Speaker Series

Read on for recaps of past speakers and click here to view our upcoming events.

Past Events

Cities Talk Lecture: Comparative and engaged research in urban politics: Productive tensions?

On November 20, 2023 Jennifer Robinson, a Professor and Chair of Human Geography at University College London, joined the Initiative on Cities to discuss comparative urbanism using examples from Johannesburg and London.

David Miller & Tom Bridges, “The Future of Cities”

On October 31, 2018 former Mayor of Toronto David Miller and Arup Director of Cities Advisory Tom Bridges joined the Initiative on Cities for a discussion on city resiliency and inequality in the face of climate change.

Read a recap of the lecture here.

Bruce Katz, Author, “The New Localism

Bruce Katz

On February 28, 2018, Bruce Katz, former Centennial Scholar at the Brookings Institution, visited Boston University to discuss his new book “The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism,” which offers a practical road map for cities to plan and fund the future.

Read a recap of the lecture and watch the full video here.

Richard Florida, Author, “The New Urban Crisis”, University of Toronto

Richard Florida, Author, The New Urban Crisis, University of Toronto
On Thursday, November 9, 2017 the IOC welcomed Richard Florida to campus to give a lecture on his new book, “The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class—and What We Can Do About It.”

Read a recap of his lecture and watch a complete video here.

Tris Brown, Chief of Staff to Mayor Joe Anderson of Liverpool, Discusses UK Cities with the IOC

Headshot Tris BrownOn March 31st, 2016, the IOC was pleased to host Tris Brown of Liverpool, United Kingdom, for a discussion about the changing power structure and politics of UK cities. As Chief of Staff to Mayor Joe Anderson, Brown is deeply involved in the devolution of power to municipal and local governments. Mayor Anderson serves as the first directly elected Mayor Liverpool, first taking office in 2012. He was re-elected in a landslide victory in the spring of 2016.

IOC Hosts Talk with Deputy Assistant to the President and the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the White House, Jerry Abramson

jerry_abramsonOn November 17th, 2015, the Initiative on Cities welcomed Jerry Abramson to Boston University to share his insights on how cities and urban innovation are shaping national policy. Currently serving as the Deputy Assistant to President Barack Obama and the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the White House, Jerry Abramson has previously held office as the Mayor of Louisville and the Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky.

IOC Hosts Talk on Jakarta: Making a Megacity a Smart City

sianiparWith a population of nearly 10 million, Jakarta stands as one of the largest cities in the world. As the city government attempts to manage its massive population, overcome a history of corruption and implement Smart City technology, what are the chief challenges and the biggest opportunities for progress?

Alongside the Pardee School for Global Studies, the Initiative on Cities was delighted to welcome Michael Sianipar, staff member to Jakarta’s Governor Ahok, to Boston University on September 15th, 2016. Together with Paul McManus, Master Lecturer in Strategy and Innovation at the Boston University Questrom School of Business, Sianipar explained how Jakarta is overcoming past mismanagement and preparing itself for a brighter future.

IOC Partners with Pardee School for Speaker Series with Mayor Geisel of Dusseldorf, Germany

On September 22nd, 2015, the Initiative on Cities partnered with the Pardee School of Global Studies to welcome Mayor Thomas Geisel of Dusseldorf, Germany for a conversation on Leading Cities from the Left.  Mayor Geisel’s visit included a conversation moderated by IOC Director Graham Wilson on topics ranging from the current refugee crisis in Europe to sustainability, developing infrastructure and the unique challenges Mayor Geisel faces as Dusseldorf’s first social democratic mayor in 15 years.

Mayor Geisel was joined on the panel by Daniel Koh, Chief of Staff to Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, and Kaija Schilde, Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Pardee School.

IOC Hosts First Speaker Series with Sen. Elizabeth Warren

14-7671-IOCWARREN-059On April 14th, 2014, the Initiative on Cities hosted Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for a roundtable discussion on the need for greater federal investment in health research. Senator Warren and IOC co-Director Tom Menino hosted a roundtable discussion with leading medical researchers and hospital leadership. Immediately afterward, the Senator addressed students on the challenges surrounding student loans and college affordability….MORE