Past Seminars

photo courtesy of Jim Steinberg

Over the years, Seminars at Steamboat talks have focused on a wide variety of policy topics, including the economy, foreign affairs, immigration, environment, health care, drugs and sports, climate change, education, media, cyber security, the 9/11 Commission and more. Among the featured speakers have been former U.S. ambassadors and high-level officials in the Department of State, Department of Treasury, Federal Reserve Board, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Congressional Budget Office, and political scientists from major universities and research institutions, including The Brookings Institution and The Wilson Center. Past speakers also include Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, federal judges and the former commissioner of the National Football League.

“Seminars is satisfying Steamboat’s thirst for intellectual programming. The Seminars series brings the world to Steamboat and provides intellectual nourishment for a community that is most widely known for its outdoor recreation. Like our world class library and our rich arts and culture offerings … Seminars is another piece of the community quilt that makes Steamboat so special.”

Steamboat Pilot Editorial Board

– 2019 –

Amy Walter

Monday, August 12, 2019

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State of Play—The 2020 Election

Having built a reputation as an accurate, objective and insightful political analyst with unparalleled access to campaign insiders and decision-makers, Washington political journalist and national editor of the Cook Political Report Amy Walter discusses the 2020 elections.

Richard Norton Smith

Monday, August 5, 2019

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How Do You Get to Mt. Rushmore: Can Presidential Character be Set in Stone?

Nationally revered author and presidential historian Richard Norton Smith shares his broad insight gleaned during research for his award-winning biographies and his experiences as director of the libraries for Presidents Hoover, Eisenhower, Reagan, Ford and Lincoln.

Robert Daly

Monday, July 29, 2019

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U.S.-China Relations: Can We Step Back from the Brink?

Current director of the Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, a former U.S. diplomat in Beijing and  producer of Chinese-language versions of Sesame Street, Robert Daly is recognized East and West as a leading authority on Sino-U.S. relations.

Dr. John Holdren

Monday, July 15, 2019

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Meeting the Climate-Change Challenge: What We Know. What We Expect. What We Should Do.

As the longest serving White House Science Advisor, former director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, MacArthur “Genius Grant” winner and current Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Dr. John Holdren addresses the future of climate change.

Edward Alden

Monday, July 8, 2019

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Trade Wars and the Global Trading Order: Reform or Collapse?

The Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow specializing in U.S. economic competitiveness, trade and immigration policy, and author of Failure to Adjust: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy, Edward Alden shares his perspectives on international trade policy.

– 2018 –


Elaine Kamarck and Morris Fiorina, with Ron Elving

Future of the Democratic and Republican Parties 

Kamarck is a senior fellow in the governance studies program as well as the director of the Center for Effective Public Management at the Brookings Institution. Fiorina is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Wendt Family Professor of Political Science at Stanford University. Elving is senior editor and correspondent on the Washington desk for NPR News.

Robert Puentes

The Road Ahead for Autonomous Vehicles

Puentes is president and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation, a nonprofit think tank with the mission of improving transportation policy and leadership.

 

David Sanger

Cyber Conflict: The Perfect Weapon

Sanger is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, national security correspondent for The New York Times and one of the newspaper’s senior writers.

 

Christopher Hill

Diplomacy and Action: U.S. Options for North Korea

Hill is a former career diplomat, a four-time ambassador nominated by three presidents, whose last post was as ambassador to Iraq.

 

Stuart Butler

A Bipartisan Roadmap for the American Healthcare System

Butler is a senior fellow in economic studies at The Brookings Institution.

– 2017 –


Kathleen Hall Jamieson

Fact Checking: Fake News and the Roles of the Press 

Jamieson is a professor and director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and FactCheck.org.

Douglas Alexander

Brexit: What Lies Ahead for Britain and Europe? 

Alexander is a former top British Labour politician, including serving as Minister of State for Europe, Secretary of State of International Development and Shadow Foreign Secretary.

 

Robert Gordon

Growth and Economy: Where is it Headed? 

Gordon is a distinguished professor of economics and social science at Northwestern University and author of The Rise and Fall of American Growth: the U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War. 

 

Marcia Coyle

The Nations Highest Court:On The Cusp of Change

Coyle is Chief Washington correspondent for the National Law Journal, U.S. Supreme Court correspondent for PBS News Hour and author of The Roberts Court: The Struggle for the Constitution. 

