Distinguished Voices Lecture Series

All Distinguished Voices lectures are free and open to the public, and require a ticket. For more information, please contact Kelly Gates, Assistant Director of Special Events, at kelly.gates@unf.edu or (904) 620-2117. If you do not find a lecture you are looking for on this page, please search in the on line calendar of events or go to Cultural Events.


If you have a disability and require an accommodation for this occasion,  please contact Kelly Gates, Assistant Director of Special Events, at kelly.gates@unf.edu or (904) 620-2117 five days before the event to enable us to provide you a reasonable accommodation for the event.  



Michael McFaul(1)

“Confronting Putin’s Russia: Long-Term Economic and Foreign Policy Implications”

Ambassador Michael A. McFaul

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
7:00 p.m. at the Herbert University Center

e-Tickets will be available on 2014-08-19

Michael A. McFaul served as Ambassador of the United States of America to the Russian Federation from January, 2012 to February, 2014. Prior to becoming Ambassador, he served for three years as the Special Assistant to the President andSenior Director for Russia and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council.


McFaul is a professor of political science at Stanford University. He is also the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at theHoover Institution and a Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute (FSI) for International Studies. Before joining the Obama administration, McFaul served as Deputy Director at the Freeman Spogli Institute and Director of the Center on Democracy, Development and Rule of Law (CDDRL). He was also a non-resident Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


He is the author and editor of several monographs including, "Advancing Democracy Abroad: Why We Should and How We Can" (2009); with Valerie Bunce and Katheryn Stoner-Weiss, eds., "Democracy and Authoritarianism in the Postcommunist World" (2009); with Anders Aslund, eds., "Revolution in Orange: The Origins of Ukraine's Democratic Breakthrough" (2006); with Nikolai Petrov and Andrei Ryabov, "Between Dictatorship and Democracy: Russian Postcommunist Political Reform" (2004); with James Goldgeier, "Power and Purpose: American Policy toward Russia after the Cold War" (2003); and "Russia’s Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin" (2001).


McFaul was born and raised in Montana. He received his B.A. in International Relations and Slavic Languages and his M.A. in Soviet and East European Studies from StanfordUniversity in 1986. He was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford where he completed his D. Phil. in International Relations in 1991.


This Distinguished Voices Lecture is co-hosted by UNF and The World Affairs Council of Jacksonville.

Enemy of the Reich

"Enemy of the Reich"

Film Screening and Discussion

Sunday, September 28, 2014
2:00 p.m.

e-Tickets will be available on 2014-08-31

Better Together at UNF student leaders Troy Capers, Kalilah Jamall and Tyler Toomey invite you to a screening of the film "Enemy of the Reich" narrated by Academy Award winning actress Helen Mirren. "Enemy of the Reich" tells the story of Noor Inayat Khan: a young Muslim woman who sacrificed her life to fight against Nazi domination. Khan, who grew up in a home that fostered faith and hope, leads with her heart to overcome her quiet nature. She joined Winston Churchill’s covert operation to give the Allies a new chance at victory.


Join us for a discussion following the film about the intersection of values, faith and action facilitated by UNF President John Delaney and featuring the film’s producer, Rabbi Jonathan Lubliner (Jacksonville Jewish Center), Cheryl Tupper (OneJax Institute and Arthur Vining Davis Foundation) and UNF students from the UNF Interfaith Center.


This Distinguished Voices Lecture is co-hosted by UNF, UNF Interfaith Center, Jacksonville Public Library, Islamic Center of Northeast Florida, OneJax and Northeast Florida Women Veterans Association, Inc.

Frank Wisner

“Global Outlook: The U.S. Role in the World”

Ambassador Frank G. Wisner

Tuesday, October 14, 2014
7:00 p.m. at the Herbert University Center

e-Tickets will be available on 2014-09-16

Ambassador Frank G. Wisner provides clients with strategic global advice concerning business, politics, and international law from the firm’s Washington and New York offices. 


Ambassador Wisner’s diplomatic career spans four decades and eight American presidents. He served as ambassador to Zambia, Egypt, the Philippines, and India during his extensive career in the State Department. 


As Foreign Affairs Advisor, Ambassador Wisner plays a pivotal role at the firm, leveraging his vast experience in the Middle East, India, Europe, and Asia to assist the firm's domestic and international clients. 


In addition to his role as ambassador to four countries, he has served as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and as Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs. 


Ambassador Wisner was senior Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs from 1982 to 1986, a time of intense diplomatic engagement in Southern Africa. 


After graduating from Princeton University in 1961, Frank Wisner joined the State Department as a Foreign Service officer. His first post was in Algiers immediately after it won independence from France. He then went to Vietnam, where he spent four years at the apex of the war. 


Ambassador Wisner worked as a senior diplomat in Tunisia and Bangladesh before returning to Washington as Director of Plans and Management in the Bureau of Public Affairs. He joined the President’s Interagency Task Force on Indochina, the entity responsible for evacuating and settling nearly one million refugees and served as its Deputy Director. 


