Most Recent Forums
November 28, 2017
James Forman Jr. is a professor of law at Yale Law School, teaching and writing on criminal procedure, constitutional law, juvenile justice, and education law and policy. He is the author of the book Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America. A graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School, he served as a law clerk for Judge William Norris of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the United States Supreme Court. After clerking, he worked for six years as a public defender in Washington, D.C., where he founded the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, an alternative school serving at-risk youth who have been incarcerated or have dropped out of school. The school now provides education for young people inside the District of Columbia’s juvenile prison.
October 24, 2017
Ari Melber is Chief Legal Correspondent for MSNBC, covering the U. S. Supreme Court, Justice Department, and FBI, and the host of the political news program The Beat. He has written on law and politics for The Nation, The Atlantic, Reuters, Salon, and Politico. Raised in Seattle, he earned a BA in political science from the University of Michigan and a JD from Cornell Law School where he was an editor of the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy. From 2009 to 2013, he practiced law at a major New York law firm, specializing in First Amendment, reporter’s privilege, and copyright litigation. During the 2008 presidential campaign, he traveled with the Obama campaign on special assignment for The Washington Independent. He was a national staff member for the 2004 John Kerry Campaign, and he worked as a legislative aide to Senator Maria Cantwell.
September 19, 2017
Carl Pope is the former executive director and chairman of the Sierra Club and a veteran leader in the environmental movement. He is now a senior climate advisor to former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and the principal advisor at Inside Straight Strategies, where he focuses on the links between sustainability and economic development. A graduate of Harvard College, he is the author of three books, including Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet, which he co-authored with Michael Bloomberg. He was a founder of the BlueGreen Alliance and America Votes, and he served on the boards of the California League of Conservation Voters, Public Voice, the National Clean Air Coalition, California Common Cause, and Zero Population Growth. He is currently serving on the advisory board of America India Foundation and on the board of directors of Ceres and As You Sow. He writes regularly for Bloomberg View and Huffington Post.
May 4, 2017
Richard Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations, an independent, nonpartisan think-tank and an educational institution seeking better understanding of global issues facing the U. S. and other countries. He was chair of the multiparty negotiations in Northern Ireland in 2013, and he served as a principal advisor and director of policy planning under Secretary of State Colin Powell. He was a special assistant to George H. W. Bush and the senior director for Near East and South Asian Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council. A Rhodes Scholar, he holds master and doctoral degrees from Oxford University. He is the author or editor of twelve books on American foreign policy, including A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order.
April 11, 2017
Otis Moss III is the senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, former church-home for then-Senator Barack Obama. Since coming to Trinity in 2008, Moss has focused his ministerial work on community advancement, civil rights advocacy, and social justice activism, calling attention to the problems of mass incarceration, environmental justice, and economic inequality. Committed to preaching a message of love and justice, he developed a curriculum for young people entitled My Life Matters in the aftermath of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. A graduate of Morehouse College, he holds a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry from Chicago Theological Seminary. His books include, among others, Blue Note Preaching in a Post-Soul World: Finding Hope in an Age of Despair.
March 21, 2017
Frank Bruni is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times. Since joining the paper in 1995, he has covered a broad range of topics, including American politics, higher education, travel, the arts, gay rights, and more. As a political columnist, he has focused on the nation’s divisiveness and what each citizen can do to seek common ground. He is the author of three bestselling books, including Ambling into History, a chronicle of George W. Bush’s first presidential campaign; his memoir Born Round; and his most recent book, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of Journalism.
February 14, 2017
Irshad Manji is the founder of the Moral Courage Project, headquartered at the University of Southern California and committed to helping people identify, express, and act according to their values. In 2013, MCP launched its award-winning You-Tube channel, which features stories of people taking action in pursuit of the common good. MCP’s founder first came to prominence for her work as an Islamic reformer, and her book The Trouble with Islam was an international bestseller. A graduate of the University of British Columbia with a degree in the history of ideas, she describes herself as African by birth, Canadian by citizenship, and American by immersion. She is an advocate for human rights, social justice, diversity, and inclusion.
December 13, 2016
Thomas Friedman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning weekly columnist for The New York Times, focusing on foreign affairs, the Middle East, globalization, and environmental issues. He is the author of seven bestselling books, including The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization; The World Is Flat: A Brief History of theTwenty-first Century; and the winner of the National Book Award, From Beirut to Jerusalem. His latest book is Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations. Born and raised in St. Louis Park, MN, he graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in Mediterranean studies and earned an M.Phil degree in Middle Eastern Studies at Oxford University.
November 17, 2016
Timothy Naftali is associate clinical professor of history and public service at NYU. He was the founding director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum where he curated its nationally acclaimed exhibit on Watergate, and founding director of the Presidential Recording Project at the Miller Center of Public Affairs. An award-winning author, his writings focus on national security, intelligence policy, international history, and presidential history. His published works include, among others, One Hell of a Gamble: Krushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958 – 1964 and Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism. He holds degrees from Yale University and Johns Hopkins University and a doctoral degree in history from Harvard University.
October 25, 2016
Gene Robinson is a retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire. In 2003, he received national attention as the first priest in an openly gay relationship to be consecrated a bishop in a major Christian denomination. Since his retirement in 2013, he has served as a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, speaking and writing on the issues of race, poverty, immigration reform, LGBT rights, and the full inclusion of transgender people in the life of the Church and in American society. Recently, he has been speaking on behalf of the nonprofit organization Compassion & Choices, which advocates state-of-the-art care and a full range of options for people who are dying to ensure their comfort, dignity, and control at the end of life.