 

Elizabeth Kolbert

Can this Planet Be Saved? A Look at the Future of Biodiversity

Kolbert, staff writer covering climate change at The New Yorker and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. 

– 2016 –


Norman Ornstein

It’s Even Worse Than It Was: Examining Our Political Mess On The Eve Of The Conventions   

Ornstein is co-director of The American Enterprise Institute-Brookings Election Reform Project. Author of the New York bestselling book It’s Even Worse The It Looks.

 

William McCants and Philipe LeCorre

Radical Islam and Terrorism: Views From The U.S. and Europe 

McCants is a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center of Middle East Policy and LeCorre is a visiting fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Center on the U.S. and Europe.

 

Matthew Rojansky

Russia-U.S. Conflict: The New Normal? 

Rojansky is director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center.

 

Richard Reeves

Inequality and The American Dream

Reeves is a senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution.

– 2015 –


Hanna Rosin

The Shifting Dynamics Between Men and Women: Implications for Marriage, Work and More 

Rosin is the author of The End of Men and the Rise of Women. 

 

Christopher Barrett

Food or Consequences: Global Food Security and Sociopolitical Stability 

Barrett is the Director of the Charles Dyson School of Applied Management and Economics at Cornell University.

 

Craig Whitlock

Drones: Can They Revolutionize Aviation Without Endangering Safety and Privacy? 

Whitlock is a Washington Post journalist covering the Pentagon and national security.

 

Martin Indyk

The New Middle East Disorder 

Indyk, a former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, is the Executive Vice President of The Brookings Institution.

– 2014 –


Charles Murray and Timothy Smeeding

Income Inequality and Social Mobility 

Murray is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and Smeeding is the director of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin.

 

Matthew Rojansky

Troubled Waters: U.S. Relations with Russia, Ukraine and the Former Soviet Region 

Rojansky is director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

 

Arthur L. Caplan

Rationing Health Care: Ethical Challenges, Ethical Answers 

Caplan is director of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University Langone Medical Center.

 

Richard Danzig

Cyber Insecurity: What It Means for National Security and What We Can Do About It 

Danzig is former Secretary of the Navy and board chair of the Center for a New American Security.

– 2013 –


Stephen Klineberg

The Changing Face of America 

Klineberg is a professor of sociology at Rice University.

 

Robert O’Harrow

Zero Day: The Threat in Cyberspace 

O’Harrow reports on cybersecurity for the investigative unit of the Washington Post.

 

Robin Raphel

Pakistan and Its Difficult Neighbors

Raphel is U.S. Coordinator for Non-Military Assistance to Pakistan with the rank of ambassador.

 

Martin Feldstein and William Gale

Reforming Our Broken Tax System 

Feldstein is a former director of the Council of Economic Advisors. Gale is the chair of economic policy at The Brookings Institution.

– 2012 –


Christopher Hill

Foreign Policy after the Election: Challenges and Opportunities

Hill, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, the Republic of Korea, Macedonia and Poland, is Dean of the School of International studies at the University of Denver.

 

John Pomfret

Everything You Wanted to Know about China in 90 Minutes

Pomfret, former Beijing bureau chief for the Washington Post, is the editor of the Post’s weekly commentary section.

 

Robert Reischauer

Adjusting to America’s New Fiscal Reality

Reischauer is formerly the Director of the Congressional Budget Office and President of the Urban Institute.

 

Richard Murray

Change and Continuity: The 2012 Presidential Race

Murray is a professor of political science and Director of Survey Research at the University of Houston.

– 2011 –


Robin Wright

Rock the Casbah

Wright is a journalist and senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

 

Seymour Hersh

Are Obama’s Foreign Policies Working?

Hersh is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter.

 

Tamar Jacoby

Still a Nation of Immigrants?

Jacoby is president of ImmigrationWorks USA.

 

Zalmay Khalilzad

Afghanistan and Iraq: An Insider’s View

Khalilzad is a former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations.

 

David Walker

Restoring Fiscal Sanity

Walker is a former U.S. Comptroller General.

– 2010 –


David Sanger

The World and Challenges Obama Confronts

Sanger is the chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times.

 

Paul Volcker

Can We Make the Government and the Economy Work for Us?