Later, as Director of the Office of Southern African Affairs, Frank Wisner worked closely with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to launch negotiations with Zimbabwe and Namibia. 


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appointed Ambassador Wisner as the nation’s special representative to the Kosovo Status Talks in 2005 where he played a crucial role in negotiating Kosovo’s independence. 


Before joining Patton Boggs, Ambassador Wisner served as Vice Chairman of External Affairs for American International Group. 


This Distinguished Voices Lecture is co-hosted by UNF and The World Affairs Council of Jacksonville.


Ray Suarez

“Media, Politics and Washington”

Ray Suarez

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
7:00 p.m. at the Herbert University Center

e-Tickets will be available on 2014-10-21

Veteran journalist Ray Suarez is the permanent host of Al Jazeera America’s daily program "Inside Story." 


Suarez joined the new American news channel after an extensive television and radio career in which he excelled at delivering, as Al Jazeera America president Kate O’Brian put it, “compelling coverage of the most challenging news stories and events with objectivity and depth, punctuated by Ray’s own brand of thoughtful analysis. That’s exactly what ‘Inside Story’ is all about.” 


Suarez came from PBS’ "NewsHour", where he worked from 1999 to 2013, most recently as its Chief National Correspondent. He also served as the lead correspondent for the program’s global health coverage, reporting on some of the world’s most threatening health crises from Africa, Latin America and Asia. 


Before joining PBS, he hosted National Public Radio’s "Talk of the Nation" for six years. 


Among his other on-air credentials, Suarez hosted the monthly foreign-affairs radio program "America Abroad" for Public Radio International and co-hosted the nationally broadcast weekly political program "Need to Know" for PBS. From 2008 to 2011, he anchored the weekly Latino politics show "Destination Casa Blanca" for HITN TV. 


Prior to his public-broadcasting career, Suarez spent seven years reporting for Chicago’s NBC-owned station, WMAQ-TV. He began his career as a Los Angeles correspondent for CNN, a producer for the ABC Radio Network in New York and a reporter for CBS Radio in Rome. 


Suarez is the author of the critically acclaimed "Latino Americans", the companion book to the PBS documentary series of the same name, published in September 2013. He also is the author of "The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America and The Old Neighborhood: What We Lost in the Great Suburban Migration" and has contributed to several other books. 


In 2010, Suarez was inducted into the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Hall of Fame. He is a co-recipient of two Alfred I. duPont–Columbia Awards for NPR’s on-site coverage of the first multiracial elections in South Africa and of the first 100 days of the 104th Congress. His other honors include the Ruben Salazar Award from the National Council of La Raza, the Distinguished Policy Leadership Award from UCLA's School of Public Policy and the Studs Terkel Award from the Community Media Workshop. 


This Distinguished Voices Lecture is co-hosted by UNF and The World Affairs Council of Jacksonville.


Mary Schapiro

“Global Trading and Global Markets: What’s Down the Road?”

Mary L. Schapiro

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
7:00 p.m. at the Herbert University Center

e-Tickets will be available on 2014-12-16

Mary Schapiro’s service as the 29th SEC chairman culminated decades of regulatory leadership. She was the first woman to serve as SEC chairman, and the only person to have served as chairman of both the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. 


During four years as SEC chairman, Schapiro presided over one of the busiest rule-making agendas in the SEC’s history, during which the agency also brought a record number of enforcement actions, and executed a comprehensive restructuring program to improve protections for investors. Upon her departure, President Obama praised her leadership, saying the SEC became stronger and the financial system “safer and better able to serve the American people—thanks in large part to Schapiro’s hard work.” 


Before becoming SEC chairman, Schapiro served as CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the largest nongovernmental regulator of securities firms. She worked for more than a decade with FINRA and its largest predecessor, the National Association of Securities Dealers. She was president of NASD regulation, vice chairman of the NASD, and was NASD’s chairman and CEO at the time of its consolidation into FINRA. 


Earlier, Schapiro was chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; a commissioner of the SEC; and general counsel and senior vice president of the Futures Industry Association. She began her career at the CFTC, serving first as a trial attorney and later as counsel and executive assistant to the chairman. 


Schapiro is currently Vice Chairman of Promontory Financial Group’s Advisory Board, a board member at General Electric and vice chair of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. 


This Distinguished Voices Lecture is co-hosted by UNF and The World Affairs Council of Jacksonville.


Anthony Zinni

“The Middle East Challenge”

General Anthony C. Zinni, USMC (Ret.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
7:00 p.m. at the Herbert University Center

e-Tickets will be available on 2015-01-20

General Anthony C. Zinni joined the Marine Corps' Platoon Leader Class program in 1961 and was commissioned an infantry second lieutenant in 1965 upon graduation from Villanova University. He held numerous command and staff assignments that included platoon, company, battalion, regimental, Marine Expeditionary Unit, and Marine Expeditionary Force command. His staff assignments included service in operations, training, special operations, counter-terrorism and manpower billets. He has been a tactics and operations instructor at several Marine Corps schools and was selected as a fellow on the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group. 


