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College Speakers

 

Lavin’s college speakers don’t just value intelligent conversation on our campuses. They make it happen. Their talks—on a plethora of topics close to the hearts and minds of college students—help us to rethink what’s possible.

 
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Sir Salman Rushdie

One of the Most Celebrated Writers of Our Time

Sir Salman Rushdie is one of the most celebrated authors of our time—of any time. A brilliant provocateur, he’s penned a handful of classic novels, influenced a generation of writers, and received a Q...

Margaret Atwood

Booker Prize-Winning Author of over Fifty Books, Including The Handmaid's Tale and Alias Grace

Margaret Atwood has long been a literary titan, but “current events have polished the oracular sheen of her reputation,” says The New Yorker. With her 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale back on the bestse...

Steven Pinker

One of the World’s Leading Cognitive Scientists

Steven Pinker asks audacious questions about human nature—then boldly sets out to answer them. A two-time Pulitzer finalist, named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, he’s...

Kip Thorne

Nobel-Prize Winning Scientist and Co-Founder of LIGO, which discovered gravitational waves

Kip Thorne is among the most influential scientists of our era. A founder at LIGO, he and his team made history for proving the existence of gravitational waves—a discovery that won him the 2017 Nobel...

Douglas Rushkoff

Author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, Present Shock and Program or Be Programmed

The digital economy could provide prosperity for all. But it hasn’t delivered—it’s only disrupted. Enter Douglas Rushkoff: world-renowned cultural philosopher who, in Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus,...

Kimberley Motley

First Foreign Litigator in Afghanistan, 2014 TED Speaker

Kimberley Motley is the only foreign litigator working in Afghanistan. Armed with an unwavering determination and a passion for justice, she navigates the country’s punitive and capricious legal syste...

Susan Pinker

Psychologist and Author of The Village Effect and The Sexual Paradox

Psychologist and award-winning author Susan Pinker is a seasoned observer of modern communication and social contact. Whether writing on gender differences, as in The Sexual Paradox, or on why face-to...

Kal Penn

Actor and Former Associate Director at the White House Office of Public Engagement

Called “the world’s most famous Indian actor” by New York Magazine, Kal Penn is a rising Hollywood star. But what sets him apart is his off-screen eloquence, his passion for the intersection of pop cu...

Chuck Klosterman

Renowned Cultural Critic | Author of Ten Books, Including Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs

Pop culture, in all its distracting glitz, isn’t just entertainment. It is culture—American culture. And our most insightful guide is Chuck Klosterman. In his bestselling, culture-defining books, he’s...

Eddie Huang

Celebrity Chef | Bestselling Author of Fresh Off the Boat | Host for Vice and MTV

Celebrity chef. Charismatic host of Huang’s World on VICE. Bestselling author of Fresh Off the Boat—adapted into the groundbreaking hit ABC sitcom—as well as Double Cup Love. Yes, entrepreneur Eddie H...

Sarah Lewis

Author of The Rise, Guest-Editor of Aperture’s “Vision & Justice” Issue

When we view race and justice through the lens of culture, we can enlarge our notion of citizenship, of who belongs and who counts. Sarah Lewis, a rising intellectual star and powerful speaker, has sp...

Angie Thomas

Author of the Black Lives Matter-Inspired YA Novel The Hate U Give, an Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller

Angie Thomas is the author of the instant #1 New York Times bestseller The Hate U Give: widely known as the Black Lives Matter-inspired YA novel. Called “a stunning, brilliant, gut-wrenching novel tha...

Titus Kaphar

Award-Winning Painter and Sculptor

With more urgency than a headline, Titus Kaphar’s artworks capture the spirit of social justice and change in America today (exemplified in his TIME cover portrait of the Ferguson protests). Working f...

Megan Phelps-Roper

Former Member of the Westboro Baptist Church | Author of This Above All (Forthcoming)

Formally of the Westboro Baptist Church—a group infamous for its intolerance—Megan Phelps-Roper is a unique example of how empathy can overcome hate, and how tolerance can bridge ideology.

 
Gabby Rivera

Author of the New Marvel Comic Series America and Juliet Takes a Breath

Gabby Rivera is an outgoing, outspoken creator invested in fostering better dialogue, inspiring radical creativity, and improving our most vulnerable communities. The author of Juliet Takes a Breath, ...

Ellen Stofan

NASA’s Chief Scientist, 2013–2016

As the Chief Scientist for NASA, Ellen Stofan helped demolish barriers for women in science while working at the very frontiers of tech. In talks, she argues for greater diversity in the STEM fields, ...

Jelani Cobb

New Yorker Staff Writer, Speaker on Race in America

Jelani Cobb writes about the enormous complexity of race in America. In 2015, he received the Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism for his New Yorker columns, in which he combine...

David Rohde

Online News Director, The New Yorker | Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

As News Director of NewYorker.com, David Rohde is at the helm of online news coverage at one of the country’s most respected magazines—a bastion of fact-checked journalism in an era of ‘fake news.’ A ...

Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Professor of History, Race and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School

Widely known as one of the most influential authorities on racial justice in America, Khalil Gibran Muhammad is redefining our understanding of diversity. Former Director of the Schomburg Center for R...

