Kessel Lectures

About Dr. Abbas Kessel
a person wearing glasses and a suitDr. Abbas Kessel was an advocate of nonviolence and reason. He is remembered in our community for (among other things) almost single-handedly defusing a potentially violent demonstration against the Vietnam War in 1970.

Abbas Gheselayagh, or "Kessel," was a faculty member in the Political Science Department at Mankato State University for 19 years. Kessel was a naturalized citizen of the United States born in Iran, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1956. He died on September 26, 1987 of leukemia.

a person standing in front of a crowd of peopleOn the occasion of his retirement Kessel delivered a valedictory lecture. He was introduced by Scott Shrewsbury, then Chairperson of the PS/LE Department. Dr. Shrewsbury had this to say:

"The Annual Kessel Lecture Series was established at Mankato State to commemorate Kessel's contribution to the intellectual and cultural life of the campus and community. It will bring to the campus people, who in their own work, like Kessel , have demonstrated outspoken courage, incisiveness and compassionate dedication with regard to the world issues of foreign policy, environmental policy and energy policy. Kessel could be counted on to serve as our conscience and our guide in ethical matters and was bravely always visible up front in the defense of justice, truth and goodness...the series will be our way of reminding ourselves, the campus and the community of the impact that Kessel has had on us all."

Kessel Lectures
2023: George Packer -“The Transformation of American Foreign Policy Establishment: Historical Lessons and Contemporary Challenges.”
March 28, 2023, 7 p.m. - Ostrander Auditorium

2012 Paul Renshaw - "Fair Trade:  Past and Futures"