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Presidential Lecture Series with Patrick Gaspard 

April 25, 2023 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Brooklyn College will continue its successful Presidential Lecture Series on April 25 when Michelle J. Anderson welcomes the President and CEO of the Center for American Progress and the CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund Patrick Gaspard. The lecture, “International Relations and the Building of a More Equitable World,” will center on Gaspard’s career trajectory, international relations, and building of a more equitable world by investing in democracy.

This event will run from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. It will be held in the Don Buchwald Theater located in the Leonard & Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts, 2920 Campus Road, Brooklyn, NY, 11210. Register to attend here.

Brooklyn College’s Presidential Lecture Series features President Anderson in conversation with high-profile leaders and is aimed at exposing students and the extended Brooklyn College community to inspiring ideas, courageous leadership, and models of civic engagement and civil discourse. The series launched on February 2 when the college welcomed Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center President and CEO, Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., FACS, for a discussion around healthcare equity, social justice, and career paths for those interested in healthcare.

Born in the Congo to Haitian parents, Gaspard has been a leader in government, philanthropy, labor, and global diplomacy, with an insistent focus on equity.

“There couldn’t be a more important time to focus on building a more equitable and just world, and Patrick Gaspard has been working to advance social justice and equality throughout his career,” said President Anderson. “We are looking forward to hearing his ideas and strategies from decades of service on the international stage.”

Gaspard most recently served as the president of the Open Society Foundations, one of the largest private philanthropies in the world, where he confronted significant global threats to democracy and rights. He shaped the foundation’s $220 million commitment to civil rights groups in the wake of the national reckoning on race following the murder of George Floyd, and refashioned investments in global health infrastructure in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. He is proud to have launched the foundation’s work in culture and arts as intrinsically tied to human rights practice.

During his tenure as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of South Africa, Gaspard renewed the critical bilateral cooperation on security, health outcomes, and fair trade. He led the effort to redesign U.S. HIV/AIDS funding in the region and integrate it effectively into the South African healthcare system. He also successfully led trade negotiations that resulted in the unprecedented 10-year renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

Gaspard served as the national political director for Barack Obama’s historic 2008 campaign and went on to lead in the president’s administration as the associate director of personnel for the Obama/Biden transition, and Assistant to the President and director of the White House Office of Political Affairs.

Gaspard has had a long career in labor and workers’ rights movements, which peaked during his service to healthcare workers as executive vice president for the Service Employees International Union/Local 1199.

Gaspard attended Columbia University and is the recipient of honorary doctorates from Columbia University and Bard College. He has also been awarded the Spingarn Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the NAACP.

This President Lecture Series event is presented in partnership with the Martin Mendelsohn ’63 and Syma R. Mendelsohn ’64 Lectureship in International Relations at Brooklyn College.