Volcker is the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

 

Paul Peterson

Saving the American School

Peterson is a professor of government at Harvard University and a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

 

Joseph S. Nye, Jr.

Smart Power: America’s Global Position

Nye is a professor and former Dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

– 2009 –


Adam Liptak

The Roberts Supreme Court in the Obama Era

Liptak is the Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times.

 

Phil Sharp

Energy and Climate Policy: The Heat Is Rising in Washington about What to Do

Sharp, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana, is the President of Resources for the Future.

 

Paul Tagliabue

Drugs and Sports: The Evolving Playbook

Tagliabue is the former Commissioner of the National Football League.

 

Alice Rivlin

The Future of Capitalism

Rivlin, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, was Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board.

– 2008 –


Michael Osterholm

The Next Influenza Pandemic: A Harbinger of Things to Come?

Osterholm is Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at University of Minnesota.

 

Strobe Talbott

Why Foreign Policy Issues in the 2008 U.S. Election Matter So Much to the World

Talbott, President of The Brookings Institution, is a former Deputy Secretary of State.

 

Swanee Hunt

Women Waging Peace: Lessons from the BosnianWar

Hunt is Director of the Women and Public Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

 

Galia Golan

Israel, Palestine and the Chances for Peace

Golan, a founder of Peace Now, was professor of Soviet and East European studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

– 2007 –


David Cole and Stuart Taylor

A Dialogue on National Security and Civil Liberties: Detention Interrogation and More

Cole is a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and author of books on civil liberties. Taylor is a National Journal columnist and senior fellow at The Brookings Institution

 

Vali Nasr

The United States and the Middle East after Iraq: Taking Stock of Iran and the Shia Revival

Nasr is a professor of Middle East and South Asia politics at the Naval Postgraduate School

 

Fred Hitz

The Deceptive Nature of Intelligence Reform

Hitz is a former Inspector General of the Central Intelligence Agency

 

Steven Schroeder

Critical Issues Facing U.S. Health Care: Access, Availability and Cost

Schroeder is the former President of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

– 2006 –


Linda Chavez

Facing Facts About Immigration Policy

Chavez, a syndicated columnist, is the Chairman of The Center of Equal Opportunity.

 

Steve Bell

The Media and Politics

Bell is a professor of telecommunications at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

 

Steve McCormick

Protecting the Environment: What We Can Do Nationally and Locally

McCormick is the President of The Nature Conservancy.

 

Robert Scales

What’s Going On in Iraq

Scales, a retired Army Major General, is a commentator on National Public Radio and Fox News.

– 2005 –


David Brooks

Barbeque Grills and the Future of America: How Our Stratifying as a Society is Affecting Lifestyles and Politics

David Brooks is a New York Times columnist, PBS commentator, and author.

 

James MacNeill

Modern Environment Concerns and Sustainable Development

MacNeill was the Secretary General of the World Commission on Environment and Development.

 

John Kane

The War on Drugs and Its Effects on the Criminal Justice System

Kane is a Senior Judge in the U.S. District Court in Denver and member of various commissions on drug laws.

 

Jay Garner

U.S. Policy in Iraq

Garner, a retired Army Lieutenant General, was the first Director of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance in Iraq in 2003.

– 2004 –


Andre Davis

Terrorism and the Courts Since 9/11: A View From The Federal Bench

Davis is a Judge in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

 

Strobe Talbott

Foreign Policy in an Election Year

Talbott is President of The Brookings Institution and a former Deputy Secretary of State.

 

E.J. Dionne

Why The American Electorate Is So Polarized

Dionne, a syndicated columnist, is a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution.

 

Daniel Marcus

The Report of 9/11 Commission, What It Found and How It Got There

Marcus, a lawyer in Washington, D.C., is General Counsel of the 9/11 Commission.

– 2003 –


Joseph S. Nye, Jr.

The Paradox of American Power: Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go It Alone

Nye, Dean of the School of Government at Harvard University, is the former Undersecretary of State.

 

Sue Birch, Irwin Garfinkle, Sara McLanahan and Belle Sawhill

Changes in the American Family, a panel discussion

Birch is Executive Director of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association. Garfinkle is Professor of Contemporary Urban Problems at Columbia University. McLanahan is Director of the Center for Research on Child Wellbeing at Princeton University. Belle Sawhill is a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution.