Home » News » Liberty + Leadership Podcast – Elizabeth Spalding on the Evils of Communism

Liberty + Leadership Podcast – Elizabeth Spalding on the Evils of Communism


Elizabeth Edwards Spalding ’86 is the founding director of the Victims of Communism Museum and chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Elizabeth is a visiting fellow at Hillsdale College’s Van Andel Graduate School of Government and a senior fellow at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy. She has devoted her career to researching and educating generations about the history and horrors of communism. She is the author of “The First Cold Warrior: Harry Truman, Containment and the Remaking of Liberal Internationalism” and “A Brief History of the Cold War,” which she co-authored with her father, Lee Edwards.

Elizabeth is an alumna of the 1986 TFAS Journalism + Communications program. She earned a bachelor’s in politics from Hillsdale College and both a Ph.D. and a master’s in international politics and political theory from the University of Virginia.

In this week’s Liberty + Leadership Podcast, TFAS President Roger Ream ’76 and Elizabeth discuss her childhood growing up in Washington, D.C., how falling in love with learning turned her into a lifelong student, how studying Truman is critical to understanding the Cold War, her work at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, and the personal power of the Witness Project at the Victims of Communism Museum.


Episode Transcript

The transcript below is lightly edited for clarity.

Roger Ream [00:00:00] Hello and welcome. I’m Roger Ream and this is the Liberty and Leadership Podcast, a conversation with TFAS alumni, supporters, faculty and friends who are making a real impact in public policy, business, philanthropy, law and journalism. Today I’m joined by Elizabeth Spalding, chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and founding director of the Victims of Communism Museum. Elizabeth is also a visiting fellow at Hillsdale College’s Van Andel Graduate School of Government and a senior fellow at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy. Elizabeth is an alumna of the TFAS Journalism program, and we’ll hear about both her continued involvement with TFAS as well as her lifelong passion for supporting anti-Communism causes. Elizabeth, thanks for joining me. I’m looking forward to speaking with you today.

Elizabeth Spalding [00:01:06] Likewise, Roger, and it’s great to be here with you.

Roger Ream [00:01:09] Well, before we dig into what are perhaps weightier issues, perhaps we could talk a little bit about your background. Your father and your grandfather were both influential in Washington and in the U.S. in their careers, each in their own way. I did not know your grandfather, Willard Edwards, but I do recall my mother referencing him often because she was an avid reader of the Chicago Tribune. I know your grandfather worked as the Washington correspondent, perhaps in other capacities. Your father Lee Edwards, also a writer, as well as a historian, prolific author and professor, among other things. Both had important roles to play in the Cold War and beyond, using their pens and their voices. And, of course, your father was the founding director of the TFAS Journalism program that you later attended. So, could you share a little bit about both of these gentlemen to start our conversation?

Elizabeth Spalding [00:02:13] I would be happy to. I come by being both an anti-communist and a conservative by my paternal line, as you have just described. And my grandfather, Willard, I was so blessed to be able to have a lot of time with him before he died in his late eighties, and so I heard all these great stories. For over 50 years he was a reporter with the Chicago Tribune, and he covered every president from FDR to Carter. Such a rich period. When he was off the record in the living room at his house on Capitol Hill, he would also talk about things about, you know, who drank what, who was good at cards. It was also a different era of journalism and politics in a lot of ways. One of my earliest memories of that is visiting him in his office at the Capitol, because many of the bureaus were based in the U.S. Capitol, and this is when you could walk up the steps into the Capitol, and there was cigarette smoke, there was cigar smoke. I think there were some reporters sitting at the desks. I was little, I was very little, three or four, but that’s one of my first memories of growing up here in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area. So he was just very staunch about a person is a person, and communism is the ultimate repressor of what individuals are and what a community is and what a family is and even a country. Just the whole bit came from grandpa. And then my dad, Lee Edwards, you already gave his biography, but he grew up in that household and did say that he was an anti-communist and a conservative. What really cemented it for him as an adult was after he served his time in the U.S. Army, as everybody had to do at that time, they had to do a couple of years tour, the men volunteered, or volunteered before he got drafted, so that’s what my dad did after college. And so he decided to go to Paris after he was done and see if he could write “The Great American novel,” and it was at the time that the Poles were uprising in Poznan in 1956, and then that helped spur the Hungarians to also rise up, and it was the beginning of the Hungarian Revolution, and my dad said what a heady time it was to be in Europe and to be watching and listening moment by moment and talking about it with his friends. And then to see the Soviets, the Communists crushed it after almost two weeks. That’s when he promised that he would do something with his life, you know, he would do whatever he was meant to do in his career, but that he would never forget about being for people who were fighting against communism. And I grew up in that kind of household, you know, getting to visit my grandparents’ house. We went almost every week down to Capitol Hill and had dinner or Sunday dinner early in the afternoon, and we would go to the Redskins games. I’m a third generation Redskins fan too, so I don’t really watch much anymore because it doesn’t resemble what it did in the past. But that all laid a foundation for me that I didn’t even realize was happening.

