Ticket Reservations Available for 2016 Lecture Series

Ticket reservations are now available for the Leon Panetta 2016 Lecture Series, a highly acclaimed program that since 1997 has brought an array of nationally known leaders and policy experts to the Monterey Peninsula.

Moderated by Secretary Leon E. Panetta, the lecture series comes to Monterey every spring, and offers local residents the opportunity to hear directly from national leaders who examine and discuss national and international issues in a format that encourages give and take as well as areas of potential compromise and cooperation.

Speakers in past seasons have included former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and more. Topics and speakers for the 2016 Lecture Series will be announced at a future date.

Lecture speakers appear before a live theater as well as television audiences. During the afternoon of each lecture, they also meet with students from the Central Coast and Northern California high schools, colleges and military installations.

Ticket and Broadcast Information

All of the Leon Panetta Lecture Series programs are broadcast live throughout California by Comcast, Comcast Hometown Network, the California Channel and other cable networks. C-SPAN periodically broadcasts these lectures nationally. The lectures are also available for viewing via live web-streaming at  http://www.panettainstitute.org/programs/lecture-series/webcast-information/ and are broadcast live on public radio. Broadcast and rebroadcast schedules for this year’s season will be released soon.

Subscriptions are sold to all four events in the season. Periodically during the season, single reserved seats become available, as are standby tickets.

To see a list of past speakers, click here.

For information about tickets, please call the Panetta Institute at (831)-582-4200.

The events and speakers for the 2015 Lecture Series were as follows:

March 23: Energy



For more than a quarter of a century, Carol Browner has been at the forefront of the nation’s environmental and energy polices. From 1991 through 1993, Dr. Browner served as Florida’s Secretary of Environmental Regulation where she launched the largest ecological restoration project ever attempted in the United States to purify and re-establish the natural flow of water to the Everglades. Dr. Browner went on to spend eight years as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in the Clinton administration. In that post, she adopted the most stringent air pollution standards in the nation’s history; set a fine particle clean air standard; and spearheaded the reauthorization of the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Food Quality Protection Act. In 2009, Dr. Browner returned to government service working for President Barack Obama as director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy. In that capacity, she oversaw the coordination of environmental, energy, climate, transport, and related policy across the federal government. During her tenure, the White House secured the largest investment ever in clean energy and established the national car policy that included both new automobile fuel efficiency standards and the first-ever greenhouse gas reductions. Dr. Browner earned a B.A. and J.D. from the University of Florida in Gainesville.



A distinguished physicist, innovative professor and the first Nobel Prize laureate to serve as Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu brings a scientific approach to addressing the nation’s energy future. In 1997, Secretary Chu was co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in physics for his contributions to the laser cooling and trapping of atoms. Prior to his cabinet appointment, Secretary Chu worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories and Stanford University. From 2004 to 2009, he was the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and professor of physics and molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley. From 2009 until 2013, Secretary Chu served as secretary of energy during the Obama administration. As the longest serving energy secretary, he was charged with helping implement President Barack Obama’s agenda to invest in clean energy, reduce dependence on foreign oil, address the global climate crisis and create new jobs. A pioneer in science and energy policy, Secretary Chu is committed to mitigating climate change through development of new technologies and business models that will accelerate the transition to sustainable energy. Secretary Chu earned an A.B. in mathematics, a B.S. in physics from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley.


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Born and raised in the small coal mining town of Farmington, West Virginia, Joe Manchin advocates a bipartisan approach toward national energy independence. Senator Manchin was a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1982 until 1986, when he was elected to the state Senate. He served in the Senate for ten years and was elected Secretary of State in 2000. He began his tenure as West Virginia’s thirty-fourth governor in January 2005 and was re-elected in 2008. Among his achievements as governor, Senator Manchin approved millions of dollars in tax relief, reformed the state’s workers’ compensation system, and dramatically decreased the state’s debt. Elected to the U.S. Senate in a special election in 2010. Senator Manchin was reelected for a second term in 2012. Among other important committee posts, he serves on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Senator Manchin is strongly committed to developing a national energy plan that utilizes all resources and ends our nation’s dependence on Middle East oil. He believes that a balanced, common sense approach that considers environmental concerns and the demands of the economy can and must be developed. Senator Manchin received a B.A. from West Virginia University.



A legendary oilman and philanthropist, T. Boone Pickens has become one the nation’s most notable energy experts. Mr. Pickens began his career at Phillips Petroleum before striking out on his own in 1956. He started what would eventually become Mesa Petroleum with just $2,500 and nurtured it into one of the largest independent natural gas and oil companies in the United States.  After four decades, he left the company and established BP Capital Management, one of the nation’s most successful energy-oriented investment funds. Among Mr. Pickens’ many accolades, TIME magazine recognized him as one of its “100 most influential people,” Financial World named him “CEO of the Decade” in 1989 and Oil and Gas Investor identified him as one of the “100 Most Influential People of the Petroleum Century.” In 2008, Mr. Pickens launched a self-funded, $100 million, grass-roots campaign aimed at reducing America’s dependence on imported oil. Cited by President Barack Obama for his leadership in developing The Pickens Plan for America’s Energy Future, this plan advocates harnessing domestic alternatives and developing even greater new technologies. He is a champion for the prudent stewardship of American lands. Mr. Pickens has a B.S. in geology from Oklahoma State University.

