INFO 20th Season Celebration Remarks

Welcome Sports Fans!

Welcome to a very special and historic evening at the Belgian Ambassador’s residence to celebrate the 20th season of the Institute for Education’s Public Policy Roundtable: INFO. We’ve had more than 200 distinguished speakers promoting civility and finding common ground. Our theme tonight is “Looking Forward and Looking Back.”

INFO was born 20 years ago when Jim Valentine suggested to me, “Let’s invite some of your big shot tennis students to meet a few of my friends to discuss and learn about the issues facing our country.” So for the last two decades we’ve enjoyed hearing from US Supreme Court Justices, House and Senate Leaders, Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, Ambassadors, Cabinet Secretaries, Governors, Mayors, a Vice President of the United States, and senior members of the 4th Estate.

For 20 years we’ve had the privilege of asking the questions, hearing the answers, and engaging with our speakers, usually gathering for breakfast before the rest of the town has had their first cup of coffee.

During the first few years, our conversations focused on Washington’s public policy life, but with a popular culture sensibility. Our speakers included a Miss America, a Pro Tennis player, and a Nobel Laureate, Glenn Seaborg, (who has an element named after him).

As the world became more connected, our Global Connection Series developed. The diplomatic community became a critical part of our work, partnering with IFE to promote learning and discussion, cultivate trust and friendship, and help find solutions to problems facing our global community. The Global Connection Series has brought together a team on the tennis courts, on the golf courses, at cook outs, and breakfasts

INFO is now a Washington institution; a successful model that’s spawned three other issue-centric roundtables, including the Media and Technology Roundtable, founded by IFE trustee Shane Green and Henry Ellenbogan. This Roundtable brings together private and public sector leaders to explore the technology-driven trends that are changing the nature of media. The more recent Emerging Markets Roundtable, founded by John Farmer and Andrew Mitchel, explores resource scarcity, a challenging issue confronting political leaders in world capitals, and entrepreneurs in remote villages. Our newest gathering, the Next Gen Roundtable, founded by Jenny Shore, is where IFE interns and fellows, together with DC area students, meet with political, business and cultural leaders.

We thank you for joining us in all our endeavours, past and future.

We are Looking Back and Looking Forward.

Click here to view coverage by The Hill-Washington Scene IFE 20th Season online