Sinai Forum

Big names. Bigger ideas. PNW’s Sinai Forum offers exceptional speakers exploring some of the most important issues of the day in an affordable town-hall setting.

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2019 Speakers

General John F. Kelly, U.S. Marine Corps (RET)

In a world where dictators are falling and rising, governments posture for a greater impact on the global stage, and information is the critical currency, who will emerge and where will opportunities exist?

A Four-Star General, US Secretary of Homeland Security and former White House Chief of Staff, few people are as qualified as General Kelly to provide firsthand insight into the evolving geopolitical landscape around the world. From the UN to the Pentagon, from the South China Sea to Washington, DC, General Kelly discusses the trends, risks and potential rewards amid the hot spots around the globe.

Secretary Kelly was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1970, and was discharged as a sergeant in 1972, after serving in an infantry company with the 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Following graduation from the University of Massachusetts in 1976, he was commissioned an Officer of Marines.

As an officer, Secretary Kelly served in a number of command, staff and school assignments to include sea duty, instructor duty at The Basic School, the Infantry Officer Course, command of the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, attendance at the National War College, and duty on Capitol Hill as the Commandant’s liaison to the U.S. Congress. He also served as the Special Assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, in Mons, Belgium.

He returned to the United States in 2001, and was assigned duty as the Assistant Chief of Staff G-3 with the 2nd Marine Division. In 2002, selected to the rank of Brigadier General, Secretary Kelly again served with the 1st Marine Division, this time as the Assistant Division Commander. Much of the next two years was spent deployed fighting in Iraq. He then returned to Headquarters Marine Corps as the Legislative Assistant to the Commandant from 2004 to 2007. Promoted to Major General, he returned to Camp Pendleton as the Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). The command deployed to Iraq in early 2008 for a year-long mission as Multinational Force-West in Al Anbar and western Ninewa provinces. After rotating home and being confirmed as a Lieutenant General he commanded Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North from October 2009 to March 2011. He then served as the Senior Military Assistant to two Secretaries of Defense, Messrs. Gates and Panetta, from March 2011 to October 2012 before being nominated for a fourth star and command of the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), a position he held until January 2016.

During his 39 months in command of SOUTHCOM he worked closely with the remarkable men and women of U.S. law enforcement, particularly the FBI and DEA. He also worked intimately with Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and the equally remarkable men and women of the Department of Homeland Security, particularly in dealing with the flow of drugs, people and other threats against the U.S. homeland that flow along the trans-national criminal networks into the U.S. from the south. This relationship was a model of interagency cooperation and effectiveness.

After less than a year in retirement Secretary Kelly was offered the opportunity to serve the nation and its people again, now as the Secretary of Homeland Security. After he and his family served a lifetime in service to the nation—and knowing no other life—the opportunity to serve again was welcomed. The U.S. Senate gave him and his family the great honor of confirming him on January 20, 2017 and he was immediately sworn in as the fifth Secretary of Homeland Security. After six months, he was selected to serve as White House Chief of Staff, a position he held until January 2019.

Liz MurrayLiz Murray

Liz Murray’s life is a triumph over adversity and a stunning example of the importance of dreaming big. Murray was raised in the Bronx by two loving but drug-addicted parents. She grew up in poverty, often without enough food, chronically absent from school and most of all, struggling to connect her education to a viable future.

By age 15, Murray’s mom had died and she was homeless. Determined to take charge of her life, Murray finished high school in just two years and was awarded a full scholarship to Harvard University, all while camping out in New York City parks and subway stations.

Today, Murray is a passionate advocate for underserved youth. She is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Arthur Project, a mentoring program that works intensively with at-risk youth.

From homeless to Harvard…it is an unlikely turn of events. Liz Murray’s life is a triumph over adversity and a stunning example of the importance of dreaming big. Murray was raised in the Bronx by two loving but drug-addicted parents. She grew up in poverty, often without enough food, chronically absent from school and most of all, struggling to connect her education to a viable future.

By age 15, Murray’s mom had died and she was homeless—living on the streets, riding the subway all night, and eating from dumpsters. Amidst this pain, Murray always imagined her life could be much better than it was. “I started to grasp the value of the lessons learned while living on the streets. I knew after overcoming those daily obstacles that next to nothing could hold me down.” Determined to take charge of her life, and with the support of an upstairs neighbor and trusted family friend named Arthur, Murray finished high school in just two years and was awarded a full scholarship to Harvard University, all while camping out in New York City parks and subway stations.

