Each speaker has an expertise, experience, and concern they will express in this logic:
The challenge they focus on.
The ideal future that will address that challenge (based on the values of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution).
What can citizens do to move toward that ideal future, through the political process and in civil society.
Gar Alperovitz is Co-Chair of The Next System Project and Co-Founder of The Democracy Collaborative and of The Institute for Policy Studies. A former Fellow of Harvard’s Institute of Politics and of Kings College, Cambridge University. In an earlier life he also served as a Legislative Director in the House of Representatives and the Senate; and was a Special Assistant working on United Nations matters in the Department of State.
His most recent books are:
What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk About The Next American Revolution;
America Beyond Capitalism;
The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb.
Ambassador Rick Barton teaches at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, where he serves as a co-director of Princeton’s Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative and Ullman Fellowships. His 2018 book, Peace Works: America's Unifying Role in a Turbulent World, uses a mix of stories, history, and analysis to offer an affirmative approach to foreign affairs through concrete and attainable solutions. Barton started USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives, and was America’s ambassador to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in New York, the UN’s Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva and the first Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations. He led conflict management initiatives in over 40 crisis zones across the globe, from Haiti, Iraq, Nigeria, Burma, Pakistan to Turkey. Published in The New York Times, the Washington Post, Politico, The Boston Globe, and numerous other international outlets, Barton is a guest on news shows ranging from NPR to all of the major networks. He resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife of 44 years, Kit Lunney.
back-channel diplomacy, philanthropist
Dr. Georgette Bennett, a highly-awarded sociologist/criminologist, widely-published author, former broadcast journalist, and active philanthropist, focuses on conflict resolution and intergroup relations. An innovative and entrepreneurial change agent, in 1992, she founded the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding a go-to organization to combat religious prejudice. In 2013, Bennett founded the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees. Most recently, she co-founded the Global Covenant of Religions to delegitimize using religion as a justification for violence and extremism. In her broadcasting career, she was a Network Correspondent for NBC News, host of Walter Cronkite’s PBS series, “Why in the World?” and a story development consultant for “MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour,” “20/20” and “60 Minutes.” Bennett served in the U.S. State Department Religion and Foreign Policy initiative’s working group on conflict mitigation, tasked with developing recommendations for the Secretary of State on countering religion-based violence. Bennett has received numerous honors, including the 2019 AARP Purpose Prize for her work on behalf of Syrian war victims, the Global Impact Award from the Society for International Development, the Global Tolerance Award from Friends of the UN, the Gold Medallion from the International Conference of Christians and Jews; and the Distinguished Service Award from the NYC Comptroller.
Tara Isabella Burton
Tara Isabella Burton is a contributing editor at The American Interest and a columnist at Religion News Service. Her book, Strange Rites: New Religions For a Godless World, is forthcoming from Public Affairs in 2020. She has written on religion, culture, and place, for The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, The Economist's 1843, The Telegraph, The New Statesman, and was previously the staff religion reporter at Vox.com. Her debut novel, Social Creature, was published by Doubleday in 2018, and was named a "book of the year" by The Guardian, New York Magazine, and the New York Times' Janet Maslin. She holds a doctorate in theology from Trinity College, Oxford, where she was a Clarendon Scholar from 2012-7. She has received the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize in travel writing and a Lowell Thomas Award, and been shortlisted for the Shirley Jackson Award.
Seth Goldman is Founder of Eat the Change™, a platform to inform and empower consumers to make dietary choices aligned with their concerns around climate and health. The first business launched under the Eat the Change™ umbrella is PLNT Burger, a plant-based quick serve restaurant that offers delicious burgers, sandwiches, fries and soft-serve.
Seth and his wife, Julie Farkas, have also launched ETC Impact, which is a platform to invest $1 million over the next three years into non-profit organizations that educate and inspire consumers to make climate-conscious choices with their diet.
Seth is also the Co-founder of Honest Tea and Chair of the board of Beyond Meat. He has been widely recognized for his entrepreneurial success and impact, including Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in Greater Washington, the Washington DC Business Hall of Fame, Beverage Industry magazine’s Executive of the Year, Beverage World’s #1 Disruptor and Partnership for Healthier America’s CEO of the Year.
