Upcoming Speakers

October 2015

Monday, October 5
6pm to 7pm
Stephanie Schriock

Founded in 1985 by Ellen Malcolm, EMILY’s List is a political action committee that aims to help elect pro-choice Democratic female candidates to office. Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, comes from a background of political fundraising, campaign management, and strategic planning. Schriock also currently serves as the president of American Women, which is a research organization affiliated with EMILY’s list that seeks to strengthen American democracy by increasing public awareness of the issues impacting women and families through extensive research and polling.

Friday, October 9
12pm to 1pm
Ramón Murguía

Ramón Murguía is a Scholar-in-Residence at the Center on Community Philanthropy, trustee of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and owner of Murguía Law Firm. Murguía has served locally on the boards of the Francis Families Foundation, the Jacob L. Loose Foundation, and the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. He also has served for many years as a member of the Board and as Chairman of the Greater Kansas City Hispanic Development Fund, which is a foundation established in 1983 to improve the quality of life of the Latino community in Greater Kansas City. On the national level, he served on the Board of Directors of the National Council of La Raza, a Washington D.C. based Latino civil rights organization and as its Chairman of the Board.

Thursday, October 15
12pm to 1pm
Arkansas Repertory Theatre

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is a Tony Award-winning look at the all-too-familiar world of adolescence, told with hilarity, catchy tunes, and surprising poignancy. The gloves are off in the take-no-prisoners, cold-blooded, dog-eat-dog world of competitive spelling as a menagerie of pre-pubescent misfits vies to decimate their young rivals on the cutthroat path to the national spelling bee championship. Hormones rage and pulses pound as our awkward adversaries engage in feats of prowess. The winner will receive a shining trophy and a luxurious DC hotel room with a big screen TV. The loser – nothing but a broken heart, a pat on the back and a juice box. Join us for a panel discussion about this production with moderator Bob Hupp, producing artistic director at the Arkansas Repertory Theater.

Friday, October 16
6pm to 7pm
Anne-Marie Slaughter

When Anne-Marie Slaughter, former dean of the Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, accepted her dream job as the first female Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department in 2009, she was confident she could juggle the demands of her position in Washington, D.C., with the responsibilities of her family life in suburban New Jersey. But then life intervened. Parenting needs caused her to make a decision to leave the State Department and return to an academic career that gave her more time for her family. After that decision and the reactions to it, she began to question the feminist narrative she grew up with and wrote an article for The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” which created a firestorm, sparked intense national debate, and became one of the most-read pieces in the magazine’s history. In her new book, “Unfinished Business: Women, Men, Work, Family,” Slaughter provides a powerful, persuasive, and deeply inclusive vision for how to finish the long struggle for equality between men and women, work and family. Slaughter is president and CEO of New America, a nonprofit think tank that is dedicated to the renewal of American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the digital age through big ideas, technological innovation, next generation politics, and creative engagement with broad audiences.

Monday, October 19
12pm to 1pm
Eric Thomas Weber

In “Uniting Mississippi,” Eric Thomas Weber, associate professor of public policy leadership at the University of Mississippi and executive director of the Society of Philosophers in America, applies a new, philosophically informed theory of democratic leadership to Mississippi’s challenges. The book draws on insights from classical and contemporary philosophical outlooks on leadership, which highlight four key social virtues: wisdom, courage, moderation, and justice. Weber brings to bear each of the virtues of democratic leadership on particular problems, with some overarching lessons and values to advance.

Tuesday, October 20
6pm to 7pm
Little Rock Film Festival

Beginning in 1886, baseball spring training was held for the first time, not in Florida or Arizona, but in the Arkansas resort town of Hot Springs, and that’s where the annual rite caught on. For parts of eight decades, many of the best who ever played the game, came to Hot Springs to shake off the rust from winters to prepare for long seasons ahead, with such teams as the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Pirates—and the Negro League’s Monarchs, Crawfords, and Grays. “The First Boys of Spring” is a one-hour documentary by award-winning filmmaker Larry Foley, narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Billy Bob Thornton. The film tells stories of baseball Hall of Famers who worked out, gambled and partied in Hot Springs, including Cy Young, Satchel Paige, Honus Wagner and baseball’s first superstar, Mike “King” Kelly.A central figure is a young Babe Ruth, who belted a 573-foot home run into the Arkansas Alligator Farm in March of 1918, while trying to convince Boston Red Sox management to play him every day, even though he was already the game’s dominant pitcher.

