Past Sussman Lectures



November 1, 2018

NASA: 60 Years of Exploration

NASA Chief Historian Dr. Bill Barry

Our world has changed dramatically since NASA opened for business on October 1, 1958. Dr. Barry discussed NASA’s impact over the last 60 years, where we are going in the decades ahead, and six things many Americans probably don’t know about NASA history.

April 12, 2018

Keeping America Safe

  • Alex Iftimie, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice
  • Rose Jackson, CEO of RiseUp and former Chief of Staff to the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
  • Anthony Johnson, former Department of Defense liaison and Country Team Lead for the Security Governance Initiative (SGI) at the U.S. State Department
  • Chad Kreikemeier, professional staff member for the U.S Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

A panel of national security experts discussed how we keep America safe from the top global security threats of the day. The discussion addressed existing global security threats to the United States, both at home and abroad, and what is being done to keep the country safe



April 18, 2017

The Evolving Role of American Mayors

Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Stephen Benjamin

Mayor Stephen Benjamin discussed some of the top issues facing American cities and their elected leaders today.

April 18, 2017

Our Future with Britain: How the U.K.’s leave from the EU affects us all

British Consul General Stephen Bridges

British Consul General Stephen Bridges shared insight on how the United Kingdom’s relations with both the European Union and the United States will change after the country voted in June 2016 to leave the EU.



September 19, 2016

The Child Labor Epidemic: A pattern of poverty and illiteracy

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi

Kailash Satyarthi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (which translates to Save the Childhood Movement), shared his experience of liberating more than 85,000 children from forced child labor and ongoing efforts to rehabilitate and educate those children. Satyarthi discussed ongoing challenges associated with complex trade agreements, international labor standards, global policy on child labor and patterns of poverty, lack of education and classism.

April 19, 2016

The Only Bipartisan Issue in Congress: Sentencing reform

Julie Stewart, president and founder of the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM)

Through storytelling and national expertise, Julie Stewart explored with the audience why policymakers as diverse as presidential candidate Ted Cruz and then President Barack Obama support reforming the sentencing laws that have filled America’s prisons. The attendees left this fascinating event with a new understanding of the impact of tough-on-crime laws and what our options are to address this epidemic of incarceration.



September 3, 2015

Beyond the Invisible Fence: The Making of Ferguson and Baltimore

Richard Rothstein, Economic Policy Institute

Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute and author of The Making of Ferguson: Public Policies at the Roots of Its Troubles took the audience on a captivating journey of the 20th century policies that succeeded in segregating every metropolitan area in the nation.

March 2, 2015

Billionaires: Wealth, politics, and American democracy

Darrell West, Brookings Institution

Using a balanced, bipartisan, and insightful approach, West explored the growing political activism of billionaires in recent elections. West told engaging stories of his personal interactions with the super wealthy and rich anecdotes of their influence. The audience left with an understanding of the implications of the “wealthification” of politics and society on American democracy and the political process.



October 1, 2014

A Conversation with Celine Cousteau: From the Amazon to the Oceans to Iowa.

Celine Cousteau, French explorer, education ambassador and documentary filmmaker

Celine Cousteau, a French explorer, education ambassador and documentary filmmaker invited the audience to dive into the world of water issues, sharing inspiring stories and vivid photographs of the Amazon river and voyages into the deep sea. Cousteau, who describes herself as an “oceanaut,” is the daughter of Jean-Michel Cousteau and granddaughter of the legendary Jacques Cousteau.

Listen to Céline Cousteau’s Iowa Public Radio interview with Charity Nebbe.

March 31, 2014

Edward Snowden vs. The NSA: Leaks, privacy and the surveillance state

Scott Shane, New York Times

New York Times reporter Scott Shane delivered a lecture on Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency, based on his extensive reporting on the NSA. Shortly before the lecture, Shane wrote a portrait of the National Security Agency based on some 50,000 of the secret documents released by Edward Snowden. He has written extensively about American drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and the debate over targeted killing. Shane’s articles on interrogation, written with several colleagues, were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize.

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