Leon Panetta 2014 Lecture Series Focused on ‘Learning the Lessons of History: Is the Past Prologue to the Future?’

“I would like to thank the Panettas and the sponsors for their generosity in allowing me to hear, first-hand, the perspectives and arguments of two of knowledgeable, veteran players in Washington. Mr. Panetta’s experience and Mrs. Panetta’s grace and presence helped me to see that Washington is not a faraway place, but one that is present right here — beginning with me”

Lecture attendee
Topsy Smalley


“[The lecture series] enriches all of our lives and sets the stage for generations to come to be engaged in public policy locally and beyond.”

Lecture attendee
Janet Perlmutter Lesniak

Now having concluded its seventeenth season, the 2014 Leon Panetta Lecture Series took its inspiration from the 100th anniversary of World War I and asked the question “Learning the Lessons of History: Is the Past Prologue to the Future?” In the century that has passed since “the war to end all wars,” what has our nation learned about war and peace; the role of government; the balance between security and freedom; and how presidents make decisions?

As in past years, speakers appeared before a live theater as well as television audiences. During the afternoon of each lecture, the speakers met with students from the Central Coast and Northern California high schools, colleges and military installations. Dates and speakers for spring 2014 are listed below.

To see a list of all past Leon Panetta Lecture Series speakers, click here.

Speakers and dates for the series were as follows:

March 10: War and Peace — 100 Years Since World War I


BurnsPicWith twenty-seven years of diplomatic service, Nicholas Burns is considered one of the most distinguished career diplomats of our time. Having served under Democratic and Republican presidents, he offers a bipartisan perspective on foreign policy, globalization and security affairs.

Ambassador Burns began his diplomatic service in 1980, working as an intern at the American embassy in Mauritania. From 1983 to 1985, he was stationed at the American embassies in Egypt. He went on to work at the American Consulate General in Jerusalem where he coordinated United States economic assistance to the Palestinian people in the West Bank. Ambassador Burns later served on the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House for five years, working in the administrations of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. During his work on the NSC, Ambassador Burns was director for Soviet Affairs, director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Affairs and special assistant to President Clinton. In 1995, he was named spokesman for the United States State Department.

In 1997, Ambassador Burns was appointed Ambassador to Greece. He served in that post for four years before being named Ambassador to NATO. Promoted to under secretary of state for political affairs in 2005, he led negotiations on a number of key agreements on nuclear disarmament including:  the United States–India Civil Nuclear Agreement; a long-term military assistance agreement with Israel; and was the lead United States negotiator on Iran’s nuclear program.

Ambassador Burns currently serves as professor of the practice of diplomacy and international politics at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He has a B.A. in history from Boston College and an M.A. in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.


Michele_Flournoy_official_portraitFormer under secretary of defense for policy, Michèle Flournoy served as the principal adviser to the secretary of defense in the formulation of national security and defense policy, oversight of military plans and operations, and in National Security Council deliberations. She led the development of the Department of Defense (DoD) FY2013 Strategic Guidance and represented the department before Congress and in the media, as well as in dozens of foreign policy discussions.

In the mid-1990s, Ms. Flournoy served as principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and threat reduction, and deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy in the Clinton administration. Ms. Flournoy held the post of distinguished research professor at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University and then as senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

In January 2007, Ms. Flournoy co-founded the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a non-partisan think tank dedicated to developing strong, pragmatic and principled national security policies, and served as CNAS’ president. After the 2008 election, Ms. Flournoy co-led President Barack Obama’s transition team at DoD.

Today, Ms. Flournoy is a frequent commentator in the media, has edited several books and written dozens of reports and articles on a broad range of defense and national security issues. She  serves as a senior advisor to the Boston Consulting Group and is a senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Ms. Flournoy earned her B.A. from Harvard University and her M.A. in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where she was a Newton-Tatum Scholar.


StavridisPicA distinguished leader and the longest-serving global combatant commander in recent American military history, James Stavridis is widely recognized for his expertise in strategy, tactics, diplomacy, national security and strategic communications. Admiral Stavridis has played an influential role in virtually every operation in recent military history from the United States mission in Afghanistan to protecting Turkish citizens near the border of Syria from ballistic missile attacks, to NATO operations in Libya and spearheading cyber-security initiatives.

