• politics

Politics & Society Speakers

Political speakers at Lavin are chosen for their ability to cut through spin, bridge the left-right divide, and deliver informed, comprehensive commentary: what are the political trends, how do they affect your industry, and what’s next?

 
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Politics & Society
Speakers
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David Wallace-Wells

Author of the Instant New York Times Bestseller The Uninhabitable Earth

The future is being transformed by climate change, faster and more dramatically than we realized. In his critically-hailed instant New York Times bestseller The Uninhabitable Planet, David Wallace-Wells tells the epic story of our time. He asks key questions—how will the map of global power shift as coastlines are redrawn?—and reminds us that everything is within our control, so long as we resist complacency. 
Garrett M. Graff

Journalist | Director of the Aspen Institute’s Cybersecurity & Technology Program

One of America’s most distinguished journalists, Garrett M. Graff is a voice of reason within the clamor of hysterical headlines. Graff’s unparalleled instinct for truth makes him the speaker for audiences looking to understand how politics impact business and commerce, from the changing domains of cybersecurity, to the social and economic events that shape our technology.  
Abdul El-Sayed

Physician | Public Health Expert | 2018 Candidate for Governor in Michigan

Named “The new Obama” by The Guardian, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed is a physician and public health expert who very nearly became the first Muslim-American Governor of Michigan, and would’ve been the first Muslim-American Governor ever, had he won. But winning isn’t everything.
 
Marc L. Busch

Expert on International Trade Policy and Law | Professor

Global trade and the looming “trade wars” are making headlines. But where are we really headed, and why? Marc L. Busch—Georgetown professor, scholar, and consultant—is the expertly unflappable speaker on all things trade; a vital interpreter of the global market.
Emily Bazelon

Author of New York Times Bestselling Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration

Emily Bazelon sheds vital light on the enormous and oft-misused power of the American judicial system in shaping our society. Her crucial research—as explored in both her talks and forthcoming book, Charged—provide a bracing investigation of a criminal justice system with unchecked power, and the remarkable efforts being made to address and reform the national crisis that mass incarceration represents. 
Robb Willer

Prof. of Social Psychology & Organizational Behavior at Stanford | Director of the Polarization and Social Change Lab

Our current political climate hasn’t been this polarized since the Civil War, says social psychologist and speaker Robb Willer. An antidote to this hyper-polarization is Willer’s technique of “moral r...

Danielle Wood

Director of MIT’s Space Enabled Research Lab | Assistant Prof. of Media Arts and Sciences

Danielle Wood is taking on the imperative task of using space technology to save Earth. Director of MIT’s cutting-edge Space Enabled Research Lab, Wood uses tools that typically orbit us to advance social good on our home planet. In her talks, Wood shows us how to harness the most complex, cosmic technologies to address the here and now.
 
Jared Diamond

Pulitzer Prize Winning Author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and Upheaval

Jared Diamond is the epitome of a celebrity scientist—a Pulitzer Prize Winner, a #1 New York Times bestselling author, and one of the world’s Top 10 Public Intellectuals (Foreign Policy). Now, he reveals a brilliant new theory of how and why some nations recover from traumatic crisis and others don’t—and how we as individuals can learn from this.
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...

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 system with unprecedented success. In keynotes, she talks about the global human rights economy, and how and why we should all pay attention to—and take full advantage of—the rule of law.  
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. 
Annie Lowrey

Author of Give People Money | Contributing Editor at The Atlantic

How is the economy adapting to profound technological advances, such as A.I. and automation? How are these forces, and many others, redefining the nature of work, the potential of business, even society itself?

 

 
Peter Mansbridge

Chief Correspondent for CBC News and Anchor of The National for 29 Years

Peter Mansbridge is one of Canada’s most respected and recognizable figures. For five decades, including 29 years as anchor of CBC’s The National, he has guided us through the political, economic, and cultural events that have shaped the country. In keynotes, he highlights the very real contribution of Canada, and its citizens, in building a better world.
 
Julia Ioffe

Author of Russia Girl (Forthcoming) | Correspondent at GQ Magazine

What does Russia really want? American speculation on Russia’s actions – what it has or hasn’t done, what it might do – is a major political topic; the guesswork is deafening. Is Russia as cohesive a ...

James Robinson

Noted Economist and Political Scientist, co-author of Why Nations Fail

James Robinson—the co-author of the hard-hitting book, Why Nations Fail—knows why some countries are richer, healthier, and more prosperous than others. In his keynotes, Robinson delves into real-world examples that contrast success and failure among various nations. To thrive economically, a nation needs a strong government, clear incentives for investment, powerful institutions and sound infrastructure.  
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 markets, entertainment, or government—or changes in generational spending and voting habits—Thompson offers sophisticated takes that people actually want to read. 
John Ibbitson

Award-winning Journalist and #1 Bestselling Author of Empty Planet

A smaller population has the potential to disrupt our world—for the better—says veteran journalist John Ibbitson. Upending decades of conventional wisdom on the future of population growth, Ibbitson’s talks offer a realistic and in-depth study of demographic shifts—with a hopeful plan for how we can change its shape if we choose to.
 