Priyamvada Natarajan

Yale Astrophysicist | Author of Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal the Cosmos

Priyamvada Natarajan is a charismatic astrophysicist from Yale who takes audiences on a tour of the most stunning breakthroughs of recent cosmology. Her specialty? Dark matter, black holes, and nothin...

Jeff Chang

Social Historian, Author of We Gon’ Be Alright and Can't Stop Won't Stop

“Culture moves before politics,” says Jeff Chang, who writes on art, multiculturalism, and racial progress in post-civil rights America with the sweeping authority of the best social historians. In hi...

Reza Aslan

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Zealot and the New Book, God: A Human History | Host of CNN's Believer

Reza Aslan addresses topics of Islam, the Middle East, and Muslim Americans with authority, wit, and infectious optimism. He is the author of the brand-new bestseller God: A Human History, and Zealot:...

Jessica Jackley

Co-Founder of Kiva, the microlending site, and Author of Clay Water Brick

The connection between two individuals is a powerful agent for social change. This idea animates the work of Jessica Jackley, who co-founded KIVA, the world’s most successful microlending site, and is...

Wajahat Ali

Speaker on the Muslim-American Experience, New York Times Op-Ed Contributor

What does it feel like to be a Muslim today, in the era of Trump? How can we come together to overcome Islamophobia and harmful stereotypes? Wajahat Ali—who regularly appears on CNN to discuss politic...

Maria Konnikova

Science Blogger for The New Yorker | New York Times Bestselling Author of The Confidence Game and Mastermind

Mindfulness. Decision-making. Creativity. Attention. Resilience. When it comes to the mind, Maria Konnikova is a brilliant Swiss Army knife. A New Yorker writer and the bestselling author of Mastermin...

Shalini Kantayya

Award-Winning Filmmaker | Eco-Activist | TED Fellow

Clean tech has to start locally. And it has to happen now. Filmmaker and eco-activist Shalini Kantayya shows us that sustainable energy isn’t just right for the environment, but also promises untold e...

Negin Farsad

Social Justice Comedian, Director of The Muslims Are Coming!

Negin Farsad is at the forefront of social justice comedy—a field that she insists totally exists (or should). A TED Senior Fellow, author of How to Make White People Laugh, and as one of few Iranian-...

Nikole Hannah-Jones

New York Times Magazine Staff Writer | 2017 MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow | Winner of the National Magazine Award

Nikole Hannah-Jones was named a 2017 MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow (one of only 24 people chosen, globally) for “reshaping national conversations around education reform” and for her reporting on raci...

Candy Chang

Urban Space Artist Behind the "Before I Die" Walls

World-renowned artist and urban designer Candy Chang engages communities to share everything from their greatest hopes to their deepest anxieties in public. The Atlantic calls her artwork Before I Die

Rev. Jeffrey Brown

Pastor and President of RECAP (Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace)

Rev. Jeffrey Brown was one of the key architects behind the “Boston Miracle,” which saw the violent crime rate among youth plummet by 79% over a decade. Today, he works with faith groups, cities, gove...

David Yeager

Expert in Grit and Growth Mindset | Asst Prof. of Developmental Psychology at University of Texas, Austin

To achieve, we need more than inborn ability—we need the right mindset. David Yeager is a leading expert in grit, performance, and the growth mindset: the belief that we can change, adapt, and make pr...

Matthew Vines

Author of God and the Gay Christian

Matthew Vines is a gay Christian—and that’s no contradiction. He has also become a leading new voice on the Bible and homosexuality. His groundbreaking speech countering anti-gay interpretations of Sc...

Derek Thompson

Senior Editor at The Atlantic | Author of Hit Makers

As Senior Editor at The Atlantic, Derek Thompson writes on economics and politics, media and money in America today—and always with an expert sense of what’s important. Whether he’s analyzing labor ma...

Bryant Terry

Author of Grub and Winner of a James Beard Leadership Award

Chef, food justice activist, and critically-acclaimed author Bryant Terry has spent the past ten years working to build a more just and sustainable food system. Using cooking as a tool to illuminate t...

Bassam Tariq

TED Fellow and Director of These Birds Walk

Bassam Tariq is a TED Fellow and director of the acclaimed film These Birds Walk. Through his work—as a filmmaker, blogger, and halal butcher shop owner—he shares intimate stories of Muslims from arou...

Mark Manson

Motivational Speaker | Author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Mark Manson isn’t your typical motivational speaker. For one, he gives advice that doesn’t suck. He focuses on the hard stuff in life, because, as he says, these are the moments that define who we are...

Jessica Carbino

Tinder’s Sociologist | Expert in Online Behavior

What can online dating tell us about behavior? Ask Jessica Carbino. As Tinder’s Sociologist—and one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People of 2017—she offers an unparalleled look at relationships, tec...

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Naomi Natale

TED Senior Fellow and Artistic Director of The Art of Revolution

Artist and photographer Naomi Natale is the founding artist behind One Million Bones—a large-scale social arts practice that fuses education and hands-on artmaking to raise awareness of genocide—and t...