Alongside many leadership and command positions, Admiral Stavridis has served as a strategic and long-range planner on the staffs of the chief of Naval Operations and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  He has also served as the executive assistant to the secretary of the Navy and the senior military assistant to the secretary of defense.

In 2013, Admiral Stavridis completed four years as Supreme Allied Commander, NATO. In this post he had full responsibility for 120,000 coalition troops on 
three continents. His missions included Afghanistan, the Balkans, the Levant, cyber-security, piracy and missile defense. He also served as commander of United States European Command with 100,000 Department of Defense employees in fifty-one countries, including Israel and Russia.

Admiral Stavridis is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and earned a Ph.D. and MALD from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He is also a distinguished graduate of both the National War College as well as the Naval War College.

April 28: Role of Government — Depressions, Wars, Equality and Poverty 



First elected to Congress in 1980 after serving in the Massachusetts State Legislature for eight years, Barney Frank is known as a superb legislator and a pragmatic politician. For three decades, he authored some of the most important legislation in the country’s recent history, including the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

As chair of the House Financial Services Committee from 2007 to 2011, Mr. Frank helped craft the compromise bill to slow the tide of home mortgage foreclosures in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis, as well as the subsequent $550 billion rescue plan.  He was also the chief author of the landmark Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act—the sweeping set of regulatory reforms that was signed into law in July 2010, to prevent a recurrence of the financial crisis. Mr. Frank also led the passage of the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act, a measure that passed with strong bipartisan support and was lauded by consumer advocates.

Mr. Frank graduated from Harvard in 1962 and went on to pursue a Ph.D before entering politics. He is married to his longtime partner and was the nation’s first congressman in a same-sex marriage while in office.


Alan Simpson

An immensely popular United States 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 held that post until 1994. Senator Simpson completed his final term on January 3, 1997. Prior to his election to the Senate, he was a member of the Wyoming House of Representatives for thirteen years.

Subsequent to his retirement from government, Senator Simpson has taught at Harvard University’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 Obama selected Senator Simpson as co-chair of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, a commission 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.

May 12: Security Versus Freedom — Sedition to Internment to Surveillance


GellmanA critically recognized author, journalist and blogger, Barton Gellman was the lead reporter for a team of twenty-eight Washington Post journalists awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, as they based a series of articles on classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden, former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor. Leading The Washington Post’s coverage of the scandal, Mr. Gellman revealed the existence of several previously undisclosed surveillance programs, which eventually triggered a major review of the NSA’s activities by the Obama administration.

Mr. Gellman was a reporter at The Washington Post for twenty-one years as the paper’s legal, military, diplomatic, Middle East, Pentagon and special projects correspondent. His series on Dick Cheney, with partner Jo Becker, won a 2008 Pulitzer Prize, a George Polk Award and the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. Mr. Gellman’s bestselling book, Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency, won the Los Angeles Times “Book Prize” and was named a New York Times “Best Book” of 2008. His previous books include Contending with Kennan: Toward a Philosophy of American Power and a history of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Mr. Gellman joined TIME magazine in 2010 as contributing editor at large. He is currently researching a book on the NSA, Silicon Valley and the surveillance industrial revolution.

Since 2011, he has also been a lecturer and author in residence at Princeton and a fellow at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice. Mr. Gellman graduated summa cum laude from Princeton and earned an M.A. in politics at University College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar.


Michael Morell Final Photo_0007A former acting director and former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Michael Morell is one of the country’s most prominent national security professionals with extensive experience in intelligence and foreign policy. During his thirty-three-year career at the CIA, Mr. Morell served in a number of leadership roles. He worked for two years as the director of intelligence, the Agency’s chief analyst, and for two years as executive director, the CIA’s top administrator. In this post he managed human resources, the budget, security and information technology for an agency the size of a Fortune 200 firm.

Mr. Morell was also deputy director at the CIA for more than three years, a job in which he oversaw the agency’s day-to-day operations, represented the Agency at the White House and Congress, and maintained the Agency’s relationships with intelligence services and foreign leaders around the world.  In addition, Mr. Morell stepped in as acting director two times when the post was vacated by the appointed director.

