Academy Award-winning film maker Ron Howard is one of the most enduring legends of film and television. In 50 years in the entertainment industry, he has produced, directed, written and starred in of some of the seminal works of his generation. He earned an Oscar for Best Director for A Beautiful Mind, and his films Apollo 13 and Cocoon captured two Oscars apiece. He has received Best Director of the Year Awards from the Directors Guild of America. Howard and his creative partner, Brian Grazer, have been honored for their work by the Producers Guild of America and other organizations. The pair co-founded Imagine Entertainment in 1986 to create independently produced feature films. Howard has also served as an executive producer on a number of award-winning films and television shows, such as the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, Fox’s Emmy Award winner for Best Comedy, Arrested Development, which he also narrated, and NBC’s Parenthood. He began his career in film as an actor and is best known for appearing on the long-running television series The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days.
Best-selling author Bill Bryson is one of the world’s most beloved and prolific commentators, finding delight in the minutiae of travel and the subtleties of culture. “Bryson could write an essay about dryer lint or fever reducers and still make us laugh out loud,” says the Chicago Sun-Times. His bestselling travel books include The Lost Continent, A Walk in the Woods and Notes from a Small Island, which in a national poll was voted the book that best represents Britain. His acclaimed book on the history of science, A Short History of Nearly Everything, won the Royal Society’s Aventis Prize as well as the Descartes Prize, the European Union’s highest literary award. He has written about language, Shakespeare and, in the hilarious memoir The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, his own childhood. His books also include the best-seller At Home: a Short History of Private Life and the critically acclaimed One Summer: America 1927, a chronicle of the season when America came of age and changed the world for ever. He was born in the American Midwest and lives in the U.K.
Robert Reich is one of the world’s leading thinkers about work and the economy. The Wall Street Journal has named him one of the nation’s top 10 thought leaders. Now Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, he has served in three presidential administrations, most recently as Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton. He also served on President Barack Obama’s Economic Transition Advisory Board. In 2008, Time magazine named him one of the 10 most successful cabinet secretaries of the past century. He is the author of 14 books, including the 2010 best-seller Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future, in which he looked at where the economy was headed after the Great Recession. He is the co-creator and host of the 2013 documentary Inequality for All, in which he explains underlying forces that are shaping our economy and lays out pragmatic solutions for a broader prosperity. Reich was awarded the Václav Havel prize for his original contributions to economic thinking.
Margaret Atwood is a giant of modern literature who refuses to rest on her laurels. She has anticipated, satirized and even changed the popular pre-conceptions of our time. A winner of many international literary awards, including the prestigious Booker Prize, Atwood is the author of more than 30 volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction and nonfiction. She is perhaps best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Robber Bride, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. Her non-fiction book Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth was made into a documentary. Her new book, MaddAddam (the final novel in the trilogy that begins with Oryx and Crake), has received rave reviews. Her work has been published in more than 40 languages. In 2004, she co-invented the LongPen, a remote signing device that allows someone to write in ink anywhere in the world via tablet PC and the Internet. Born in Ottawa and raised in northern Ontario, Quebec and Toronto, she is a popular personality on Twitter and other social media.
Anderson Cooper is the anchor of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°, a nightly newscast that goes beyond the headlines – keeping politicians and policy makers honest with in-depth reporting and investigations. Since the start of his career in 1992, he has covered nearly all-major news events around the world, often reporting from the scene. Most recently, he has extensively covered the conflicts in Syria and Egypt, the NSA surveillance programs, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the Sandy Hook shootings. Cooper has played a pivotal role in CNN’s political and election coverage and has anchored from conventions and moderated several presidential debates. In addition to his show on CNN, Cooper is also a regular correspondent for CBS’s 60 Minutes. At CNN and 60 Minutes, Cooper has won numerous major journalism awards. He helped lead CNN's Peabody Award-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina and DuPont Award-winning coverage of the 2004 tsunami. Additionally, he has been honored with eight Emmy Awards, including two for his coverage of the earthquake in Haiti, and an Edward R. Murrow Award.