Past Lectures

Celebrated Speakers Since 1997

To see a timeline of past speakers, click here.


2019: Checks and Balances — Will our Democracy Survive?

  • “The Mueller Investigation, the Law and the Presidency” Monday, February 25, featuring James Clapper, Mara Liasson and Chuck Rosenberg  (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “The Role of the Press and the Congress” Monday, March 25, featuring Chris Christie, Mark McKinnon and Mark Shields  (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “The Role of Nationalism, Globalism and Patriotism” Monday, April 15, featuring R. Nicholas Burns, John Kelly and William McRaven  (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “What Was the Hope of Our Forefathers? Has it Worked?” Monday, May 27, featuring Douglas Brinkley and Annette Gordon-Reed  (Leon Panetta, Moderator)

2018: Is the American Dream Alive and Well? 

  • “The Economy and the American Dream — Impact of Debt, Growth, Immigration and Tax Cuts” Monday, February 26, featuring Kelly Ayotte  and Chris Dodd  (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Global Crisis and the American Dream — America First or America as a World Leader?” Monday, March 26, featuring Michael McFaul, Michéle Flournoy and George Will  (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “The American Presidency and the American Dream — The Role of Leadership” Monday, April 30, featuring Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward and Reince Priebus  (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Technology and the American Dream — Impact of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Cyber” Monday, May 28, featuring Keith Alexander and Renée James  (Leon Panetta, Moderator)

2017: The Trump Presidency and the Future of America 

  • “The Affordable Care Act — Repeal, Replace or Gridlock?” Monday, March 6, featuring Bobby Jindal and Chris Jennings  (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “The Economy — Trade, Jobs, Taxes and Immigration” Monday April 3, featuring Carly Fiorina and Robert Reich  (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Our Democracy — Parties, Politics and Governing” Monday, May 29, featuring Donna Brazile, David Gergen and Bill Kristol  (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “The World — Terrorism Russia, China, Populism and Cyber” Monday, June 5, featuring Condoleezza Rice and Ash Carter  (Leon Panetta, Moderator)

2016: An America in Renaissance or Decline? The Challenges Facing a New President

  • “War, Terrorism and Other Global Threats” featuring Mike Rogers, Wendy Sherman and General Ray Odierno (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Jobs, Debt and Taxes” featuring Mitch Daniels, Austan Goolsbee and Ron Insana (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Gridlock, Partisanship and Executive Action” featuring Mark Shields, Chris Mathews, Gloria Borger and J.C. Watts (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Changing Society, Technology and Media” featuring Ted Koppel, Howard Kurtz and Judy Woodruff (Leon Panetta, Moderator)

2015: The Test of Leadership — Critical Issues That Can Divide or Unite America

  • Energy” featuring Carol BrownerSteven ChuJoe Manchin and T. Boone Pickens (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Race Relations” featuring Ben JealousRay Kelly and Ken Salazar (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Economy” featuring Michael Boskin, Robert Reich, Christina Romer and Alan Simpson (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Cyber” featuring Keith AlexanderRenée James and Mike Mullen (Leon Panetta, Moderator)

2014: Learning the Lessons of History

  • “War and Peace — 100 Years Since World War I” featuring Nicholas Burns, Michèle Flournoy and James Stavridis (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Role of Government — Depressions, Wars, Equality and Poverty” featuring Barney Frank and Alan Simpson (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Security Versus Freedom — Sedition to Internment to Surveillance” featuring Barton Gellman, Michael Morell and Robert Mueller (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “How Presidents Make Decisions — Leadership, Crisis, Politics and Trust” featuring David Axelrod, Erskine Bowles, Andrew Card, Jr. and Kenneth Duberstein (Leon Panetta, Moderator)

2013: Gridlock or Action?