Mr. Morell was the only person who was both with President George W. Bush on 9/11 and with President Barack Obama when Osama bin Laden was brought to justice, following the success of an operation in which Mr. Morell had played an instrumental role. Mr. Morell earned a B.A. summa cum laude in economics from the University of Akron and an M.A. in economics from Georgetown University.


MuellerPic  - use this (1)A former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Robert Mueller assumed office one week before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He would become the longest-serving director since J. Edgar Hoover and is widely credited with transforming the organization while maintaining the ideals of fidelity, bravery and integrity. Mr. Mueller served in the Vietnam War as an officer in the United States Marine Corps and was honored for his service with the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals, the Purple Heart and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

Following his military career, Mr. Mueller became a prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Offices. He would go on to serve in both the public and private sector and hold many posts in the United States Department of Justice. In 1998, Mr. Mueller was named United States Attorney in San Francisco and held that position until 2001 when President George W. Bush nominated him to become the sixth director of the FBI. He served ten years under the Bush administration and continued his service for an additional two years at the request of President Barack Obama.

Mr. Mueller’s tenure at the FBI is credited with reshaping the Bureau from a traditional law enforcement agency to a threat-focused, intelligence-based national security organization. Mr. Mueller grew up outside of Philadelphia. He graduated from Princeton University in 1966 and later earned an M.A. in international relations at New York University.

June 2: How Presidents Make Decisions — Leadership, Crisis, Politics and Trust


AxelrodPicFormer senior advisor to President Barack Obama, David Axelrod was also senior advisor to the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition, and senior strategist to Barack Obama’s two presidential campaigns.

Before entering politics, Mr. Axelrod was a reporter for The Chicago Tribune, where he covered national, state and local politics. In 2006, he ran the independent expenditure media program for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, helping Democrats regain the majority in the United States House of Representatives. That same year, he served as media adviser to Deval Patrick, who was elected Massachusetts’ first Democratic governor in sixteen years and the state’s first-ever African American governor. In 2004, Mr. Axelrod helped Barack Obama to a landslide win in his United States Senate campaign.

During his time at the Obama White House, Mr. Axelrod was the administration’s most frequent presence on the influential Sunday talk shows including NBC’s Meet the Press, ABC’s This Week, CBS’s Face the Nation, FOX News Sunday and CNN’s State of the Union.

Today, Mr. Axelrod serves as the director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago and is a senior political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.  He was recently inducted into The American Association of Political Consultants’ Hall of Fame. Mr. Axelrod was born in New York City, and graduated from Stuyvesant High School and the University of Chicago.


BowlesPicFormer White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles first came to Washington in 1991 when he was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as director of the Small Business Administration. He would later serve as deputy White House chief of staff and then as chief of staff. As a member of the president’s cabinet, Mr. Bowles served on the National Security Council and the National Economic Council. With other members of the Clinton administration, he helped negotiate the first balanced budget in a generation and coordinated the federal response to the Oklahoma City bombing.

Mr. Bowles ran for the United States Senate in 2002 and 2004, and served as president of the multi-campus University of North Carolina from 2001 through 2011. In 2004, he was appointed United Nations deputy special envoy to thirteen tsunami-affected countries in Southeast Asia.

In 2010, President Barack Obama selected Mr. Bowles to serve as co-chair of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, a group charged with identifying policies to improve the nation’s fiscal situation and to achieve fiscal sustainability. The Commission produced a plan to reduce the nation’s deficits by $4 trillion over the next decade, which was endorsed by a supermajority of the commission with equal support from both Republican and Democrat members.

Mr. Bowles is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and received his MBA from Columbia University in New York.


CardPicWith an impressive service record in both the private and public sectors, Andrew Card, Jr. is the second-longest serving White House Chief of Staff in United States history. He has served in the administrations of three presidents.

Mr. Card was first elected to public office as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and served in that capacity from 1975 to 1983. He served in President Ronald Reagan’s administration as first special assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs and subsequently as deputy assistant to the president and director of intergovernmental affairs. In this role he was was liaison to governors, statewide elected officials, state legislators, mayors and other elected officials.

