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Lavin Speaker News

The latest headlines from our world-changing keynote speakers

race and america | Sep 7th, 2011

Randall Kennedy: Obama, Like Jackie Robinson, Must Rise Above Racial Abuse

With the 2012 election looming, Randall Kennedy appeared on CNN to discuss whether Barack Obama's presidency has been clouded by racially charged distractions from his opponents. Put another way: is Obama less respected than any other previous president because he’s black? The answer, Kennedy says,... Continue Reading →
entrepreneurism | Sep 5th, 2011

Jessica Jackley: A Stunning Animation Reveals the Power of Microloans

Five years and four million Kiva microloans make for a gorgeous and inspiring time-lapse video—one of the most persuasive information graphics ever. But not only is the video a stunner, so, too, is the story of Jessica Jackley, the co-founder of Kiva. The video, played out against a map of the world... Continue Reading →
politics on tv | Sep 5th, 2011

What's So Funny About Diplomacy? Kal Penn's New Show is Set at the UN

Kal Penn's latest television project will have him playing a role he’s familiar with: an employee of the U.S. government. Penn, who just finished a three-year term as Associate Director of the White House’s Office of Public Engagement, is slated to star as a “key assistant to the U.S. ambassador” in... Continue Reading →
literature | Aug 31st, 2011

Salman Rushdie, Now a Distinguished Professor, Is Having a Banner Year

Booker Prize-winning author Salman Rushdie has just been named University Distinguished Professor at Emory University, where he's served as Distinguished Writer in Residence for the past five years. The new job means, “Rushdie's teaching role will expand to include participation in courses across... Continue Reading →
facts on faith | Aug 30th, 2011

Taming the Storm: Stephen Prothero on Religion and Natural Disasters

How many Americans think Hurricane Irene—or any natural disaster—is God’s doing? This is the question Stephen Prothero, a religious expert and repeat Colbert guest, tackles in his latest post for CNN’s Belief Blog. Riding out the storm in Cape Cod, Prothero writes, “American society as a whole no... Continue Reading →
honors | Aug 30th, 2011

E.O. Wilson and Jared Diamond on TIME's 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of All Time

TIME has just released its list of the 100 best non-fiction books of all time—a grand compendium that includes titles by two Lavin exclusive speakers. Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel was included in the social history section, while Edward O. Wilson's On Human Nature made the science section.... Continue Reading →

Virginia Heffernan's Reality Check for Reality Television

“Reality television needs reformation,” says Virginia Heffernan, whom Ad Week recently called “the best media writer at The New York Times.” An admitted fan of low-rent reality shows, Heffernan drops the gloves in her latest Op-Ed, declaring the genre damaging to lives, the TV business, and the... Continue Reading →
neuroscience | Aug 28th, 2011

Jonah Lehrer To Grads: Follow Your Dreams, If They're The Right Ones

Neuroscience speaker Jonah Lehrer delivered a convocation speech at Earlham College, and unlike the kind of 'follow your dreams' motivational fare you'd expect, he made a special point of telling grads that their dreams weren't necessarily going to come true. Based on Angela Duckworth's grit... Continue Reading →
pop culture + politics | Aug 28th, 2011

On The Late Late Show, Kal Penn Talks About His Political Past (and Future)

Kal Penn, who recently left his post at the White House, hasn't fully shed his Office of Public Engagement skin just yet. In an interview with Craig Ferguson on The Late Late Show, Penn talked about the Obama administration and the current economic state of America. “The president kind of saved us... Continue Reading →
financial crisis | Aug 25th, 2011

Matt Taibbi: Why Is Obama Being So Easy on the Banks?

Matt Taibbi's not letting up with his onslaught on banks, whose scheming, he says, “led to millions of people losing their homes.” Following his ground-shaking SEC exposé last week, the Rolling Stone writer takes aim at none other than President Barack Obama. Taibbi suggests that Obama is working... Continue Reading →
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