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Distinguished Voices Lecture Series

Thank you for your interest in our Distinguished Voices Lecture Series. We are currently working on the 2021-2022 schedule, please check back at a later date for the full schedule. 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 or go to Cultural Events.


 2021-2022 Schedule 


Steven E. Koonin headshot

“Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn't, and Why It Matters”
Dr. Steven E. Koonin

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

This lecture is sold out.

Dr. Steven E. Koonin - University Professor, New York University


Dr. Steven E. Koonin is a University Professor at New York University, with appointments in the Stern School
of Business, the Tandon School of Engineering, and the Department of Physics. He founded NYU’s Center
for Urban Science and Progress, which focuses research and education on the acquisition, integration, and analysis of big data for big cities. 


Dr. Koonin served as Undersecretary for Science in the US Department of Energy under President Obama from 2009 to 2011, where his portfolio included the climate research program and energy technology strategy. He was the lead author of the US Department of Energy’s Strategic Plan (2011) and the inaugural Department of Energy Quadrennial Technology Review (2011). Before joining the government, Dr. Koonin spent five years as Chief Scientist for BP, researching renewable energy options to move the company “beyond petroleum.”


For almost thirty years, Dr. Koonin was a professor of theoretical physics at Caltech. He also served for nine years as Caltech’s Vice President and Provost. He is currently an independent governor of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and has served in similar roles for the Los Alamos, Sandia, Brookhaven, and Argonne National Laboratories. He was a member of Governor Cuomo’s Blue Ribbon Commission to Reimagine New York in the post-COVID-19 era.

Zainab Salbi Headshot

"The Rights of Women in the Middle East: Challenges and Opportunities"
Zainab Salbi

Tuesday, February 22, 2022
7:00 pm EST at the Herbert University Center

e-Tickets will be available on Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Zainab Salbi - Humanitarian, Entrepreneur, Author, and Media Commentator

At the age of 23, Zainab Salbi founded Women for Women International, a grassroots humanitarian and development organization dedicated to serving women survivors of wars by offering support, tools, and access to the life-changing skills necessary to move from crisis and poverty to stability and economic self-sufficiency. Under her leadership as the organization’s CEO (1993-2011), the organization grew from helping 30 women upon its inception to more than 478,000 marginalized women in 8 conflict areas. It also distributed more than $120 million in direct aid and micro credit loans that impacted more than 1.7 million family members.

Salbi is also the host and creator of several TV shows including: #MeToo, Now What? on PBS (2018); The Zainab Salbi Project, original series on Huffington Post (2016); The Nidaa Show with TLC Arabic, where she started with the historic first interview of Oprah Winfrey in the Arab world; and a new original series with Yahoo News! Through Her Eyes with Zainab Salbi, exploring contemporary issues from a female perspective. She frequently appears on Morning Joe.

Salbi is the author of several books including the national bestseller Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam, If You Knew Me You Would Care, and her latest, Freedom is an Inside Job: Owning Our Darkness and Our Light to Heal Ourselves and the World.

Salbi has been consistently identified as one of the women impacting the world. People magazine named her as one of the “25 Women Changing The World” in 2016, Foreign Policy magazine named her as one of the “100 Leading Global Thinkers, Fast Company identified her as one of "100 Most Creative People in Business", and The Guardian has listed her on their "Top 100 Women of Activists and Campaigners.” In 2017, Arabian Business named Salbi as the “#1 Most Influential Arab Woman in the World” and has since been joined by Gulf Business to consistently name her as one of the World’s Most Influential Arabs. Most recently, she was identified as one of the "100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People in 2019" by Watkins.

Salbi was recently selected as a jury of The Hilton Humanitarian Prize - the biggest award for humanitarian work throughout the world. Salbi sits on the Board of Directors of Synergos and the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). 

tom orlik headshot

"China: The Bubble the Never Pops"
Tom Orlik

Tuesday, March 22, 2022
7:00 pm EST at the Herbert University Center

e-Tickets will be available on Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Tom Orlik - Chief Economist, Bloomberg Economics


Tom Orlik is Bloomberg’s Chief Economist, based in Washington DC. Previously, Tom was the Chief Asia economist for Bloomberg and China economics correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, based in Beijing. Prior to a decade in China, he worked at the British Treasury, European Commission, and International Monetary Fund. He is the author of Understanding China’s Economic Indicators (FT Press) and China: The Bubble that Never Pops (OUP).

Khann and Molavi

"Move: The Forces Uprooting Us"
Parag Khanna and Afshin Molavi

Tuesday, April 26, 2022
7:00 pm EST at the Herbert University Center

e-Tickets will be available on Friday, April 8, 2022

Parag Kkanna - Founder and managing partner of GlobalMap


Parag Khanna (left) is a leading global strategy advisor, world traveler, and founder and managing partner of FutureMap, a data and scenario based advisory firm. A widely cited global intellectual, Dr. Khanna is a regular commentator for international media such as CNN, BBC, CNBC, and Al Jazeera. Named one of Esquire’s “75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century,” Parag was featured in WIRED magazine’s “Smart List.”

He has worked at the World Economic Forum in Geneva and was a Research Associate at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Parag has presented at TED in 2016, TED Global in 2009, and was a guest host of TED Global 2012, with his talks garnering over two million views online. Dr. Khanna holds a PhD in international relations from the London School of Economics, a Bachelor of Science in International Affairs, and a Master of Arts in Security Studies from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He speaks German, Hindi, French, Spanish and basic Arabic


Afshin Molavi - Senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)


Afshin Molavi (right) is a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington DC, where he writes broadly on global geopolitical risk and opportunities in a world in transition. He is also co-founder of the emerge85 Lab, an initiative dedicated to exploring the economic, political, and cultural ramifications arising from rapid urbanization, unprecedented connectivity, and growing middle classes in Africa, Asia, and Latin America – home to 85% of the world’s population.

Molavi has also served as a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation think tank, where he was a former director of the World Economy Roundtable. Previously, Molavi has also worked as an advisor at the International Finance Corporation, the private sector development arm of the World Bank and at Oxford Analytica, the global advisory firm, and is currently a partner at Future Map, a global consultancy. Molavi is a regular speaker at investment conferences and has taught courses for senior career US government officials from all five branches of the military and beyond. He is also founder and editor of Emerging World, a Substack newsletter that examines key geopolitical and geo-economic trends shaping our world, and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.