Visionaries in media and policy issues affecting the world


Max Boot is the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and the Los Angeles Times, and a regular contributor to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, and other publications. He is author of the bestselling book, Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present (2013).


Nicholas Burns is Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is faculty chair of the school’s Middle East Initiative, India & South Asia Program, and is the director of the Future of Diplomacy Project. He writes on foreign policy for the Boston Globe and Global Post and is director of the Aspen Strategy Group. During his career in the State Department, he served in a variety of positions, including as under secretary of state, ambassador to NATO and Greece and at the National Security Council.


Devon Cross is director of The Policy Forum on International Affairs. She was founder and president of The Donors Forum on International Affairs, was executive director of the Gilder Foundation in New York City, and president of the Donner Canadian Foundation in Toronto. From 1984-1993, she was director of the Smith Richardson Foundation in New York. Cross served on the Defense Policy Board, a civilian advisory board to the Pentagon, from September 2001-2008.


Mickey Edwards, a Republican member of Congress from Oklahoma for 16 years (1977-92), is a vice president of the Aspen Institute and director of the Institute’s Aspen-Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership program. He was a member of the House Republican leadership and served on the House Budget and Appropriations committees. He has taught at Harvard, Georgetown, and Princeton universities and has chaired various task forces for the Constitution Project, the Brookings Institution, and the Council on Foreign Relations.


Richard Falkenrath is a senior manager at Bridgewater Associates and an adjunct senior fellow for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was deputy homeland security advisor and deputy assistant to President George W. Bush. From 2006 to 2010, he served as the deputy commissioner for counterterrorism of the New York City Police Department. He was formerly a principal with The Chertoff Group and a contributing editor at Bloomberg LP.


David Frum, a senior editor at The Atlantic, is a contributing editor at The Daily Beast and a CNN contributor. He is the author of eight books, including Why Romney Lost, Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again, and Dead Right, described as “the most refreshing ideological experience in a generation” by William F. Buckley. In 2001-2002, he served as a special assistant to President George W. Bush, and in 2007-2008, he served as senior foreign policy adviser to the Rudy Giuliani presidential campaign.


Doug Hecox is a nationally recognized public relations expert and currently leads the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Media Relations. He teaches journalism at American University and is an author, columnist and nationally touring comedian. Doug has worked for members of Congress, the White House, and the U.S. Departments of Justice, Transportation and Treasury.


Margaret Hoover is a CNN political contributor and the bestselling author of the book, American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party, published by Crown Forum in July 2011. She is also president of the American Unity Fund, an organization that marshals GOP financial and political support to pass marriage and other LGBT rights at the state and federal level. Hoover is a veteran of the Bush Administration White House, two presidential campaigns, and a former staffer on Capitol Hill.


Simon Johnson is the Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is also a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a co-founder of, a member of the FDIC’s Systemic Resolution Advisory Committee, and a member of the private sector systemic risk council founded by Sheila Bair. In 2014, he joined the Financial Research Advisory Committee of the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Research (OFR). From 2009 to 2015, he was a member of the Congressional Budget Office’s Panel of Economic Advisers. Johnson has published more than 300 high impact pieces in New York Times, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and many other outlets. He is the co-author of several books, including White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters to You (2013). Previously, he was the International Monetary Fund’s chief economist and director of its research department.


Andrew Keen is one of the world’s best known and controversial commentators on the digital revolution. He is the author of three books: Cult of the Amateur, Digital Vertigo, and The Internet Is Not the Answer. He is executive director of the Silicon Valley innovation salon FutureCast, the host of the popular Internet chat show “Keen On,” a Senior Fellow at CALinnovates, a columnist for CNN and a much acclaimed public speaker around the world. In 2015, he was named by GQ magazine in their list of the “100 Most Connected Men.”


Michael Levi served as a special assistant to President Obama for energy and economic policy on the National Economic Council. Previously, Levi was the David M. Rubenstein senior fellow for energy and the environment at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, and director of the CFR program on energy security and climate change. He is an expert on climate and energy, technology, and nuclear security.


Larissa MacFarquhar has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1998. Her Profile subjects have included John Ashbery, Barack Obama, Noam Chomsky, Hilary Mantel, Derek Parfit, David Chang, and Aaron Swartz, among many others. She is the author of “Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help” (Penguin Press, 2015). Before joining the magazine, she was a senior editor at Lingua Franca and an advisory editor at The Paris Review, and wrote for Artforum, The Nation, The New Republic, the Times Book Review, Slate, and other publications.