Murray’s story is exhilarating and inspirational. Her delivery is innocently honest, as she takes audiences on a very personal journey where she achieves the improbable.

Her story sounds like a Hollywood movie—and it practically is. Lifetime Television produced a movie about Murray’s life story entitled Homeless to Harvard, which was nominated for three “Emmy Awards”. Murray is the recipient of the White House “Project’s Role Model Award” and Oprah Winfrey’s first-ever “Chutzpah Award”. Her memoir, Breaking Night, is a New York Times best seller and an international bestseller published in twelve countries, in eight languages.

Today, Murray is a passionate advocate for underserved youth. As Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Arthur Project, a mentoring program that works intensively with at-risk youth through the duration of middle school, Murray is working to end generational poverty through relationship-based learning. She believes that when it comes to a child facing even the most extreme adversity, it is having a relationship with at least one caring, dedicated adult that can make all the difference.

Murray graduated from Harvard in 2009 and received her Masters degree in the Psychology of Education at Columbia University. She is passionate about speaking on the importance of personal motivation, transforming problems into opportunities, and what it takes to make a difference in people’s lives.

Alan DershowitzAlan Dershowitz

Professor Alan M. Dershowitz is a Brooklyn native who has been called “the nation’s most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer” and one of its “most distinguished defenders of individual rights.” A prominent scholar on US Constitutional and criminal law, Dershowitz has also been called the “winningest” criminal lawyer in modern history, and has argued hundreds of appeals in courts throughout the nation.

As a speaker, he challenges audiences with his thought-provoking perspectives on today’s foremost social, legal and ethical issues. Dershowitz joined the Harvard Law School faculty at age 25 – the youngest in the school’s history – and became an emeritus professor after 50 years of teaching.

Professor Alan M. Dershowitz is a Brooklyn native who has been called “the nation’s most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer” and one of its “most distinguished defenders of individual rights,” “the best-known criminal lawyer in the world,” “the top lawyer of last resort.” He has been named America’s most “public Jewish Defender,” — “the Jewish state’s lead attorney in the court of public opinion.”

He is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School. Dershowitz, a graduate of Brooklyn College and Yale Law School, joined the Harvard Law School faculty at age 25 – the youngest in the school’s history — and became an Emeritus professor after 50 years of teaching and 10,000 students.

Dershowitz has been called the “winningest” criminal lawyer in modern history and has argued hundreds of appeals in courts throughout the nation. He has won the vast majority of his homicide cases and has never lost a client to the death penalty. He continues to consult actively on both transnational and domestic criminal and civil liberty cases. He continues to devote half of his practice to pro bono cases and causes.

Dershowitz has also published more than 1000 articles in magazines, newspapers, journals and blogs. These include the New York Times, for which he has written numerous op-eds, book reviews and articles for the Week in Review, as well as for the Magazine and entertainment sections. He has also written for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Huffington Post, Gatestone, Newsmax, Jerusalem Post, Ha’aretz, and Algemeiner.

Professor Dershowitz is the author of 35 fiction and non-fiction works with a worldwide audience, including the New York Times #1 bestseller Chutzpah and five other national bestsellers. His autobiography, Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law, was published in 2013 and his eBook, Electile Dysfunction: A Guide for Unaroused Voters, was published in 2016. In his latest books, Trumped Up (8/2017), and The Case Against BDS (1/2018), Dershowitz reinforces his long standing record of presenting the issues of the day with “trenchant legal analysis” and “Using the scalpel of scholarship.” In addition to his numerous law review articles and books about criminal and constitutional law, he has written, taught and lectured about history, philosophy, psychology, literature, mathematics, theology, music, sports – and even delicatessens.

His writing has been praised by Truman Capote, Saul Bellow, William Styron, David Mamet, Aharon Appelfeld, A.B. Yehoshua, Elie Wiesel, Richard North Patterson, Steven Pinker and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. More than a million of his books—translated in many languages — have been sold worldwide. He has also been the recipient of numerous honorary doctor degrees and academic awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work on human rights, a fellowship at The Center for the Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences and several Dean’s Awards for his books.

