Introducing Berkeley Forum’s spring 2018 speaker lineup

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What happens when the founder of Craigslist, the vice president of Google and a former homeland security officer walk into a panel? The Berkeley Forum’s spring 2018 speaker lineup is formed.

The Berkeley Forum, a student-run organization that hosts prominent speaking events on campus, announced its lineup of nine speakers Monday afternoon. According to Berkeley Forum President Haley Keglovits, the organization worked all of the fall semester to cultivate the diverse group of speakers it will be hosting in the spring.

“The mission of the Berkeley Forum is to promote dialogue on Berkeley’s campus by hosting speakers in a wide variety of fields,” Keglovits said in an email. “Our platform not only allows experts to share their knowledge with an engaged audience, but also allows the audience to interact with and challenge the ideas being posed to them.”

Established in 2012, the forum hosts debates, panels and talks by leading experts from a variety of fields in order to provide the Berkeley community with a space for the free expression and debate of a wide range of viewpoints. Since its founding, the forum has hosted a variety of speakers, including Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Amy Ziering, Politico co-founder Jim VandeHei and UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ in 2017.

The events also feature time for the audience to ask questions and receive answers, which Keglovits said allows the community to share its ideas on topics and engage with the incoming speakers.

Several past Berkeley Forum events have raised controversy among the UC Berkeley community. Talks featuring former U.S. Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson and former UC Berkeley chancellor Nicholas Dirks attracted student protesters in 2015.

All events are open to the public and free for UC Berkeley students, faculty and staff, but they require registration.

In addition to the nine speakers that are being hosted this spring, the forum will host panels and/or debates with topics such as “Policy and the Community” and “Sexual Harassment.” The dates and times of these events are yet to be determined.

Robert Baer, author and former CIA officer (Feb. 13)

Robert Baer is an accomplished CIA agent whose service extends over several decades and includes work in places such as Iraq and New Delhi. Baer was awarded the Career Intelligence Medal for his service.

Baer has authored four New York Times best-sellers, and he currently works as an intelligence and security analyst for CNN and hosts the History Channel’s “Hunting Hitler” program.

Baer frequently appears in major news outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and Time magazine.

Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist (Feb. 27)

Craig Newmark is an entrepreneur best known for founding the San Francisco-based website Craigslist.

Newmark graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a master of science degree in 1977, and he worked for IBM for 17 years as a programmer.

Newmark began Craigslist as an email distribution list among friends in 1995, and the website has since spanned 70 countries. He also founded craigconnects in 2011 as a civic engagement platform.

Christopher Darden, co-prosecutor in O.J. Simpson trial (March 6)

Christopher Darden is an American author, actor and practicing attorney. Darden had been working in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for 15 years when he was assigned to the prosecution of O.J. Simpson.

Darden was born in Richmond, California and went to San Jose State University and UC Hastings College of the Law. Darden has served on the faculties of Cal State Los Angeles and Southwestern University School of Law.

Darden is a frequent commentator on media outlets such as CNN and Fox News.

Vint Cerf, vice president/chief internet evangelist at Google (March 7)

Vint Cerf has served as vice president and chief internet evangelist for Google for more than a decade and is an active “public face” for Google in the internet world, according to the Internet Hall of Fame.

Cerf is the former senior vice president of technology strategy for MCI Inc. and is frequently considered one of the “fathers of the internet.” Cerf and his colleague Robert E. Kahn were presented with the U.S. National Medal of Technology by former president Bill Clinton in 1997.

Cerf was appointed as a distinguished visiting scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and holds multiple honorary doctorate degrees from various colleges.

David Kurs, artistic director at Deaf West Theatre (March 12) 

David Kurs, who was part of the fall semester’s speaker lineup, grew up in a deaf family in Riverside, California and went on to major in marketing at Gallaudet University, according to the website DeafPeople. Kurs has worked as a freelance writer, producer and filmmaker since his graduation.

Currently, Kurs is the artistic director of the Deaf West Theatre in Los Angeles, which was founded by Ed Waterstreet in 1991 and intends to boost the theatrical experience and “bridge the gap” between deaf and hearing communities, according to its Facebook page.

In 2008, Kurs wrote and produced a multimedia show aimed toward young audiences called “Aesop Who?” He served as an associate producer for productions of “Children of a Lesser God” in 2009, “My Sister in This House” in 2010 and “The Adventures of Pinocchio” in 2011.

Rachel Vogelstein, director of the Women and Foreign Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations (April 9)

Rachel Vogelstein is a senior fellow and the director of the Women and Foreign Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. Vogelstein’s research focuses on the relationship between women’s advancement and prosperity, stability and security, according to the council’s website.

Vogelstein worked as director of policy and senior adviser in the Office of Global Women’s Issues within U.S. Department of State from 2009-12 and later served as senior adviser on women’s issues for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign from 2015-16.

Vogelstein is an attorney by training and specializes in gender equality issues. She graduated from Columbia University and Georgetown Law School and has received the Department of State’s Superior Honor Award.

Lila Tretikov, CEO of Terrawatt Initiative (April 12)

Lila Tretikov is CEO of Terrawatt, an “international cross-sector incubator” that brings together stakeholders seeking to transition to clean energy-powered markets, according to the Terrawatt company website.

Tretikov is the former CEO of Wikimedia, the nonprofit that runs Wikipedia, and has authored numerous articles, patents and inventions across the policy, management and technology spectrum.

Peter Goettler, president and CEO of the Cato Institute (April 17)

Peter Goettler is CEO of the Cato Institute, an influential libertarian think tank.

Goettler formerly served as head of investment banking and debt capital markets for the Americas, head of global leveraged finance and head of global loans at Barclays Capital. He concurrently served as CEO of Barclays Capital’s businesses in Latin America.

Goettler received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1986 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Lisa Monaco, former U.S. homeland security adviser (April 19)

Lisa Monaco is a distinguished senior fellow at the Center on Law and Security at the NYU School of Law, and she recently served as homeland security adviser under former president Barack Obama.

Monaco previously served in the Department of Justice in various roles for 15 years and has worked as a chief of staff to former FBI director Robert Mueller.

Monaco has received the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service, as well as the Edmund J. Randolph Award, and is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Chicago Law School, according to the Center on Law and Security website.

Ani Vahradyan is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @anivahrad.