Conversation Series

The Conversation Series provides a unique and exciting public platform where prominent politicians and leaders in the media discuss current events, politics, the media and their take on the world around us. The series is moderated by Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs and former CNN correspondent, anchor and Washington Bureau Chief. The events often draw national and international news attention.

Past guests have included: 

  • Sean Spicer
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Jay Carney
  • Chuck Todd
  • George Stephanopoulos
  • Tom Ridge
  • Robert Gates
  • Larry King
  • Gwen Ifill
  • Tony Snow
  • Ted Turner
  • A joint appearance with former press secretaries Ari Fleischer, Dana Perino, and Mike McCurry.



Past Events

Cornell Belcher_A Black Man in the White House

'A Black Man in the White House' with Cornell Belcher

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Cornell Belcher, an award-winning pollster, published the definitive book on racial fault lines in America during the Obama presidency.

Sean Spicer and Frank Sesno

Does Trump Need the News Media?

Monday, January 30, 2017 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm
A conversation with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and panel of journalists with a former press secretary.
Senators, Frank Sesno and Dana Bash

Now What? Governing in the Era of Donald Trump

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
SMPA hosted a bipartisan conversation on advancing civil discourse and governing a divided nation following the 2016 elections. The discussion looked at how to heal the country, promote respectful dialogue, work across the partisan divide and address the challenges we confront.

A Conversation with Anderson Cooper

Monday, February 29, 2016 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Anderson Cooper, Emmy and Peabody award-winning journalist and CNN anchor, discussed politics, media, his life and career in this SMPA Conversation Series event moderated by Director Frank Sesno.

A Conversation with Nancy Pelosi

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 - 11:00am to 12:30pm
Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives and former Speaker of the House, talked about women in politics, what it takes to lead in Congress, and media’s role in governance in a Conversation Series event with School of Media and Public Affairs Director Frank Sesno.
Jorge Ramos and Frank Sesno

A Conversation with Jorge Ramos

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - 11:00am to 12:30pm
Jorge Ramos, Emmy-winning journalist, Univision anchor and the man who stood up to Donald Trump, talked about media, politics and the line between journalism and advocacy in a Conversation Series event.

A Conversation with Leon Panetta

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Defense and former director of the CIA, joined Director Frank Sesno for a discussion on politics, America's national security challenges and his new book. 

Inside the White House Briefing Room

Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 11:00am to 12:30pm
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney joined School of Media and Public Affairs Distinguished Fellow and CBS News' Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett for a conversation about staying on message, collaborating with the press and keeping your cool in the White House Briefing Room.

A Conversation with Kathryn Bigelow

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
The acclaimed Oscar-winning director of “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” and recipient of the 2013 America Abroad Media Leadership Award discussed her career, women in film and the choices, themes and issues that have brought her to the forefront of US and world cinema.

A Contact Sport: Leadership, Media and the Competitive Edge

Monday, October 7, 2013 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Ted Leonsis is the founder and chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns and operates three professional sports teams. He also serves on the board of governors for the NBA and NHL.

Spies, Cyber Attacks, and Social Media

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm
GW's School of Media and Public Affairs and the Elliott School of International Affairs presented a conversation with former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden on new technologies, new targets and new dangers.

2012 Election Preview with Chuck Todd

Monday, November 28, 2011 - 7:30pm to 9:58pm
GW's School of Media and Public Affairs, in association with the #OnlyatGW Speaker Series, presented a conversation with Chief NBC White House Correspondent and Political Director, Chuck Todd.

Broken Politics, Mixed-Up Media

Monday, October 17, 2011 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
GW's School of Media and Public Affairs, in association with GW's College Republicans and College Democrats, presented a discussion on the state of Congress.

Live from the White House

Monday, February 7, 2011 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
The School of Media and Public Affairs hosted five former White House press secretaries: Joe Lockhart, Dana Perino, Mike McCurry, Ari Fleischer and Dee Dee Myers.

A Conversation with Larry King

Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Frank Sesno held a conversation with a dedicated friend of the George Washington University, Larry King. Topics included memorable interviews, the rise of CNN and the lines between news and entertainment.