General Zinni's joint assignments included command of a joint task force and a unified command. He has also had several joint and combined staff billets at joint task force and unified command levels. 


His military service has taken him to over 70 countries and includes deployments to the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Western Pacific, Northern Europe and Korea. He has also served tours of duty in Okinawa and Germany. His operational experiences included two tours in Vietnam, where he was severely wounded; emergency relief and security operations in the Philippines; Operation Provide Comfort in Turkey and northern Iraq; Operation Provide Hope in the former Soviet Union; Operations Restore Hope, Continue Hope and United Shield in Somalia; Operations Resolute Response and Noble Response in Kenya; Operations Desert Thunder, Desert Fox, Desert Viper, Desert Spring, Southern Watch, and Maritime Intercept Operations in Iraq and the Persian Gulf; and Operation Infinite Reach against terrorist targets in the Central Region. He was involved in the planning and execution of Operation Proven Force and Operation Patriot Defender during the Gulf War and noncombatant evacuation operations in Liberia, Zaire, Sierra Leone and Eritrea. 


He has attended numerous military schools and courses including the Army Special Warfare School, the Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the National War College. General Zinni retired from the military in 2000 after commanding the US Central Command. 


This Distinguished Voices Lecture is co-hosted by UNF and The World Affairs Council of Jacksonville.


James Workman

“Water Security”

James G. Workman

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
7:00 p.m. at the Herbert University Center

e-Tickets will be available on 2015-02-24

James G. Workman is a leader in the design and creation of natural resource conservation markets for fresh water and marine fisheries. He is the author of "Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought", awarded best book of the year by the Society of Environmental Journalists and is currently co-authoring a book with the working title "The Sea Change: How to Transform the Way We Govern, Value and Harvest the Wild."  


In 1990 Workman graduated cum laude with a B.A. in history from Yale, and has been a visiting professor at Wesleyan and Whitman colleges. But he earned his real education by blowing up dams, releasing wolves, igniting wildland fires, guiding safaris, smuggling water to besieged indigenous dissidents after breaking down alone in Africa's Kalahari Desert and becoming a father. After early years as an investigative journalist in Washington, DC, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt recruited Workman to help advance national fire, fishery, endangered species and river restoration policies. Overseas, he became senior adviser to the World Commission on Dams under Nelson Mandela, and then a consultant to corporations, governments and international NGOs. Now based in San Francisco, he is Deputy Director of Environmental Defense Fund's Catch Share Design Center and co-founder of SmartMarkets, a utility-based start-up venture inspired by the Bushmen, which unlocks the scarcity value of water and energy. 


This Distinguished Voices Lecture is co-hosted by UNF and The World Affairs Council of Jacksonville.


Richard Leakey

“Past, Present, and Future of Life on Earth”

Dr. Richard Leakey

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
7:00 p.m. at the Herbert University Center

e-Tickets will be available on 2015-03-24

Paleoanthropologist, political advisor, and environmentalist Richard Leakey has been a key voice behind wildlife conservation and preservation for over 40 years. He was named one of TIME’s 100 Greatest Minds of the 20th Century. 


Son of the Louis B. and Mary, Leakey and his family have been credited with some of the most significant fossil discoveries in history. The Leakeys have unearthed Proconsul africanus, Australopithicus boisei, Homo habilis, and the footprints of Australopithecus afarensis, known as the skeleton “Lucy.” Leakey’s own team discovered the most intact early human skeleton ever found, nicknamed “Turkana Boy” and referred to as either Homo erectus or Homo ergaster in 1984.  


The author of over 100 articles and books, Leakey examined the five great catastrophic extinctions in the history of the planet in his book, The Sixth Extinction. Written in 1995, before recent increased environmental awareness, Leakey stressed how human beings are dangerously reducing biodiversity, damaging eco-systems and possibly precipitating the next major mass extinction, which could affect humans.  


His other books include Origins, Origins Reconsidered, The Origins of Humankind, and Wildlife Wars: My Fight to Save Africa’s Natural Treasures. In 2011 Leakey served as a consultant on the IMAX film Born To Be Wild. His latest National Geographic film project Bones of Turkana premiered in May 2012 on PBS. Currently, an IMAX adaptation of The Sixth Extinction is in the works. 


Leakey entered the world of politics in 1994, helping to form a political party opposed to the country's corrupt government. He was appointed to then President Moi’s cabinet, as Director of Kenyan Wildlife Services in an attempt to curtail elephant poaching. Leakey also served as Director of the National Museums of Kenya. He left politics in 2001 in order to form his own political party to fight government corruption. 


Now a Professor of Anthropology at Stony Brook University and an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London (FRS), Leakey has convened the Stony Brook World Environmental Forum and the Human Evolution Symposiums and Workshops. He is Chair of The Turkana Basin Institute at Stony Brook and Transparency International-Kenya.  


Leakey is the founder of WildlifeDirect, an online service that supports conservationists and allows people to help save the world’s most endangered species. 


This Distinguished Voices Lecture is co-hosted by UNF and The World Affairs Council of Jacksonville.