Mr. Card next served in the administration of President George H.W. Bush as assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff. He managed the daily operations of the White House staff and participated in the full range of economic, foreign and domestic policy development. From 1992 until 1993, Mr. Card served as the eleventh secretary of transportation under President George H.W. Bush. In August 1992, at the request of President Bush, Mr. Card coordinated the administration’s disaster relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Andrew. Later that year, he directed President Bush’s office during the transition from the Bush administration to the Clinton administration.

On November 26, 2000, Mr. Card was appointed chief of staff in the administration of President George W. Bush. He would serve in that position until 2006.

Mr. Card graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.S. in engineering. He attended the United States Merchant Marine Academy and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


DubersteinPicA key member of the Reagan administration, Kenneth Duberstein served first as assistant to the president for legislative affairs. He went on to serve as congressional liaison for the Reagan-Bush re-election campaign and then held the posts of deputy chief of staff and White House chief of staff.

In his early public service career, Mr. Duberstein was an assistant to United States Senator Jacob Javits of New York (R). He later became deputy under secretary of labor during the Ford administration and director of congressional and intergovernmental affairs at the United States General Services Administration.

During his time in the Reagan administration, Mr. Duberstein worked with the president on efforts to end the Cold War and travelled with him for the Reagan-Gorbachev Summits. Mr. Duberstein was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Ronald Reagan in January 1989.

Presently, Mr. Duberstein serves on a wide range of commissions, task forces and cultural, educational and volunteer boards, including the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, The Brookings Institution, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics Senior Advisory Committee, the National Endowment for Democracy, the American Security Project, the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and the newly-formed National Institute for Civil Discourse.

Student Program

In addition to the evening programs, Secretary Panetta and the distinguished speakers also met with students from Central Coast, Santa Clara Valley and North Bay Area high schools, community colleges, universities and military institutions as part of the Lecture Series Afternoon Student ProgramThanks to the Leon Panetta Lecture Series sponsors, more than 700 students participated in the program in 2014.

For more information on tickets or the Lecture Series Afternoon Student Program, call the Institute at 831-582-4200.


2014 Lecture Series Sponsors

The Panetta Institute would like to salute our sponsors of the 2014 Lecture Series for their extraordinary public service in supporting this important event:


Sue and Bob Antle
Arnof Family Foundation
Bank of America
Laurie and David Benjamin
Lucy and Henry Billingsley
California American Water
Cannery Row Company
City of Monterey
Roger W. Coleman
Comcast Hometown Network
Debra and George Couch
Carmen and James Courter
Sherry DeBoer
Dominican University

Gail and Jim Griggs
Hamilton, Rabinowitz & Associates
IFA (International Franchise Association)
Monterey Marriott
Monterey County Office of Education
Ocean Mist Farms
Mike and Mary Orradre
Louise and Ed Trout
Anthony Varni
Victory Toyota/Scion/Lexus of the
   Monterey Peninsula
Welton Foundation
Kathy and Tom Wiggans
Rhonda and Myles Williams
Wine Institute



William Anton
Catherine C. Brock
Stephanie Hulsey
Mann Packing Co. Inc.
The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation

Donors and Friends 

We greatly appreciate the gifts of facilities, services, products, lodging and radio and televised transmissions. Thank you for the generosity of talent, time and service provided for this series.

Armanasco Public Relations
BigTime Video Services
The California Channel
Campus Televideo
Cardinale Moving & Storage, Inc.
Charter Communications
Community Media Access Partnership
Community Television of Santa Cruz County
Rhonda Correia
CSUMB Engineering
HANK Radio
KAZU Radio
KBOQ Radio
KCDU Radio
KHIP Radio
KMBY Radio
KPIG Radio
KQED Television and Radio
KUSP Radio
LyonsHead Gallery and Design Studio
MIIS Graduate School of Translation Interpretation   and Language Education
Monterey Conference Center
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
PMB Helin Donovan
Portola Hotel & Spa
Randy Tunnell Photography
Red Shift Internet Services
Seaside Florist
Suddenlink Cable Television
Swenson & Silacci Flowers
Tempel’s of Carmel Florist
TGO Photography
TriCord Tradeshows
Visual Aids Electronics
The Wecker Group