The Eizenstat Lecture is an annual, free public event featuring well-known speakers addressing current and thought-provoking issues. Past speakers include national and international political, legal and economic leaders such as last-year’s speaker Vice President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, Shimon Perez, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Joseph Lieberman, Al Gore, Alan Dershowitz, Paul Dundes Wolfowitz and Herman Wouk.
2017 marks the 29th installment of the Eizenstat Lecture. Established in 1987 by former Ambassador to the European Union, Stuart Eizenstat, to honor the memories of his family members, the Lecture features distinguished world figures speaking on national and international topics. Mr. Eizenstat served in key positions in President Jimmy Carter’s administration, including Chief Domestic Policy Adviser and Executive Director of the White House Domestic Policy Staff, and in President Bill Clinton’s administration, including Deputy Treasury Secretary, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, and Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade. Mr. Eizenstat currently heads the international practice of the law firm Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C.
Our 2017 Speaker: Wolf Blitzer
Wolf Blitzer is CNN’s lead political anchor and the anchor of The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, providing viewers with in-depth reports about the political, international and breaking news stories of the day. In addition, he anchors Wolf, focusing on the most important news from Washington and around the world. Blitzer has been with the network for more than two decades.
Blitzer was pivotal to CNN’s election coverage throughout America’s Choice 2012, serving as lead anchor on key primary nights, caucus nights and the Emmy award-winning election night. He moderated three of CNN’s Republican presidential debates including the first-of-its-kind tea party debate. During the 2008 presidential election, Blitzer spearheaded CNN’s Peabody Award-winning coverage of the presidential primary debates and campaigns. He also led CNN’s Emmy-winning “America Votes 2006” coverage and “America Votes 2004.” Furthermore, he anchored the network’s coverage during the inaugurations of Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
In addition to politics, Blitzer is also known for his in-depth reporting on international news. In January 2013, Blitzer traveled to Cairo, Egypt to sit down at the presidential palace with President Mohamed Morsy. In December 2010, he was granted rare access to travel to North Korea with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. While in country as the only network journalist, he took viewers inside the communist, totalitarian regime with reports from the rarely seen streets of Pyongyang and Kim II-sung University.
Known for his Middle East expertise, Blitzer reported from Israel in the midst of the war between that country and Hezbollah during the summer of 2006 and he also returned to the region with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper in 2012. In 2005, Blitzer was the only American news anchor to cover the Dubai Ports World story on the ground in the United Arab Emirates. He also traveled to the Middle East in 2005 to report on the second anniversary of the war in Iraq. In 2003, Blitzer reported on the Iraq war from the Persian Gulf region.
Blitzer began his career in 1972 with the Reuters News Agency in Tel Aviv. Shortly thereafter, he became a Washington, D.C., correspondent for The Jerusalem Post. After more than 15 years of reporting from the nation’s capital, Blitzer joined CNN in 1990 as the network’s military-affairs correspondent at the Pentagon. He then served as CNN’s senior White House correspondent covering President Bill Clinton from November 1992 election until 1999, when he became the anchor of CNN’s Sunday public affairs program Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer and remained for more than a decade.
In March 2014, he will be awarded the Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism by the National Press Foundation. Last year, he was recognized as the eighth recipient of the Urbino Press Award from the Italian Embassy for his excellence in journalism. In 2011, Blitzer received the distinguished Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award from The Radio & Television Digital News Foundation, and The Panetta Institute for Public Policy’s Jefferson-Lincoln Award.
Blitzer has authored two books, Between Washington and Jerusalem: A Reporter’s Notebook (Oxford University Press, 1985) and Territory of Lies (Harper and Row, 1989)-cited by The New York Times Book Review as one of the most notable books of 1989.
Blitzer earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a master of arts degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. In addition, Blitzer has numerous honorary degrees from educational institutions across the country, including The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.; State University of New York at Buffalo; The Catholic University in Washington, D.C. and The Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pa.
Stuart Eizenstat, a native of Atlanta and lifelong member of Ahavath Achim Synagogue, currently heads Covington & Burling’s international practice. He has practiced law more than 30 years in Atlanta and Washington.