Roger Ream [00:06:00] Yeah, that’s wonderful. What a great way to learn about many of the issues you’ve grappled with in your academic and professional careers to have those two people in your life as well as your mother and others. You also did the TFAS experience in 1986; I guess at the time you were coming out of Hillsdale College.

Elizabeth Spalding [00:06:23] I was still at Hillsdale, so when I did it was after I had been – I was thinking about this because I knew I was going to be talking with you – it was after I had been section editor twice for two different sections of the Collegian, which is the Hillsdale College newspaper, and then I was going into my term as editor in chief. And so, for me, doing the political journalism program at that time was a real gift because I was with other students, some of whom weren’t as far along in their journalism careers, some who were much farther, some who are at big schools. It’s very helpful to talk with the people who were at the large state schools where they were having to put out a paper sometimes five times a week and and the demands on that. We were having discussions all the time. As you know, you’re always encouraging discussion in those programs. So, it was really a great time for me. The placement, though, at that time – do the students get to find their internship now or do you help them, or do you place them?

Roger Ream [00:07:32] Well, it’s both. We certainly allow them to find their own placements, and some do. The majority of them, we place them based on their background, and their career interests and what’s suitable for them. So, it does vary.

Elizabeth Spalding [00:07:48] Right. So, in the old days, everybody was placed. They might be able to say: “I have an in at such and such an organization.” So, I got placed at the place I didn’t agree with politically, but I guess the reasoning was I’d be able to handle it because I was at Hillsdale and I had gone to a very liberal high school and all this kind of stuff. And so I had an internship at a Ted Turner-funded organization called The Better World Society. I was helping with the production, with the producer, working on films and documentaries, and she grumbled every day: “I’m teaching you things that you’re going to use for the opposition.” This is what she would say, and I would just keep my head down and do my work. And then one of the evenings where we had guest speakers, one of the guest speakers was Bob Merritt, and he was then at Roll Call. I got invited to a little dinner afterwards, and a couple of us from the program got invited to go with him and we sat, and we were talking, and he said: “well, how much summer will you have left after TFAS is over?” And I said: “about a month,” and he said: “well, come work for me.” So, it ended up being this fabulous summer of working for a place that I didn’t agree with their principles, but I learned a lot, and then I got to go to Roll Call for a month and cover things on Capitol Hill and compile some clips and all that good stuff.

Roger Ream [00:09:19] Yeah, wonderful. And I know Bob Merritt went on to a very distinguished career in journalism. You chose after Hillsdale to go to graduate school at Virginia, as it turned out, in international relations, and I’m not sure what their program is called, but what led you on that path?

