"Has America Lost Its Leading Edge?"

October 24, 2014 | 3:30 p.m.

Speaker Bios


John Bolton

John Bolton

  • Former Representative to the United Nations
  • Foreign Policy Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute


John R. Bolton was appointed as United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations (U.N.) from August 2005 until December 2006. Prior to his appointment, Bolton served as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security from May 2001 to 2005.

Throughout his distinguished career, Bolton has been a staunch defender of American interests. While Under Secretary, he repeatedly advocated tough measures against the nuclear weapons programs of both Iran and North Korea, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction generally. He led negotiations for America to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty so that the Bush Administration could proceed with a national missile-defense program.

During his tenure at the U.N., he was a leading voice on the need for the Security Council to take strong and meaningful action against international proliferation and terrorism. Along with France's ambassador, Bolton led the Security Council to approve a unanimous resolution to end the summer 2006 Hezbollah war on Israel, to authorize U.N. peacekeepers and to create an arms embargo against Hezbollah. He also assembled an international coalition that blocked the bid of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's Marxist strongman, to join the Security Council.

Bolton was also an advocate for human rights while serving at the U.N., arranging the Security Council's first deliberations on Burma's human rights abuses. He invited actor George Clooney and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel to brief the Security Council in September 2006 on the Khartoum regime's mass-murder of non-Arabs in Darfur, Sudan. He engineered the Security Council's approval of 22,500 U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur, and worked to pressure Sudan's government to accept these personnel atop the 7,000 African Union soldiers already on site.

In his role as an attorney, Bolton is a counsel at Kirkland & Ellis LLC, with a focus on domestic and international issues. He also serves as a foreign policy senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and is a contributor to FOX News Channel. His op-ed articles are regularly featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Times. He's authored Surrender is Not an Option: Defending America at the U.N. and Abroad and How Barack Obama is Endangering our National Sovereignty.

Bolton graduated with a B.A., summa cum laude, from Yale University and received his J.D. in 1974.

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Felipe Calderon

Felipe Calderón

  • President of Mexico (2006 to 2012)


Felipe Calderón served as the 56th president of Mexico from 2006 to 2012. Establishing economic reform as a top priority of his administration, Calderón implemented policies that catapulted Mexico into a powerful player in the global economy. With his experience as an influential policy maker, both in Mexico and on the world stage, Calderón is in a unique position to assess the transforming world economy. He has been named "Statesman of the Year" by the World Economic Forum and "Champion of the Earth" by the United Nations. TIME magazine has designated him as one of their top 100 influential people in the world.

Under his administration, Mexico achieved universal health coverage, and the Mexican economy registered stability, economic growth and job creation. In 2012, Calderón chaired the G20 conference.

During his presidency, his country chaired the COP 16 conference, for which Mexico was recognized as a global leader in fighting the threat of climate change.

Prior to his role as president, Calderón was Secretary of Energy and the director of BANOBRAS (Public Works Bank) in President Vicente Fox's administration. He was also a congressman several times, leader of the National Action Party (PAN) in the lower House, and Secretary General and National President of PAN.

Currently, Calderón serves as chair of The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, an honorary chairman of the Green Growth Action Alliance (WEF), president of the Sustainable Human Development Foundation, and Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Calderón has a law degree from the Escuela Libre de Derecho, an M.A. from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and an M.A. in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

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Newt Gingrich

Steve Forbes

  • Candidate for Republican Party Presidential Nomination (1996 and 2000)
  • Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, Forbes Media


Steve Forbes is chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media. Under his leadership, the company has launched ForbesLife, the dedicated luxury lifestyle and culture magazine; Forbes Europe; Forbes Asia; and Forbes licensee editions in over 30 countries. The company also publishes a number of investment newsletters.

In 1996 Forbes.com was launched, and through March 2014, reached 27 million unique visitors, according to comScore worldwide. Other Forbes Web sites include: RealClearPolitics.com, RealClearMarkets.com, RealClearSports.com and RealClearWorld.com.

