Message from the President - MPSF Speaker Series

Message from the President


Dear Friends of MPSF Speaker Series,

Every year when we announce the speakers for the upcoming season I hear from subscribers, new and old, wanting to know why I booked the speakers I engaged. I assume if some ask, more would be interested so here it goes!

 Why I Picked These Speakers for the 2023-2024 Season

Our opening speaker in October is Dr. Anthony Fauci. After 50 years of public service and becoming the “face of the Pandemic response,” he is the most recognized and influential figure in public health in modern times. On a more local note, Dr. Fauci received the most votes in our annual survey of prospective speakers! He will be a fascinating speaker and holds the answers to lots of interesting questions.

In early November we will be visited by former CIA Director and advisor to President Obama for Home Land security and counter-terrorism, John Brennan. I have been interested in Mr. Brennan as a speaker for some time. He has become an engaging commentator on world affairs, always up-to-date and quite candid in his remarks and answers to audience questions. World affairs is always at the top of the list when we ask for your input on topics and Mr. Brennan is among the most informed people in the world to speak on this.

Later that month, and our last event before the holidays, we will be joined by Marlee Matlin and Henry Winkler. Both are award-winning actors, activists and extremely close friends. When Marlee was a young girl, she had dreams of becoming an actress, despite her hearing challenges. Henry and his wife met Marlee, listened to her talk about her aspirations and were so impressed that they became her second family and professional mentors. Together, they will share personal stories of their relationship, their careers, activism and their lives today. They are dynamic on stage together and their story will be a heartwarming kick-off to the holiday season.

Our opening speaker of 2024 is one of the most widely recognized figures in science, Dr. Michio Kaku. Dr. Kaku is a science correspondent for CBS This Morning, author of five New York Times best sellers and is well known for his ability to predict trends in business, finance, medicine and our way of life based on the latest research in science. He is one of the most brilliant minds in then world, an accomplished speaker and the perfect guest to stimulate our minds as we begin a new year.

Our guest in February is familiar to anyone who listens to NPR’s Morning Edition or All Things Considered, the NPR National Political Correspondent, Mara Liasson. Mara joined NPR in 1985, served as White House Correspondent during the Clinton administration, has covered all the Presidential elections since 1992, and reports on senate and house elections every election year. She is an expert on elections, national policy and relations between The White House and Congress. We’ll be in the midst of a Presidential election, the Primaries, caucuses and debates, so Mara’s insights will be perfectly timed!

Space and the explorers who have told us of their exploits as astronauts have always fascinated our audiences. Behind those public figures are scientists and engineers who get them safely to space and back. Some of the significant hardware and software developed in support of the space program come from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena. One of the lead contributors is Kobie Boykins. Kobie was part of the team the developed the Mars Rovers, the last two of which were expected to last 90 days but kept providing data for six y ears. Now Chief Engineer of NASA’s Europe Clipper Mission which will launch in 2024 an explore Jupiter to help us understand why water once existed on Mars and Jupiter and how we can avoid that outcome on Earth. Kobie has an amazing passion for his work, is an enthusiastic speaker, and will be this season’s version of “The best speakers I see are those I know the least about,” which I hear from subscribers all the time.

Our final 2023-2024 event will feature a 2022 recipient of the JFK Library Profiles in Courage Awards for her consistent and courageous voice in defense of Democracy. Former member of the house, long-time public servant, expert in Eastern European affairs and in the eyes of many, an American Hero, Liz Cheney will share her thoughts on a range of topics. Interestingly, Ms. Cheney finished third in our survey of prospective speakers so we’ll begin with your first choice and finish with the third.

Our recently completed season was, in terms of post-lecture surveys, our best since we began taking surveys 10 years ago. Fareed Zakaria, Admiral Stavridis, Kathy Sullivan, and Lynsey Addario were of particular note. I believe the upcoming season will surpass that record. In terms of topics, speaker ability, and timeliness/relevance, I’ve never felt more optimism and enthusiasm as we announce our schedule. I hope you feel the same!


Jim Weil
President and Host, MPSF Speaker Series

"Wonderful series, stimulating, thought-provoking, each month an intellectual bonbon."
"I enjoy the lectures because they present a diverse group of subjects, ideas and information about what is happening in our world today."
"This series is extremely well run and organized in all respects. But the quality of speakers remains the key component to keep us coming back each year. We're looking for speakers that bring unique content that we won't necessarily obtain in our day to day following of news, events, and the world."
"I have been coming to the Speakers Series for years and truly appreciate the selection of speakers. The variety of topics selected is very good also. Thanks so much for all of the work you devote to the production, etc."
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