Jeannette Walls—Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Critics have called Jeannette Walls’ memoir, The Glass Castle, “spectacular,” “extraordinary,” “incredible,” and “riveting.” A New York Times best-seller for more than four years, it has sold 3.5 million copies in the U.S. alone, has been translated into 22 languages, and is being made into a movie by Paramount. It was named one of the “Top 10 Books of the Decade” by Amazon, and has won numerous awards including the Christopher Award, the American Library Association’s Alex Award, and the Books for Better Living Award.

In The Glass Castle, Walls describes growing up in the American Southwest desert and then in a West Virginia mining town with her three siblings and the brilliant, unorthodox, irresponsible parents who manage at once to neglect them, love them, and teach them to face their fears.

The story is at times both harrowing and hilarious as the children go without food and indoor plumbing yet are encouraged to read Shakespeare and dream of the beautiful glass house they will all one day build. Despite all her hardships, Walls develops the determination to leave West Virginia at the age of sixteen, move to New York City, enroll in Barnard College and eventually become a well-known columnist for New York magazine and, and a television personality.

Rosie O’Donnell called The Glass Castle “a beautiful, brave, transformative book….The best book I’ve read in years.” And the Atlanta Constitution said, “Charles Dickens has nothing on Jeannette Walls…Dickens’s scenes of poverty and hardship are no more audacious and no more provocative than those in the pages of this stunning memoir.”

Walls lives in the Virginia piedmont with her husband, the writer John Taylor. She has appeared on Prime Time Live, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, Oprah, and the Diane Rheem Show.

Her follow-up to The Glass Castle, Half Broke Horses: A True Life Novel, was released in October 2009, and was an immediate New York Times best-seller. Independent Book Sellers has named it one of their monthly “Best Read” selections and the book was called “essential reading” by Library Journal.

Jeannette Walls 



Joe Moore

On behalf of everyone at Lesley University, I welcome you to the 2012–2013 Boston Speakers Series.

We’re proud to sponsor this year’s six speakers for the Greater Boston community. They include activists, authors and world leaders, each bringing a broad perspective, deep experience and scholarly focus that will examine critical issues, challenge conventional thinking, and frame new ideas.



Each speaker, and each of us, exemplifies the notion of deliberate life-long learning that welcomes surprise, revelations, and personal discovery. It is our hope that these speakers stimulate your thinking, generate new questions, and foster subsequent dialogue with family, friends and colleagues. The conversations that we have in the days following the lectures are, in a real sense, as important as the words put forth from the Symphony Hall stage.

That same spirit is part of the foundation of a Lesley University education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. We strive to teach students that engaged citizenship is not some abstract ideal, but a personal, grounded behavior that is the cornerstone of a democratic society reliant upon freedom of expression and scholarship. Few communities have historically modeled this principle better than Greater Boston, and Lesley is proud to be part of that tradition.

Lesley University prides itself on preparing students for careers in education, human services, the arts, and other professions and preparing leaders who have the ability and energy to strengthen the lives of individuals, families and communities throughout New England and beyond. This series is another manifestation of our mission, and we thank you for being part of it.

Joseph B. Moore
President, Lesley University

Lisa Ling—Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lisa Ling is currently executive producer and host of Our America on OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network. In the first season Lisa embedded in a Midwest town ravaged by an onslaught of heroin and got exclusive access inside an anti-gay religious movement. In season two, Lisa witnessed the manifestation of PTSD in returning veterans of war and went undercover to investigate the under-age sex trafficking of minors in the nation’s capitol.

As the former field correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show and contributor to ABC News’ Nightline and National Geographic’s Explorer, Lisa Ling has reported from dozens of countries, covering stories about gang rape in the Congo, bride burning in India, the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, and the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang in Central America, among other issues that are too often ignored.

Lisa got her start in journalism as a correspondent for Channel One News where she covered the civil war in Afghanistan at 21 years of age as well as stories in dozens of countries around the world. She later went on to become a co-host of ABC Daytime’s hit show The View, which won its first daytime Emmy during her time at the show.

Lisa was a special correspondent for CNN’s Planet in Peril series and is a contributing editor for USA Today’s USA Weekend magazine. She is the co-author of Mother, Daughter, Sister, Bride: Rituals of Womanhood and Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home, which she penned with her sister, Laura. She is a co-founder of,a contributor to and serves on the Board of Directors for the California Museum.



Lisa Ling


P.W. Singer—Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Peter Warren Singer, considered one of the world’s leading experts on changes in 21st century warfare, is Senior Fellow and Director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution. He is the youngest scholar named Senior Fellow in Brookings’s 90-year history. Singer served as coordinator of the Obama-’08 campaign’s defense policy task force, as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Defense and FBI, and has advised a host of video game developers and movies.

His first book, Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry, pioneered the study of the new industry of private companies providing military services for hire, an issue that soon became important with the use and abuse of these companies in Iraq. Singer continues to serve as a resource on this subject to the U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of Defense, CIA, and the European Union and he helped bring to light the role of private contractors in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal and the Halliburton contract controversies in Iraq.

Dr. Singer’s next book, Children at War, was the first book to comprehensively explore the compelling and tragic rise of child soldier groups. Dr. Singer has served as a consultant on the issue to the U.S. Marine Corps and Congress, and the recommendations in his book resulted in changes in the U.N. peacekeeping training program.