The company's flagship publication, Forbes, is the nation's leading business magazine, with a circulation of more than 900,000. Forbes combined with Forbes Asia; Forbes Europe and the company's licensee editions together reach a worldwide audience of more than 5 million readers.

Forbes writes editorials for each issue of Forbes under the heading of "Fact and Comment." A widely respected economic prognosticator, he is the only writer to have won the highly prestigious Crystal Owl Award four times. The prize was formerly given by U.S. Steel Corporation to the financial journalist whose economic forecasts for the coming year proved most accurate.

In 1985, President Reagan named Forbes chairman of the bipartisan Board for International Broadcasting (BIB). In this position, he oversaw the operations of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. He was reappointed to his post by President George H. W. Bush and served until 1993.

In both 1996 and 2000, Forbes campaigned vigorously for the Republican nomination for the presidency.

Presently, he serves on the boards of The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, the Heritage Foundation and The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He is on the Board of Overseers of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and on the Board of Visitors for the School of Public Policy of Pepperdine University.

Forbes graduated cum laude in 1966 from Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts, and received a B.A. in history from Princeton in 1970.

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Brian Mulroney

Brian Mulroney

  • Prime Minister of Canada (1984-1993)


In September 1984, Brian Mulroney led the Progressive Conservative party to the largest victory in Canadian history, becoming Canada's18th prime minister.

He was re-elected with a majority government four years later thereby becoming the first Canadian prime minister in 35 years to win successive majority governments and the first conservative prime minister to do so in 100 years. He resigned in June 1993, having served almost nine years as Prime Minister.

His government introduced bold new initiatives such as the Canada – U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Canada – U.S. Acid Rain Treaty.

Mulroney received his honours undergraduate degree from St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, N.S., and a law degree from Université Lavalin Quebec City.

He serves as a director of Barrick Gold Corporation, Tuckamore Capital (Toronto), The Blackstone Group L.P. (New York), Wyndham Worldwide Corporation (New Jersey), Said Holdings Limited (Bermuda), Quebecor Inc. and Quebecor Media Inc. (Montreal).

He also serves as chairman of the International Advisory Board of Barrick Gold Corporation (Toronto), and is a member of the advisory group of Lion Capital LLP (London).

Mulroney is a trustee of the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation and the International Advisory Council of the École des Hautes etudes commerciales de Montréal.

He has been awarded Canada's highest honor, Companion of the Order of Canada, and has also been made a Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec.

Mulroney holds the best economic record of any prime minister since World War II, is second in a ranking of the best prime ministers of the previous 50 years, was named "The Greenest Prime Minister in History," and is a #1 national best-selling author and "the most admired" former prime minister of Canada.

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Jay Sekulow

Jay Sekulow

  • Chief Counsel, American Center for Law and Justice and European Centre for Law and Justice


Jay Alan Sekulow is chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a law firm and educational organization, founded in 1990, that focuses on constitutional law. He is also chief counsel of the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ). A nationally recognized and respected defender of constitutional freedoms, Sekulow has assembled one of the most prestigious law firms in the nation.

In 2005, TIME magazine called the ACLJ "a powerful counterweight" to the ACLU. Business Week said the ACLJ is "the leading advocacy group for religious freedom."

An accomplished and respected judicial advocate, Sekulow has presented numerous oral arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States in defense of constitutional freedoms.

Sekulow received his Ph.D. from Regent University, with a dissertation on American Legal History. He is an honors graduate of Mercer Law School, where he served on the Mercer Law Review, and an honors graduate of Mercer University. He was appointed a visiting fellow of Oxford University at Harris Manchester College where he lectured on Middle East Affairs and International Law. In 2014 Sekulow completed a post doctoral course of study in Middle East Affairs at Exeter College, University of Oxford. He has completed a program of study at Vanderbilt University's Owen School of Management in Executive Leadership and Strategic Innovation.

Sekulow currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for The Supreme Court Historical Society in Washington, D.C. He also serves as a Board of Trustees member for Regent University.

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