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Distinguished Voices Lecture Series

UNF is proud to partner with the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville to bring distinguished speakers to our campus. 
If you have any questions about the lecture series, please contact Lauren Giliberto at or (904) 620-4334. 
For information about other campus events, please search in the online calendar of events.

2022-2023 Schedule

novik and burns headshots

Lynn Novick and Ken Burns

"The U.S. and the Holocaust: Lessons for Today’s Challenges" 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022
7:00 pm EST at the Herbert University Center

Click Here for Tickets

Lynn Novick (left) - Documentary Director and Producer

Lynn Novick, co-director and producer of The U.S. and the Holocaust, has been making landmark documentary films about American life and culture, history, politics, sports, art, architecture, literature, and music for more than 30 years. She has created nearly 100 hours of acclaimed programming for PBS in collaboration with Ken Burns, including Ernest Hemingway, The Vietnam War, Baseball, Jazz, Frank Lloyd Wright, The War, and Prohibition -- these landmark series have garnered 19 Emmy nominations. One of the most respected documentary filmmakers and storytellers in America, Novick herself has received Emmy, Peabody and Alfred I. duPont Columbia Awards.

College Behind Bars, Novick’s debut as solo director, premiered at the New York Film Festival and aired on PBS in 2019. Novick’s next project as solo director and writer is a multi-part PBS series on the history of crime and punishment in America, slated for release in 2026. Following The U.S. and the Holocaust, she is collaborating with Burns, Botstein and writer Geoffrey C. Ward on a six-hour series on the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale with honors in American Studies and lives in New York City. 

Ken Burns (right) - Documentary Director and Producer

Ken Burns has been making documentary films for over forty years. Since the Academy Award nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Ken has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made including The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz; The War; The National Parks: America’s Best Idea; The Roosevelts: An Intimate History; Jackie Robinson; The Vietnam War; and Country Music.

Future film projects include The U.S. and the Holocaust, The American Buffalo, Leonardo da Vinci, The American Revolution, Emancipation to Exodus, and LBJ & the Great Society, among others. Ken’s films have been honored with dozens of major awards, including sixteen Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and two Oscar nominations; and in September of 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, Ken was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.



Austan Goolsbee Headshot

Austan Goolsbee

"America in the World Economy: What is the new 'Normal'?" 

Tuesday, November 29, 2022
7:00 pm EST at the Herbert University Center

Tickets will be available here on November 1st

Austan Goolsbee is the Robert P. Gwinn professor of Economics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and one of the world’s leading experts on business, government, and the economy. Goolsbee previously served as chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and a member of the cabinet as well as the chief economist for the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board (chaired by Paul Volcker). In addition, he served as a member of the Board of Education for the City of Chicago and for eight years as a member of the Economic Advisory Panel to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Goolsbee is a former Fulbright Scholar and Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and sits on the board of the Lumina Foundation. In 2009, he was voted “D.C.’s Funniest Celebrity”. Goolsbee earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Economics from Yale University and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Maria Ressa

"The Battle for Truth in the Digital Age" 

Monday, December 5, 2022
7:00 pm EST at the Herbert University Center

Tickets will be available here on November 1st

CEO of Rappler, Journalist, Author, Freedom Advocate and 2021 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Maria Ressa is the co-founder, CEO, and executive editor of, an online news organization in the Philippines. Maria, one of TIME’s Person of the Year for 2018 and TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in 2019, has been honored around the world for her courageous and bold work in fighting disinformation, “fake news”, and attempts to silence the free press.

Maria advises organizations and corporations on corporate governance, values, and strategy. Her experience as a journalist and an entrepreneur in the digital world makes her a sought-after keynote speaker and panelist.

A journalist for over 35 years, Maria has been arrested on 10 charges related to exposing the Duterte government’s corrupt practices and was convicted of cyber-libel in June. She is out on bail pending her appeal but true to form, Ressa, vows to keep fighting.

Maria was featured in the 2020 documentary “A Thousand Cuts,” which profiles her fearless reporting on the abuses of Duterte’s presidency, while also illustrating social media’s capacity to deceive and entrench political power. Maria now travels the world speaking to organizations of all kinds on freedom of the press, democracy, and corporate governance


Fiona Hill

"Russia, The US, and The World" 

Tuesday, February 21, 2023
7:00 pm EST at the Herbert University Center

Tickets will be available here after January 1

Fiona Hill is the Robert Bosch senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings. She recently served as deputy assistant to the president and senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council from 2017 to 2019.

From 2006 to 2009, she served as national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at The National Intelligence Council. She is co-author of "Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin" (Brookings Institution Press, 2015).

Prior to joining Brookings, Hill was director of strategic planning at The Eurasia Foundation in Washington, D.C. From 1991 to 1999, she held a number of positions directing technical assistance and research projects at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, including associate director of the Strengthening Democratic Institutions Project, director of the Project on Ethnic Conflict in the Former Soviet Union, and coordinator of the Trilateral Study on Japanese-Russian-U.S. Relations. Hill has researched and published extensively on issues related to Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, regional conflicts, energy, and strategic issues.

Her book with Brookings Senior Fellow Clifford Gaddy, "The Siberian Curse: How Communist Planners Left Russia Out in the Cold," was published by Brookings Institution Press in December 2003, and her monograph, "Energy Empire: Oil, Gas and Russia's Revival," was published by the London Foreign Policy Centre in 2004. The first edition of "Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin" was published by Brookings Institution Press in December 2013, also with Clifford Gaddy. Hill holds a master's in Soviet studies and a doctorate in history from Harvard University where she was a Frank Knox Fellow. She also holds a master's in Russian and modern history from St. Andrews University in Scotland and has pursued studies at Moscow's Maurice Thorez Institute of Foreign Languages. Hill is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Graeme Wood

"The Complicated US-Saudi Relationship" 

Tuesday, March 21, 2023
7:00 pm EST at the Herbert University Center

Tickets will be available here after January 1

Graeme Wood is a staff writer at The Atlantic and a journalist in residence at Yale University. He began his career reporting in Cambodia in 1998, then lived and reported in the Middle East, including long stints in Iran, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He joined The Atlantic in 2006 and has also written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Jane's Defence Weekly, and The New Yorker. His 2015 Atlantic cover story on the Islamic State, "What ISIS Really Wants," is the most-read story in the history of the magazine. His book The Way of the Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State (Random House) was one of Foreign Affairs "Best Books of the Year" and won the Canadian Governor General's Award for Nonfiction.

If you have a disability or require an accommodation for a lecture, please contact
University Development and Alumni Engagement at (904) 620-4334 five business days before the event to enable us to provide you with the appropriate accommodation.