Gen Z and Foreign Policy

Old Capitol Building, Old Senate Chambers
Thursday, September 16th, 2021 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Three gen z individuals gather and are looking at their cell phones.


Americans born since 1997 are known as Generation Z (Zoomers). They grew up as part of the most racially and ethnically diverse population in U.S. history and are the most digitally capable generation. They turned out to vote in in record numbers in 2020 and comprise 10% of the American electorate yet they often feel their views on critical issues such as global climate change are not taken seriously enough by political leaders. This panel comprised of different generations of experts, including two university students, will discuss how Gen Z differs from previous generations regarding their views on international issues and American foreign policy and how those differences will shape public policy in the future. 

Dr. Brian Lai is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Iowa. His research and teaching are on US foreign policy, public opinion on US foreign policy issues, military alliances, and terrorism. 

Dr. Michael D. Hais is retired as Vice President, Entertainment Research at communications research and consulting firm, Frank N. Magid Associates. While with Magid, Mike handled both quantitative and qualitative research in 48 states and a dozen foreign countries primarily, but not exclusively, focusing on television news and entertainment programming. 

Carolina Herrera is from Tiffin, Iowa studying International Relations with a minor in German. Since her freshman year at Iowa she has been actively involved with the United Nations Organization at Iowa. As a sophomore, with the help of other current members, she revamped the club and better expanded its reach on campus. Within the same organization she has served as the Events Coordinator, President, and is currently a Student Advisor. Additionally, she currently serves as the Midwest Campus Fellow for UNA-USA. Other organizations she has been involved in on campus is Young Life College where she was a leader, she was a Fellow for the Joe Biden Campaign and the Treasurer for Students for Biden, as well as a Research Assistant for an Iowa Caucus Research project under the vigilance of a professor. After graduation, Carolina hopes to attend graduate school and work for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, or any other governmental affairs.

Amelia Thoreson is a senior from Eden Prairie, Minnesota. She is pursuing bachelors degrees in Spanish and International Relations on the Conflict and Foreign Policy track with a minor in Latino/a/x Studies. Her research interests include civil conflict mediation, peace agreement implementation, and gender issues as related to civil conflict. Amelia interned virtually with the U.S. Department of State's Embassy in Quito, Ecuador during the summer of 2021 and she is currently a virtual intern with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations Human Rights Council. She plans to earn a graduate degree in International Affairs before pursuing a career in the Foreign Service. 

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Leslie Gannon at (319) 335-6817 or