George Packer

Bestselling Author of The Unwinding and Our Man | The Atlantic Staff Writer

No one understands the diverse, vibrant, and conflicted American tapestry quite like George Packer. A sterling journalist and National Book Award-winning author, Packer’s New York Times bestselling bo...

Naomi Klein

Author of The Battle for Paradise, 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. 
 
David Rohde

Online News Director, The New Yorker | Two-Time 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 ...

Yascha Mounk

Author of The People vs. Democracy | Contributing Editor at The Atlantic | Associate Prof. at Johns Hopkins

Less than a third of young Americans say it’s important to them to live in a democracy. Why? Because the system is a mess: opaque administrations, frustrating political candidates, policies that don’t...

Graeme Wood

National Correspondent for The Atlantic | Author of The Way of the Strangers

“What ISIS Really Wants.” That’s the title of Graeme Wood’s viral Atlantic cover story, which was the most-read piece on the Internet—the entire Internet—in 2015. Its influence on how we understand ex...

Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone Writer | Author of Four New York Times bestsellers, including Insane Clown President and The Divide

One of the smartest—and funniest—chroniclers of the rise of Trump, growing inequality, and Wall Street excess, Matt Taibbi is also the author of four New York Times bestsellers: The Great Derangement,...

Jeremy Scahill

Author of Dirty Wars, Blackwater, and The Assassination Complex

Jeremy Scahill confronts America’s War on Terror—a campaign of assassinations, drone strikes, surveillance, and covert ops—with rare insight. In talks, he draws from his nearly two decades of investig...

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...

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.
 
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, honored by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as an elected membe...

Ian Bremmer

Creator of the Wall Street Global Political Risk Index

Ian Bremmer is the president and founder of Eurasia Group, the leading global political risk research and consulting firm. In 1998, Bremmer founded Eurasia Group with just $25,000. Today, the company ...

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 pinned down modern America like no one else. And in fun, funny talks, he not only cuts to the bone of our media-saturated moment, but makes it the site of our shared, unlikely commonality.
 
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...

Adam Segal

Director of Cyberspace and Digital Policy at Council on Foreign Relations

Adam Segal is a cybersecurity expert who is at the forefront of this burgeoning field. In his talks and in his new book, The Hacked World Order, he provides meaningful answers to urgent questions about hacking, cyberwar, and surveillance. What’s happening with our data? How can we protect ourselves? And what are the real, imminent cyber threats that exist in our post-Snowden world? 
 
Terry Milewski

Veteran Broadcaster and Senior Correspondent for CBC News

A veteran CBC television personality, Terry Milewski is one of Canada’s best-known broadcast journalists. Today, he speaks on how a free and functional media is crucial to a democratic society—and how Canada can lead the charge for a world that’s still committed to the truth. 
Lewis MacKenzie

One of the World’s Most Respected Military Heroes

When it comes to being a leader, few people—anywhere in the world—can approach the level of experience and credibility that military hero Major-General (ret’d) Lewis MacKenzie has reached. MacKenzie distills four decades of experience into ten practical and enduring lessons that will enhance anyone’s leadership style.  
 
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. Unabashedly political, she worked with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to ...

Rick Mercer

Host of The Rick Mercer Report for 15 years | Author of Rick Mercer Final Report

Rick Mercer chronicles, satirizes, and ultimately celebrates all that is great and irreverent about this country. A #1 bestselling author, Governor General’s Award-winner for  Lifetime Artistic Achievement, and “Canada’s Unofficial Opposition,” Mercer is a political satirist who knows exactly what matters to regular Canadians and what makes them laugh. 
Diane Francis

Bestselling Author and Editor-at-Large at The National Post

Creating a robust agenda for the development of emerging tech isn’t a frill, but a necessity in the 21st century. An award-winning, bestselling author and futurist, Diane Francis argues for a more eff...

Patrick Sharkey

NYU 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. In carefully optimistic talks based on five years of field research, Patrick Sharkey introduces ideas that are necessary in understanding what shapes this shifting state of peace—and how we might change the equation moving forward. 
 
Steven Pinker

Author of Enlightenment Now and The Better Angels of Our Nature

Steven Pinker asks the big questions about human progress—and sets out, in public, to answer them. In 2018’s Enlightenment Now, Pinker argues that, despite the headlines, the world is getting better, not worse. In optimistic keynotes, full of sharp wit, common sense, and dazzling argumentation, Pinker makes the case for reason, science, and humanism.  
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: A 100,000-Mil...