "inward work" of democracy - the conscience that shaped the American constitutional experiment and that may help us reinvigorate it anew.

Preeta Bansal is a senior global executive and lawyer whose career has been at the intersection of law, public policy, government, academia and global business. Bansal served as general counsel and senior policy advisor the Obama White House (Office of Management and Budget). She has recently been a Lecturer at the MIT Media Lab and a Senior Advisor at MIT’s Laboratory for Social Machines.

Previously, Bansal served as a global general counsel for HSBC Holdings, plc, in London; partner and practice chair of leading international law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in New York City; Solicitor General of the State of New York; and Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a federal government human rights commission. She has advised on the drafting of the constitutions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and was a leader of President Obama’s Advisory Committee on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships focusing on poverty and inequality in America in 2015-2016. She is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, an independent corporate director of Nelnet, Inc. (NYSE: NNI), and a member of many other nonprofit boards and advisory councils.

She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard-Radcliffe College and a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens (1990-1991). She received the National Organization of Women’s “Woman of Power and Influence Award” in 2006 and was named one of the “50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America” by the National Law Journal in 2008. Her present work relates to empowering communities and human networks, using ancient wisdom tools and new technologies – drawing upon network science, quantum physics and new understandings in neuroscience and biology – to amplify small shifts in behavior and consciousness.