A look back at the esteemed individuals who have been a part of the Boston Speakers Series in previous years.
Justice Stephen Breyer, September 28, 2016 - Appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1994 by President Bill Clinton, Justice Breyer is known for his pragmatic approach to constitutional law. He will explore themes from his book, The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities, which examines the interplay between U.S. and international law in a globalized world. Event coverage.Ehud Barak, October 19, 2016 - Ehud Barak was Prime Minister of Israel from 1999 to 2001. He entered politics following a 35-year career as a highly decorated officer in the Israel Defense Forces. He served as leader of the Labor Party until 2011, including posts as Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Benjamin Netanyahu's government from 2009 to 2013. Event coverage.Rita Moreno, November 16, 2016 - Moreno is one of only 12 actors who have won all four major awards… an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for portraying Anita in the film adaptation of Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story. Recently, Moreno was presented with the Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award at the Kennedy Center Honors. Event coverage.John Cleese, January 18, 2017 - Cleese co-founded Monty Python, the comedy troupe behind the British comedy TV show Monty Python's Flying Circus and four Monty Python films. He created or appeared in a long list of movies but is probably best known for co-writing and starring in the British sitcom Fawlty Towers and co-starring in A Fish Called Wanda. Event coverage.Gen. Martin Dempsey, February 22, 2017 - President Barack Obama nominated Dempsey as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2011, a position he held until his retirement in 2015. He served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army before this appointment. Prior to that, Dempsey had a distinguished military career, with an assortment of commands in Europe, Iraq and the United States. Event coverage.Ted Koppel, March 22, 2017 - Koppel is best known as the first anchor for ABC's Nightline, serving in that role from the program's inception in 1980 until his retirement in 2005. After leaving Nightline he served as Managing Editor for the Discovery Channel. Koppel is currently a senior news analyst for NPR and a contributing analyst to BBC World News America and NBC News. Event coverage. Michele Norris, Jason Riley, & Morris Dees, Panel Discussion: Racism in America, April 26, 2017 - More than 50 years after the Civil Rights Act, three distinguished panelists will explore Racism in America from their divergent perspectives: Michele Norris, former host of NPR's All Things Considered; Jason Riley, Wall Street Journal columnist and author of Please Stop Helping Us; and Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Leon Panetta, October 7, 2015
- Leon Panetta served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 16 years
before President Clinton selected him as director of the Office of
Management and Budget in 1993, and in 1994 appointed him White House
Chief of Staff. President Obama nominated Panetta to run the CIA in
2009. He subsequently served as Secretary of Defense from 2011 to 2013. Read coverage. A professor's prologue by Bruce Logan can be read here. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, October 28, 2015
- Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the multiple Emmy Award-winning chief medical
correspondent for CNN. A practicing neurosurgeon, Gupta plays an
integral role in CNN’s reporting on health and medical news for
“American Morning,” “Anderson Cooper 360” and CNN documentaries, as well
as anchoring the weekend medical affairs program, “Sanjay Gupta, MD.” Read coverage. A professor's prologue by David Morimoto can be read here. Michio Kaku, November 18, 2015
- Known as a futurist and popularizer of science, Michio Kaku has
written numerous books about physics and makes regular appearances on
radio, television and film. He is a frequent host of TV specials for
the BBC, Discovery Channel, the History Channel and the Science Channel.
Kaku also hosts a weekly, syndicated, one-hour radio program called
“Explorations.” Read coverage. A professor's prologue by Albert Liau can be read here. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, January 27, 2016
- Named in 2005 by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential
people in the world, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is known for her views critical of
radical Islam and its suppression of women. Born in Somalia, she sought
political asylum in the Netherlands to avoid a forced marriage and later
was elected to the Dutch Parliament. Now a U.S. citizen, Ali’s
best-selling memoir is titled “Infidel.” Read coverage. A professor's prologue by Kimberly Lowe can be read here. Diana Nyad, February 17, 2015 -
Diana Nyad came to national attention in the 1970s for swimming around
Manhattan and then from the Bahamas to Florida. In 2013, at age 64, she
became the first person to swim from Cuba to Key West, FL without the
aid of a shark cage. Nyad also is a journalist who has been regularly
featured on NPR and on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” Read coverage. A professor's prologue by Diana Direiter can be read here. John Irving, March 23, 2016
- John Irving achieved critical and popular acclaim with his 1978 novel
“The World According to Garp.” Several of his 14 novels have been
bestsellers, and five have been adapted to film, including “The Cider
House Rules,” “The World According to Garp” and “The Hotel New
Hampshire.” He won an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for his
script for “The Cider House Rules.” Read coverage. A professor's prologue by Christine Evans can be read here. Dennis Ross, April 13, 2016
- Dennis Ross has played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in
the Middle East peace process as the point man for presidents George
H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. With specialties in Soviet and Middle East
policy, he has served as a diplomat under four U.S. Presidents. Ross has
authored several books and is now a Fellow at the Washington Institute
for Near East Policy. Read coverage. A professor's prologue by Bryan Brophy-Baermann can be read here.
