Bryan Series

2015-16 Speaker Topics

Robin Wright

Robin Wright, award-winning journalist, author and foreign policy analyst, has reported from more than 140 countries on six continents. She takes a look at the activists and movements beginning to change the world’s most volatile region—the Middle East. More than a decade after the 9/11 attacks, Robin explains that feminists and bloggers, thinkers and judges, religious leaders and students are rejecting extremism while also challenging the status quo.

Atul Gawande, M.D.

Atul Gawande, a best-selling author and physician with a practitioner’s grasp of the challenges of health care delivery, explains that medical practice and philosophy have not kept pace with the changes in health care over the last hundred years. Atul is on a lifelong search to discover what shape reform should take. With eloquence and intellect, he offers deeply considered and beautifully expressed solutions with implications for health care and beyond.

Jon Meacham

Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian Jon Meacham explores what 21st-century leaders in different fields of endeavor can learn from the greatest moments of our common past. Jon discusses Jefferson’s pragmatism, Jackson’s management of public opinion, JFK’s capacity to recover from his own mistakes and Reagan’s management of conflicting egos. He explains how history can inform the decisions all of us make every day.

George Takei

George Takei, a noted actor and activist with a signature wit, shares the story of his family’s forced internment as Japanese Americans during WWII—a seemingly forgotten part of American history. George also talks about his rise to celebrity as a sci-fi icon, his remarkable journey as social media luminary, and his passionate fight for LGBTQ rights and marriage equality in America—empowering others to beat the odds and make a difference.

Malcolm Gladwell

Author Malcolm Gladwell has explored how ideas spread, decision making, the roots of success and the advantage of disadvantages in his five New York Times best-sellers — The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw and David and Goliath. A public intellectual who is the most versatile of speakers, Malcolm will challenge and entertain with his stories and reflections that will be topical for our audience next spring.

2015-16 Speaker Biographies

Robin Wright

Robin Wright is an award-winning journalist, author and foreign policy analyst who has reported from more than 140 countries on six continents. Her foreign tours include five years in the Middle East, two years in Europe, seven years in Africa and several years as a roving foreign correspondent. She has covered a dozen wars and several revolutions. Robin’s latest book, Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World, won the 2012 Overseas Press Club Award for best book on international affairs. Her other books include The Iran Primer: Power, Politics, and US Policy and The Islamists Are Coming: Who They Really Are. Her reporting has appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Sunday Times of London and The New Yorker, where it won a National magazine Award. Robin received the U.N. Correspondents Association Gold Medal for coverage of foreign affairs and the Overseas Press Club Award for “best reporting in any medium requiring exceptional courage and initiative.” She is a joint fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center.

Atul Gawande, M.D.

Atul Gawande, a noted surgeon and professor, has a bold vision for improving performance and safety in health care. He explains that medical practice and philosophy have not kept pace with the changes in health care over the last hundred years and is on a lifelong search to discover what shape health care reform should take. Atul is a general and endocrine surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a professor at Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. His new book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, is a No. 1 New York Times best-seller. Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science was a National Book Award finalist. His other books are Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance and The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. In 2010, TIME named him one of the world’s most influential people. A New Yorker columnist, Atul is broadly known for his influential articles, two of which won the National Magazine Award. He received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Jon Meacham

Jon Meacham is a presidential historian, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and contributing editor at TIME, known for his depth of knowledge about politics, religion and current affairs. His New York Times best-seller American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 2009. His book Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times best-sellers list. His other books include the best-sellers Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship and American Gospel. His biography of President George H.W. Bush is scheduled for release in November. Jon served as Newsweek's managing editor from 1998-2006 and editor-in-chief from 2006-10. He is now executive editor and executive vice president at the Random House Publishing Group. He appeared in Ken Burns’ documentary series “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” and is regularly interviewed on national news programs. He is a fellow of the Society of American Historians, a trustee of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello and a scholar-trustee of the New York Historical Society.

George Takei

George Takei is known around the world for his role as Hikaru Sulu in the acclaimed television series “Star Trek.” With a career spanning five decades, he is a powerful voice on issues ranging from politics to pop culture, an outspoken supporter of human rights and a community activist. Born in Los Angeles, he was imprisoned from age 4 to 8 in two U.S. internment camps during World War II. George is a social media icon, with more than 8 million Facebook likes and 1.5 million Twitter followers. He hosts the YouTube series “Takei’s Take” and is the subject of “To Be Takei,” a documentary on his life and career that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014. Along with Tony Award winner Lea Salonga, he developed “Allegiance,” a musical about love, family and heroism during the Japanese American internment, that debuts on Broadway this fall. In 2004, the Japanese government awarded him the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for his contribution to U.S.-Japanese relations.

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is the author of five New York Times best-sellers — The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Outliers: The Story of Success, What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures and David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants. Outliers was No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list for 11 straight weeks and The Tipping Point and Blink were international best-sellers. He was named one of the 100 most influential people by TIME in 2005 and one of Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers. He has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1996 and has won a National Magazine Award. He has been honored by the American Psychological Society and the American Sociological Society and was previously a science and business reporter for The Washington Post. The son of a Jamaican psychotherapist and a British mathematics professor, Malcolm was born in England and grew up in rural Ontario. He received the Order of Canada in 2011.