07/05/18

Where Do We Go From Here? Media, Politics and Power in the Digital Age.

Nicco Mele is one of America’s leading forecasters of business, politics, and culture in the digital age. He is Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, leading the Center’s research agenda and teaching classes on technology’s impact on media, politics, and public policy. His prior experience includes founding technology companies, working on political campaigns, and a stint as a media executive at the Los Angeles Times. His 2013 book, The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath, explores the consequences of living in a socially-connected society. He serves as the board chair of Democracy Works and is a board member of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard and a Senior Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy. He co-founded the Massachusetts Poetry Festival and in 2014 co-produced a documentary about the poet W.S. Merwin, “Even Though the Whole World Is Burning.”

“Mele makes us seriously think about the world we live in today and, more importantly, how we'd like to live in it tomorrow.” ―Fortune

Read his profile in Harvard Magazine

Read his essay, “Why I Love Poetry”

Richard Cohen is President of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which uses litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy to work toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and opportunity will be a reality. A graduate of Columbia University and the University of Virginia School of Law, he came to the SPLC in 1986 as its legal director after practicing law in Washington, D.C., for seven years. Under his guidance, the SPLC won a series of landmark lawsuits against some of the nation’s most violent white supremacist organizations. He also successfully litigated a wide variety of important civil rights actions – defending the rights of prisoners to be treated humanely, working for equal educational opportunities for all children, and bringing down the Confederate battle flag from the Alabama State Capitol.


In addition to his legal work, Richard oversees the Center’s project that monitors white supremacist and other extremist activity as well as its educational initiatives. He also serves as the executive producer for the Center’s documentary films.  Four have garnered Academy Award nominations, and two have won Oscars.             

Read Mr. Cohen’s op-ed on the white supremacy movement in The New York Times

Journalist Marvin Kalb, one of the world’s foremost experts on Russia, Europe and the Middle East, is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and Senior Advisor at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. His career spans more than 30 years of award-winning reporting for both CBS and NBC News as chief diplomatic correspondent, Moscow bureau chief, and anchor of NBC’s "Meet the Press." He went on to become founding director of Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. He is the Murrow professor emeritus at Harvard University and hosts The Kalb Report, a monthly discussion of media ethics and responsibility at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. His memoir, from which he takes the title of his talk, was published in October 2017. His next book, Enemy of the People: Trump’s War on the Press, is due out this September from the Brookings Institution Press.


Read Mr. Kalb’s commentary on President Trump and the press, from a talk at the National Press Club

08/09/18

What the hell is going on?

As America’s “car czar,” Steven Rattner led the Obama Administration’s successful effort to restructure and rescue the automobile industry after the 2008 financial collapse. He later chronicled that work in his book, Overhaul. He now serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Willett Advisors LLC, the investment arm for former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s personal and philanthropic assets. In addition, he is a contributing op-ed writer for The New York Times and serves as economic analyst on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. From 2000 to 2009 he was Managing Principal of Quadrangle Group LLC, a private investment firm with more than $6 billion in assets under management. Before beginning his investment banking career in 1982 with Lehman Brothers, Mr. Rattner was employed by The New York Times for nearly nine years, principally as an economic correspondent in New York, Washington and London.

Read his recent op-ed in The New York Times, “2017 – The Year in Charts”

07/26/18

Hate and Extremism in America:  Trump and Beyond

07/19/18

The Ethics of Eating: Can We Eat Our Way To A Better World?

Bioethicist Ruth R. Faden, PhD, MPH, is the founder of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. In her 20 years leading the Berman Institute, she transformed what was an informal faculty interest group of into one of the leading and largest bioethics programs in the world. A prolific scholar, Dr. Faden is the author and editor of numerous books and articles on biomedical ethics and public policy. Her current research focuses on structural justice theory and on ethical challenges in food and agriculture, health systems design, pandemic preparedness, and advances in biomedical science, often with a particular focus on the interests of women. Dr. Faden has served on numerous national and international bodies, is the recipient of lifetime achievement awards and other professional honors, and is a frequent contributor to national and global policy debates.

Read Ruth Faden’s perspective on cola advertising in The Atlantic

David S. Cohen is Chair of the Financial and Business Integrity practice in the Washington, D.C., office of WilmerHale.  He is the former Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2015-2017, where he helped oversee all CIA operations as the Agency’s second-in-command. That appointment followed his six years of service with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, first as Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and then as Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, leading efforts to identify and disrupt financial support to nations, organizations, and individuals posing a threat to U.S. national security. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Cornell University, is a Senior Fellow with Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and on the Board of Advisors at the Center on Law and Security of New York University Law School. He is the recipient of a number of awards, including the CIA’s Distinguished Intelligence Medal and the Treasury Department’s Alexander Hamilton Award.

Read Mr. Cohen’s recent column in the Washington Post

07/12/18

The Year I was Peter the Great: 1956 -- Khrushchev, Stalin's Ghost and a Young American in Russia.

Summer Institute forums are held on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. in the Harriet B. Freedberg Learning Center at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center, 130 Center Street, Vineyard Haven (unless otherwise noted).  For online ticket purchases to speaker events, visit Ticketsmv.com.

08/02/18

The Power, Promise and Perils of Sanctions: A Comparison of the Iran and North Korea Experiences