Published on April 3, 2024 by Sofia Paglioni  
Cordell Hull Speakers Forum on 2024

Samford University Cumberland School of Law hosted its annual Cordell Hull Speakers Forum on April 2, 2024. The Cordell Hull Speakers Forum, established in 1974, stands as a testament to the Cumberland School of Law's commitment to intellectual inquiry and engagement with pressing legal and global issues.

The forum is named for Cumberland School of Law alumnus and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Cordell Hull. The goal of the forum is for speakers to engage in legal dialogue with forum attendees and encourage productive dialogue about specific issues. This annual forum once again delivered an enlightening and intellectually stimulating discourse surrounding international affairs, law and diplomacy.

This year, former U.S. Ambassador Edward W. "Skip" Gnehm, a distinguished figure in American diplomacy, spoke on, “The Middle East Cauldron and the U.S.” Ambassador Gnehm has over 36 years of experience and expertise with the United States Foreign Service, including ambassadorial appointments to key nations such as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Australia and Kuwait. Ashlyn Payne, student organizer, commented, “The Cordell Hull Speakers Forum is a wonderful tradition that encapsulates the importance of honoring Cumberland School of Law’s history while also fostering continuous learning and development each year. By hosting prominent and intelligent speakers, forum attendees can engage in important legal dialogue with the speaker. Not only that, but we are able to bring attention to Cumberland School of Law and the great opportunities it provides to its students through events such as this one. This event is a true cornerstone of Cumberland School of Law, and I am so honored to be a small piece of it.”

Gnehm has navigated the complexities of international relations firsthand and his experience in these pivotal roles has provided him with a deep understanding of the intricate dynamics shaping the Middle East region. Ambassador Gnehm continued to contribute to the field of international relations as a faculty member at the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs before his retirement.

Gnehm’s commitment to education and mentorship has fostered a new generation of diplomats and policymakers.

Over the years, the Cordell Hull Speakers Forum has hosted an impressive array of speakers, including prominent figures from the realms of politics, law, literature and advocacy.

Past speakers have included Joe Biden, George Bush Sr. and Ronald Reagan, as well as U.S. Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. The forum has also welcomed influential figures such as Senator Katie Britt, Attorney General Janet Reno, author John Grisham, civil rights activist Morris Dees, consumer advocate Ralph Nader and ethicist Joseph Fletcher.

One of the hallmarks of the Cordell Hull Speakers Forum is its commitment to accessibility and inclusivity. The event provided an opportunity for individuals from all walks of life to engage with important legal and global conversations.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.