He is a graduate of Harvard College (1987) and the Yale School of Management (1995) and is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. Seth and Barry Nalebuff are the authors, along with graphic artist Soongyun Choi, of The New York Times bestseller Mission in a Bottle. The book, told in comic book form, captures their efforts to create a mission-driven business in a profit-driven world. Seth serves on the advisory board of Bethesda Green, a local sustainability non-profit he co-founded.
Foreign policy advisor,
Hila Hanif serves as the Director for Afghanistan Strategy and Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Asian and Pacific Security Affairs. Hila has been with the Department of Defense since 2009, and has served in various positions, including Director for Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Policy, Special Assistant to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, and Advisor for Cyber Policy.
Her other government assignments and rotations include stints at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan; at the Department of State’s Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan; and at USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives as a civ-mil advisor.
Prior to joining the Department, Hila worked in the international development field on various capacity-building programs, and was based in Kabul, Afghanistan for two years, working on higher education development.
Hila holds a B.A. in Economics from Georgetown University and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. She is involved in community service efforts in Washington D.C. and globally and speaks Dari, French and Arabic.
Thor Hogan is an associate professor of politics and environmental sustainability at Earlham College in Indiana, where his research focuses on science and technology policy—primarily examining climate and energy policy in the context of America politics. He is the author of Hydrocarbon Nation: How Energy Security Made Our Nation Great and Climate Security Will Save Us, The View From Space: NASA's Evolving Struggle to Understand Our Home Planet (co-authored with Richard Leshner), and Mars Wars: The Rise and Fall of the Space Exploration Initiative. He is also a regular contributor to the Washington Post, where he writes on topics ranging from American politics to environmental policy to American foreign policy. He was formerly director of the Space Policy Project at the RAND Corporation’s Science and Technology Policy Institute and Deputy Communications Director for the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
Myra Jackson is a retired Electrical Engineer specialized in Project Management of utility systems, and Organizational and Leadership Development. She designed and delivered seminar courses on Business Management, Emotional Intelligence and Heart coherence techniques at Harvard, Stanford, USC, UCSF, UCSD, Rockefeller University, and Duke University. She worked with biomedical scientists within Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a medical research organization.
In 2006, Myra shifted her professional engineering focus to global policy on the climate crisis. As a UN Representative she participated in the UN Open Working Group that determined the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which were adopted by 193 member states in 2015. Ms. Jackson currently serves on the United Nations Expert Platform on Harmony with Nature and is a delegate to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC. She consults to collaborative groups of state, federal and municipal governments, higher education, companies, utilities, and communities developing responses to sustain their rivers and regional environments.
Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, prior to which he founded the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, and taught at the University of Chicago. A founding board member of Creative Commons, Lessig serves on the Scientific Board of AXA Research Fund and has received numerous awards including a Webby, Free Software Foundation's Freedom Award, Scientific American 50 and Fastcase 50 Awards.
Cited by The New Yorker as “the most important thinker on intellectual property in the Internet era,” Lessig's current work addresses “institutional corruption”—relationships which, while legal, weaken public trust in an institution—especially as that affects democracy. His books include: They Don't Represent Us (forthcoming in 2019), Fidelity & Constraint: How the Supreme Court Has Read the American Constitution (2019), America, Compromised (2018), Republic, Lost v2 (2015), Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It (2011) among many others. Lessig holds undergraduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge University, and a JD from Yale.
Davidica Little Spotted Horse
Davidica is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota tribe living on the Pine Ridge Reservation. She was raised as a traditional Lakota woman with extensive knowledge of her Lakota history, language and culture. As an activist and musician she has mentored many youth in how to use positive activism to implement social change in their communities. She has also created and co-created two youth programs to help combat the suicide epidemic on her reservation.
As the great granddaughter of Chief Bigfoot (Spotted Elk), she is determined to carry on her family history of providing sound leadership through example for her people. Promoting self sustainability through food and energy sovereignty is something she is dedicated to achieving for her Reservation. She believes that social change can only happen with productive native and non-native collaboration of open communication with “Safe Space” platforms. She has an unwavering belief in the ability of humanity to overcome past traumas and find healing through human connection.