Elizabeth Spalding [00:09:40] I had been really thinking about journalism, but I’d also been interested in teaching, maybe even government. When you’re coming out of undergrad, you’re not always sure, and so I said: “well, I’ll apply to graduate schools and see what happens.” It ended up being the right time, the right sort of offer, all of that to go to University of Virginia, and then I said: “well, I’ll do the Ph.D., or maybe if something pops up in journalism or government, I won’t finish.” But I ended up falling in love with higher education that way, and the opportunity to immerse myself in topics and even to do archival research as I got to do for my dissertation. So I stayed, and I got the Ph.D. and then I said: “okay, I’m going to end up being a teacher.” So, I am one of those people around town that’s a lifelong student, a lifelong academic. I think it’s part of why I was put here.

Roger Ream [00:10:44] We talked before we went on air to record this that you had done research on your dissertation on Harry Truman, which later you took further and published, I think, your first book in 2006: “The First Cold Warrior: Harry Truman, Containment and the Remaking of Liberal Internationalism.” Fascinating title, and Harry Truman is a fascinating figure in the Cold War. Could you talk a little bit about what you found when you wrote that book?

Elizabeth Spalding [00:11:16] So at the time, this was the early nineties when I was doing the research and I really wanted to write on Reagan and the ending of the Cold War. My advisor and the rest of the dissertation committee said it was too early. There aren’t materials open; you’d be relying on a lot of journalism. I said: “okay, well that’s not always bad, as long as we go and get our sources right.” But my advisor said: “go back and look at the beginnings, look at Truman.” He ended up being a fascinating figure, and to study the beginning of the Cold War set me up for so many things, including making the museum eventually. I will always have Truman as one of my people that I’ve studied, and I understand, and it’s helped me understand the Cold War from a long-term perspective. As we know, a lot of people will know about World War Two, some people will know about World War One because they are “war bucks,” but not as many people know about the Cold War, and that’s the third big conflict of the 20th century, and then it’s chased us into the 21st century. The legacy of all of it is around us all the time, including in the war in Ukraine. This ended up being something so important. My first book was well-received, and then I just built on that. The topics that I’ve taught over the years from both undergraduate and graduate students have revolved around U.S. foreign policy, the presidency, war, national security, religion and politics, all these things. I worked on Truman and his religious beliefs, and studied if it had any influence on his politics, way before that became a thing. That was something that when my book came out, a lot of people said: “oh, we never thought about it this way,” and there have been maybe one or two articles over 50 years about Truman being a Baptist, and this could be significant somehow. Did he have beliefs? Now you have all these books with people talking about how whether a president has a deep faith or not, you need to know something about it because it probably has some bearing on what he does in the Oval Office. So, even that, obviously connecting that to communism and the Cold War, there’s a faith dimension to all of that, too.

Roger Ream [00:13:44] When you talk with young people today, as I do in my work at TFAS, as you do in your teaching in the various audiences you get in front of, the Cold War is, in a sense, ancient history to them. They view it as something in the fifties, sixties and seventies that then petered out. But as you said, there’s so much from that Cold War that continues today and defines events in the world today. So, we’ll get to talking about what you’re doing with the museum, which is one way of reaching the rising generations on this subject, but do you think that students seem receptive to the importance of learning about the Cold War?

