Our program is subject to change. Speakers have confirmed their intent to participate; however, scheduling conflicts may arise.


Charles Blow

Michèle Flournoy

Gal Luft, Ph.D.

Gideon Rose, Ph.D.

Charles M. Blow an Op-Ed columnist at The New York Times where his column appears on Thursdays and Mondays. Mr. Blow’s columns tackle hot-button issues such a social justices, racial equality, presidential politics, police violence, gun control and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Mr. Blow is also a CNN commentator and has served as a Presidential Visiting Professor at Yale where he taught a seminar on media and politics and the 2016 election.

Mr. Blow is the author of the critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling memoir Fire Shut Up in My Bones. The book won a Lambda Literary Award and the Sperber Prize and made multiple prominent lists of best books published in 2014. People Magazine called it “searing and unforgettable.”

Mr. Blow joined The New York Times in 1994 as a graphics editor and quickly became the paper’s graphics director, a position he held for nine years. Mr. Blow went on to become the paper’s design director for news before leaving in 2006 to become the art director of National Geographic Magazine. Before coming to The Times, Mr. Blow had worked at The Detroit News.

Mr. Blow graduated magna cum laude from Grambling State University in Louisiana, where he received a B.A. in mass communications, and he holds an honorary doctorate from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. He lives in Brooklyn and has three children.

Michèle Flournoy is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

She served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from February 2009 to February 2012. She was the principal adviser to the Secretary of Defense in the formulation of national security and defense policy, oversight of military plans and operations, and in National Security Council deliberations. She led the development of DoD’s 2012 Strategic Guidance and represented the Department in dozens of foreign engagements, in the media and before Congress.

Prior to confirmation, Ms. Flournoy co-led President Obama’s transition team at DoD.

In January 2007, Ms. Flournoy co-founded CNAS, a non-partisan think tank dedicated to developing strong, pragmatic and principled national security policies. She served as CNAS’ President until 2009.

Previously, she was senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies for several years and, prior to that, a distinguished research professor at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University (NDU).

In the mid-1990s, she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Threat Reduction and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy. She has received several awards from the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Ms. Flournoy is a member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, the Defense Policy Board, the DCIA’s External Advisory Board, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Aspen Strategy Group, and a Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She serves on the boards of The Mitre Corporation, CSRA, Amida Technology Solutions, The Mission Continues, and CARE, and is a Senior Advisor at the Boston Consulting Group.

Ms. Flournoy earned a bachelor’s degree in social studies from Harvard University and a master’s degree in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where she was a Newton-Tatum scholar.

Dr. Gal Luft is co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) a Washington based think tank focused on energy and security. He is a senior adviser to the United States Energy Security Council, a cabinet level extra governmental advisory committee.

Luft spends much of his time in China where he is Co-Chairman of the Global Forum on Energy Security in Beijing and Senior Adviser to the China Energy Fund Committee in Hong Kong. He is a leading advocate of the New Silk Road initiative — a multi trillion dollar plan to connect China with Europe with the goal of lifting hundreds of millions of people from poverty.

He is an internationally recognized expert on strategy, geopolitics, geo-economics, energy security and natural resources. Newsweek Magazine called him a “tireless and independent advocate of energy security,” and “one of the most recognizable figures in modern energy and security issues”.

Esquire Magazine which included him in its list of America’s Best and Brightest also titled him as “the most hated man in Riyadh, Detroit, and Des Moines” for his tireless efforts to lessen America’s dependence on oil. “What separates him from other energy specialists are his pragmatic solutions. He doesn’t peddle pie-in-the-sky political strategies. He’s a realist. He has a single goal: freeing America from the grip of foreign oil. And he wants to do it now,” Esquire wrote.

Dr. Luft published four books and numerous articles on security and energy issues. His books include Energy Security Challenges for the 21st Century; Turning Oil Into Salt; Petropoly: The Collapse of America’s Energy Security Paradigm and Beer, Bacon and Bullets: Culture in Coalition Warfare from Gallipoli to Iraq.

He appears frequently in the media and consults to governments and corporations worldwide.

Luft holds degrees in international relations, international economics and strategic studies and a doctorate in strategic studies from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS,) Johns Hopkins University.

Gideon Rose has been Editor of Foreign Affairs since 2010, after serving as Managing Editor of the magazine from 2000–2010. Prior to that he was Deputy Director of Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and from 1994–1995 he served as Associate Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council. He received a B.A. in Classics from Yale and a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard, and has taught American foreign policy at Princeton and Columbia. He is the author of How Wars End (Simon & Schuster, 2010) and other works.