Ben Nelson is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Minerva Project. In 2012, Minerva Project received a $25 million seed investment from Benchmark Capital and has since launched the Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship and the Minerva Schools, a reinvented university experience for the brightest and most motivated students that provides an interdisciplinary curriculum using an advanced interactive learning platform. Prior to Minerva, Ben spent more than 10 years at Snapfish, an online photo sharing and storage service, where he served as CEO from 2005 to June 2010. During his tenure as CEO, he lead Snapfish’s sale to Hewlett Packard for $300M. Previously, Ben was president and CEO of Community Ventures, a network of locally branded portals for America’s communities. Ben holds a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with honors. It was at Penn that Ben first realized his passion for reforming undergraduate education.


Gerry Ohrstrom is a private investor in New York City and former chairman of the Ohrstrom Foundation. He is or has been a director of various corporations and nonprofit organizations, including the Reason Foundation, the Santa Fe Institute, Atlas Economic Research Foundation, the Gruter Institute, the Property and Environment Research Center, Africa Fighting Malaria, the International Policy Network, the Booker T. Washington Learning Center, the Museum of the Rockies, and the Yellowstone Park Foundation. He has been Co-Chairman of the President’s Council at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and is a member of the New York Academy of Science.


James Piereson is president and trustee of the William E. Simon Foundation. He is also a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute where he is director of the Institute’s Center for the American University. From 1985 to 2005, he was executive director and trustee of the John M. Olin Foundation. Previously, Piereson served on the political science faculties of Iowa State University, Indiana University, and the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught government and political thought. He serves on the boards of the Pinkerton Foundation, Thomas W. Smith Foundation, Center for Individual Rights, Philanthropy Roundtable, Foundation for Cultural Review, American Spectator Foundation, Hoover Institution, and DonorsTrust.


Andrew Roberts is the bestselling author of Napoleon: A Life, The Storm of War, Masters and Commanders, Napoleon and Wellington, and Waterloo. A Fellow of the Napoleonic Institute, he has won many prizes, including the Wolfson History Prize, the British Army Military Book Award, and the Fondation Napoleon’s Jury Prize, writes frequently for The Wall Street Journal, and has written and presented a number of popular documentaries.


Jeffrey Rosen is the president and chief executive officer of the National Constitution Center. He is a professor at The George Washington University Law School, where he has taught since 1997, and the legal affairs editor of The New Republic. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, where he explores issues involving the future of technology and the Constitution.


Gail Saltz is clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, psychoanalyst with the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, columnist, bestselling author, and television commentator, including frequent contributing to the Today Show, CNN, and MSNBC. She is the emotional wellness contributor to Health Magazine and, chair of the 92nd Street Y 7 Days of Genius Advisory Committee, and consultant and event moderator for the Clinton Foundation’s Health Matters Initiative.


Peter Schuck is the Simeon E. Baldwin Professor Emeritus of Law at Yale Law School. His most recent books include Targeting in Social Programs: Avoiding Bad Bets, Removing Bad Apples; Meditations of a Militant Moderate: Cool Views on Hot Topics; Immigration Stories; Foundations of Administrative Law; Diversity in America: Keeping Government at a Safe Distance; and The Limits of Law: Essays on Democratic Governance. He is also co-editor, with James Q. Wilson, of Understanding America. He is a member of the American Law Institute’s advisory committee for the Restatement of Torts (Third), Basic Principles, and a contributing editor to The American Lawyer. He was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.


Jonathan Soros is chief executive officer of JS Capital Management LLC, a private investment firm. He is also a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, a think tank based in New York City, and co-founder of Friends of Democracy, a Super PAC and advocacy organization dedicated to reducing the influence of money in politics. Soros is a member of the board of the New America Foundation and holds several board positions affiliated with the Open Society Foundations.


Bret Stephens is an op-ed columnist for the New York Times. He previously worked at the Wall Street Journal, where he was most recently deputy editorial page editor and, for 11 years, a foreign affairs columnist. Before that, he was editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post. At The Post he oversaw the paper’s news, editorial, and digital operations and its international editions, and also wrote a weekly column. He has reported from around the world and interviewed scores of world leaders. Stephens is the author of “America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder,” released in November 2014. He is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including two honorary doctorates and the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for commentary.


John Tierney is a contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute’s quarterly publication, City Journal, and a contributing science columnist to the New York Times.  His work has been published in The Atlantic, Esquire, New York, Reason, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. Tierney’s latest book, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, was a New York Times best-seller and has been translated into 20 languages.  His website is