2015-2016 Season Line-up Announcement
Madeleine Albright, September 17, 2014 – The first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of state, Madeleine Albright earlier served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Born in Prague, her family was first exiled by the Nazis, and eventually settled in Denver. A Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Albright currently serves as a professor at Georgetown University. Read a professor's prologue by Jo-Anne Hart here. Read coverage of the lecture here.
Julia Gillard, October 22, 2014 – Julia Gillard’s political career was crowned by her service as prime minister of Australia and leader of the Australian Labor Party from 2010 to 2013, the first woman to hold either position. Born in Wales, her family migrated to Australia when she was a child. Gillard’s earlier posts included numerous Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet positions. Read a professor's prologue by Bryan Brophy-Baermann here. Read coverage of her lecture here.
Ken Burns, November 12, 2014 - A filmmaker for over 30 years, Ken Burns has directed and produced some of the most acclaimed documentaries, including “Civil War” (1990), “Baseball” (1994), “The War” (2007), and “Prohibition” (2011). He has won 12 Emmy Awards and has two Oscar nominations. He has also won the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Lifetime Achievement Award. Read a professor's prologue by Matthew Nash here. Read coverage of his lecture here.
Olympia Snowe, January 21, 2015 - Named one of “America’s Ten Best Senators” by Time in 2006, Olympia Snowe of Maine became widely known for her ability to influence the outcome of close votes in the Senate. She was the youngest Republican woman elected to the U.S. Congress, and she is the first woman to have served in both houses of a state legislature and both houses of Congress. Read a professor's prologue by Michael Illuzzi here. Read coverage of her lecture here.
David Gergen, February 11, 2015 - A senior political analyst for CNN and a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, David Gergen served as a presidential advisor during the administrations of Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon. His election team coverage has twice won the Peabody Award, once with MacNeil-Lehrer and once with CNN. Read coverage of his lecture here.
Ishmael Beah, March 18, 2015 - In 1991, during Sierra Leone’s civil war, 13-year-old Ishmael Beah was forced to become a child soldier. Brainwashed and kept addicted to cocaine mixed with gunpowder, he fought for the government army against the rebels for three years. Finally rescued by UNICEF, Beah ultimately fled to the United States and is now an author and active human rights defender. Read coverage of his lecture here.
Dan Rather, April 22, 2015 – Dan Rather anchored the CBS “Evening News” for 24 years, from 1981 to 2005. During this time, he also contributed to CBS’s “60 Minutes.” Rather is now the managing editor and anchor of the cable television news magazine “Dan Rather Reports.” In 2012, he released his bestseller “Rather Outspoken” about his life and the state of journalism today. Read coverage of his lecture here.
The 2013-2014 Boston Speakers Series opened with author and humorist Bill Bryson and featured the following lineup of speakers thereafter: George Papandreou, Robert Gates, Steve Wozniak, Billy Collins, Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. and Doris Kearns Goodwin.
For more information about the 2013-2014 season, including speaker biographies, event coverage and related content, read more here.
The 2012-2013 Boston Speakers Series opened with former President Bill Clinton and featured the following lineup of speakers thereafter: Jeannette Walls, Lisa Ling, P.W. Singer, Erskine Bowles, Vicente Fox and Nando Parrado.
For more information about the 2012-2013 season, including speaker biographies, event coverage and related content, read more here.
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