Programs

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McGowan Forums

Through the support of the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, the National Archives and the Foundation present the McGowan Forum on Women in Leadership and the McGowan Forum on Communications in the National Archives’ beautiful 290-seat William G. McGowan Theater. The programs are free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

Past Programs:

9th Annual McGowan Forum on Women in Leadership
From the Computer Age to the Digital Age

For the ninth annual McGowan Forum on Women in Leadership, Megan Smith, United States Chief Technology Officer (CTO), moderates a panel discussion on the brilliant women working in the computer technology sciences, from trailblazers like Grace Hopper, Katherine Jonson, and the ENIAC programmers, to today’s women in leadership roles who are shaping the computer age.

The panel explores the women who made history and the changes that taken place for women in terms of opportunities, expectations, responsibilities, and challenges. Panelists also discuss their own personal journeys and the advice they would offer to young women entering the field.

Panelists include Kathy Kleiman, founder of the ENIAC Programmers Project; Telle Whitney, CEO, Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology; Gillian Jacobs, Director of The Queen of Code; Florence Tan, NASA, Lead Elec. Engineer on Sample Analysis at Mars, SAM, an instrument on the Curiosity Rover; Emily Reid, Director of Education of Girls Who Code; and Zahra Wright, a student who completed the Girls Who Code program.

This program is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation with the generous support of the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund.


11th Annual McGowan Forum on Communications
Drawn from the Headlines: Communication and Political Cartoons

Editorial cartoons are often characterized by their originality, editorial effectiveness, and quality of drawing and dramatize a wide range of social and political issues with style and humor. But how has the ever changing technological climate influenced this art form and what lies ahead for the future?

For the 11th annual McGowan Forum on Communications, a distinguished panel of award-winning political cartoonists will present and discuss their work, what inspires and motivates political cartoons, how these cartoons affect the political community and the public, and the impact of changing technology. Moderated by David Sipress, cartoonist for The New Yorker, the panel features panelists Tom Toles of The Washington Post, winner of the 2011 Herblock Award; Jen Sorensen, nationally-syndicated cartoonist and 2013 recipient of a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award; Keith Knight, award-winning creator of Knight Life and The K Chronicles; and Signe Wilkinson, the first female artist to win a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.

This program is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation with the generous support of the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund.


8th Annual McGowan Forum on Women in Leadership
Then & Now: Women in Civil Rights Leadership

From the early days of the Civil Rights movement, African American women have worked and served in numerous and influential leadership roles. What are their experiences and what changes have taken place in their opportunities, expectations, responsibilities, and obstacles?  For the eighth annual McGowan Forum on Women in Leadership, a distinguished panel will discuss their personal journeys and advice they would offer to young women in the struggle for equality.

Moderated by Melissa V. Harris-Perry, host on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, and author of Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, panelists include Joyce Ladner, sociologist and civil rights activist; Janai Nelson, associate director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Avis Jones De-Weever, Exceptional Leadership Strategist and immediate past Executive Director of the National Council of Negro Women; and Charlene A. Carruthers, national director, Black Youth Project 100.

This program is presented by the National Archives in partnership with the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It is generously supported by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, Inc. 


10th Annual McGowan Forum on Communications
White House Press Secretaries

For over 85 years, since Hoover’s administration, official White House press secretaries have been communicating the American Presidency. Tonight former White House press secretaries share behind-the-scenes stories, discuss changes over the years, and tell us what it is like to be in the spotlight as the President’s spokesperson. Moderated by NPR’s Michel Martin, panelists include Ron Nessen (Ford), Marlin Fitzwater (Reagan, Bush), Mike McCurry (Clinton), and Robert Gibbs (Obama).

This program is generously supported by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, Inc.


7th Annual McGowan Forum on Women in Leadership
Women in Congressional Leadership

What changes have taken place in the roles, opportunities, expectations and obstacles for women in congressional leadership positions? A panel discusses their personal journeys and advice they would offer to young women entering the field. Moderated by New York Times journalist Jackie Calmes, panelists include former members of Congress Connie Morella (R-MD), Barbara Kennelly (D-CT), and Mary Bono (R-CA), and former Senators Carol Moseley Braun (D-IL) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR). House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi makes remarks.

This program was presented in partnership with the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress and generously supported by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, Inc.


9th Annual McGowan Forum on Communications
Communicating the Presidency: Presidential Photographers

What is it like to photograph the most powerful person in the world? The Presidential photographer documents history, capturing official events, and private moments. Veteran Presidential photographers David Hume Kennerly (Gerald Ford), David Valdez (George H.W. Bush), Sharon Farmer (Bill Clinton), and Eric Draper (George W. Bush) discuss their photographs and personal recollections of photographing the Presidents.

This program was presented in partnership with the White House Historical Association and the White House Correspondents’ Association and was made possible through the generous support of the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, Inc. and the Foundation for the National Archives.


6th Annual Forum on Women in Leadership
Women in Military Leadership 

The 2013 McGowan Forum on Women in Leadership focused on women in military leadership and explored changes in the roles, opportunities, expectations, and obstacles for women in military leadership positions.

A distinguished panel of experts discuss their personal journeys and shared advice for young women entering the field. Moderated by Gale S. Pollock, Major General, U.S. Army (Retired), CRNA, FACHE, FAAN, and former Acting Surgeon General, panelists include Carol Mutter, Lieutenant General, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired); Christine S. Hunter, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired); Sandra A. Gregory, Brigadier General, U.S. Air Force (Retired); Clara AdamsEnder, Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Retired); and Gina S. Farrisee, U.S. Army Major General (Retired).

This program was presented in partnership with the Women’s Forum of Washington, DC, and the Military Officers Association of America, and was generously supported by the Foundation for the National Archives and the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, Inc.


8th Annual McGowan Forum on Communications
Communicating the Message: Election Results and Ramifications

Presented on November 8, 2012, this unique McGowan Forum on Communications was titled “Communicating the Message: Election Results and Ramifications” and explored successful campaign communications methods used in the past and in Election 2012.

Panelists discuss the results of the 2012 election, which took place just a few days earlier, how campaigns were run in the past and present, and the use of evolving technology in a modern Presidential campaign. Journalist Steven V. Roberts moderates a panel consisting of Slate Editor David Plotz and former members of Congress: Anne Northup (R-KY), Albert R. Wynn (D-MD), Tom Davis (R-VA), and Bart Gordon (D-TN).

The forum was presented in partnership with the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress and was generously supported by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, Inc.


McGowan Forum on Women in Leadership: Journalism

Women journalists have impacted the reporting and editing of our nations news. What are the challenges they have faced? And what has changed in the roles, expectations, opportunities, and obstacles for women in American journalism? A panel of journalists and news executives will discuss what it took to succeed and the future challenges for women in journalism. The panel includes Cokie Roberts, political commentator for ABC News; Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of Washington Week on PBS; Diane Rehm, host of the Diane Rehm Show on NPR; Katharine Weymouth, publisher of The Washington Post and president and CEO of Washington Post Media; and Susan Tifft, professor emerita of Journalism and Public Policy at Duke University.

Past McGowan Forums can also be found on YouTube.