Corporate Policy Professor
Writer - Consultant
Social Responsibility expert
Stanley S. Litow is a Professor at both Columbia and Duke University. At Duke University, he also serves as Innovator in Residence. Stan is the author of The Challenge for Business and Society: From Risk to Reward.
He previously served as President of the IBM International Foundation and as Deputy Chancellor of Schools for the City of New York. Before his service at IBM and the NYC public schools, he served as President and Founder of Interface and as Executive Director of the NYC Urban Corps, operated out of the Mayor’s Office.
He has served on a multiple of Presidential and Gubernatorial Commissions and in addition to his service on the SUNY Board of Trustees; he also serves on the board of Roosevelt House and the Citizens Budget Commission.
Stan helped devise the innovative school to college to career program called, PTECH as well as the IBM Corporate Service Corps, often referenced as the corporate version of the Peace Corps.
He has received multiple awards for his community service, from organizations such as the Ann Frank Commission, the Martin Luther King Commission, and the Center for an Urban Future as well as the Corning Award from the New York State Business Council.
Michael Maccoby, Ph.D. is a globally recognized expert on leadership who for 40 years has advised global leaders in businesses, governments, unions, universities and non-profit organizations in 36 countries. He has a BA and PhD from Harvard University, where he directed the Program on Technology, Public Policy and Human Development at the Kennedy School from 1970-90. He graduated from The Mexican Institute of Psychoanalysis where he studied under Erich Fromm and with him wrote Social Character in Mexican Village. He is author of The Gamesman, The Leader, Sweden at the Edge, Why Work?, Narcissistic Leaders, The Leaders We Need, Strategic Intelligence and lead author of Transforming Health Care Leadership. In appreciation of his work in Sweden, he was made Commander of the Royal Order of the Polar Star. He is a fellow of the American Psychological and Anthropological Associations and the National Academy of Public Administration. He has been a visiting professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Sciences Po in Paris. He taught leadership at Oxford University’s Saïd School of Business where he was an associate fellow. The Washington School of Psychiatry presented him a lifetime achievement award. He is strategic leadership advisor to Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, an organization with homes for orphaned and abandoned children, schools, hospitals and clinics in nine countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Richard Margolies, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and leadership consultant. He has worked on numerous research and consulting projects in the US and Europe with Michael Maccoby and other associates over 45 years. Richard consulted to the senior military and civilian leadership of the US Army Corps of Engineers for 15 years. He wrote the Corps’ Learning Organization Doctrine, based on the thinking of the Maccoby Group and Gen. David Petraeus’ Counterinsurgency Doctrine. He designed and taught the Corps’ Leadership Course in Districts of the Corps around the US. He has consulted with public, private, and international organizations in the US, Sweden, and Ireland. He worked with Michael Maccoby and associates on the Robert Wood Johnson-funded research on leadership in exemplary healthcare systems. This research was the basis of the Jossey-Bass 2013 book, Transforming Healthcare Leadership, authored by Michael Maccoby, Cliff and Jane Norman, and Richard. He is on the Board of the Lincoln Group of DC, and leads its Lincoln Study Group.
Art teacher and painter
Sailor and hiker
Winslow Myers was born in 1941 and grew up on the Maine coast. After earning two undergraduate degrees in Humanities Studies from Princeton and in Painting from Boston University, he finished his graduate work in fine arts painting at Queens College and taught studio art and art history at various schools and colleges in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, while keeping up an active painting practice. At the same time he volunteered for the non-profit educational foundation, Beyond War, served on its board, and wrote a book encapsulating its philosophy, “Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide.” After retiring from full-time teaching in 2005, he returned to Maine, where he serves on the board of the Coastal Senior College and is an active member of the local Rotary club. He has published over 140 opinion editorials on line and in print, the majority of them on the prevention of war. His monograph on his teacher, the Canadian-American painter Walter Tandy Murch will be published by Rizzoli International in 2021. He lives with his partner Patti Bradley in Bristol, Maine.
