Human Progress and Flourishing Workshop

Be part of an interdisciplinary conversation addressing the world's biggest challenges.

About the Workshop

Our workshop on Human Progress and Flourishing invites internationally-renowned scholars and speakers from across the country to present research and engage in discussion with the Fargo-Moorhead community. The series focuses on solutions and policies that contribute to opportunity, innovation, and individual and societal flourishing. 

All are invited to attend these free presentations and participate in a lively discussion. Seminars will be held every other Friday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Central. Attendees are encouraged to join us in-person in the Beckwith Recital Hall or virtually on Zoom. Light food and refreshments will be provided after each seminar in the Challey School of Music Atrium. 

Students of any major, undergraduate or graduate, can register for the 1-credit course BUSN 491/690. To join the class, email Tayt Rinehardt at 

*You do not need to enroll in the course or be a member of the NDSU community to attend the speaker presentations. Everyone is welcome. 

Guests are encouraged to park in the T2 lot. You can receive a parking validation code at our event check-in table, please let us know if you need one.

Spring 2024 Speakers

Viewpoint Diversity and Civil Discourse
February 2 | John Bitzan
Topic: American Student Attitudes Toward Viewpoint Diversity, Human Progress, and Economic Systems

John Bitzan is the Menard Family Director of the Sheila and Robert Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth and a professor of management at North Dakota State University. He studies transportation economics, the impacts of regulation, and market structure and performance. His research has spanned public policy issues related to railroads, airlines, motor carriers, waterways, and public transit; including examining economic issues such as transportation costs, energy consumption, pricing, profitability, and regulatory change. Dr. Bitzan has co-edited three books on transportation economics and published research in top academic journals such as the Southern Economic Journal, Journal of Law and Economics, Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, Review of Industrial Organization, and more. His work has also been published in Entrepreneur magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Washington Examiner, and Newsweek. Dr. Bitzan has worked at NDSU since 1990. Prior roles include the Associate Dean of the College of Business and an Advanced Research Fellow with the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute. He received his master's degree in applied economics from Marquette University and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Watch Presentation


February 16 | Ben Klutsey
Topic: Polarization and Pluralism: Living Together Amidst Deep Differences

Klutsey holds dual roles at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. As the Director of Academic Outreach, he engages with university centers to foster collaborations and knowledge sharing about effective program building. Through his role as Director of the Program on Pluralism and Civil Exchange, he works with thought leaders and practitioners to advance a deeper understanding of pluralism and its role as a core attribute of a liberal society, and to promote its practice across campuses, civil society, and institutions. He received his MA in International Commerce and Policy at George Mason University and his BA in Government and Philosophy from Lawrence University. 

Watch Presentation

Economic Freedom Throughout the World
March 22 | Kerianne Lawson
Topic: Women and Economic Freedom

Kerianne Lawson is a scholar at the Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth with the Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise and an assistant professor of economics in the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics at North Dakota State University. She teaches undergraduate courses on real estate, microeconomics, and math economics. Her research interests include economic freedom, crime and civil unrest, and electricity reliability. Her work on the expansion of property rights in South Africa sheds light on the charitable work done by the Khaya Lam Project and its role in deterring crime, encouraging investment, and creating opportunities for entrepreneurship. Dr. Lawson also conducts research on the importance of economic freedom at the local, state, and national level, and how it relates to political freedom and economic growth. 

Watch Presentation

April 5 | Antonio Saravia
Topic: Economic Freedom in Latin America

Dr. Antonio Saravia is the Associate Professor of Economics and the Director of the Center for the Study of Economics and Liberty at Mercer University. He holds a PhD in Economics from Arizona State University and an MA in Economics from Georgetown University. His work has appeared in highly ranked academic journals such as the Review of Development Economics, Constitutional Political Economy, and The Cato Journal, among others. Dr. Saravia is a frequent speaker on college campuses and conferences around the world. He is also a recurrent commentator for major media outlets such as CNN, NPR, Fox News, etc.

Watch Presentation

International Trade - Why Trade Issues Matter
April 19 | Kimberly Clausing
Topic:  Putting Progress Over Protectionism in Economic Policy

Kimberly Clausing holds the Eric M. Zolt Chair in Tax Law and Policy at the UCLA School of Law. During the first part of the Biden Administration, Clausing was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis in the US Department of the Treasury, serving as the lead economist in the Office of Tax Policy. Prior to coming to UCLA, Clausing was the Thormund A. Miller and Walter Mintz Professor of Economics at Reed College. Her research examines how government decisions and corporate behavior interplay in the global economy. She has published numerous articles on the taxation of multinational firms, and she is the author of Open: The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital (Harvard University Press, 2019). Professor Clausing is a nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. She has worked on economic policy research with the International Monetary Fund, the Hamilton Project, the Brookings Institution, the Tax Policy Center, and the Center for American Progress. She has testified before the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Committee on Finance, the Senate Committee on the Budget, and the Joint Economic Committee. Professor Clausing has received two Fulbright Research awards (to Belgium and Cyprus), and her research has been supported by external grants from the National Science Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the International Centre for Tax and Development, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Professor Clausing received her B.A. from Carleton College in 1991 and her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1996, both in economics.

Watch Presentation

May 3 | Sandro Steinbach
Topic: Geoeconomic Fragmentation: Challenges and Opportunities for the American Heartland

Sandro Steinbach is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics at North Dakota State University. He directs the Center for Agricultural Policy and Trade Studies and is a Challey Institute Scholar. Sandro completed his doctoral studies in Economics with the Center for Economic Research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. He teaches undergraduate and graduate classes related to agricultural policy and trade, business management, and applied data analysis. Sandro's research focuses on agricultural trade and policy. He also conducts research in health and environmental economics. His work appears in the top field and general interest journals, such as Nature Communications, Economics Letters, Journal of Health Economics, the NBER working paper series, and other academic journals.

Watch Presentation

Top of page