Guest Speakers

Week 1: The Campaign


David Plouffe

David Plouffe served as campaign manager for President Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012. Between 2011 and 2013, Plouffe served as senior advisor to the President in the White House.  He is the author of a New York Times best-selling book, The Audacity to Win, and was also inducted to the American Association of Political Consultants’ Hall of Fame in 2013.  He is currently the chief advisor to Uber and is on Uber’s board of directors.



Mike McCurry

Mike McCurry is the former Press Secretary of the Clinton Administration.  He is currently based in Washington as a communications consultant and is the co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates.  He also serves on several advisory boards for a variety of organizations such as Share Our Strength, the Junior Statesmen Foundation, and the White House Historical Association.





Week 2: Existential Security Threats to the US


William Perry

William Perry is the Michael and Barbara Berberian Professor (emeritus), a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute and Hoover Institution at Stanford University.  He is also the director of the Preventive Defense Project and served as co-director of CISAC from 1988-1993.  Between February 1994 and January 1997, Perry served as the 19th Secretary of Defense for the United States.  His many decorations include the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1997, the Knight Commander of the British Empire in 1998, Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal (1980 and 1981), and Outstanding Civilian Service medals from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and NASA.



Admiral Gary Roughead

Admiral Gary Roughead is an Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.  In 2007, Admiral Roughead became the 29th Chief of Naval Operations, and is one of two officers in the US Navy’s history to have commanded both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets.  He has also served as the commandant at the US Naval Academy and as the Navy’s chief of legislative affairs.  Admiral Roughead is the recipient of numerous distinguished honors, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal.  View his faculty page here.


Amy Zegart

Amy Zegart

Amy Zegart is the co-director of CISAC, a Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Davies Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a Professor, by courtesy, of Political Science at Stanford University.  She is the author of two award-winning books, Flawed by Design and Spying Blind, both of which examine the history, development of American intelligence agencies. Spying Blind was the recipient of the National Academy of Public Administration’s Brownlow Book Award.  Zegart currently serves on the editorial boards of Terrorism and Political Violence and Intelligence and National Security. Her most recent book is Eyes on Spies: Congress and the United States Intelligence Community.  View her faculty page here


Week 3: Inequality and Opportunity

CAMBRIDGE, MA, USA - SEPT. 19: Raj Chetty, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, 2012 MacArthur award recipient. Photographed on September 19, 2012 in Cambridge, MA. (Photo by Tsar Fedorsky for Home Front Communications)

Raj Chetty

Raj Chetty is a Professor of Economics at Stanford University. Chetty’s research combines empirical evidence and economic theory to help design more effective government policies. His work on tax policy, unemployment insurance, and education has been widely cited in media outlets and Congressional testimony. His current research focuses on equality of opportunity: how can we give children from disadvantaged backgrounds better chances of succeeding?  Chetty is a recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and the John Bates Clark medal, given by the American Economic Association to the best American economist under age 40. and



ESaez_GS Portrait_6x9_300dpi

Emmanuel Saez

Emmanuel Saez is a Professor of Economics and the Director of the Center for Equitable Growth at the University of California Berkeley. His research focuses on tax policy and inequality both from theoretical and empirical perspectives. Jointly with Thomas Piketty, he has constructed long-run historical series of income inequality in the United States that have been widely discussed in the public debate. He received his PhD in Economics from MIT in 1999. He was awarded the John Bates Clark medal of the American Economic Association in 2009 and a MacArthur Fellowship in 2010. Visit his website here.





Week 4: Tomorrow’s Workplace


saffopicPaul Saffo

Paul is a forecaster with over two decades experience exploring the dynamics of large-scale, long-term change. He teaches forecasting at Stanford University and chairs the Future Studies and Forecasting track at Singularity University. Paul is also a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and a Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. Paul serves on a variety of not-for-profit boards including the Long Now Foundation, and the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. Paul’s essays have appeared in a wide range of publications including The Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Foreign Policy, Wired, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, The New York Times, and the Washington Post. Paul holds degrees from Harvard College, Cambridge University and Stanford University. 


