Distinguished Speakers Discuss New Challenges to Democracy at Albright Institute

January 25, 2019

Student fellows from the 10th annual Albright Institute Wintersession program gathered from January 7 to January 24 to hear a wide variety of groundbreaking talks and panel discussions on this year’s theme: Challenges to Democracy: Authoritarianism and Future Technologies. The program featured some of the most important thinkers of today, including Judy Woodruff, anchor of PBS NewsHour; John Podesta, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton; Samantha Power, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N.; renowned legal scholar Cass Sunstein; and Madeleine Korbel Albright ’59, former U.S. secretary of state. The Wintersession program is one of the Albright Institute’s many initiatives designed to educate and inspire the next generation of female leaders in the context of an increasingly complex and interconnected global environment.


Madeleine Albright, Samantha Power and Cass Sunstein speak to a crowd.

Samantha Power, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., spoke with Takis Metaxas, professor of computer science at Wellesley and faculty director of the Albright Institute, on January 22. On January 23, Power joined former Secretary of State Madeleine Korbel Albright ’59 and Cass Sunstein, Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University and former Administrator of the Obama White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

Earlier in the week, a diverse group of Albright Fellows presented eight projects to Power on global issues spanning from tech policy in the Chinese market to climate change lawsuits by Youth Against Australia. The 2019 Albright Institute distinguished visitor provided feedback to the fellows on their multidisciplinary projects.

John Podesta speaks to two Albright Fellows.

John Podesta, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and founder of the Center for American Progress, joined Bill Reilly, Environmental Protection Agency administrator under President George H.W. Bush, for a discussion entitled “Climate Disorder: Lessons from the Past for the Current World Order” on January 16.

Judy Woodruff sits in conversation with Provost Andy Sheenan

Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of PBS NewsHour, spoke on January 7 with Andrew Shennan, Wellesley College provost and Lia Gelin Poorvu ’56 Dean of the College, about press in the age of populism. They discussed how to consume media critically as well as the challenges that the press faces today.