Ambassador Eizenstat has held a number of key positions during his decades of government service. From 1977 to 1981, he was President Jimmy Carter’s Chief Domestic Policy Adviser and Executive Director of the White House Domestic Policy Staff. In the Clinton Administration, he was Deputy Treasury Secretary, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, and Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, as well as Ambassador to the European Union from 1993 to 1996. He received the highest departmental awards for his service from Secretary of State Christopher, Secretary of State Albright, and Secretary of the Treasury Summers.
Much of the recent interest in World War II issues and justice for Holocaust survivors and the memory of the Holocaust, is as a result of his work. In 1978, he recommended to President Carter the creation of a Presidential Commission of the Holocaust, chaired by Eli Wiesel, which led directly the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. During the Clinton Administration, he served as Special Representative of the President and Secretary of States on Holocaust Issues. In this capacity, he led two landmark U.S. reports on the role of Switzerland and other neutral countries during the War; and led negotiations that produced major agreements with the Swiss, Germans, Austrians, French, and Central European governments for bank accounts, slave and forced labor, insurance policies, Nazi-looted art, worth more than $8 billion to Holocaust victims and their families and other non-Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. He published a book on these events, “Imperfect Justice: Looted Assets, Slave Labor and the Unfinished Business of World War II” (2003) which has been translated into German, French, Czech and Hebrew. He has also published a book, “The Future of the Jews: How Global Forces are Impacting the Jewish People, Israel and its Relationship with the United States” (2012). Ambassador Eizenstat is now working on a book on a comprehensive assessment of the Carter Administration, which will be published in 2018.
During the first term of the Obama Administration, he served as Special Adviser on Holocaust Issues to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, negotiating, among other things, the 47-nation Terezin Declaration of Looted Assets and a $50 million agreement with the Lithuanian government. During the second term of the Obama Administration, he held the same position for Secretary of State John Kerry, during which he successfully negotiated a $60 million agreement with the French government for deportees and their families on the French railway during World War II. Since 2009, he has led the negotiating team for the Jewish Claims Conference and has negotiated more than $2 billion in additional benefits with the German government, including for flight victims, home care for needy Survivors around the world, and a new Child Survivors program. He is co-chair of the Jewish People’s Policy Institute, a Jerusalem-based think tank, dealing with strategic issues facing Israel, the U.S.-Israel Relationship and the Diaspora. He also chairs the Defiant Requiem Foundation, which sponsors concerts in the U.S. and the world over honoring a Jewish prisoner chorus in the Theresenstadt concentration camp (Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin), and a new concert honoring Jewish composers who wrote original musical scores at Theresenstadt, called “Hours of Freedom”. The Defiant Requiem documentary, recognizing the artistic revolution at Theresenstadt received Emmy nominations in 2014 as Best Full Length Documentary and Best Script.
He has received eight honorary doctorate degrees from universities and educational institutions, and some 75 awards and citations, including the Legion of Honor from France, and high civilian awards from Israel, Germany and Austria. A chair in his name has been created in modern Jewish History and Culture at his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In May, 2017, he received Tel Aviv University’s highest award.
Ambassador Eizenstat received his J.D. from Harvard University in 1967. He served as a law clerk for the Honorable Newell Edenfield of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Prior to entering law school, Mr. Eizenstat earned an A.B., cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He and his late wife, Frances Eizenstat, have two sons, and eight grandchildren from Jay and Jessica and Brian and Erin.
Previous Eizenstat Lecture Speakers
|2015||Vice President Joe Biden|
|2014||Thomas L. Friedman|
|2013||The Honorable Ron Dermer|
|2012||Justice Stephen Gerald Breyer|
|2010||The Honorable Michael B. Oren|
|2009||The Honorable Al Gore|
|2007||Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg|
|2006||Paul Wolfowitz, Ph.D|
|2005||The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton|
|2004||The Honorable Ehud Olmert|
|2003||The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton|
|2001||The Honorable Jimmy Carter|
|2000||U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright|
|1999||The Honorable Joseph Lieberman|
|1997||Professor Alan Dershowitz|
|1996||Cantor Benjamin Muller & Choir|
|1995||The Honorable Shimon Peres|
|1994||Rabbi Shlomo Riskin|
|1993||The Honorable Itamar Rabinovich|
|1992||The Honorable Simcha Dinitz|
|1991||The Honorable Teddy Kollek|
|1990||The Honorable Dr. Henry Kissinger|
|1989||The Honorable Abba Eban|