CUNY Lecture Series

Gen. Colin Powell: “We are a Nation of Nations”

May 29, 2015 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell told grads of the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership that immigration reform should be “an essential feature” of the upcoming political season. He also urged graduates to get involved in their communities, saying, “If you want to save the world, just start by saving one kid.”

Austerity as Policy — a Wolf at the Door

April 27, 2015 | CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

Andrew J. Polsky, professor of political science at Hunter College, sits down with Mark Blyth, author of Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea, for a conversation about some of today’s most urgent economic policy questions. Calling austerity in the U.S., “a problem too big to fill,” Blyth, an economics professor at Brown University, makes a strong case for why the turn to austerity, the policy of reducing domestic wages and prices to restore competitiveness and balance the budget, hasn’t worked.

Ken Burns, Geoffrey Ward at Roosevelt House

April 1, 2015 | CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

Filmmaker Ken Burns explains what drew him to the lives of Franklin, Eleanor and Theodore Roosevelt, and why their stories are so relevant today. “We found that they were so contemporary. They speak to the central questions of our time,” including notions of human rights, fairness and public service. Burns was joined by Geoffrey Ward, co-creator of the acclaimed PBS seven-part documentary, “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History.”

Struggling for the Rights of the Disenfranchised

March 9, 2015 | CUNY Lecture Series

In his powerful new memoir, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Montgomery-based Equal Rights Initiative, reflects on his lifelong struggle to protect the rights of the disenfranchised, while helping to free scores of others who were unfairly imprisoned. Speaking at Hunter College’s Roosevelt House, Stevenson noted that young often tell him “they don’t expect to be free or alive by the time they are 21.”

Califano Recalls the Johnson White House Years

March 9, 2015 | CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

For the generation accustomed to bi-partisan gricklock in Washington, Lyndon Baines Johnson continues to fascinate. Joseph A. Califano Jr.’s revised personal memoir, The Triumph and Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson: The White House Years, explores the Johnson style of leadership that “knew how to make Washington work.” One of the president’s closest advisers, Califano served as chief aide for domestic affairs from 1965 until 1969. He spoke recently at Hunter College’s Roosevelt House.

How ISIS Keeps Control of People and Territory

February 19, 2015 | CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

No extremist group has been able to maintain control over a territory and its people like ISIS — the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq. At Hunter College’s Roosevelt House, a group of experts including NPR Middle East correspondent Deborah Amos and Hunter history professor Jillian Schwedler, examine how ISIS, with its oil revenue, arms and organization, has been able to dominate these vast areas

Bad Ideas About the Economy

February 17, 2015 | CUNY Lecture Series

As part of the Public Square book series at the CUNY Graduate Center, economist Paul Krugman talks with Jeff Madrick, author of the new book, Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World. A contributing editor for Harper’s Magazine, Madrick details how the economic profession, with a handful of exceptions, did not heed the warning signs of the Great Recession and, once the crisis did occur, could not agree on a response.

Mystery Writer Walter Mosley on Creativity

February 13, 2015 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series

Best-selling mystery writer and City College alum Walter Mosley talks about the creative process, major influences in his life, and a myriad other topics, with Terrance McKnight, host of WQXR’s Evening Music. Mosley, best known for his crime fiction featuring black private investigator Easy Rawlins, inspired creation of the City College Publishing Certificate Program (PCP) and was recently honored at the 2014 Langston Hughes Festival.

Looting the Cradle of Civilization

February 9, 2015 | Baruch College, CUNY Lecture Series

Recent satellite images document the scale of destruction from organized looting to thousands of vital archaeological sites in the region known as the “cradle of civilization.” During a lecture at Baruch College, “Looting the Past, Destroying the Future: Revolution, Terrorism, and Archaeology in Egypt and Syria,” Baruch College archaeology professor Anna Boozer and John Jay College of Criminal Justice art crime professor Erin Thompson discuss the extent of the damage and the significant impact it will have on the cultural heritage for future generations.

Biographer A. Scott Berg on His Subjects

February 6, 2015 | CUNY Lecture Series

The prize-winning author of five biographies, A. Scott Berg, discusses the process of selecting a prominent figure to immerse yourself in and what he liked and disliked about some of his previous subjects. In an interview with Gary Giddins at the Graduate Center, Berg describes his admiration for Woodrow Wilson and Max Perkins, while confesses feeling conflicted over others, including aviator Charles Lindbergh, the subject of his 1999 Pulitzer Prize biography.