2017 Keynote Speakers
New York Times columnist and best-selling author
David Brooks, the New York Times columnist and best-selling author, is a keen observer of the American way of life and a penetrating analyst of present-day politics and foreign affairs. He is the author of The Social Animal and two books of what Mr. Brooks calls “comic sociology” — Bobos in Paradise and On Paradise Drive.
His newest book is titled The Road to Character. Mr. Brooks has a gift for bringing audiences face to face with the spirit of our times with humor, insight and quiet passion. He is a keen observer of the American way of life and a savvy analyst of present-day politics and foreign affairs.
He holds several prestigious positions as a commentator, including Bi-weekly Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times and a regular analyst on “PBS NewsHour” and NPR’s “All Things Considered.”
Mr. Books’ newest book, The Road to Character, explains why selflessness leads to greater success. He tells the story of ten great lives that illustrate how character is developed, and how we can all strive to build rich inner lives, marked by humility and moral depth. In a society that emphasizes success and external achievement, The Road to Character is a book about inner worth.
His previous book, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement, uses the story of a fictional American couple to explain the importance of neuroscience and sociology in understanding America’s politics, culture, and future. His other books, Bobos in Paradise and On Paradise Drive are in a style he calls “comic sociology” — descriptions of how we live and “the water we swim in” that are as witty and entertaining as they are revealing and insightful. Bobos in Paradise was a New York Times bestseller.
Mr. Brooks is currently teaching a course at Yale University. He holds honorary degrees from Williams College, New York University, Brandeis University and Occidental College, among others. In 2010, Mr. Brooks became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Mr. Brooks has worked at The Weekly Standard, joining the magazine at its inception and serving as senior editor. He has been a contributing editor at Newsweek and Atlantic Monthly. He worked at The Wall Street Journal for nine years in a range of positions, including op-ed editor.
Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government
Director of the Innovations in Government Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government
Stephen Goldsmith is the Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and the Director of the Innovations in Government Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He currently directs Data-Smart City Solutions, a project to highlight local government efforts to use new technologies that connect breakthroughs in the use of big data analytics with community input to reshape the relationship between government and citizen.
Professor Goldsmith also directs the Project on Municipal Innovation, a platform for cities' mayoral senior staff to share and adapt best practices and innovative policy ideas that increase efficiency and improve the lives of citizens, as well as the Civic Analytics Network, which accelerates the use of data and analytics in municipal governance through the sharing of tools and learnings between chief data officers.
Professor Goldsmith previously served as Deputy Mayor of New York and Mayor of Indianapolis, where he earned a reputation as one of the country's leaders in public-private partnerships, competition and privatization. He was also the chief domestic policy advisor to the George W. Bush campaign in 2000, the Chair of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the district attorney for Marion County, Indiana from 1979 to 1990. He has written The Power of Social Innovation; Governing by Network: The New Shape of the Public Sector; Putting Faith in Neighborhoods: Making Cities Work through Grassroots Citizenship; The Twenty-First Century City: Resurrecting Urban America; and, most recently, The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance.