SPEAKERS

Hear from Objectivist intellectuals, experts, and professionals from fields such as philosophy, education, and the arts

Amesh Adalja
Dr. Adalja, a board-certified physician in infectious disease, critical care medicine, emergency medicine and internal medicine, specializes in the intersection of national security with catastrophic health events. He publishes and lectures on bioterrorism, pandemic preparedness and emerging infectious diseases. Dr. Adalja is a frequent guest on national radio and television programs. During the COVID pandemic, he has been treating patients, engaging in high-level policy discussions, advising various organizations, and communicating extensively with the public.
Matt Bateman
Dr. Bateman earned his PhD in philosophy in 2012 from the University of Pennsylvania. He became a founding member of Higher Ground Education in 2016. Dr. Bateman is vice president of pedagogy there and also directs Montessorium, Higher Ground’s education think tank.
Ben Bayer

Dr. Bayer is a fellow and director of content at the Ayn Rand Institute. He teaches in the Objectivist Academic Center and gives talks and interviews for ARI. He writes and edits for ARI’s online publication, New Ideal. Dr. Bayer holds a PhD in philosophy and his writing focuses primarily on the application of philosophy to contemporary cultural and political controversies.

Harry Binswanger

Dr. Binswanger, a member of ARI’s board of directors, is the author of How We Know and The Biological Basis of Teleological Concepts and editor of The Ayn Rand Lexicon and of the expanded second edition of Ayn Rand’s Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. His membership site, HBletter.com, includes weekly teleconferences, a member forum and an email group.

Jeff Britting

Mr. Britting is a leading authority on Ayn Rand’s life and cultural impact. A composer, filmmaker and playwright, he is the author of the 2004 short biography Ayn Rand, the first biographical work based on unrestricted access to the Ayn Rand Papers (held at the Ayn Rand Archives).

Yaron Brook

Dr. Brook is chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand Institute. He is co-author, with Don Watkins, of In Pursuit of Wealth (2017), of Equal Is Unfair (2016) and of the national best seller Free Market Revolution (2012). He is the host of The Yaron Brook Show on YouTube.

Ann Ciccolella

Ms. Ciccolella is artistic director of Austin Shakespeare, a small professional theater company in Austin. At OCON 2021 she presented Monna Vanna and at OCON 2019 scenes from Cyrano. In 2013 she directed and produced Jeff Britting’s adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Anthem, Off-Broadway, in New York City at Baryshnikov Arts Center. Ms. Ciccolella also staged readings of We the Living in 2016 in NYC and at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC, in 2017.

Jason Crawford

Mr. Crawford is the founder of The Roots of Progress, where he writes and speaks about the history of technology and the philosophy of progress. Previously, he spent 18 years as a software engineer, engineering manager and startup founder.

Kevin Douglas
Mr. Douglas is an assistant professor at Michigan State University College of Law. His research and scholarship focus on how moral principles motivate business organization law and securities regulation. Before transitioning to academia, Professor Douglas was an associate in the corporate transactions practice group of a law firm in Dallas, Texas.
Onkar Ghate

Dr. Ghate is senior fellow, chief philosophy officer and a board member of the Ayn Rand Institute. He specializes in Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, and is ARI’s senior instructor and editor. He publishes and lectures on Rand’s philosophy and fiction, including application of Objectivism to cultural issues, and has been a guest on national radio and television programs.

Rebecca Girn

Mrs. Girn is co-founder, chief programs officer and general counsel for Higher Ground Education, a world-changing start-up pursuing the mission of mainstreaming and modernizing Montessori education. She earned her law degree from UCLA School of Law and holds two AMI Montessori teaching diplomas.

Gena Gorlin

Dr. Gorlin is a professor in the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University, a licensed psychologist specializing in depression and anxiety, and a coach for entrepreneurs and other ambitious innovators. She has published numerous academic and popular articles on her research examining the moral psychology of self-creation, and she writes a popular Substack newsletter titled Building the Builders.

Audra Hilse

Miss Hilse is the digital archivist at the Ayn Rand Archives, where she manages the Archives’ digital holdings and online exhibits. She has a BA in history and an MA in Library and Information Studies, and worked at county historical societies and corporate archives before joining ARI.

Elan Journo

Mr. Journo is a vice president and senior fellow at ARI and has been published in various outlets, ranging from The Hill to Foreign Policy. He is an editor of New Ideal. His most recent books are What Justice Demands: America and the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict (2018) and, co-authored with Onkar Ghate, Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism: What Went Wrong After 9/11 (2021).

James G. Lennox

Dr. Lennox is professor emeritus of history and philosophy of science, University of Pittsburgh. He has published widely on the history and philosophy of biology with a special focus on Aristotle, Charles Darwin and evolutionary biology. He is a founding member of the Ayn Rand Society and co-editor of the Ayn Rand Society Philosophical Studies series.