  • “Immigration: Compromise or Conflict?” featuring Tom Ridge, Doris Meissner, Howard Berman and Simón Salinas (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “The Budget Blame Game,” featuring James Carville and William Kristol  (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Gun Control: The Second Amendment — Are There Limits?” featuring Sarah Brady, Asa Hutchinson and James Johnson (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Middle East Turmoil: Chaos or Reform?” featuring Ehud Barak, Richard Lugar and Joe Lieberman (Leon Panetta, Moderator) 

2012: Revolutions of the 21st Century: Changing Our Way of Life

  • “U.S. Foreign Policy and the Middle East”
    featuring Dennis Ross and Fran Townsend (Frank Sesno, Moderator)
  • “The Economy”
    featuring Robert Reich and Alan Simpson (Ron Insana, Moderator)
  • “The Presidency”
    featuring Michael Beschloss and Douglas Brinkley (Judy Woodruff, Moderator)
  • “The Internet”
    featuring Vinton Cerf, Arianna Huffington and Larry Magid  (Frank Sesno, Moderator)

2011: Protecting the American Dream for Our Children

  • “Is There a Fair Way to Reduce the Federal Deficit?”
    featuring Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson (Ron Insana, Moderator)
  • “How Can Public Education Succeed for Our Children?”
    featuring Jack O’Connell, Charles Reed and Antonio Villaraigosa (Gloria Borger, Moderator)
  • “How Does America Lead in a Competitive World?”
    featuring Chris Dodd, Stephen Hadley and Jim Jones (Gloria Borger, Moderator)
  • “Can Civility Be Returned in Governing Our Nation?” featuring Evan Bayh and John Warner  (Judy Woodruff, Moderator)

2010: The Second Decade 2010-2020: What’s Next for America?

  • “Our Economy: How Can Recession Become Recovery?”
    featuring Harvey Pitt and Robert Reich (Ron Insana, Moderator)
  • “Our Foreign Policy: Who Will Lead the World?”
    featuring James Rubin and Frances Townsend (Aaron Brown, Moderator)
  • “Our Politics: Does Bipartisanship Have a Future?”
    featuring Jeb Bush and James Carville (Mara Liasson, Moderator)
  • “Our Environment: Can We Save the Planet That Sustains Us?” featuring Al Gore (Frank Sesno, Moderator)

2009: The Challenges Facing the New Administration

  • “Can Healthcare Reform Finally Happen?”
    featuring Tom Daschle and Michael Leavitt (Judy Woodruff, Moderator)
  • “Can the Economy Recover From This Recession?”
    featuring Jim Nussle and Alice Rivlin (Judy Woodruff, Moderator)
  • “Can the Partisan Divide Ever End?”
    featuring David Plouffe and Karl Rove (Frank Sesno, Moderator)
  • “Can America Win the War On Terror?”
    featuring General John P. Abizaid, USA (Ret.) and David Ignatius (Frank Sesno, Moderator)

2008: Global Issues Facing the Next President and the Nation.

  • “Economic Challenges at Home and Abroad”
    featuring Alan Blinder and David Walker (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “The Role of the Military and Intelligence in National Security”
    featuring General Peter Pace, General Barry McCaffrey and John Arquilla (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “The Clash of Politics and Leadership”
    featuring Tucker Carlson, Bill Press and Bill Richardson (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Diplomacy, Preemption or Isolation – What Role for America?”
    featuring Andrew Card and Richard Holbrooke (Leon Panetta, Moderator)

2007: The Race for the Presidency

  • “Money, Charisma or Ability?”
    featuring George Pataki, Tom Vilsack and Gloria Borger (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “The Role of the Press in Choosing a Candidate”
    featuring Dan Rather and Bob Woodward (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Picking Winners from Losers”
    featuring James Carville and Bill O’Reilly (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Issues Facing the Next President”
    featuring Chuck Hagel and Bob Graham (Leon Panetta, Moderator)

2006: The Future of Democracy in the 21st Century

  • “Can Democracy Survive in Iraq?”
    featuring John Murtha, Slade Gorton and Richard Haass (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “How Do People in a Democracy Get Their Information?”
    featuring Pat Buchanan and Paul Begala (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “The Relationship Between our Economy and our Democracy”
    featuring William Kristol and Robert Reich (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “How to Balance National Security and Freedom in our Democracy”
    featuring Tom Daschle and Jack Danforth (Leon Panetta, Moderator)

