Our Distinguished Panelists

Cornel West

Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University; Professor Emeritus at Princeton University

Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and holds the title of Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. Cornel West graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton.

He has written 20 books and has edited 13. He is best known for his classics, Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and for his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. His most recent book, Black Prophetic Fire, offers an unflinching look at nineteenth and twentieth-century African American leaders and their visionary legacies.

Dr. West is a frequent guest on the Bill Maher Show, CNN, C-Span and Democracy Now. He made his film debut in the Matrix - and was the commentator (with Ken Wilbur) on the official trilogy released in 2004. He also has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films including Examined Life, Call & Response, Sidewalk and Stand.

He has produced three spoken word albums including Never Forget, collaborating with Prince, Jill Scott, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, KRS-One and the late Gerald Levert. His spoken word interludes are featured on productions by Terence Blanchard, The Cornel West Theory, Raheem DeVaughn, and Bootsy Collins.

In short, Cornel West has a passion to communicate to a vast variety of publics in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. - a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.


Robert P. George

McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University; Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion

Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He is also the Herbert W. Vaughan Fellow of the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, and has on several occasions been a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. In August of 2017, Baylor University launched the Robert P. George Initiative on Faith, Ethics & Public Policy, and Professor George was appointed as a Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion.

In addition to his academic service, Professor George has served as Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. He previously served on the President’s Council on Bioethics (2002-2009), and as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights (1993-1998). He has also been the U.S. member of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Science and Technology.

He is a former Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award.

Professor George is author of Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality (Oxford University Press, 1993), In Defense of Natural Law (Oxford University Press, 1999), The Clash of Orthodoxies (ISI, 2001) and Conscience and Its Enemies (ISI, 2013). He is co-author of Conjugal Union: What Marriage Is (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Embryo: A Defense of Human Life (2nd edition, Doubleday, 2011), Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2008), and What is Marriage? (Encounter, 2012). He is editor of several volumes, including Natural Law Theory: Contemporary Essays (Oxford University Press, 1992), The Autonomy of Law: Essays on Legal Positivism (Oxford University Press, 1996), Natural Law, Liberalism, and Morality (Oxford University Press, 1996), and Great Cases in Constitutional Law (Princeton University Press, 2000).

Professor George's articles and review essays have appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Columbia Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, the Review of Politics, the Review of Metaphysics, and the American Journal of Jurisprudence. He has also written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, First Things, the Boston Review, and the Times Literary Supplement.

A graduate of Swarthmore College, Professor George holds degrees in law and theology from Harvard and the degrees of D.Phil., B.C.L., and D.C.L. from Oxford University. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Swarthmore and received a Frank Knox Fellowship from Harvard for graduate study in law and philosophy at Oxford. He holds honorary doctorates of law, letters, ethics, science, divinity, humane letters, law and moral values, civil law, and juridical science.

Among his awards are the United States Presidential Citizens Medal, the Honorific Medal for the Defense of Human Rights of the Republic of Poland, the Bradley Prize for Intellectual and Civic Achievement, the Philip Merrill Award of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, the Paul Bator Award of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy, a Silver Gavel Award of the American Bar Association, the Charles Fried Award of the Harvard Law School Federalist Society, and the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton.

He has given the John Dewey Lecture in Philosophy of Law at Harvard, the Guido Calabresi Lecture at Yale, the Sir Malcolm Knox Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and the Frank Irvine Lecturer in Law at Cornell.

Professor George is general editor of New Forum Books, a Princeton University Press series of interdisciplinary works in law, culture, and politics. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves as Of Counsel to the law firm of Robinson & McElwee.