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Civic Engagement Speakers

 

Most of the world’s population lives in cities, with more people migrating to urban centers every day. Our civic engagement speakers are using technology, psychology, science, and art to figure out how we can build happier, more sustainable places to live.

 

19
Civic Engagement
Speakers
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Eric Klinenberg

Author of Palaces for the People and Going Solo

The future of cities and democratic societies rests not simply on shared values but on social infrastructure. Drawing on his new book, Palaces for the People, renowned sociologist and bestselling author Eric Klinenberg shows that when social infrastructure is robust, people are more likely to build ties with friends and neighbors and to invest in their communities. 
Abdul El-Sayed

Physician | Public Health Expert | Author of Healing Politics (forthcoming)

Named “The new Obama” by The Guardian, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed is a physician and public health expert who ran to be the first Muslim-American governor of Michigan, ever. As a speaker, El-Sayed opens up a new, cross-party conversation that “reignites a sense of what matters” in a nation divided. 
Naomi Klein

Author of On Fire, No Is Not Enough, This Changes Everything, The Shock Doctrine, & No Logo

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, columnist, and the #1 international bestselling author of seminal books The Shock Doctrine and No Logo. In her book This Changes Everything, and in powerful new talks, she exposes the myths of the climate debate.  
LaToya Ruby Frazier

Photographer | Associate Professor at School of the Art Institute of Chicago | MacArthur Genius

For LaToya Ruby Frazier, art is a weapon—a catalyst for social justice. Her photographs and videos document today’s America: post-industrial cities riven by poverty, racism, healthcare inequality, and environmental toxicity. Bridging the personal with the social, her gorgeous work amplifies the voices of the vulnerable and transforms our sense of place and self.  
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. Chetty has received a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and is currently Professor of Economics at Stanford University. 
 
Michael Murphy

Architect | Founding Principal and Executive Director of MASS Design Group

If you want to know what we prioritize as a society, look to our architecture. This is the philosophy of Michael Murphy, one of the most acclaimed, visionary architects in America. Murphy speaks eloquently on how the buildings we make, work, and live in can nourish us, bringing necessary function and equally necessary beauty to individuals and communities alike.   
 
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 15 years working to build a more just and sustainable food system. Using cooking as a tool to illuminate the intersections between poverty, structural racism, and food insecurity, he imparts the wisdom of a food movement with an inspiring vision of the future.  
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. He speaks on “collaborative leadership,” community building, and what it takes to institute real change in organizations of all stripes. 
Deborah Fallows

Co-author of Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America

Writer Deborah Fallows has turned her careful observations and beautiful prose to the small towns and industries that shape the United States. In her New York Times bestseller Our Towns, Fallows documents a five-year journey across the country, profiling the grassroots re-invention rarely covered in the mainstream media.  
James Fallows

National Correspondent for The Atlantic | National Book Award Winner | Co-Author of Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America

James Fallows is one of the world’s most respected journalists—an intrepid, yet sensitive investigator of his world and others. In his talks, Fallows shares the stories of grassroots innovators—detailing the growth and optimism not usually covered by mainstream media.  
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 series on homelessness (soon to be a book) won the George Polk Award, and prompted the City of New York to remove more than 400 children from substandard shelters. 
Jane Golden

Founder and Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia

How can art help us drive civic restoration? As the Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia, the nation’s largest public art program, Jane Golden has seen her city transform through creativity and grit. Under Golden’s leadership, Mural Arts is a model for community development and restorative justice around the globe.  
 
Shachi Kurl

Executive Director of the Angus Reid Institute

Where are we heading—culturally, politically, economically? As the Executive Director of the Angus Reid Institute, Shachi Kurl asks important questions and reveals what we really think about them. She takes what she calls a “kitchen-table approach” when talking about today’s most vital issues.  
Patrick Sharkey

Princeton Professor | Sociologist | Author of Uneasy Peace

Over the past 25 years, American cities have transformed. Violence has become less common in major urban centers, and citizens feel more connected to their communities than ever before. But crime still occurs, and the dated systems meant to apprehend it have been called into question. 
 
Bill Strickland

An Extraordinary Business and Community Leader

For thirty years, Bill Strickland has used his innovative arts and training centers to transform the lives of thousands of impoverished adults and teenagers.
 
Ryan Berlin

Senior Economist, Market Intelligence | The Rennie Group

Economist Ryan Berlin provides thought-provoking insight into economic, demographic, and real estate trends. Is housing affordable? Berlin answers these questions—and many more—and shares their implications for government, businesses, communities, and individuals.
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. In her captivating and intimate talks, she demystifies the creative process, inspires personal reflection, and provokes new ideas for community and well-being.  
 
Charles Montgomery

Urban Design Consultant, Award-Winning Journalist, & Author of Happy City

How can we be happier in cities? Charles Montgomery looks for answers at the intersection of urban design and the new science of happiness. In psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics, and in cityscapes from Disneyland to Dubai, he explores the link between the ways we design our cities and the ways we think, feel, and act.  
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-face contact should be a priority, as in The Village Effect, Pinker’s evidence-based insights help us improve the ways we work, play, and relate to each other.