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2013-14 ESF Guest Lectures

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10/11  Karl Eikenberry, “Putting the Liberal Arts to Public Service”

William J. Perry Fellow in International Security at CISAC, CDDRL, TEC, and Shorenstein APARC Distinguished Fellow; and Former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan and Retired U.S. Army Lt. General

Karl Eikenberry served as the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, where he led efforts to set the conditions for transition to full Afghan sovereignty. Prior to that appointment, he had a thirty-five year career in the United States Army, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant General. His operational posts included being the Commander of the American-led Coalition forces in Afghanistan from 2005-2007. 

He has served in various policy and political-military positions, including Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee in Brussels; Director for Strategic Planning and Policy for U.S. Pacific; and Deputy Director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy on the Army Staff.

He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, has master's degrees from Harvard University in East Asian Studies and from Stanford University in Political Science, and was a National Security Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He also has an Advanced Degree in Chinese History from Nanjing University in the People’s Republic of China.

He has published numerous articles on U.S. military training, tactics, and strategy, and on Chinese ancient military history and Asia-Pacific security issues. Most recently, he was a member of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences' Commission on the Social Sciences and Humanities. 

His military awards include the Defense Distinguished and Superior Service Medals, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Ranger Tab, Combat and Expert Infantryman badges, and master parachutist wings. He has received the Department of State Distinguished, Superior, and Meritorious Honor Awards, Director of Central Intelligence Award, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award. He is also the recipient of the George F. Kennan Award for Distinguished Public Service and Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Centennial Medal. His foreign and international decorations include the Canadian Meritorious Service Cross, French Legion of Honor, Czech Republic Meritorious Cross, Hungarian Alliance Medal, Afghanistan’s Ghazi Amir Amanullah Khan and Akbar Khan Medals, Taiwan’s Order of Resplendent Banner with Grand Cordon, and the NATO Meritorious Service Medal.

About Karl Eikenberry

“Americans and Their Military, Drifting Apart” 

"Stop Ignoring Taiwan" 

Video: Karl Eikenberry: 2013 National Humanities Alliance Annual Meeting

Suggested Readings 

"The Founders and the Classics: Greece, Rome, and the American Enlightenment"

"The Heart of the Matter"


10/18 Richard Levin "The Discipline and Furniture of the Mind?"

Economist and former President of Yale (1993 to 2013)

Richard C. Levin is the longest serving Ivy League president and is recognized as one of the leaders of American higher education. Prior to assuming the presidency in 1993, he was Dean of Yale’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. A distinguished economist, he has served as Chair of Yale’s Economics Department and has been a member of Yale’s faculty since 1974.

The internationalization of Yale has been one of President Levin’s priorities during his leadership. During his tenure, he launched the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization headed by former President of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo; created the Yale World Fellows Program that is building and training a world-wide network of emerging leaders; and introduced a new financial aid policy to provide international students with the same generous financial aid awarded to U.S. students. Under his stewardship, Yale has played a particularly crucial role in China's efforts to establish a world-class system of universities.

A native of San Francisco, President Levin received his bachelor's degree in history from Stanford University in 1968 and studied politics and philosophy at Oxford University, where he earned a Bachelor of Letters degree. In 1974 he received his Ph.D. in economics from Yale and was named to the Yale faculty. He holds honorary degrees awarded by Peking, Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford Universities. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

About Richard Levin

“Levin leaves indelible mark on Yale medicine”

Video: Everybody Has a Story with Yale University President Richard Levin

Suggested Readings

"On Liberal Education", in The Work of the University by Richard Levin

"The Lesson of 9/11"

“A New Community of Learning” (pp. 9-11; pp. 25-29; pp. 34-52)


11/8 Adam Gopnik "The Real Work" 

Canadian-raised American writer, essayist and commentator, and contributor to The New Yorker

Adam Gopnik has been writing for The New Yorker since 1986. During his tenure at the magazine, he has written fiction and humor pieces, book reviews, profiles, reporting pieces, and more than a hundred stories for The Talk of the Town and Comment.

Gopnik became The New Yorker’s art critic in 1987. In 1990, he collaborated with Kirk Varnedoe, the former curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, on the exhibition “High & Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture,” and co-wrote the book of the same name. In 1995, Gopnik moved to Paris and began writing the Paris Journal column for the magazine. An expanded collection of his essays from Paris, Paris to the Moon, appeared in 2000. While in Paris, he also wrote an adventure novel, The King in the Window. Gopnik has edited the anthology Americans in Paris for the Library of America, and has written introductions to new editions of the works of Maupassant, Balzac, Proust, and Alain-Fournier. His most recent book, Through the Children’s Gate: A Home in New York, collects and expands his essays about life in New York and about raising two children here. Gopnik has won the National Magazine Award for Essays and for Criticism three times, and also the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting.

According to Gopnik, his lecture "The Real Work" will be "about my own adventures in the farther shores of mid-life mastery (learning card magic, life drawing, dog-raising, bread-baking)...about what accomplishments are, how they differ from achievements, and why we need them."

About Adam Gopnik

Video: Meet the Writers - Adam Gopnik

Video: Why French Matters - Adam Gopnik

Suggested Reading

  • “Life Studies: What I Learned When I Learned to Draw,” by Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, June 2011
  • The Real Work: On the Mystery of Mastery by Adam Gopnik


11/22  Shirley Tilghman "Encountering the Other" 

Leading molecular biologist and former President of Princeton (2001 to 2013)

An exceptional teacher and a world-renowned scholar and leader in the field of molecular biology, Shirley M. Tilghman she served on the Princeton faculty for 15 years before being named President of Princeton.

During postdoctoral studies at the National Institutes of Health, she made a number of groundbreaking discoveries while participating in cloning the first mammalian gene, and then continued to make scientific breakthroughs as an independent investigator at the Institute for Cancer Research in Philadelphia and an adjunct associate professor of human genetics and biochemistry and biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Tilghman came to Princeton in 1986 as the Howard A. Prior Professor of the Life Sciences. Two years later, she also joined the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as an investigator. In 1998, she took on additional responsibilities as the founding director of Princeton's multi-disciplinary Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.

A member of the National Research Council's committee that set the blueprint for the U.S. effort in the Human Genome Project, Tilghman also was one of the founding members of the National Advisory Council of the Human Genome Project Initiative for the National Institutes of Health.

She is renowned not only for her pioneering research, but for her national leadership on behalf of women in science and for promoting efforts to make the early careers of young scientists as meaningful and productive as possible. She received national attention for a report on "Trends in the Careers of Life Scientists" that was issued in 1998 by a committee she chaired for the National Research Council. From 1993 through 2000, Tilghman chaired Princeton's Council on Science and Technology, which encourages the teaching of science and technology to students outside the sciences, and in 1996 she received Princeton's President's Award for Distinguished Teaching. In 2002, Tilghman was one of five winners of the L'Oréal-UNESCO international For Women in Science Award, and the following year received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Developmental Biology.

She received her Honors B.Sc. in chemistry from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, in 1968. After two years of secondary school teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa, she obtained her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Temple University in Philadelphia.

About Shirley Tilghman

“Recruiting, Retaining and Advancing Women Scientists in Academia"

Video: Shirley Tilghman: Women Opting Out

Video: Molecular Biologist & Princeton President