Natalie-Foster-Headshot-300x293Natalie Foster

Natalie Foster is the co-founder of, a grassroots company that supports the sharing economy movement.  She served as digital director for President Obama’s Organizing for America and the Democratic National Committee. Before founding Peers, Natalie was the CEO and co-founder of Rebuild the Dream, a platform for people-driven economic change.  Natalie has been named one of the Top Fifty Women to Watch in Tech, and currently serves as an advisor to the Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative and Open Society Foundations. Find out more about 


qefyqenoManuel Pastor

Dr. Manuel Pastor is Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He currently directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at USC and USC’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII).  Dr. Pastor’s research has generally focused on issues of the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities – and the social movements seeking to change those realities. His recent book Equity, Growth, and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America’s Metro Areas, co-authored with Chris Benner (UC Press 2015), argues how inequality stunts economic growth and how bringing together equity and growth requires concerted local action.  He has also recently co-edited the book, Unsettled Americans: Metropolitan Context and Civic Leadership for Immigrant Integration with John Mollenkopf (Cornell University Press 2016).


Week 5: The Future of Democracy

Larry Kramer Photo taken on Friday, December 21, 2012 ( Photo by Norbert von der Groeben )

Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer is the president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation based in Menlo Park, California.  Prior to joining the Hewlett Foundation, Mr. Kramer was the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean of the Stanford Law School between 2004 and 2012.  While at Stanford, Professor Kramer taught in a wide variety of fields such as constitutional law, conflict of laws, civil procedure, federalism, and the role of courts.  He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Law Institute.



Peter Wehner

Peter Wehner is a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a well-known writer for major publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Weekly Standard.   Prior to joining the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Wehner served in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations, and was deputy director of speechwriting for President George W. Bush. He was also a senior adviser in the Romney-Ryan 2012 presidential campaign.  In 2015 he was named a contributing opinion writer for the The New York Times.  Wehner is a frequent guest and commentator for issues on politics, religion and national security on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and C-SPAN.


hochschild_arlie_russell_paige_parsonsArlie Russell Hochschild

Arlie Russell Hochschild is an award-winning sociologist an author of nine books, including The Second Shift, The Time Bind, The Managed Heart, The Outsourced Self, and most recently, Strangers in Their Own Land, which is based on five years of intensive interviews with Tea Party enthusiasts in rural Louisiana.  Three of her books have been named as New York Times Notable Books of the Year, and Strangers in Their Own Land, was named a 2016 National Book Award Finalist in Nonfiction.  Professor Hochschild’s books have been translated into 16 languages worldwide.



Week 7: Election Recap


Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post Writer's Group

Ruth Marcus

Ruth Marcus is a writer for the Washington Post, where she has served since 1984 and continues to write for an op-ed column.  She has covered a wide range of topics ranging from campaign finance to the Supreme Court and the White House.  Between 1999 and 2002 she was the deputy national editor for the Post, and later joined the editorial board in 2003. In 2007, Marcus was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.




 David Brady

Professor David Brady is a Davies Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. Brady’s research focuses on the American Congress, the party system, and public policy. He is at present working on a book on the electoral base of party parity in the United States and its effects on polarization and gridlock in the policy arena.  Among his most recent publications include Leadership and Growth (coedited with Michael Spence), Revolving Gridlock: Politics and Policy from Carter to Bush II, and Red and Blue Nation? Characteristics and Causes of America’s Polarized Politics.


krasnerStephen D. Krasner

Stephen D. Krasner is the Graham H. Stuart Professor of International Relations, the Senior Associate Dean for the Social Sciences, School of Humanities & Sciences, and the deputy director of FSI. A former director of CDDRL, Krasner is also an FSI senior fellow, and a fellow of the Hoover Institution.  As Director of Policy Planning for the US State Department between 2005 and 2007, Krasner was a driving force behind foreign assistance reform designed to more effectively target American foreign aid.  In 2002 he served as director for governance and development at the National Security Council.  His major publications include Defending the National Interest: Raw Materials Investment and American Foreign Policy (1978), Problematic Sovereignty: Contested Rules and Political Possibilities (2001), and Power, the State, and Sovereignty: Essays on International Relations (2009).