In the Arena: The LBJ Era… to the Present

FORUM I: In the Arena: The LBJ Era… to the Present

Oct. 5, 2020; 7 PM (CT)

Push boundaries. Break glass. Shape the future. From civil rights and higher education to Medicare and space exploration, Lyndon B. Johnson embraced transformative change. He was a big thinker and an even bigger doer—reflected in the DNA of the public affairs school he founded 50 years ago. By linking the LBJ legacy to the work of today's extraordinary thinkers and doers, this forum challenges new generations of leaders to fight for change at a time of global crisis and uncertainty. See the online conversation.  

Darren Walker, Ford Foundation (left); John Dickerson, CBS News

Session I: A Larger Truth

Much like the LBJ era, we live today in a time of extremes—"extreme challenges that remain extremely unsolved." One of America's great thinkers reflects on how we can move forward to address the most daunting issues of our time—economic inequity, racial justice, climate change—with patience, inclusiveness and nuance. How can we reclaim the commons and the common ground, extending our hands, our good faith and even the benefit of the doubt?

Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation
Interviewed by John Dickerson, CBS News Senior Political Analyst, "60 Minutes" correspondent, author

Martine Rothblatt (left) and Carla Hayden

Session II: LBJ's Legacy in a Digital World

Two leaders who have shattered boundaries in their own lives offer fresh insights on LBJ's legacy, protecting liberal democracy in our digital era, and the brand of innovative leadership emerging generations can offer.

Martine Rothblatt, CEO, United Therapeutics
Carla Hayden, 14th Librarian of Congress

Ezekiel Emanuel (left) and Michael Hole

Session III: Healing Ourselves

Fifty-five years ago, LBJ and a bipartisan Congress transformed the health of Americans—young and old, wealthy and poor—with the passage of Medicare and Medicaid. But delivering affordable and sensible health care remains an intractable problem, with the pandemic starkly exposing vast inequities and shortfalls in the medical system. America's premiere medical ethicist explains where we are—and where we could be if we came together behind bold reforms.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania
Michael Hole, M.D., MBA, faculty at Dell Medical School and the LBJ School of Public Affairs

Tom Freston (left) and Pattie Sellers

Session IV: Poverty and the Power of Politics

Bono has described his ONE Campaign as an "NRA for the world's poor" for its stubborn lobbying of lawmakers to combat poverty so "everyone, everywhere can lead a life of dignity and opportunity"—words that echo LBJ. A look inside the ONE Campaign's audacious mission to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030—and what a global pandemic is teaching us about the magnitude of that challenge.

Tom Freston, Chairman, ONE Campaign; former CEO of Viacom and MTV Networks
Interviewed by Pattie Sellers, Co-CEO, SellersEaston Media; Chair, Fortune Most Powerful Women

Rajiv Shah (left) and Tom Johnson

Session V: Levers of Power

A master legislator, LBJ understood how to deploy government to advance the national well-being. In conversation with a former top LBJ aide, one of America's leading public policy innovators describes how combining technology with action can change the lives of millions–and the importance of pursuing an equitable post-pandemic recovery.

Dr. Rajiv Shah, President, The Rockefeller Foundation
Tom Johnson, Chairman Emeritus, Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation; former President, CNN, former CEO and Publisher, Los Angeles Times and Dallas Times Herald

Sherrie Westin (left) and Angela Evans

Session VI: Muppet Diplomacy: Helping the World's Children Dream Bigger

"Sesame Street," America's first multiracial show, grew out of LBJ's war on poverty, using TV to open educational opportunities to low-income young children. Now that transformative model is helping distressed communities—including refugees—around the world, opening a powerful prism on the state of our most vulnerable children. The woman behind that mission takes us inside.

Sherrie Westin, President of Social Impact and Philanthropy, Sesame Workshop
Angela Evans, Dean, LBJ School of Public Affairs

Luci Baines Johnson

Closing: Luci Baines Johnson