Daniel Lerner

Instructor of NYU’s “The Science of Happiness” | Author of U Thrive

As instructor of the ever-popular NYU course, “The Science of Happiness,” and author of U Thrive, Daniel Lerner uses positive psychology to help people lead happy lives. With cutting-edge research int...

Eric Klinenberg

Co-Author of NYT Bestseller Modern Romance with Aziz Ansari, Author of Going Solo

Eric Klinenberg is a social scientist who sheds light on massive demographic, social, and environmental transformations. In Heat Wave, he takes a look at the future of cities in the age of climate cha...

Shaun King

Columnist at The Intercept | Writer-In-Residence at Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project

Through a mastery of social media, Shaun King starts and extends crucial conversations about racial discrimination, civil rights, police brutality, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Now Writer-in-R...

Christine Sun Kim

TED Senior Fellow, Sound Artist, and Composer

Christine Sun Kim uses technology to investigate and rationalize her relationship with sound and spoken languages. Born deaf, Kim felt that she had no “ownership” of sound. In her multimedia presentat...

Suki Kim

New York Times bestselling author of Without You, There Is No Us, Expert on North Korea

Suki Kim is one of the only writers to ever go undercover in North Korea. An award-winning novelist, Kim’s obsession with the country led her to pursue journalistic assignments there beginning in 2002...

Jennifer Jacquet

Author of Is Shame Necessary? New Uses for an Old Tool

How can shame lead to social change? Jennifer Jacquet is the author of Is Shame Necessary? New Uses for an Old Tool, which explores the social nature of shame—how it can be used to promote large-scale...

Joel Jackson

Founder and CEO of Mobius Motors

Joel Jackson is the founder and CEO of Mobius Motors, a venture building highly durable, highly affordable vehicles for Africa’s mass-market. A Forbes 30 Under 30 Entrepreneur, Jackson speaks on socia...

James Fallows

The Atlantic’s First Europe Editor at Its International Bureau | Author of Our Towns (May 2018)

The first-ever Europe Editor for The Atlantic, James Fallows is one of the world’s most respected journalists. Today, he’s reporting on how America is putting itself back together in the wake of reces...

Andrea Elliott

Pulitzer Prize-Winning New York Times Investigative Journalist: “Invisible Child: Homeless in America”

Investigative journalist Andrea Elliott puts a human face to a wide array of topics, from child poverty to Muslim life in America. Her recent series on homelessness won the George Polk Award, and prom...

Jordan Ellenberg

Author of How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

How early should you get to the airport? Why do tall parents have shorter children? What’s the best way to get rich playing the lottery? In his “refreshingly lucid” (The New York Times) bestseller How...

Shereen El Feki

TED Global Fellow and Author of Sex and the Citadel

In Sex and the Citadel, TED Global Fellow Shereen El Feki sheds light on a highly sensitive and still largely secret aspect of Arab society: the sexual lives of men and women. Linking sex to political...

Angela Davis

Legendary Human Rights Activist

Angela Davis is internationally known for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the U.S. and abroad. Her work as an educator—both at the university level and in the larger public spher...

Sloane Crosley

Author of Look Alive Out There and the Bestselling I Was Told There’d Be Cake

Sloane Crosley is a witty, urbane voice in American letters. A glittering amalgam of Dorothy Parker and David Sedaris, Crosley writes in a sharp and elegant style that is entirely her own. In her high...

Molly Crabapple

Painter, Writer, and Author of Drawing Blood

Molly Crabapple is an artist and writer whose work has been described as “God’s own circus posters,” by Rolling Stone. Crabapple’s art engages injustice, subversiveness, and rebellion. The New York Ti...

Raj Chetty

Economist and MacArthur Genius studying economic inequality

Raj Chetty studies some of the core issues of American society—equality, education, and government policy—through the powerful lens of economics. A recent winner of the John Bates Clark Medal for best...

Minnijean Brown-Trickey

Civil Rights Legend Who Helped Desegregate Public Schools

Sixty years ago, in 1957, Minnijean Brown-Trickey changed history by striding through the front doors of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. As a member of the Little Rock Nine, she helped d...

Emily Bazelon

Author of Sticks and Stones | New York Times Magazine Staff Writer

A staff writer on politics and judicial matters for The New York Times Magazine, Emily Bazelon is the author of the bestselling book Sticks and Stones, a major contribution to the international conver...

Karen Armstrong

Founder of The Charter for Compassion

Karen Armstrong is the most original and inclusive speaker on the role of religion in the modern world. Her bestselling books, including A History of God, and sought-after talks examine the difference...

Kwame Anthony Appiah

One of America's Leading Public Intellectuals

When it comes to the most pressing social issues of the day, Kwame Anthony Appiah is a touchstone of reason and inclusivity. Asking—and answering—probing questions on morality, ethnicity, and religion

Isabel Allende

Author of The House of the Spirits and The Sum of Our Days

A literary legend, a social activist, and a feminist icon, Isabel Allende—now in the fourth decade of a career like no other—has sold over 50 million books in over 30 languages. The massive audiences ...