An American Soldier is a grand opera based on the tragic life of a 19-year-old Chinese American soldier Danny Chen, whose death while serving in Afghanistan led to President Obama signing into law a bill designated to combat military hazing. In this intimate conversation, composer Huang Ruo and librettist David Henry Hwang explore their highly acclaimed work that was hailed by the New York Times as among the Best Classical Music of 2018.
In 1961, as the Cold War cast a shadow across the globe, John F. Kennedy inspired Americans to look up towards the sky. Overseeing the expansion of the American space program, Kennedy energized the nation’s aspirational ambitions by promoting science, exploration, and the spreading of democratic ideals.
Architect Daniel Libeskind is renowned for designing some of the most striking public and commercial spaces around the world, including the master plan for the new World Trade Center site and the Jewish Museum in Berlin. In an intimate conversation with writer and director Antonio Monda, Libeskind illuminates what influences and inspires him.
From the Vietnam War to America’s involvement in Afghanistan, discover how U.S. global leadership has evolved over the past 50 years through the lens of the late diplomat Richard Holbrooke, who was the force behind the Dayton Accords that ended the Balkan wars and played a critical role in foreign affairs under Presidents Carter, Clinton, and Obama.
9–9:30 am: Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:30–11 am: Program
In the fragile early years of our democracy, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and John Calhoun—political heirs of Washington, Jefferson, and Adams—set themselves the task of finishing the work of the Founders. There were glaring issues to be resolved, especially within the Constitution itself. Historian H.W. Brands illuminates the intense rivalries and compromises of these U.S. Senate giants.
Wendell Willkie, a Midwestern businessman-turned-Republican politician, fought for desegregation, workers’ rights, and small government in his 1940 bid for president. As a result, he won the largest percentage of Republican votes in a generation. David Levering Lewis discusses this oft-overlooked historical figure, who championed bipartisan cooperation and putting country over party—even when it cost him the support of Republican Party officials.
Hailed as the founding father of America’s conservation movement, President Theodore Roosevelt championed the protection of the nation's natural treasures and embarked on visionary initiatives to preserve 234 million acres of wilderness for posterity. Decades later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt—inspired by his family's legacy and the natural world surrounding his Hudson River Valley home—continued the traditions of his distant cousin to establish a sprawling network of state parks and scenic roadways.
New York has always had its bohemian “underground” going back to Pfaff’s Saloon in the 1850s—literally underground—with frequenters like poet Walt Whitman and his mate Adah Menken. Join Barry Lewis for a look at Greenwich Village and its environs, tracing how the city’s gay community found safe haven among New York’s “free-love” bohemians of the early 20th century, then blossomed again in a new era’s openness in the post-Stonewall New York of the 1970s.
LGBTQ Americans have made tremendous strides toward equality in the 50 years since the pivotal Stonewall uprising. But can this momentum continue? Renowned legal scholars discuss the landmark Supreme Court cases—including Obergefell v. Hodges and Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission—and look to the critical legal battles that will be fought in the years to come.
Across the political spectrum, government leaders and citizens alike are questioning the future of America's democratic institutions, with many feeling the liberal tenets of freedom and equality are being threatened. Is liberalism worth defending, or does political salvation lie elsewhere? Adam Gopnik discusses the value of liberalism and the inherent and radical humanity of its ideals and will walk us through some of its major sites and most inspiring people.