Friday, August 28, 2015

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Michael Pollan is a journalist and one of the most influential figures in the food world. For over 25 years he has been informing us about the places where nature and culture intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and the evolution of food in our diets. He has been called one of the top 10 “new thought leaders.”

Dr. Michio Kaku is a theoretical physicist, renowned futurist and popularizer of science. During high school, he famously built an atom smasher in his parent’s garage. Dr. Kaku can be seen regularly on television, explaining natural phenomena to non-scientists. He has the ability to make complex scientific ideas not only understandable but fascinating.

Jane Pauley is a television anchor and journalist. In 2004, Pauley wrote movingly and publically acknowledged her struggle with bipolar disorder. Last year she published Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life, stories of people reinventing their lives and careers in middle age to do work they love. While better known for her tenure on NBC’s Today Show and Dateline NBC, Pauley is now a contributor on CBS News Sunday Morning.

Wesley Clark is a retired four star General and one-time candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. With a keen insight into modern warfare and issues presented around the globe, General Clark’s knowledge on foreign affairs and military engagements will give us a glimpse into the challenges facing our world today.

Malcolm Gladwell is a master storyteller in a genre he created: illuminating the secret patterns behind every day phenomena, such as how ideas spread (The Tipping Point), the roots of success (Outliers), and his latest, David and Goliath, on the advantages of disadvantages. He is the author of five New York Times bestsellers, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people.

Gabby Giffords is a former Congresswoman and her husband, Mark Kelly is a Navy captain and NASA astronaut. Mark and his identical twin brother Scott will have just completed NASA’s study of the effects of a year in space, with Scott on the international space shuttle while Mark remained on Earth. Mark and Gabby’s individual stories are captivating: Mark facing danger as a Navy pilot and in space, Gabby on presumably safer ground, in Congress. As individuals, they show how optimism, an adventurous spirit, and a call to service can help change the world; as a couple, they are a national example of the healing power of shared love and courage

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