Former chief of staff to share experience

Rebecca Dunphy, Staff writer

Some of the country’s greatest minds will gather in Erie next month for the Jefferson Educational Society’s Global Summit IX from Nov. 2 through 17.

As a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, the Jefferson Educational Society strives to educate the local community on the topics of today by hosting public forums, seminars and debates, as well as producing research and analysis. The Global Summit aligns with these values. Various speakers will be presenting at the Jefferson and at Mercyhurst University’s Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center.

Described by Ben Speggen, program director of Jefferson Educational Society, as a longer version of Ted Talks, each of the nightly events will follow a traditional presentation format followed by an audience-driven question-and-answer forum.

“Usually to have exposure to something of this caliber, you may have to travel to somewhere like New York City,” said Speggen. “We want people to have this in their own backyard. We want it to be accessible for the community.”

With the expectation that most attendees will be members of the Erie community, the institute determined several topics that would be beneficial for locals to learn about.

“Broadly speaking, we are trying to reach everybody,” said Speggen. “We think these are important conversations that will better communities, so they can make better decisions and have insight into conversations that are happening on a national level.”

Areas of discussion will include challenges and opportunities facing Erie, feeding the world in the 21st century and citizen participation in science, leadership development and intelligence issues.

Recently announced, one of the most well-recognized speakers who will be attending the event is Andrew Card, former chief of staff for George W. Bush. Card will share stories from his experiences working with former presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush on Nov. 14 at the Jefferson.

As a whole, the Global Summit promises to provide audiences with a more informed understanding of important topics, and hopes to continue to promote productive and intellectual conversations throughout the community.

“You see that the conversation doesn’t stop here,” said Speggen. “We see people want to discuss these ideas going forward, and we see people don’t just talk about this for one night in November, but continue in the future.”

Those interested in attending the event are invited to contact the Jefferson Educational Society for more information and to reserve a seat at one of the nine events taking place. Global Summit events will be held at Mercyhurst on Nov. 9, 10 and 17. Students are invited to attend those events taking place on campus, as well as those held at the Jefferson, 3207 State St. in Erie.

With valid Mercyhurst ID, students will be granted free admission to this opportunity to learn more about contemporary issues and to diversify their education.