April 20: Race Relations



The youngest person ever to lead the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Benjamin Jealous is one of the most effective civil rights leaders of our day.  A Monterey Peninsula native, Mr. Jealous began his career as a community organizer opening mail with the NAACP Legal Defense. In 1993, after being suspended for organizing student protests at Columbia University, he became an investigative reporter for the Mississippi newspaper, The Jackson Advocate. He spent fifteen years as a journalist and community organizer leading successful state and local movements to ban the death penalty, outlaw racial profiling, defend voting rights, secure marriage equality, and reform mass incarceration. At the age of thirty-five, Mr. Jealous was appointed national president and CEO of the NAACP. Under his leadership, the NAACP grew to be the largest civil rights organization online and on mobile phone networks, and became the largest community-based nonpartisan voter registration operation in the nation. Mr. Jealous’ achievements included bringing environmentalist organizations into the fight to protect voting rights, and convincing well-known conservatives to join the NAACP. As president he also oversaw the launch of national programs on education, health and environmental justice. A Rhodes Scholar, Mr. Jealous received a B.A. from Columbia and an M.A. from Oxford University.



With fifty years in public service, the last twelve before his retirement as police commissioner of the City of New York, Raymond Kelly is one of the world’s most well-known and highly esteemed leaders in law enforcement. A forty-three-year veteran of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), Commissioner Kelly first joined the department in 1963.  Following three years of active military service, Commissioner Kelly returned to the police department in 1966 and entered the New York City Police Academy, graduating with the highest combined average for academics, physical achievement and marksmanship.  He was first appointed to the office of commissioner in 1992 and served for two years. In 2002, Commissioner Kelly was appointed again and served until 2013, making him the longest-serving police commissioner in the city’s history, as well as the first to hold the post for a second, separate tenure.  In his second term, Commissioner Kelly created the first counterterrorism bureau of any municipal police department in the country. Under his leadership, violent crime in New York City declined forty percent from 2001 levels. Commissioner Kelly holds a B.B.A. from Manhattan College, a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law, an L.L.M. from New York University Graduate School of Law and an M.P.A. from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.


Ken_Salazar, photo

One of America’s most prominent Latino politicians, Ken Salazar in his impressive career has addressed issues including law enforcement reform, immigration, healthcare and land rights. Secretary Salazar served as Colorado’s attorney general from 1987 to 1994. Some of the notable matters he investigated included sexual assault allegations against members of the University of Colorado football program; the homicide of a Native American man in southwestern Colorado; and the review of numerous law enforcement matters relating to the Columbine High School killings. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Secretary Salazar served on key committees such as: Energy and Natural Resources; Finance; Agriculture; Ethics; Veterans’ Affairs; and Aging. While in the Senate, he was a bipartisan leader on comprehensive immigration reform, legislation to end the War in Iraq, and preliminary regulations leading to healthcare reform. In 2008, President Barack Obama selected Senator Salazar to serve as Secretary of the Interior. He was confirmed by a unanimous vote. While in the Cabinet, among other achievements, Secretary Salazar led President Obama’s initiatives toward resolving conflicts with the 566 Native American tribes and Alaska Natives. Secretary Salazar received a B.A. from Colorado College and a J.D. from the University of Michigan.

May 11: Economy



Adviser to governments and businesses globally, Michael Boskin is internationally recognized for his research on world economic growth, tax and budget theory and policy, saving and consumption patterns, and the implications of changing technology and demography on capital, labor and product markets. Dr. Boskin served as chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) during the four-year administration of President George H.W. Bush. The independent Council for Excellence in Government rated his CEA as one of the five most respected agencies in the federal government. From 1995 to 1996, Dr. Boskin chaired the highly influential Congressional Advisory Commission on the Consumer Price Index. The report his commission produced is credited with transforming the way government agencies across the globe measure inflation, GDP and productivity. The author of more than one hundred and fifty books and articles, Dr. Boskin is presently the Tully M. Friedman Professor of Economics at Stanford University. In addition to his teaching, Dr. Boskin is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and the presiding director of Oracle Corporation. Dr. Boskin received a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.



Former U.S. Secretary of Labor and a past member of President Barack Obama’s economic transition advisory board, Robert Reich is one of the nation’s leading thinkers about the economy. Secretary Reich is the author of fifteen books. His 2007 book, Supercapitalism, warned of the perils of an under-regulated and over-leveraged financial system. In his 2010 best-seller, Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future, Secretary Reich looks ahead to the impact of the Great Recession. His 2012 book, Beyond Outrage, talks about “what has gone wrong with our economy and our democracy and how to fix it.” His forthcoming book, Saving Capitalism (September 2015), examines the building blocks of the American economy and explores methods of preserving growth, while simultaneously spreading benefits. Secretary Reich is also the co-creator and host of the acclaimed 2013 documentary, Inequality for All, in which he explains the underlying forces shaping the economy and lays out pragmatic solutions for a broader prosperity. Secretary Reich is a past recipient of the prestigious Vaclav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent for his original contributions to economic thinking. In 2008, he was named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the nation’s top ten “thought” leaders. He currently serves as the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Secretary Reich received a B.A. from Dartmouth College, an M.S. from Oxford University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.