In 1983, the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith presented him with the William O. Douglas First Amendment Award for his “compassionate eloquent leadership and persistent advocacy in the struggle for civil and human rights.” In presenting the award, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel said: “If there had been a few people like Alan Dershowitz during the 1930s and 1940s, the history of European Jewry might have been different.”

He has been the subject of two New Yorker cartoons, a New York Times crossword puzzle, and a Trivial Pursuit question. A Sandwich at Fenway Park has been named after him—pastrami, of course.

He is married to Carolyn Cohen, a Ph.D. psychologist. He has three children, one a film producer, one a lawyer for the Women’s Basketball Association and one a professional actor. He also has two grandchildren, one a college senior at Harvard and the other on the way to medical schoo

Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, III has been dedicated to the pursuit of safety his entire adult life. While he is best known for serving as Captain during what has been called the “Miracle on the Hudson,” Sullenberger is a safety expert, speaker, and author. He still flies privately. Born and raised in Denison, Texas, Sullenberger pursued his childhood love of aviation by learning to fly at age 16, while still in high school, and later at the United States Air Force Academy. At his graduation from the Academy in 1973, he received the Outstanding Cadet in Airmanship Award. In addition to his bachelor’s degree in psychology, he also has two master’s degrees, one in industrial psychology from Purdue University and one in public administration from the University of Northern Colorado. He also has an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Purdue University. Sullenberger served as a fighter pilot for the United States Air Force. He advanced to become a flight leader and a training officer, attaining the rank of captain. During his active duty, he was stationed in North America and Europe. After serving in the Air Force, in February 1980 Sullenberger became an airline pilot with Pacific Southwest Airlines, later acquired by US Airways, until his retirement from commercial flying in March 2010. Prior to gaining worldwide attention, Sullenberger was an active and ardent safety advocate throughout his four-decade-long career. He was selected to perform accident investigation duties for the United States Air Force and served as an Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) representative during a National Transportation Safety Board accident investigation. Additionally, Sullenberger served as a Local Air Safety Chairman for ALPA and was a member of one of their national technical committees, where he contributed to the creation of a Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Circular. He was also instrumental in developing and implementing the Crew Resource Management course used by US Airways, and he taught the course to hundreds of other airline crewmembers. After logging more than 20,000 hours of flight time Sullenberger became internationally renowned on January 15, 2009 when he and his crew safely guided US Airways Flight 1549 to an emergency water landing in New York City’s frigid Hudson River. The Airbus A320’s two engines had lost thrust following a bird strike. Sullenberger and his crew received international acclaim for their actions that day, including the passage of a Congressional resolution recognizing their bravery. Sullenberger was ranked second in TIME’s “Top 100 Most Influential Heroes and Icons of 2009” and was awarded the French Legion of Honour. Sullenberger is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters and also wrote Making a Difference: Stories of Vision and Courage from America’s Leaders. Clint Eastwood directed the major motion picture about Sullenberger’s life, titled Sully, based on Highest Duty. Tom Hanks starred in the lead role; Aaron Eckhart and Laura Linney co-starred. The film was released to critical acclaim in September 2016 and garnered four Broadcast Film Critics nominations and one Academy Award nomination. Highest Duty has been republished as Sully: My Search for What Really Matters. Sullenberger is an international lecturer and keynote speaker at educational institutions, corporations and non-profit organizations about the importance of aviation and patient safety, high performance systems’ improvement, leadership, crisis management, life-long preparation, and living a life of integrity. He presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2011, as well as the Swiss Economic Forum that same year. In collaboration with DuPont Sustainable Solutions, Sullenberger developed and was featured in an award-winning video training program, Miracle on the Hudson: Prepare for Safety, which helps employees increase their commitment to safety and transform their organizations’ safety culture. At the request of Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Sullenberger began serving on the DOT’s Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation in January 2017. From 2009 to 2013, he served as co-chairman of EAA Young Eagles—a program that inspires and educates youth about aviation. Most recently, Sullenberger has lent his voice to fulfilling what he feels is his latest mission: defending our democracy.Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, III

One of the most captivating American heroes of our time, and now an ardent advocate for the safety of everyone who flies, Captain “Sully” Sullenberger’s preparation and leadership enabled him to safely guide US Airways Flight 1549 to an emergency water landing in New York City’s frigid Hudson River – an inspirational and iconic moment in modern history.