Elizabeth Spalding [00:14:27] I think if we’re presenting it in a bunch of different ways, I don’t think it can just be one thing. I find students can tune out in a class if you’re just going through, “And then we had this conflict, and then we have this conflict, and this, you have this conflict.” If you’re doing something that’s an overview, let’s say, of American foreign policy; if you pick the particular people in the moments that helped them to understand what was going on, then I think that’s a better way in. I try to do that all the time with a variety of audiences because I also talk to teachers, I talk to high school students, I talk to everybody now, middle school I’m teaching too, even if it’s not always a semester course. My dad and I, we got to write a book together, as you may recall. We have each been noticing in our teaching and speaking that indeed, especially young people, were looking at the Cold War as ancient history, and they had no idea what it meant and how important it was and that it could have gone a different way, which that’s always right, the contingencies of politics and history, we want our students to understand that. We want our own kids and grandkids to understand, right? You’ve got new grandkids to understand that. It’s so important. So, my father and I wrote a short book because we also realized that especially young people don’t have the attention for the same length books. I’ve been teaching a long time now, and I’m assigned the same kind of students, but I’m assigning fewer books, shorter books, fewer pages because it’s a different time. I’m Gen X, they’re, at this point now they’re – I don’t even know what we’re calling the ones that come after Z – I’m still getting mostly millennials and Z, depending on the level of grad school or not. So we did this book and we called it “A Brief History of the Cold War,” and boy, it’s been used. I run into people, and they’ll say: “I’m using it in a college class or even a graduate level class as a supplemental.” I’ve met high school teachers, especially those at smaller private schools that get to have more electives, they’ll say they’ll be using it as a main text, and then I’ve met a whole lot of home-schooling teachers who have used it for classes as well as for co-op. So, that’s another way, something where we put it down on paper or we get it to them electronically and it’s shorter, it gets across the most important people and moments, gives them a timeline, we did a timeline. I think all those different ways. I think visually too. So, with my work at VOCM (Victims of Communism Museum), I’m so proud of the staff there. They put out videos, they do all different kinds of ways. We have a lot of curriculums online now, and so there are many ways to try to reach both young people and their teachers so that they can understand the Cold War, even though they were not even born then. Now you’re teaching people who weren’t born at all during the time of it.

Roger Ream [00:17:49] I had hoped to bring a copy of “A Brief History of the Cold War,” which was published in 2016, to the studio so I could hold it up today, and I looked on my bookshelf at home and in the office, I couldn’t find it, and it just occurred to me where it is, and I’ll tell the story. About six weeks ago, one of our alumni had gone to Prague with his family over the holidays and his sixteen-year-old daughter, who’s in high school in Northern Virginia, got really taken by the modern history of Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and the Cold War, and he came home and emailed me saying she wants to write a paper in school on the subject. Can you recommend some books? So, I did the best thing I could, which was to email you, Elizabeth, and say: “can you give Aaron some guidance?” And you listed five or six books, and I think I had all but one. And that was one of them, of course, and I sent them to him. We’re having lunch next week and he’s going to return the books, but you also mentioned one that I didn’t have by a British journalist who lived in that period at the time. I’m going to say Friedlander, but I’m not sure that’s the right name. I went out and bought that book as well, which was a great book because I wanted to have it in my bookshelf. So, you’ve been a great asset just in regard to helping a young girl working on a paper for high school, and hopefully that’ll have long term ramifications. But I will throw in my recommendation as well for “A Brief History of the Cold War” by Lee Edwards and Elizabeth Spalding, published in 2016. I’m glad it’s still in print. I assume it is if people are still using it. You know, you see polls today that alarm a lot of us where students say they’re kind of evenly split between socialism and capitalism. I think that’s largely because capitalism has a bad name, often because it becomes crony capitalism or problems, corruption, whatever, in capitalist countries. But they associate socialism with Sweden or countries that really are not socialist countries. They don’t associate with a system that led to 100 million people, give or take, dying at the hands of government-caused famines, government-caused wars, and they’re of course continuing today in Ukraine. I even wondered yesterday whether the total of deaths from communism would now add on to those deaths from COVID since this Department of Energy report suggesting that COVID was caused by a lab leak in China. But anyway, what do we do about this misunderstanding among American young people about what communism and socialism are? Obviously, the museum is a great way to address it, the educational work. Are there other things you think that we should add to our arsenal of arguments about communism and socialism and showing that they’re linked together?

