Summer 2019 Speakers
June 25, 2019
Speaker: JOHN LESHY
“CHALLENGES FOR THE WEST: WATER AND PUBLIC LANDS"”
Professor John Leshy is the former General Counsel of the United States Department of the Interior and now teaches at UC Hastings College of the Law. Previously he served as special counsel to the Committee on Natural Resources, U.S. House of Representatives, and with the Natural Resources Defense Council in California. He started his legal career as a litigator with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Leshy co-chaired the transition teams for the Interior Department for both President elect Obama in 2008 and President elect Clinton in 1992. In 2013 he received the Defenders of Wildlife Legacy Award for lifetime contributions to wildlife conservation. Leshy has written extensively in response to attacks on the constitutionality of public lands and of particular interest to the Upper Gunnison Valley community, he is the author of a book in the Mining Law of 1872 which continues to impact local debate.
July 2, 2019
Speaker: CHERYL THOMAS
“#ME TOO GOES GLOBAL & HERE'S WHY”
Cheryl Thomas is the founding Director and CEO of Global Rights for Women. Since 1993, Ms. Thomas worked with partners around the world to promote women’s human rights and achieve effective legal reform to end violence against women. She has participated in the drafting of new laws on violence against women and girls in over 20 countries and trained legal professionals to enforce such laws in dozens of countries. She has worked closely with the United Nations to develop model standards on legal reform on violence against women leading a global consultation on the enforcement of laws in Spain in 2015. In 2011, she was recognized by Newsweek magazine as one of 150 “Women Who Shake the World”. Former positions include Director of the Women's Rights Program at The Advocates for Human Rights, Executive Director at WATCH, partner and Shareholder at Briggs and Morgan, Special Assistant Attorney General and the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and Adjunct Professor at the University of Minnesota Law School.
July 9, 2019
Speaker: JOHN NICHOLS
“TRUMP AND THE MEDIA”
John Nichols is the National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation magazine and a pioneering political blogger. Nichols is also a contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times and the associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and dozens of other newspapers. Nichols is a frequent guest on radio and television programs as a commentator on politics and media issues. He was featured in Robert Greenwald’s documentary Outfoxed, in Joan Sekler’s Unprecedented, Matt Kohn’s Call It Democracy, and Robert Pappas’s Orwell Rolls in His Grave.
July 16, 2019
Speaker: SEAN THERIAULT
“CONGRESSIONAL DYSFUNCTION AND PARTY POLARIZATION”
Professor Theriault teaches in the Department of Government at the University of Texas. His recent focus has been on congressional decision-making and dysfunction. He has published three books, The Power of the People: Congressional Competition, Public Attention, and Voter Retribution; Party Polarization in Congress; and The Gingrich Senators: The Roots of Partisan Warfare in Congress. He has received numerous teaching awards, including the Friar Society Teaching Fellowship (the biggest undergraduate teaching award at UT) in 2009, UT Professor the Year in 2011, and the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award in 2014. He has also published numerous articles in a variety of journals on subjects ranging from presidential rhetoric to congressional careers to the Louisiana Purchase. Professor Theriault received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2001.
July 23, 2019
Speaker: RONALD NEUMANN
“AFGHANISTAN AND THE MID-EAST:
WISE DIPLOMACY OR A NATIONAL SELL-OUT?”
Ambassador Ronald Neumann served as US ambassador to Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, and as deputy assistant secretary of State for the Middle East. In a 37-year career in the State Department he served also in Iran, Iraq, Yemen, the United Emirates and Senegal as well as office director for Iran-Iraq as well as other positions. He is now president of the American Academy of Diplomacy, an NGO focused on strengthening American diplomacy. He is the author of a memoire, Three Embassies, Four Wars: a personal memoire (2017) and The Other War: Winning and Losing in Afghanistan, a book on his time in Afghanistan. He has returned to Afghanistan repeatedly, most recently in November 2018, and is the author of a number of monographs, articles, and editorials. Ambassador Neumann is on the advisory committees of a girls school in Afghanistan, the School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA) and Spirit of America. He is on the board of the Middle East Policy Council.
July 30, 2019
Speaker: JOHN WALSH
“AN INDEPENDENT JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:
WHAT IT MEANS AND HOW DO WE KEEP IT”
JJohn F. Walsh served as the United States Attorney for the District of Colorado from 2010 to 2016. During his tenure he achieved multi-billion dollar settlements on cases involving misconduct by financial institutions during the Great Recession. He also represented the Department of Justice in the complex legal environment arising from Colorado’s legalization of marijuana. As US attorney, Mr. Walsh served in national-level leadership positions for the Department of Justice including as chair of the national Attorney General's Advisory Committee of US Attorneys.. In that role, Mr. Walsh led all 93 US attorneys on matters of Department policy and frequently served as a public spokesperson for that community. He also co-chaired AG appointed committees on white collar crime and mortgage backed securities fraud. After leaving government service Mr. Walsh has in addition to private law practice been an on-air legal commentator for CBS national news.
August 6, 2019
Speaker: PATTY LIMERICK
“WHAT COLORADO HISTORY TEACHES US FOR THE FUTURE”
Patty Limerick is the Faculty Director and Chair of the Board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, where she is also a Professor of History. Limerick has dedicated her career to bridging the gap between academics and the general public and to demonstrating the benefits of applying historical perspective to contemporary dilemmas and conflicts. In recognition of her life’s work Professor Limerick was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1995 and in 2001, the Hazel Barnes Prize, the University of Colorado’s highest award for teaching. In January 2016 she was appointed the Colorado State Historian and served until August 2018. Also in January 2016, she was appointed to the National Endowment for the Humanities advisory board, the National Council on the Humanities. Professor Limerick was nominated by President Obama in Spring 2015 and was confirmed by the United States Senate in November 2015.
August 13, 2019
Speaker: SPENCER WELLS
“THE GENETIC REVOLUTION”
Spencer Wells is a geneticist, anthropologist, author, and entrepreneur. For over a decade he was an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and director of the Geographic Project, which collected and analyzed DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of people around the world to decipher how our ancestors populated the planet—in the process launching the consumer genomics industry. Spencer, received his Ph.D. from Harvard University, and conducted postdoctoral work at Stanford and Oxford. He has appeared in documentary films and is the author of three books: The Journey of Man, Deep Ancestry, and Pandora's Seed.
His work has taken him to more than 100 countries, where he has collaborated with everyone from heads of government and Fortune 500 corporations to tribal chieftains eking out a precarious living in places as remote as Chad, Tajikistan, and Papua New Guinea. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he is founder and CEO of the consumer genomics company Insitome, an adjunct professor at the University of Texas, and owner of the iconic blues club Antone’s.