The American political conversation continues to shift and expand as experts factor in the upcoming 2020 election. Available for remote and in-person engagements, these acclaimed speakers offer rare peeks behind the scenes of major historical events and provide shrewd analysis of today’s issues to help make sense of our current and future political landscape.
Robert B. Reich is the former Secretary of Labor, a New York Times-bestselling author, and the producer of Inequality For All, a documentary that has helped thousands of people better understand income inequality in America. Reich’s most recent bestseller, The Common Good, explores the vicious cycles that reinforce and undermine the ethics at the center of economic and political policies. A vocal presence on his popular social media channels, he produces informative videos that provide a clear voice during polarized times. Reich’s expertise on both global and domestic economics and his unique ability to introduce complex issues in accessible and urgent ways, make him a highly sought-after speaker for conferences, lecture series, and college campuses alike. Reich’s newest book The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It is on sale now.
Anand Giridharadas is an editor-at-large for TIME and the author of the bestselling book Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, an incisive and challenging account of the hypocrisies that exist in modern philanthropy. In powerful, eye-opening discussions, Giridharadas speaks about growing inequality and argues that we need to change the way we “change the world”; that real solutions come from the democratic process of working to reform the underlying systems of society. Giridharadas regularly appears on MSNBC as an on-air political analyst.
William J. Burns is a former Deputy Secretary of State and has been hailed as an “American diplomatic legend” by Secretary of State John Kerry. Burns played a central role in over three decades of international politics, from the end of the Cold War and relations with Putin’s Russia to the post-9/11 Middle East and nuclear talks with Iran. In his memoir, The Back Channel, as well as his speeches, Burns argues for renewing diplomacy as the tool of first resort in American statecraft. He shares his firsthand experiences serving under five presidents and ten secretaries of state, and he provides a future roadmap for American leadership and diplomacy.
Megha Majumdar is an editor at Catapult whose novel, A Burning, is one of the most highly anticipated debuts of 2020. Set in a contemporary India spinning toward political extremism, A Burning relentlessly traces the lives of three characters whose fates become irrevocably intertwined in the wake of a devastating act of domestic terrorism. An extraordinary voice at the start of a brilliant career, Majumdar is a powerful advocate for fiction’s capacity to tackle issues of class, gender, justice, corruption, and political upheaval. Her experience as a writer and citizen of countries in turmoil makes her well-suited to discuss the anger and imagination required to write politically engaged fiction.
Chris Whipple uses his keen insights to enlighten audiences about the inner workings of the White House. His critically acclaimed book, The Gatekeepers, is the first in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the men who have been the presidents’ closest advisers and who have defined the course of our country. As a speaker, Whipple draws upon his extensive, intimate interviews with all seventeen living chiefs and two former presidents to reveal a compelling hidden history sure to shift audience’s perspectives on the political climate.
Omar El Akkad is an award-winning journalist and author whose post-apocalyptic debut novel American War depicts a second civil war in a dystopian America that is both utterly unfamiliar and eerily prescient. In talks that blend his experience as an international reporter and novelist, Akkad describes how current events inform his fiction, and how books shape our understanding of the political climate.
Eduardo Porter is a New York Times economics reporter and author. His latest book, American Poison, examines how racism has stunted America’s development of crucial institutions necessary for a healthy society. Drawing from two decades of worldwide business and financial reporting, Porter delivers persuasive and insightful speeches to academic and corporate audiences about social justice, economic inequality, and the crucial role of immigration and diversity in a healthy economy.
A highly respected political journalist, Matt Bai challenges the way we view the intersection of media and politics and draws unique connections that resonate with a wide variety of audiences. His book, The Front Runner, is now a major motion picture by the same name, directed by Jason Reitman and starring Hugh Jackman. In his talks, Bai discusses the role of media in our political landscape and the influence of generational changes in American politics and society.
Sarah McBride is the National Press Secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, making her one of the nation’s most public LGBTQ activists. A former student body president of American University, she came out publicly as transgender in the student paper before going on to become the first openly trans woman to intern in the White House. McBride made history in 2016, becoming the first openly transgender person to address a major party convention when she spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. A brave and inspiring speaker, McBride’s memoir Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality has been described as”life-changing.” She continues to be a leading voice in the fight for LGBTQ equality.
Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt are professors at Harvard University and co-authors of the New York Times-bestselling book, How Democracies Die, which explores warning signs of rising fascism. In their engaging talks, Levitsky and Ziblatt warn audiences against the decline of institutions such as the judiciary and the press, and the steady disintegration of long-standing political norms. Drawing on research and a range of historical and current examples, Levitsky and Ziblatt outline how democracies die – and how we can save our own.