Elizabeth Spalding [00:20:49] Yes, first, just getting out there, that they are indeed linked together, and if you go back to the founding fathers of Marxism, of communism, you go back to Marx and Engels. They saw them as connected. They saw socialism as the stage just below full communism. They saw it as on the way to communism; they didn’t see socialism as something that was somehow market socialism or all the different ways that people now try to tell you: “well, socialism really isn’t so bad. Communism isn’t really so bad.” I think part of it is to try to help people understand the terms themselves. We do that at VOC all the time. I find in my talks with people that a lot of times, by giving them comparative terms, running through – which I know you do at TFAS – here’s democracy, different types. I always want them to understand our type of liberal democracy, a full representative democracy that we have in our republic. But that and then socialism, communism. How really there’s no difference in the end if you’re looking at it in theory. Talk a little bit about capitalism. Talk about, as you said, the fact that the -isms are systems. Right. And of course, capitalism isn’t a form of government at all, but that these are systems, whereas democracy in its various forms is indeed a form of government. I just think there are a lot of young people that don’t even understand the simple terms. So, whatever you can do on that, whatever we all can do on that is important. And then at VOC we have a witness project, which some of what VOC does is modeled on the successes of the Holocaust Museum and its foundation. And we have the Witness Project series. And in this we have mini documentaries, and each one features somebody who fought and survived communism and then is profiled in a short documentary. They’re under 10 minutes, so it means that people can watch them. Now that’s gotten short, too. If you tell your friend: “hey, go watch this 90-minute documentary, and then you’re going to understand all the terms and your kids are going to understand it and your nephews and nieces are going to understand it,” they’re going to say, “90 minutes, forget it.” But if you’re seeing the story of somebody, I think it makes a difference, and then people start learning what communism is and what it does. I mean, it’s the most destructive and deadly ideology ever. We have a curriculum that covers things, and it’s a high school curriculum, but we also are working on a middle school curriculum. So, I think another thing is to try to get people earlier and earlier. I’m sure you’re finding this at TFAS with undergraduates, but I have found that students are getting more and more formed before they even get to undergrad now. I think getting a bit down more, so people understand the terms too, and stories and films. If I had all the money in the world, I would donate a lot to worthy causes, but I would say: “who are we bankrolling to do the films, the TV shows, the all the different cultural things, even the music,” right? To help people understand. And then finally, I’d say on this, it’s not only that they understand these horrible things, communism, but the flipside. They need to understand what liberty is, right? What equality is, what the market is, what branches of government and separation of powers and all of that too. Because if you only know the bad stuff, you might be starting to say – you’re a young person: “okay, I really don’t want that.” You have to understand too what you should be for.

Roger Ream [00:25:21] Well, you’re right, and we have to start earlier and earlier. In 2013, we took on the Foundation for Teaching Economics, which is a high school level program focused at students and teachers, and we had close to a thousand students last summer come through those summer programs, and the focus is mostly on teaching economics and about how capitalism is tied into human flourishing, and it’s just a superb program. I’m glad you’re focused on that area. When you say the VOC, of course, it’s the Victims of Communism. You first put up a memorial at about 4th and New Jersey, “Goddess of Democracy Memorial,” which is a fantastic place. And you often drive by there and see wreaths that are laid there by embassies and people who lost loved ones in the Holocaust of Communism. And then there’s the museum, which opened last summer, and you chair the Board of the museum. How is it going? You’re getting attendance built up. There’s a word being spread about it. There are a lot of museums in Washington, D.C. Of course, it’s the place to be for that, but you got competition as well. So, talk a little bit about the museum and why people should visit.