One of the world’s leading economic scholars, Christina Romer served as a key adviser to President Barack Obama in responding to the Great Recession and protecting America’s economy from future crises. An expert in economic history and macroeconomics, Dr. Romer is best known for her work on the causes of the Great Depression, the subsequent recovery, and the conduct and consequences of monetary and fiscal policy. She has also researched the impact of economic growth and inflation, and the effects of tax cuts on private investment and government spending. As chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, Dr. Romer was one of four economics principals who met daily with President Obama to design and guide the administration’s response to the economic crisis. She played a key role in macroeconomic policy, rescue and reform of the financial system, healthcare reform and budget policy. In addition, Dr. Romer was a primary spokesperson on the economy for the administration, appearing frequently on the evening news, in the financial press and on the Sunday morning news programs. Dr. Romer also serves as a member of the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research, which decides when a recession has officially started or ended. Presently the Class of 1957 – Garff B. Wilson Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Romer’s current research focuses on the impact of financial crises and the macroeconomic effects of entitlement spending. Dr. Romer graduated from the College of William & Mary in 1981, and received a Ph.D. from M.I.T. in 1985.


alan simpson

An immensely popular U.S. Senator from Wyoming, once re-elected with seventy-eight percent of the vote, Alan Simpson served in the Senate for three terms. He assumed the position of assistant majority leader in 1984 and served in that capacity until 1994. Senator Simpson completed his final term on January 3, 1997. Prior to his election to the Senate, he served thirteen years in the Wyoming House of Representatives. Subsequent to his retirement from government, Senator Simpson taught at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and served on the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, a congressional panel created to recommend changes to United States policy in Iraq. In 2010, President Barack Obama selected Senator Simpson to serve as co-chair of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Simpson-Bowles Commission). The commission was charged with identifying policies to improve the nation’s fiscal health and to achieve fiscal sustainability. Since the commission released its final report in December 2010, Senator Simpson has been an outspoken critic of the failure of the two political parties to agree on measures to reduce the deficit and has called for a solution combining cuts to entitlement programs and new taxes. Senator Simpson earned a B.S. and J.D., both from the University of Wyoming

June 1 Cyber



A retired four-star Army general and the highest-ranked military official of U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM), the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Security Service (CSS), General Keith B. Alexander played a pivotal role in securing the nation’s safety at home and abroad for the past decade. In 2005, General Alexander became head of the NSA and CSS. The longest-serving director of the NSA, he was responsible for national foreign intelligence requirements, military combat support, and United States national security information system protection. In 2010, General Alexander was inaugurated as first commander of USCYBERCOM, a military institution integral to the nation’s security and prosperity. As commander of USCYBERCOM, a military institution integral to the nation’s security and prosperity. As commander, he planned, coordinated and conducted operations defending the Department of Defense computer networks as well as providing national defense from cyber-attacks. General Alexander is currently CEO and president of IronNet Cybersecurity where he provides strategic vision to corporate leaders on cybersecurity issues through development of cutting-edge technology, consulting and education/training. General Alexander received a B.S. from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He also holds M.S. degrees in business administration; systems technology (electronic warfare) and physics; and national security strategy.



President of Intel Corporation, Renée James has broad knowledge of the computing industry that spans hardware, manufacturing, security, software and services. During her more than twenty-five years at Intel, Ms. James has spearheaded the company’s strategic expansion into providing proprietary and open source software and services for applications in enterprise, security and cloud-based computing. Ms. James joined Intel in 1987 as the product manager for the 386 family of microprocessor motherboards and systems. Early in her career she served as chief of staff for former Intel CEO Andy Grove. She went on to hold a number of leadership positions at the firm. Recently, as executive vice president and general manager of the Software and Services Group, she was responsible for Intel’s global software and services strategy, revenue, profit, and product research and development. Ms. James was named president in May 2013. In addition to her work in the technology industry, Ms. James is vice chair of the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee. In 2014, Ms. James was ranked twenty-first on Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women in Business” list and she was named number thirty-seven on the Forbes 100 list. Ms. James received a B.A. in international business and an M.B.A., both from the University of Oregon



Considered one of our nation’s most influential chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen advised both Republican and Democratic administrations, leading the military during a critical period of transition. Admiral Mullen has commanded at every level in the Navy, culminating as chief of naval operations in his service. He served as the seventeenth chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was the principal military adviser to President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama as well as to the secretary of defense and the National Security Council. Serving from 2007 to 2011, Admiral Mullen, oversaw the end of the combat mission in Iraq and the development of a new military strategy for Afghanistan. He advocated for the rapid development and fielding of innovative technologies, championed emerging and enduring international partnerships and advanced new methods for combating terrorism. Admiral Mullen graduated with a B.S. from the U.S. Naval Academy. He earned an M.S. in operation research from the Naval Postgraduate School and completed the advanced management program at the Harvard Business School. He is currently an adjunct professor at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.