His incredible personal story is captured in Sully, a major motion picture directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks as Captain Sullenberger. Captain Sullenberger will share his lifetime of experience which prepared him to handle the unprecedented crisis presented by the “Miracle on the Hudson.”

Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, III has been dedicated to the pursuit of safety his entire adult life. While he is best known for serving as Captain during what has been called the “Miracle on the Hudson,” Sullenberger is a safety expert, speaker, and author. He still flies privately.

Born and raised in Denison, Texas, Sullenberger pursued his childhood love of aviation by learning to fly at age 16, while still in high school, and later at the United States Air Force Academy. At his graduation from the Academy in 1973, he received the Outstanding Cadet in Airmanship Award. In addition to his bachelor’s degree in psychology, he also has two master’s degrees, one in industrial psychology from Purdue University and one in public administration from the University of Northern Colorado. He also has an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Purdue University.

Sullenberger served as a fighter pilot for the United States Air Force. He advanced to become a flight leader and a training officer, attaining the rank of captain. During his active duty, he was stationed in North America and Europe. After serving in the Air Force, in February 1980 Sullenberger became an airline pilot with Pacific Southwest Airlines, later acquired by US Airways, until his retirement from commercial flying in March 2010.

Prior to gaining worldwide attention, Sullenberger was an active and ardent safety advocate throughout his four-decade-long career. He was selected to perform accident investigation duties for the United States Air Force and served as an Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) representative during a National Transportation Safety Board accident investigation. Additionally, Sullenberger served as a Local Air Safety Chairman for ALPA and was a member of one of their national technical committees, where he contributed to the creation of a Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Circular. He was also instrumental in developing and implementing the Crew Resource Management course used by US Airways, and he taught the course to hundreds of other airline crewmembers.

After logging more than 20,000 hours of flight time Sullenberger became internationally renowned on January 15, 2009 when he and his crew safely guided US Airways Flight 1549 to an emergency water landing in New York City’s frigid Hudson River. The Airbus A320’s two engines had lost thrust following a bird strike. Sullenberger and his crew received international acclaim for their actions that day, including the passage of a Congressional resolution recognizing their bravery.

Sullenberger was ranked second in TIME’s “Top 100 Most Influential Heroes and Icons of 2009” and was awarded the French Legion of Honour. Sullenberger is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters and also wrote Making a Difference: Stories of Vision and Courage from America’s Leaders. Clint Eastwood directed the major motion picture about Sullenberger’s life, titled Sully, based on Highest Duty. Tom Hanks starred in the lead role; Aaron Eckhart and Laura Linney co-starred. The film was released to critical acclaim in September 2016 and garnered four Broadcast Film Critics nominations and one Academy Award nomination. Highest Duty has been republished as Sully: My Search for What Really Matters.

Sullenberger is an international lecturer and keynote speaker at educational institutions, corporations and non-profit organizations about the importance of aviation and patient safety, high performance systems’ improvement, leadership, crisis management, life-long preparation, and living a life of integrity.

He presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2011, as well as the Swiss Economic Forum that same year. In collaboration with DuPont Sustainable Solutions, Sullenberger developed and was featured in an award-winning video training program, Miracle on the Hudson: Prepare for Safety, which helps employees increase their commitment to safety and transform their organizations’ safety culture.

At the request of Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Sullenberger began serving on the DOT’s Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation in January 2017. From 2009 to 2013, he served as co-chairman of EAA Young Eagles—a program that inspires and educates youth about aviation. Most recently, Sullenberger has lent his voice to fulfilling what he feels is his latest mission: defending our democracy.

Gloria SteinemGloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem remains an iconic and inspiring voice, and one of the most visible symbols of the women’s movement. Steinem is a writer, lecturer, political activist and feminist organizer. She travels in the US and other countries as an organizer and lecturer and is a frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality.

Steinem produces and hosts “WOMAN with Gloria Steinem,” a TV series on VICELAND that explores human rights and violence against women around the world. Her next book “THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE, BUT FIRST IT WILL PISS YOU OFF,” is out October 29, 2019.

Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, political activist, and feminist organizer. She travels in this and other countries as an organizer and lecturer and is a frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality.

She is particularly interested in the shared origins of sex and race caste systems, gender roles and child abuse as roots of violence, non-violent conflict resolution, the cultures of indigenous peoples, and organizing across boundaries for peace and justice. She now lives in New York City and has just finished a book detailing her more than thirty years on the road as a feminist organizer.

In 1972, she co-founded Ms. magazine, and remained one of its editors for fifteen years. She continues to serve as a consulting editor for Ms. kand was instrumental in the magazine’s move to join and be published by the Feminist Majority Foundation. In 1968, she had helped to found New York magazine, where she was a political columnist and wrote feature articles.

As a freelance writer, she was published in Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, and women’s magazines as well as for publications in other countries. She has produced a documentary on child abuse for HBO, a feature film about the death penalty for Lifetime, and been the subject of profiles on Lifetime and Showtime.

Her books include the bestsellers Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, Moving Beyond Words, and Marilyn: Norma Jean, on the life of Marilyn Monroe, and in India, As If Women Matter. Her writing also appears in many anthologies and textbooks, and she was an editor of Houghton Mifflin’s The Reader’s Companion to U.S. Women’s History.

Ms. Steinem helped to found the Women’s Action Alliance, a pioneering national information center that specialized in nonsexist, multiracial children’s education, and the National Women’s Political Caucus, a group that continues to work to advance the numbers of pro-equality women in elected and appointed office at a national and state level. She also co-founded the Women’s Media Center in 2004. She was president and co-founder of Voters for Choice, a pro-choice political action committee for twenty-five years, then with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund when it merged with VFC for the 2004 elections.

She was also co-founder and serves on the board of URGE, a national organization that supports young pro-choice leadership and works to preserve comprehensive sex education in schools. She was the founding president of the Ms. Foundation for Women, a national multi-racial, multi-issue fund that supports grassroots projects to empower women and girls, and also a founder of its Take Our Daughters to Work Day, a first national day devoted to girls that has now become an institution here and in other countries.

She was a member of the Beyond Racism Initiative, a three-year effort on the part of activists and experts from South Africa, Brazil and the United States to compare the racial patterns of those three countries and to learn cross-nationally. She is currently working with the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College on documenting the grassroots origins of the U.S. women’s movement, and on a Center for Organizers in tribute to Wilma Mankiller, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. As links to other countries, she helped found Equality Now, Donor Direct Action and Direct Impact Africa.

As a writer, Ms. Steinem has received the James Weldon Johnson Award for Journalism, Penney-Missouri Journalism Award, the Front Page and Clarion awards, National Magazine awards, an Emmy Citation for excellence in television writing, the Women’s Sports Journalism Award, the Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Writers Award from the United Nations, and most recently, the University of Missouri School of Journalism Award for Distinguished Service in Journalism. In 2015, Gloria received the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for her lasting humanitarian contributions.

Ms. Steinem graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Smith College in 1956, and then spent two years in India on a Chester Bowles Fellowship. She wrote for Indian publications and was influenced by Gandhian activism. She also received the first Doctorate of Human Justice awarded by Simmons College, the Bill of Rights Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, the National Gay Rights Advocates Award, the Liberty award of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Ceres Medal from the United Nations, and a number of honorary degrees.

Parenting magazine selected her for its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995 for her work in promoting girls’ self-esteem, and Biography magazine listed her as one of the 25 most influential women in America. In 1993, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York. And in 2013, President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor. Rutgers University is now creating the Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies.

In 1993, her concern with child abuse led her to co-produce and narrate an Emmy Award winning TV documentary for HBO, Multiple Personalities: The Search for Deadly Memories. With Rosilyn Heller, she also co-produced an original 1993 TV movie for Lifetime, Better Off Dead, which examined the parallel forces that both oppose abortion and support the death penalty.

Gloria has been the subject of three television documentaries, including HBO’s Gloria: In Her Own Words, and she is among the subjects of the 2013 PBS documentary MAKERS, a continuing project to record the women who made America. She was the subject of The Education of a Woman, a biography written by Carolyn Heilbrun.

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