Elizabeth Spalding [00:26:34] That’s right. That’s right. Well, everybody is welcome to visit. Please come visit the Victims of Communism Museum. It’s on McPherson Square. It’s been great. We’re a jewel box museum, as we call ourselves, because we weren’t able to raise the half billion dollars or more that would have been required to do something the size of the Holocaust Museum. But this is our endeavor here, and it’s great. The permanent exhibits will help somebody understand the entire history of all the victims of communism. So, a guest going through, a visitor going through will learn about the basic facts of communism and then that right away it creates victims and how those victims fight over time, too. So, we’re roughly organized around three arrows of revolution, repression and resistance. So, from the start, people will see that even in the Bolshevik Revolution, there were those who quickly saw that they didn’t want what was promised, wasn’t being delivered, and they didn’t even want necessarily what was being promised. And then, of course, it turns into something that’s entirely different from the promises. Since last summer, thousands have already come through the doors. The word keeps spreading. Student groups are coming more and more, and for anybody who’s listening or watching and who is involved in education, please contact the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in advance and you can set up a special tour. You can even meet with a witness. We do that as part of your tour or after the tour, and then the director of academic programs can also talk with large groups like that, too, or small groups. It’s just if you do something in advance when you’ve got students of whatever age involved, that helps. We’ve got lots of regular folks coming in. You can get your tickets online in advance or you can walk in. Right now, we’re open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. So, we are very happy now that the VOC has been able to figure out how to offer some weekend hours because it’s a small nonprofit. So, some of this is staffing, too, right, that are challenges. But we’ve got people coming, families coming. All different ages are coming. If your kids are little, they might be able to watch the films, you might have to help them with one of the films, but especially from middle school all the way up. And then we are also having a lot of people who are victims, who are survivors of communism coming through. One time I was giving a special tour to a dignitary, and somebody came up to me and he started to cry, and he was there with his son, and he was somebody who had managed to escape Romania. I mean, you know, Romania was never a happy story. And he said: “I’m so glad you’ve done this, and I’m so glad you’ve done it for all the victims of communism.” So, that’s one thing that’s unique about our museum. We’re dedicated to remembering and teaching and helping people understand about all the victims of communism. And there are many good museums out there, and some people have probably been thinking about their travels and some of them they’ve seen, but many of them are focused on just that country’s experience or perhaps a little bit more of a region. But at our museum, at the VOC Museum, it’s for all the victims of communism. So, we need to get the word out more, and I invite everybody to come. But more and more people are finding us, which is great.

Roger Ream [00:30:28] I’ve had the opportunity to visit some in Eastern Central Europe and there’s a range of them with some good exhibits, but it’s wonderful to have one here in Washington, D.C. We think of the Soviet Union, but there’s Cuba, of course, which I assume is part of the focus there. Perhaps, you know, North Korea and Venezuela and, of course, China. I want to ask you about China. You know, there were predictions by most – Milton Friedman, for one, who thought liberal economic policies would hasten the collapse of the political authoritarian communist system. It seemed like perhaps that was the path they were on, but suddenly now she has consolidated power and is even backing away on the economic front, on the liberalization that took place there. I’ve often wondered, was Friedman wrong, or was it just that it takes a lot longer for that collapse to come? I talked to different people, question whether her grip on power is as strong as it appears, and that maybe it’s wobbly. But Tiananmen was certainly crushed, and when young people tried to make change there. Do you have any thoughts on what to expect from China over the next ten years?

Elizabeth Spalding [00:31:53] That, boy, don’t we wish we had a crystal ball that was accurate so we can go ahead and find out? I know as an academic studying communism, the Cold War and U.S. foreign policy that I have been told by experts on China ever since I was in college that: “oh, we just have to wait for the next generation in China and then it will change.” And then I’ve heard the arguments which you summarized about the economy part. I think some of this is people are not looking at the combination of things of the culture, the history, the country influences the ideology, which has always been there. And when more market things were allowed under the best period, now that we look back at and people say: “oh, wasn’t that great?” It was incomplete. It was often only to the benefit of those in the party, right? You have to be a party member, really, to benefit from it. It was built on the backs of millions and millions of impoverished rural Chinese who never benefited. So you’ve got a bifurcated system to the extent that more and more happened there in terms of prosperity in China. So even the economy part, it wasn’t a free and fair market economy the way that Milton Friedman would want, and that you would have to put all these – the religious – there are so many different factors that when you put them all together and then you put your finger on it. When you talked about Tiananmen, the Chinese Communist Party looked at what happened in the former Soviet Union and Eastern and Central Europe, and they said: “not here.” This period of engagement on the part of the United States and others in the West, they helped the Chinese government. They may have helped others in China, too, but they helped the Chinese government to extend its stay, so to speak. Then you’ve got Ji coming along when he did. He’s the most repressive since Mao. When you’re talking about communist dictators and you say: “well, he’s the most repressive since Mao or since Stalin or since Lenin.” Okay, it doesn’t mean there are good people in between, right? Like Brezhnev. I would not have wanted to live under Brezhnev. He did horrible, horrible things. Was he as bad as Stalin? No. But was he a good guy? No. So, we’ve got to look at that period of China the same way. For people who are interested, I recommend the works of Frank Dikötter. He is an excellent scholar on all things China, and he has a relatively new book out on China since Mao. So, he talks about how so many things that especially Americans take for granted – Well, China would have turned this way, China would have done this, and it’s only Ji, that’s the problem. You read that book and he is based on such deep scholarship and archival research, and you realize: “nope, it’s not.” I wish it were still there. But at the Victims of Communism Museum, our first visiting exhibit was actually on Tiananmen Square. So, people might be able to find some photos about that or talk with people about it. But we have visiting exhibits at the museum, too. Right now, the visiting exhibit is on Cuba, which you also mentioned and is still a problem.