2005: Defining Issues of the 21st Century

  • “The Demographic Explosion-The Challenges of Health and Retirement Security”
    featuring Donna Shalala and Tommy Thompson (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Democracy and the Media-Choosing Sides or Reporting the News?”
    featuring Ann Compton and Judy Woodruff (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “America’s Role in the World-To Lead, Follow or Do It Alone?”
    featuring Sandy Berger and Robert Gates (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Economic Policy–Borrow and Spend, Tax and Spend or Punt?”
    featuring Bill Bradley and Alan Simpson (Leon Panetta, Moderator)

2004: The Challenges of Leadership in the 21st Century

  • “Leadership In California During the 21st Century”
    featuring Arnold Schwarznegger (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Women and Leadership in the 21st Century”
    featuring Hillary Rodham Clinton (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Domestic Leadership in the 21st Century”
    featuring Richard Gephardt and Tony Snow (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “World Leadership in the 21st Century”
    featuring George Mitchell and Fred Thompson (Leon Panetta, Moderator)

2003: Governing in Crisis — The Role of the Presidency, the Congress and the People

  • “The Challenges of Presidential Leadership”
    featuring William Jefferson Clinton (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “The Role of the Presidency in Governing During Crisis”
    featuring Doris Kearns Goodwin and David Gergen (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Politics and the People During Crisis”
    featuring James Carville and Mary Matalin (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “The Role of the Congress in Governing During Crisis”
    featuring Newt Gingrich and Tom Foley (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “The Responsibility of the Press in Times of Crisis”
    featuring Al Hunt and Mark Shields (Leon Panetta, Moderator)

2002: Terrorism: Challenges and Impact on American Life

  • “Responding to the Attack-Terror, Rescue and Relief”
    featuring Rudolph Giuliani and Richard Grasso (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Tracking the Terrorists-Balancing Our Nation’s Security and Freedom”
    featuring Lee Hamilton, Barry McCaffrey and William Sessions (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Covering the War-The Search for Truth and the Threat to Journalists”
    featuring Gloria Borger and Bernard Shaw (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • Governing in Crisis-The Role of War, Money and Politics”
    featuring Norman Ornstein and Cokie Roberts (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Fighting Terrorism-Diplomacy, Defense and Deficits”
    featuring Warren Rudman and William Safire (Leon Panetta, Moderator)

2001: People and Policy in the America of the 21st Century

  • “Challenges of Foreign Policy”
    featuring Madeleine Albright (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Elections, Politics and Governing”
    featuring James Carville and Bill O’Reilly (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “The Generations-Past, Present and Future”
    featuring Tom Brokaw and Clint Eastwood (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Let the Games Continue”
    featuring Mark Russell (Leon Panetta, Moderator)

2000: The U.S. Presidency

  • “Third Party Candidates”
    featuring Jesse Ventura (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Running for the Presidency”
    featuring Lamar Alexander and Geraldine Ferraro (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Covering the Candidates”
    featuring Bill Plante and Sam Donaldson (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “The Presidential Race”
    featuring Bill Press and John Sununu (Leon Panetta, Moderator)

1999: Information Revolution

  • “Media and Politics”
    featuring David Broder and Alan Simpson (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Communication and Entertainment”
    featuring Jack Valenti and Michael McCurry (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “Business Education and Society”
    featuring Mark Andreessen, Joyce Brothers and Larry Irving (Leon Panetta, Moderator)

1998: Governing our Democracy into the 21st Century

  • “The Court”
    featuring Antonin Scalia and Abner Mikva (Leon Panetta, Moderator)
  • “The Cabinet”
    featuring Henry Cisneros and Jack Kemp (Cokie Roberts, Moderator)
  • “The Congress”
    featuring Richard Gephardt and John Kasich (Bob Schieffer, Moderator)

1997: Governing our Democracy into the 21st Century

  • “The Presidency”
    featuring James Baker III and Leon Panetta (Tim Russert, Moderator)