Wednesday, October 21
12pm to 1pm
Jamie Merisotis

Jamie Merisotis is the president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the U.S. and a driving force for increasing Americans’ success in higher education. In his new book “America Needs Talent,” Merisotis highlights the critical role that talent has played in our nation’s historic success, and emphasizes the need to continue its development through a new era of innovation and deliberate choices by government, private sector, education, and individuals so that America has the requisite human capital to succeed in the 21st Century economy. He proposes specific ideas to ensure a robust talent pipeline and argues that this, more than anything, must be our goal in these early years of the 21st Century: to build a society endowed with the skills, smarts, and drive to keep pace with the progress unfolding all around us. Merisotis argues the strength of the nation is its people, the sum total of knowledge, skills, and abilities inherent in its citizenry, and only with sufficient talent can we meet the demands of this new ear.

Thursday, October 22
6pm to 7pm
Brad Austin

Brad Austin is a professor of history at Salem State University, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in modern American history, sports history, and history education, and has served as the chairperson of the American Historical Association’s Teaching Prize Committee. In his new book “Democratic Sports: Men’s and Women’s College Athletics during the Great Depression,” Austin explores the funding cuts that America public universities suffered while they were also responsible for educating an increasing number of students. University leaders used their athletic programs to combat the crisis of mounting financial troubles, coupled with a perceived increase in the number of “radical” student activists, and to preserve “traditional” American values and institutions, prescribing different models for men and women. In the book, Austin discusses the stark contrast of educators emphasizing the individualistic, competitive nature of men’s athletics in order to reinforce the existing American political and economic systems, while the prevailing model of women’s college athletics taught a communal form of democracy, denying women individual attention and high-level competition. “Democratic Sports” tells the important story of how men’s and women’s college athletic programs survived, and even thrived, during the most challenging decade of the twentieth century.

Monday, October 26
6pm to 7pm
Stuart Stevens

In the fall of 2012, after serving as the top strategist for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, Stuart Stevens, having turned sixty, realized that he and his ninety-five-year-old father had spent little time together for decades. His solution: a season of attending Ole Miss football games together, as they'd done when college football provided a way for his father to guide him through childhood--and to make sense of the troubled South of the time. Now, driving to and from the games, and cheering from the stands, they take stock of their lives as father and son, and as individuals, reminding themselves of their unique, complicated, precious bond. Poignant and full of heart, but also irreverent and often hilarious, "The Last Season" is a powerful story of parents and children and the importance of taking a backward glance together while you still can.

Tuesday, October 27
12pm to 1pm
John Hennebeger

John Henneberger is the co-director of the Texas Low Income Housing information Service in Austin, TX and the 2014 recipient of the MacArthur Award, which is a prize awarded annually by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation given to individuals working in any field who show exceptional merit and promise for continue and enhanced creative work. An advocate for fair and affordable housing, Henneberger has created a new paradigm for post-disaster rebuilding with his work reforming Texan housing laws and for aiding in the development of improved emergency housing. Widely respected across a broad spectrum of stakeholders, Henneberger is working to define new standards for fair housing protections and affordable housing. 


Wednesday, October 28
6pm to 7pm
Jeff Conyers

In 1995, Dolly Parton launched an exciting new effort to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee. Parton’s vision was to foster a love of reading among her country’s preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month. Since launching 20 years ago, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has become the premier early childhood book-gifting program in the world, by mailing over 66 million books in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Currently the program mails over 830,000 specially selected, age appropriate books monthly to registered children from birth to age five. Parton’s vision was to create a lifelong love of reading, prepare children for Kindergarten, and inspire them to dream more, learn more, care more, and be more. 

Thursday, October 29
12pm to 1pm
Ari Berman

Ari Berman is a political correspondent for The Nation and an investigative journalism fellow at the Nation Institute, a nonprofit media center dedicated to strengthening the independent press and advancing social justice and civil rights. In this narrative history, Berman charts both the transformation of American democracy under the Voting Rights Act and the counterrevolution that has sought to limit voting rights from 1965 to the present day. In “Give Us the Ballot,” Berman provides new insight into one of the most vital political and civil rights issues of our time through meticulous archival research, in-depth interviews with major figures in the debate, and incisive on-the-ground reporting.