The Frank J. Fahrenkopf -Charles T. Manatt Endowed Lecture Series is our premier annual event where we bring to campus a national political leader or commentator who presents a major address to a broad cross section of the GW community. The Lecture Series highlights and encapsulates how productive and amicable relationships across the aisle lead to more constructive dialogue to advance the nation's business.
The Fahrenkopf-Manatt Lecture Series is named for Frank Fahrenkopf, a former Chair of the Republican National Committee during Ronald Reagan's presidency, now the Co-Chair of the Commission of Presidential Debates, and the late Charles T. Manatt, who was Chair of the Democratic National Committee in the same time period and later served as U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic.
Although the two leaders had disparate views on specific issues, such as tax policy and defense spending, they always championed the integrity of the U.S. electoral process. They respected the essential role of a vigorous, fact-based competition of ideas in politics. They respected one another and made many joint appearances, including on university campuses.
Their careers as political leaders and the powerful example they continued to model after their terms ended inspired and helped to set the direction for the Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) through its first 20 years.
For GSPM graduate programs that have at their core applied politics and advocacy, the Fahrenkopf-Manatt Lecture Series highlights and encapsulates how productive and amicable relationships across the aisle lead to more constructive dialogue to advance the nation's business.
Open to the GW community, the Fahrenkopf-Manatt Lecture hosts an audience of practitioners, Capitol Hill staff, political strategists, academics and the media. It usually coincides with a board meeting of the Board of Advisors of GSPM.
Past speakers have included Senators Tom Daschle (D-SD), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Trent Lott (R-MS), Olympia Snow (R-ME), and pollster Mark Penn.
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The much-anticipated 2023 Fahrenkopf-Manatt Lecture will feature a distinguished speaker, Matthew Weil, from the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC). Serving as the Executive Director of the Democracy Program at BPC, Weil runs a portfolio of programs on federal and state elections, core institutions like Congress and the Presidency, digital democracy, and impactful innovative structural reforms to improve government fairness.
Emcee and Commentator
Joining Weil as the emcee and commentator will be none other than Chuck Todd, the Chief Political Analyst for NBC News who just stepped down as the moderator of Meet the Press. During the nine years he helmed MTP, the media franchise experienced remarkable growth, expanding to include a daily show, podcasts and newsletters, and the highly acclaimed annual Meet the Press Film Festival. Todd received an Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from George Washington University in 2022.
Together, Weil and Todd bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Fahrenkopf-Manatt Lecture, It promises to be an engaging and enlightening discussion on American democracy, its guard rails and the tests ahead in 2024. Such a program is exactly where the GW community can learn from the best in the business.
"Over the course of my graduate study, I had the privilege of learning directly from former members of Congress, senior staff at the White House, and the Senate Majority Leader’s office, and many key congressional staffers and policy influencers in Washington, D.C. There is no better place to learn about our nation’s lawmaking and policy processes than at GW, surrounded by the people doing it every day."