Dr. Singer’s most recent book, Wired for War, looks at the implications of robotics and other new technologies for war, politics, ethics, and law in the 21st century.

Prior to his current position, Dr. Singer was the founding Director of the Project on U.S. Policy Towards the Islamic World in the Saban Center at Brookings. He has also worked for the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, the Balkans Task Force in the U.S. Department of Defense, and the International Peace Academy. Singer received his Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

PW Singer

Erskine Bowles—Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Erskine Bowles is a native North Carolinian. He graduated from the University of North Carolina and received his MBA from Columbia University in New York. After serving in the Coast Guard, Erskine began his career at Morgan Stanley as an associate in their corporate finance group. While there, he saw what he believed was a void in the financial services marketplace and left to form a middle-market investment bank, Bowles, Hollowell, Conner, which became the preeminent mergers and acquisition firm in the middle market. Bowles later formed a venture capital firm, Kitty Hawk Capital, co-founded a middle-market private equity firm, Carousel Capital, and served as a partner in the private equity firm of Forstmann Little.

In 1991, Bowles joined the administration of President Bill Clinton as Administrator of the Small Business Administration. In 1993, he was brought to the White House to serve as President Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff and later Chief of Staff. As Chief of Staff, he served as a member of the President’s Cabinet and on both the National Security Council and the National Economic Council. Working at the direction of the President and with the Republican House and Senate, Bowles negotiated the first balanced budget in a generation.

In response to the tsunami that struck Southeast Asia in December 2004, Bowles was asked to join the United Nations as Deputy Special Envoy, with the rank of Under Secretary General, to coordinate the global response to the tsunami. In 2010, President Barack Obama asked Bowles to co-chair, with former Senator Alan Simpson, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

This bipartisan commission produced a plan to reduce the nation’s deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade. The plan was supported by a supermajority of the commission, with equal support from both Republican and Democrat members.

From 2005 to 2011, Bowles served as President of the University of North Carolina. Bowles also served at Governor Jim Hunt’s request as chairman of the NC Rural Prosperity Task Force, to bring economic development to rural North Carolina.

Erskine Bowles

Vincent Fox—Wednesday, March 20, 2013

When elected to the presidency of Mexico in 2000, Vicente Fox broke the stranglehold that the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party had held on the State for seven decades. A charismatic reformer, Fox is credited as playing a vital role in Mexico’s democratization, and with strengthening the country’s economy. During his tenure, Fox succeeded in controlling inflation and interest rates, and in achieving the lowest unemployment rate in all of Latin America. He served as President until 2006.

He studied Business Administration at the Universidad Iberoamericana and then pursued a Top Management Diploma at the Harvard Business School.

During the 1980’s, President Fox began his political career by joining the Partido Acción Nacional (PAN). Vicente Fox’s political career was a swift, upward climb. He was a Federal Congressman for the Third District of León and Secretary of Agriculture in the opposition cabinet. From this time on, he also began to write political articles in national and state newspapers.

In 1991, he unsuccessfully ran for Governor of the state of Guanajuato. In 1995, he was elected Governor of Guanajuato by an overwhelming majority. As Governor, Vicente Fox strove to promote economic development by encouraging the private sector, foreign investment and, above all, the consolidation of small firms. Under his leadership, Guanajuato became the fifth most important Mexican state economy and, in certain productive sectors, even surpassed the national average.

In his autobiography, Revolution of Hope, President Fox outlines a new vision of hope for the future of the Americas. For the first time, President Fox reveals the ups and downs of his close but rocky relationships with world leaders from President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair to Fidel Castro, Vladimir Putin and Hugo Chávez.

Vicente Fox

Nando Parrado—April 24, 2013

Nando Parrado and 15 of his teammates survived for 72 brutal days after their plane crashed into the frozen Andes Mountains over 30 years ago. It remains one of the paramount survival stories of all time.

From the time the plane crashed on October 13, 1972 until their rescue on December 22, Nando and his fellow Uruguayan rugby teammates were forced to cross both physical and mental boundaries. After waking from a concussion only to learn that his mother had died on impact and his sister was near death, Nando became obsessed with surviving and emerged a hero after he and teammate Roberto Canessa walked for 10 days to find their salvation. Their story of courage, teamwork, determination and leadership, experienced at a level few have known, underscores the value of human life.

Soon after the rescue of the 16 survivors, Nando worked with Piers Paul Read to pen the best-selling book Alive. Twenty years later, it was made into a film of the same name starring Ethan Hawke as Nando. Parrado is the author of the New York Times bestseller Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home, which tells the story of the Andes ordeal from an intensely personal perspective. In 2010, Nando was featured in the History Channel documentary I AM ALIVE: Surviving the Andes Plane Crash, which continues to air around the globe.

In his spare time, Nando enjoys racing motorcycles, sports cars, stock cars and watercraft. He has many awards, including the European Team Cup for stock car racing and the Open Watercraft Championship in Punta Del Este, Uruguay. In 1991, Nando was part of a team of drivers who raced across the Sahara in stock model Peugeots. The trip, from Morocco to Tunisia, covered 8,500 km and took 28 days.

A native of Montevideo, Uruguay, Nando graduated from Stella Maris College commonly referred to as Christian Brothers College. He also participated in a study abroad in the United States that allowed him to attend high school in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Nando Parrado

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