Dr. Sabine O’Hara is a teacher, mentor, researcher and administrator committed to improving quality of life and economic opportunity in underserved communities. She holds Doctoral and Master’s degrees in Agricultural and Environmental Economics and leads an innovative PhD program in Urban Leadership & Entrepreneurship at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), the only exclusively urban Land-grant University in the US.
Previously she served as Dean of the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) and led UDC’s efforts to build a new model for urban agriculture and urban sustainability that integrates training in the agricultural, environmental and health sciences with the aspirations of students and residents to create successful careers in the green innovation economy. Her innovative work in local capacity development is guided by her belief that education should answer our questions and question our answers. O’Hara served as President of Roanoke College in Virginia; Provost of Green Mountain College in Vermont; faculty member at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York; and executive director of the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES), which administers the Fulbright Scholar Program.
Gayle Hager Olson is on the board of directors for Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI), whose mission is equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities. Olson and her husband Jeff grow organic, specialty and traditional crops and beef cattle in Southeast Iowa. They are passionate about farming that is healthy for the soil and for their farm’s bottom line. In 2014, they were awarded Master Researcher status by PFI, in recognition of their many research trials and field days.
The Olsons believe in growing more than crops. A Certified Health Education Specialist, Gayle Olson serves as Assistant to the Director for Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health. Throughout her career, Olson has encouraged and modeled citizen involvement. Her favorite accomplishments are those that bring youth and diverse audiences to the table to learn leadership, set goals and implement strategies to strengthen their local communities.
Healthy soil, healthy people, healthy communities – each depends on the other two and it is in helping to make these connections where Gayle Olson does her best work.
Dr. Perry is Chair and Professor of Political Science at Howard University, and holds a Ph.D. In political science from Brown University.
Focusing on Black politics, minority representation, urban politics, American public policy, and LGBT candidates of color, he edited 21st Century Urban Race Politics: Representing Minorities as Universal Interests, a book on how African American, Latino and Asian mayors represent the interests of minorities in historically White cities. In Black Mayors, White Majorities: The Balancing Act of Racial Politics, he addressed those challenges for Black mayors in medium‐sized Ohio cities. Written with his mother, the Perrys’ The Little Rock Crisis: What Desegregation Politics Says About Us showed how the memory of that crisis motivated Little Rockians’ social and political engagement. Dr. Perry is finishing a book on Black and LGBTQ candidates and elected officials in the United States.
Perry is Past President, Association for Ethnic Studies and Associate Editor, Ethnic Studies Review. He is active with the American Political Science Association and the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. Perry was a member of the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Mississippi, and one of the first openly gay branch presidents of color of the NAACP in Worcester, Massachusetts.
He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, enjoys tennis, jazz, libraries, museums, volunteering within DC’s LGBTQ community and he is a member of Metropolitan AME Church.
Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen is the Merle Curti and Vilas-Borghesi Distinguished Achievement Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on 19th- and 20th-century US thought and culture in transatlantic perspective. She is the author of The Ideas That Made America: A Brief History (Oxford, 2019) and the award-winning American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas (Chicago, 2012). In addition, she is the co-editor of Protest on the Page: Essays on Print and the Cultures of Dissent (Wisconsin, 2015), with James Danky and the late James Baughman, and The Worlds of American Intellectual History (Oxford, 2016) with Joel Isaac, James Kloppenberg, and the late Michael O’Brien. Her current book project examines the history of wisdom in 20th-century American life.
Library system director,
In March 2014, Richard Reyes-Gavilan was appointed the Executive Director of the DC Public Library, having previously worked for almost twenty years at both the New York and Brooklyn public libraries.
He was lured to Washington D.C. primarily to oversee the $211 million modernization of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, the city's only building designed by legendary architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The library is expected to open in 2020 and will serve as an inspirational destination for innovation, civic empowerment, and delight. Reyes-Gavilan is also aggressively building and renovating neighborhood libraries all over the District of Columbia. Two new libraries in the West End and Cleveland Park neighborhoods were awarded the American Institute of Architect’s D.C. Chapter Design and Urban Catalyst awards, respectively. Mr. Reyes-Gavilan holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the State University of New York at Albany, where he was recently recognized with the 2019 Excellence in Public Service award, and a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Texas at Austin.
