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Meet the Speakers


Garry Kasparov

Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, in 1963, Garry Kasparov became the under-18 chess champion of the USSR at the age of 12 and the world under-20 champion at 17. He came to international fame as the youngest world chess champion in history in 1985 at the age of 22. He defended his title five times, including a legendary series of matches against arch-rival Anatoly Karpov. Kasparov broke Bobby Fischer’s rating record in 1990 and his own peak rating record remained unbroken until 2013. His famous matches against the IBM super-computer Deep Blue in 1996-97 were key to bringing artificial intelligence, and chess, into the mainstream.

Kasparov has been a contributing editor to The Wall Street Journal since 1991 and is a frequent commentator on politics and human rights. He speaks frequently to business audiences around the world on innovation, strategy, and peak mental performance. In 2013 he was named a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Oxford-Martin School. Kasparov’s book “How Life Imitates Chess” on decision-making is available in over 20 languages. He is the author of two acclaimed series of chess books, “My Great Predecessors” and “Modern Chess”. More information is available at kasparov.com.
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David Gergen

David Gergen is a professor of public service and co-director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, positions he has held for over a decade. In addition, he serves as a senior political analyst for CNN and works actively with a rising generation of new leaders. In the past, he has served as a White House adviser to four U.S. presidents of both parties: Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton. He wrote about those experiences in his New York Times best seller, Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership, Nixon to Clinton (Simon & Schuster, 2001).

In the 1980s, he began a career in journalism. Starting with The MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour in 1984, he has been a regular commentator on public affairs for some 30 years. Twice he has been a member of election coverage teams that won Peabody awards, and he has contributed to two Emmy award-winning political analysis teams. In the late 1980s, he was chief editor of U.S. News & World Report, working with publisher Mort Zuckerman to achieve record gains in circulation and advertising.

Over the years, he has been active on many non-profit boards, serving in the past on the boards of both Yale and Duke Universities. Among his current boards are Teach for America, The Mission Continues, The Trilateral Commission, and Elon University’s School of Law.

Gergen’s work as co-director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School has enabled him to work closely with a rising generation of younger leaders, especially social entrepreneurs, military veterans and Young Global Leaders chosen by the World Economic Forum. Through the generosity of outside donors, the Center helps to provide scholarships to over 100 students a year, preparing them to serve as leaders for the common good. The Center also promotes scholarship at the frontiers of leadership studies.

A native of North Carolina, Gergen is a member of the D.C. Bar, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the U.S. executive committee for the Trilateral Commission. He is an honors graduate of Yale and the Harvard Law School. He has been awarded 27 honorary degrees.

Gergen has been married since 1967 to Anne Elizabeth Gergen of England, a family therapist. They have two children and five grand-children. Son Christopher is a social entrepreneur in North Carolina as well as an author and member of the Duke faculty. Daughter Katherine is a family doctor, working with the underserved population at the Boston Medical Center.
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Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh is a former NFL quarterback and current head football coach of the University of Michigan. Throughout his NFL career, Harbaugh played for the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers and finally the Carolina Panthers. He was drafted by the Bears out of the University of Michigan with the 26th pick in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft.

Harbaugh was a four-year letterman at the University of Michigan and finished his college career in the top five in passing attempts, completions, completion percentage, passing yards, and touchdown passes for them. Playing for Bo Schembechler, he was a three-year starter and led the Wolverines to appearances in the Fiesta, Holiday, and Rose Bowl games. As a senior in 1986, he guided Michigan to a #2 national ranking while earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors and finishing third in the Heisman balloting.

He completed 2,305-of-3,918 passes for 26,288 yards and 129 touchdowns in 177 games. Harbaugh made 140 career starts. He was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Year, the NFL Comeback Player of the Year and a Pro Bowl selection after leading the Indianapolis Colts to the AFC Championship Game in 1995. He was inducted into the Colts Ring of Honor in 2005.

On December 18, 2006, Harbaugh was named the head football coach at Stanford University. On January 7, 2011, just four days after winning the Orange Bowl, Harbaugh agreed to a 5-year contract to become the next head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Harbaugh was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year in 2011-12. After several years coaching the 49ers, he was named the head football coach of the University of Michigan Wolverines in December 2014.
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