Panetta Institute Announces Details of 2021 Leon Panetta Lecture Series New Leadership in a New Decade – Can America Be Healed? Season Subscriptions and Single Event Tickets Available Now

The celebrated Leon Panetta Lecture Series returns this year with an exciting line of speakers and topics.

This year’s forums will focus on New Leadership in a New Decade – Can America Be Healed?  Inherent in the provisions of the U.S. Constitution is the concept that any government, but particularly a democracy, contains the need for evaluation, critique, improvement, and, at times, repair.  “We the People” came together in 1787 to form a “more perfect union.”  To continue this effort is the responsibility of every American.  This concept has never felt more critical than at this moment.  As we enter this new decade and observe a new administration, how can we protect and improve our union?

This year’s lecture series will address this most essential question and ask how it relates to the pandemic; the new administration and relations with the Congress; evolving foreign policy; and restoring trust in our democracy amongst a crippling political divide.

The events for the 2021 season are as follows:*


Monday, February 22,  6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.                     

The COVID-19 Pandemic – Can We Finally Win the War?

with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases


Monday, March 15,  6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Biden Administration and Congress – Can We Finally Govern?

with John Kasich, Governor of Ohio (2011-2019) and 

Claire McCaskill, U.S. Senator Missouri (2007-2019)


Monday, April 19, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.                           

Allies and Adversaries – Can the U.S. Be a World Leader Again?

with John Bolton, U.S. National Security Advisor (2018-2019),

Michèle Flournoy, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (2009-2012) and 

Admiral Mike Mullen, USN, Ret., Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2007-2011)


Monday, May 17, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.                                                   

Restoring Trust in the Presidency – Can We Heal Our Political Divide?

with Bill Clinton, U.S. President (1993-2001) and 

Dan Quayle, U.S. Vice President (1989-1993)


Season subscriptions to the Leon Panetta Lecture Series are available for $400.  Individual tickets to each lecture sell for $100.  To order a subscription or individual ticket, call the Panetta Institute at 831-582-4200 to pay with a credit card.

2021 Leon Panetta Lecture Series Presented via Live Webinar

PLEASE NOTE:  All four events for the 2021 Leon Panetta Lecture Series will be presented through live webinar platforms for remote and safe viewing.  

Tickets for access to view the lectures are available for purchase to the general public.  

Only ticket purchasers are provided access to view these lecture webinars.  The lectures will not be broadcast on television or radio and will not be live-streamed on the internet.  

Recorded lectures will not be posted either on the Panetta Institute’s website nor on the Leon Panetta Lecture Series YouTube Channel at this time. 

Season subscriptions to the Leon Panetta Lecture Series are available for $400.  Individual tickets to each lecture sell for $100.  To order a subscription or individual ticket, call the Panetta Institute at 831-582-4200 to pay with a credit card.


Click here to learn more about this year’s series.

*All dates and speakers are subject to change.


Institute Welcomes Largest Class of Policy Research Fellows

The Policy Research Fellows Program was developed in 2006 in joint initiative with the Santa Clara University School of Law.  This year the Policy Research Fellows Program starts with the Spring 2021 semester that began on January 15, 2021 and ends April 30, 2021.  Twelve qualified second- and third-year law school students have been accepted to join the Fellows Program for this spring term, the largest class of students in the history of the program.  Students who successfully complete this program earn three units of academic credit and three units of experiential credit.  As of December 31, 2020, 104 law students have participated in this program.

This course of study was framed by Secretary Leon Panetta to teach the fellows to engage in finding real solutions to the most challenging issues facing our society despite ideological difference or competing interests.  Throughout the academic semester, the law students explore diverse political, social, and economic contexts within which public policy is developed.  In addition to exploring the study of public policy, fellows are guided and instructed on developing strategies and tactics to deploy in the assessment of specific policy issues with consideration of the constituencies they serve.  By the end of the course, fellows must develop and present a consensus solution on their particular issue that is acceptable to both Democrats and Republicans.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to work with all of you this past semester. Serving as a Spring 2020 Fellow with the Panetta Institute for Public Policy exceeded my expectations despite the fact that our in-person time together was unexpectedly cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has been an amazing experience to personally interact with all of you as excellent and supportive mentors.  I am most appreciative of the generous time spent by Secretary and Mrs. Panetta with all of the Fellows.  I learned so much: the critical role of thoughtful public policy, the inner-workings of a committee hearing, how relationships within U.S. and with foreign governments shape the United States’ approach to policy issues..The opportunity to further develop my research and writing skills, and engage and refine the art of oral advocacy with exposure to a myriad of policy issues has been invaluable.  

–Spring 2020 Panetta Fellow

During the Spring 2021 semester the policy issues the fellows will explore are:

1. Economic Policy:  COVID-19

2. Trade Policy:  U.S. – China Trade Relations

3. Foreign Policy:  U.S. – Iran Relations

4. Domestic Policy:  Election Reform

5. Environmental Policy:  Climate Protection

6.  Immigration Policy:  Comprehensive Immigration

Daniel Antoon Nicolás Aquino William Bliss Wesley Clark
Tevin Hurlow Leonardo Kim Katherine Kirst Maxwell Nelson
Emily Rissberger Jessica Shillings Adam Turton Phuong Vu

Panetta Institute Receives $200,000 from AT&T to Support the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion of the Congressional Internship Program

In October 2020, the Panetta Institute received a grant of $200,000 from AT&T California in support of the Institute’s Congressional Institute Program.  The contribution was part of the company’s philanthropic focus on social and economic equality in underserved communities.

AT&T believes in investing in programs that uplift underserved communities so that they have opportunities for greater economic empowerment over the course of their lives. The Congressional Internship Program is designed to grow young people into tomorrow’s leaders, and we are proud to support the Panetta Institute’s work with a diversity of students.  

–  Bettye Saxon, Ed. D., Director of AT&T California External Affairs

Serving all twenty-three campuses within the California State University (CSU) system, the Panetta Institute equips California State University students, many from low-income families and first-generation college students, with learning and future employment opportunities in government, public policy and politics.

With support from AT&T, the Panetta Institute continues to engage a growing group of diverse California students who are interested in pursuing public service careers.  The mission of the program is to create robust educational and career pathways students who may not otherwise have the opportunity.

— Sylvia Panetta, CEO and Co-founder of the Panetta Institute

We are committed to making sure that the next generation of public servants and leaders come from diverse communities.  It is about inspiring youth and creating opportunities for them to build a career in this important arena.

— Leon E. Panetta, Chairman of the Panetta Institute

Learn more about the Congressional Internship Program.

While the Panetta Institute is presently closed to visitors, we are answering phones between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday thru Friday and responding to emails at

Contact Us

The Panetta Institute for Public Policy
100 Campus Center, Building 86E
California State University, Monterey Bay
Seaside, California 93955

Phone 831-582-4200
Fax 831-582-4082

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