Program Details

The Panama Canal: A Complicated Political Backstory

Ralph Nurnberger
Video Catch-up

Course Description

The Panama Canal was one of the greatest engineering accomplishments of all time. From a political perspective, building the canal was either a bold diplomatic stroke or a crude display of arrogance by America.  The first part of this presentation will focus on how the United States was able to build and then maintain this canal in another country. The second part of this presentation will focus on how the United States turned over the canal to Panama and why this unleashed one of the most contentious foreign policy debates in American history.

About the Instructor

  • Ralph Nurnberger, Ph.D., is a widely acclaimed speaker who brings humor, current political insights, and historical background to his presentations. He taught history and international relations at Georgetown University for 38 years. He received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Graduate School of Liberal Studies in 2003. Nurnberger has given talks on a wide range of historical and political topics for the Lifelong Learning Program at Florida Atlantic University’s Boca and Jupiter campuses, where his talks frequently sell out. Nurnberger served on the professional staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; as a Legislative Liaison for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee(AIPAC); as executive director of Builders for Peace (which had been established to assist the Arab-Israeli Peace Process); and as a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He is a senior partner in Nurnberger & Associates, Inc. He earned his bachelor's degree from Queens College, his master's degree from Columbia University, and his doctoral degree from Georgetown University.