Current + Social Issues Speakers

In an ever-changing societal landscape, these author speakers share personal stories, insightful reporting, and imaginative narratives to illuminate our world.

Masha Gessen

Russian and U.S. journalist, activist, and author of the National Book Award-winning The Future is History

Robert B. Reich

Former Secretary of Labor, economist, and New York Times-bestselling author

Bryan Stevenson

Attorney, human rights activist, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, and author of Just Mercy

More Current + Social Issues Speakers

Omar El Akkad

Award-winning journalist and author of the debut novel American War

Robert Baer

Portrayed by George Clooney in the Academy Award-winning film Syriana, expert on American intelligence and the War on Terror

Moustafa Bayoumi

Journalist and author of How Does it Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America

Adam Benforado

Law professor and author of Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice

Reginald Dwayne Betts

Author of A Question of Freedom, PEN New England Award winner, and national spokesperson for the Campaign for Youth Justice

Rajiv Chandrasekaran

Former Washington Post journalist and award-winning author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City (inspiration for the 2010 movie Green Zone), Little America, and For Love of Country

Ta-Nehisi Coates

#1 New York Times-bestselling author of Between the World and Me and We Were Eight Years in Power

Steve Coll

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, New Yorker staff writer, and author of Ghost Wars and Directorate S

Dr. Sheri Fink

Pulitzer Prize-winning medical journalist and author of Five Days at Memorial, M.D. and Ph.D. from Stanford

Anand Giridharadas

Journalist and author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World

Jean Guerrero

Award-winning multimedia reporter and author of upcoming memoir, Crux

Mohsin Hamid

Bestselling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, and Exit West

Shane Harris

Investigative journalist and author of The Watchers

Doc Hendley

Founder and president of Wine to Water, CNN Hero, and author of Wine to Water

Kristen Iversen

Award-winning author and PhD program director in Literary Nonfiction at University of Cincinnati

Dr. Shimi Kang, M.D.

Child and youth psychiatrist, human motivation expert, and author of the #1 bestsellers The Dolphin Way and The Self Motivated Kid

Daisy Khan

Women's advocate, media commentator, and Executive Director of the Women's Islamic Initiative

Phil Klay

U.S. Marine Corps veteran and author of Redeployment, winner of 2014 National Book Award for Fiction

Charlie LeDuff

American journalist, media personality, and author of Detroit: An American Autopsy

Chang-rae Lee

New York Times-bestselling author of The Surrendered and Native Speaker

Jill Leovy

Author of the New York Times-bestselling book, Ghettoside

Steve Lopez

Author of The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music

Amanda Lucidon

Obama White House photographer, award-winning filmmaker, and New York Times-bestselling author

Jayson Lusk

Food and agricultural economist, author of The Food Police

Sarah McBride

LGBTQ activist and National Press Secretary for the Human Rights Campaign

Bethany McLean

Vanity Fair contributing editor and co-author of All the Devils are Here and the national bestseller The Smartest Guys in the Room

Barry Meier

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and author of Pain Killer

Josh Neufeld

Award-winning comics journalist and author of A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge

Jenny Nordberg

Award-winning investigative reporter, foreign correspondent, and author of The Underground Girls of Kabul

Eli Pariser

Board President of MoveOn.org, Cofounder of Upworthy, and author of The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You

Carla Power

Journalist and author of Pulitzer Prize finalist If the Oceans Were Ink

Ahmed Rashid

Journalist and author of Descent into Chaos and Pakistan on the Brink

Shaka Senghor

Author of Writing My Wrongs and leading voice on criminal justice reform

Steve Silberman

Award-winning science writer and New York Times-bestselling author of NeuroTribes

Mark Sundeen

Award-winning author of The Man Who Quit Money and The Unsettlers

Dr. Dana Suskind

Pediatric physician and author of Thirty Million Words: Building a Child's Brain

Victoria Sweet

Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, prize-winning historian, and author of God's Hotel

Ayelet Waldman

Acclaimed memoirist and author of Bad Mother and Love and Treasure

Zachary R. Wood

Editor at The Guardian and former President of Uncomfortable Learning at Williams College and free speech advocate

Lawrence Wright

Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower and staff writer for The New Yorker