Thomas W. Ross is President of the Volcker Alliance, founded by Former Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker and focused on advancing the effective management of government. He also serves as the Sanford Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy at Duke University. Ross is President Emeritus of the 17-campus University of North Carolina having served as President from 2011-2016.
Ross has also served as President of Davidson College, executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, director of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, a Superior Court judge, chief of staff to a U. S. Congressman, a member of a Greensboro, NC law firm and as a Professor of Public Law and Government at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Government.
Ross has received numerous awards for his professional achievements, including the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence (2000); Governing Magazine’s National Public Official of the Year Award (1994); the Foundation for the Improvement of Justice Award (1995); and The University Award for distinguished service to higher education (2016). He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Davidson College and graduated with honors from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law.
Kendra B. Stewart is Professor of Political Science and Public Administration and Director of the Riley Center for Livable Communities at the College of Charleston. Her research interests include non-profit management, state and local government, food policy, and women and politics. She is co-editor of a book entitled The Practice of Government Public Relations. The articles she has authored have appeared in various journals including Urban Affairs Review, Public Finance and Management, Journal of Public Affairs Education, Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition as well as in various scholarly books.
Dr. Stewart is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), an independent, nonprofit, and non-partisan organization chartered by Congress to assist government leaders in building more effective, efficient, accountable, and transparent organizations. She was also elected to serve as President of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) for 2020-2021. Kendra has conducted political analysis for a variety of print, radio and television media, including Good Morning America, Fox News Channel, the Associated Press, The New Yorker, and National Public Radio.
Stephanie Wilkinson is co-founder and co-owner of The Red Hen, an award-winning farm-to-table restaurant in Lexington, Virginia. She has founded several other small businesses, including a retail fiber arts store, a literary magazine nearing its second decade, and a downtown development organization. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from Dartmouth College, a Ph.D. in European and American Religious History from the University of Virginia, and a certificate of entrepreneurship from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program at Babson College. She lives in Lexington with her husband, Duncan Richter, a professor of philosophy at Virginia Military Institute, and their two children. She is working on a book about the events surrounding the Red Hen’s refusal to serve the White House Press Secretary in June, 2018, the thousands of pieces of mail it generated, and the national controversy it sparked. Her shorter writings, including op-eds in the Washington Post, are focused on the emerging trend toward social consciousness and political engagement among small businesses.
Randi Weingarten is president of the American Federation of Teachers, a union of 1.7 million professionals. She was elected in 2008, following twelve years as president of New York City’s United Federation of Teachers and six years as a teacher at Clara Barton High School. Weingarten spearheaded the development of Share My Lesson, the largest free collection of educational resources created by a union for educators and parents. Weingarten and the AFT lead a partnership to transform McDowell County, W.Va., one of the poorest counties in the United States, through efforts to improve the quality of education, and to focus on jobs, housing, healthcare and social services. Since 2014, the AFT has led the way to invest $16 billion in pension assets in U.S. infrastructure, creating more than 100,000 jobs. Weingarten served on the congressional Equity and Excellence Commission, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Common Core Task Force and the 2016 Democratic National Committee platform committee. Weingarten’s column “What Matters Most” appears monthly in the New York Times’ Sunday Review.
Steven H. Woolf, M.D., M.P.H, is Director Emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he is Professor of Family Medicine and Population Health. He holds the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Distinguished Chair in Population Health and Health Equity. Dr. Woolf has edited three books and published more than 200 articles in a career that has focused on raising public awareness about the social, economic, and environmental conditions that shape health and produce inequities. He works to address these issues through outreach to policymakers and the public, including testimony before Congress, consulting, media outreach, and speaking engagements.
Dr. Woolf received his M.D. in 1984 from Emory University and underwent residency training in family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Woolf is also a clinical epidemiologist and underwent training in preventive medicine and public health at Johns Hopkins University, where he received his M.P.H. in 1987. He is board certified in family medicine and in preventive medicine and public health. He began his career as a health services researcher, with a focus on evidence-based guidelines. He served on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2001.