Roger Ream [00:35:41] Well, there are some classic books. I’m glad you recommended that one. I’ve heard him speak in Washington about his previous book. My favorite is long out of print, I think. I probably heard about this person through your father. But “Life and Death in Shanghai” by Nien Cheng about the cultural revolution. She’s someone we’ve had speak to our students when she was living, and you could have heard a pin drop throughout her speech.

Elizabeth Spalding [00:36:08] I was so grateful. I invited her and she spoke years ago when I was teaching at George Mason University. She was living down near Sibley Hospital. And I said: “well, should I come pick you up?” And she said: “No, no, no, I will drive out there. Will you meet me at the garage?” And so, I met her at the garage. I helped her park her car in the garage. And then this little old lady walks with me. And again, all the students, you could have heard a pin drop in the class. And that’s what we try to do with the witnesses, right?

Roger Ream [00:36:42] That’s so important to hear those stories. I really wish we had more time to speak today. This is great. I’ll mention that we have arranged to bring our entire staff from TFAS to the museum in March for a group tour and visit. I think your father will be with us, and we’re really looking forward to it. I can promise that this summer we’ll be bringing through 300 students who attend our programs on a regular basis to see the museum as part of their educational experience at TFAS. Well, my guest today has been Elizabeth Spalding. It’s been great. I’ve enjoyed the conversation. Thank you so much for joining me.

Elizabeth Spalding [00:37:20] You’re welcome, Roger.

Roger Ream [00:37:21] Thank you for listening to the Liberty and Leadership Podcast. Please don’t forget to subscribe, download, like or share the show on Apple, Spotify or YouTube or wherever you listen to your podcasts. If you like this episode, I ask you to rate and review it. And if you have a comment or question for the show, please drop us an email at podcast@TFAS.org. The Liberty and Leadership Podcast is produced at kglobal studios in Washington, D.C. I’m your host Roger Ream, and until next time, show courage in things large and small.

About the Podcast

TFAS has reached more than 46,000 students and professionals through academic programs, fellowships and seminars. Representing more than 140 countries, TFAS alumni are courageous leaders throughout the world forging careers in politics, government, public policy, business, philanthropy, law and the media.

Join TFAS President Roger Ream ’76 as he reconnects with these outstanding alumni to share experiences, swap career stories, and find out what makes their leadership journey unique. With prominent congressmen, judges and journalists among the mix, each episode is sure to excite your interest in what makes TFAS special.

If you have a comment or question for the show, please email podcast@TFAS.org.

View future episodes and subscribe at TFAS.org/podcast.


Recent Posts


Deception and the Fight for Truth with Senator Rand Paul

This week, another exceptional guest joins us on the Liberty + Leadership Podcast: Senator Rand Paul.

Exploring Liberty from Budapest to Washington, D.C., with Anna Smith Lacey

This week, another exceptional TFAS alumna joins us on the Liberty + Leadership Podcast: Anna Smith Lacey '07, '08, PPF '12, executive director at the Hungary Foundation.

Remembering Thomas (Tom) L. Phillips

It is with great sadness we share news that TFAS Trustee Emeritus Thomas (Tom) L. Phillips passed away at his home in Newport Beach, California, last week. Tom was a generous man who supported TFAS for many years, including a $1 million gift in memory of TFAS…