Robert Mayhew

Dr. Mayhew, a member of ARI’s board of directors, teaches philosophy at Seton Hall University. He is the author or editor of seven books in his area of specialization, ancient philosophy (most recently Aristotle’s Lost Homeric Problems), and author or editor of ten books related to Ayn Rand and Objectivism.

Laura Mazer

Dr. Mazer is the senior vice president of programs at Higher Ground Education. She completed her surgical training at Stanford before working as a professor at the University of Michigan. In addition to her clinical practice, she taught medical students and surgeons until her passion for education led her to Higher Ground.

Michael Mazza
Dr. Mazza is an associate fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute. He specializes in the philosophy of science, with a particular interest in causality.
Scott McDonald

Mr. McDonald is a retired US Marine Corps China specialist and PhD candidate at The Fletcher School of Tufts University. He has taught at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Tufts University and Wellesley College. He is co-editor of and a chapter author in The Future of the United States-Australia Alliance (2021).

Shoshana Milgram

Dr. Milgram, associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, specializes in narrative fiction and film. Her scholarship includes introductions to Victor Hugo’s novels, a study of Ayn Rand’s life up to 1957, and articles on Dostoevsky, George Eliot, Nabokov, and others. She relishes the roles of literary detective and cheerleader.

Matthew Morgen
Mr. Morgen directs ARI’s fundraising team and handles donor and prospect accounts. Prior to working as ARI’s director of development, Matthew served as ARI’s high school programs manager. He has a BA in history and CFRE and CSPG fundraising certifications.
Jean Moroney

Ms. Moroney, president of Thinking Directions, teaches ambitious people the psycho-epistemological skills they need to achieve challenging, selfish goals. This material is available to individuals in her Thinking Lab, an online membership program.

Adam Mossoff
Mr. Mossoff is a law professor at George Mason University. His scholarship has been referenced by the Supreme Court, appeals courts and numerous government officials, and he has been invited five times to testify before Congress. He is a director and senior fellow at several academic centers, policy organizations and think tanks.
Gregory Salmieri

Dr. Salmieri is a senior scholar of philosophy in the Salem Center at the University of Texas, Austin. He holds the Brigham Fellowship for the Study of Objectivism and is director of the Center’s Program for Objectivity in Thought, Action, and Enterprise. Dr. Salmieri is the co-editor of A Companion to Ayn Rand and Foundations of a Free Society.

Peter Schwartz

Mr. Schwartz is the author of The Tyranny of Need: Examining the Code of Self-Sacrifice—and the Alternative of Rational, Non-Predatory Self-Interest (Expanded Second Edition). He is a former chairman of the board at ARI, and is currently a Distinguished Fellow there.

Duncan Scott

Duncan Scott is a film and television director/producer with more than 150 productions to his credit and has won four Emmy® Awards. Working with Ayn Rand, he restored the 1942 film We the Living. Other Rand credits include movies in the Atlas Shrugged series and a play adaptation of Anthem.

Thomas Shoebotham
Mr. Shoebotham is principal conductor of New Ballet in San Jose, California. Previous conducting engagements have included Berkeley Opera, Opera San José, Palo Alto Philharmonic and many others. He has lectured on music, taught in school music programs and performed numerous recitals as a cellist and pianist over the last thirty years.
Aaron Smith

Dr. Smith, PhD in philosophy, is a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and an instructor at ARI’s Ayn Rand University. In addition to his teaching, Smith writes, speaks and gives interviews for the Institute.

Nikos Sotirakopoulos

Dr. Sotirakopoulos is a visiting fellow at ARI and the director of ARI Europe. His main research interest is the history of political ideas, and he teaches the course The Road to Critical Race Theory at Ayn Rand University. He is the author of Identity Politics and Tribalism: The New Culture Wars.

Tal Tsfany

Mr. Tsfany is President and CEO of the Ayn Rand Institute. Previously, he was an entrepreneur, investor and executive in the software world in Israel and the United States. He is a co- founder of the Ayn Rand Center Israel and has published a young adult book titled Sophie.

Lisa VanDamme
Ms. VanDamme is the founder of VanDamme Academy, a private K-8 school where she teaches literature to junior high students. After decades inspiring children with a love of classic books, she recently embarked on a project to do the same for adults, creating a book club app called “Read With Me.”
Don Watkins

Mr. Watkins is the best-selling author of books such as Equal Is Unfair (co-authored with Yaron Brook) and the thriller I Am Justice. As the Ayn Rand Institute’s guidance counseling practice director, he helps students use Objectivism to achieve learning, career and life success.

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