Fahrenkopf & Manatt Endowed Lecture Series



History of the Endowed Lecture Series
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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.

Fahrenkopf and Manatt
From left to right: Charles T. Manatt and Frank J. Fahrenkopf.

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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Matthew Weil

Matthew Weil
Distinguished Speaker

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. 

Chuck Todd

Chuck Todd
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."

Quentin Turner
GSPM '22

Quentin Turner GSPM '22


Information on Past Events

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Speakers Fahrenkopf-Manatt Lecture

Is Confidence in the Resilience of U.S. Democracy Justified?

At GSPM’s annual Fahrenkopf-Manatt Lecture, Matthew Weil, executive director of the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), and NBC’s chief political analyst, Charles “Chuck” Todd, Hon. ’22, talked of...

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Reinvigorating Democracy: Constitutional Origins & Evolution

In celebration of Constitution Day, GSPM organized an event with scholar & practitioner panels on the constitutional origins & modern evolutions of U.S. democracy.

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How Can We Renew Bipartisanship?

What can be done to counter the increasingly polarized political climate in the U.S.? A panel of experts discussed the urgent need to embrace bipartisanship.

Election 2020 Coverage

GSPM’s Election Coverage & Research Continues…

The presidential elections only come once in four years and GSPM is working overtime to provide the political expertise and coverage of this historic election.

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GSPM Celebrates Alumni Achievements, Hosts Election Integrity Lecture

An expert panel discussed how the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election challenges our ideas around national security, campaign management, and personal data.

For more information, please contact us at cpsevents@gwu.edu