Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Virtual Conference Looks at America’s Most Pressing Issues
Gina Bennett authored the 1993 report that warned of the growing danger of Osama Bin Laden.
Thursday, October 8, 2020


A CIA operative, the CEO of “Girl Security” and others will discuss some of the most pressing challenges confronting America take in a virtual program hosted by Conversations with Exceptional Women.

The program, titled “America Reimagined,” will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time on Friday, Oct. 16.

“That theme promotes curiosity and creative thinking and provides our extraordinary speakers an opportunity to take stock of America and what it might look like under different conditions and policies,” said David Adler, who heads up the Alturas Institute, which organizes the conference each year.

Tickets are $20 and go on sale at 10a.m. today—Thursday, Oct. 7, at www.alturasinstitute.com. . Teachers and students may attend the virtual program free of charge by emailing Alturasmedia@alturasinstitute.com.

Speakers include:

  • Diane McWhorter, Pulitzer Prize winning author of “Carry Me Home,” who will discuss “Civil Rights and Racism in America: The Learning Curve.”

    Her book focuses on Birmingham, Ala., and the Climatic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution. She is also the author of “A Dream of Freedom,” a young adult history of the civil rights movement.

  • Amy Harder, Axios reporter on energy and climate change, who will discuss “Climate Change and American Politics.”
  • Gina Bennett, CIA Counterterrorism analyst and author, who will talk about “Election Security in November 2020.”

    Bennett, who has been in the intelligence community for 30 years, was featured in the Showtime documentary “Spymasters,” the HBO documentary “Manhunt” and the PBS documentary “Makers: Women Who Make America.” She appeared on the cover of Newsweek’s issue on “Women in CIA” and wrote the book “National Security Mom.”

  • Lauren Bean Buitta, founder and CEO of Girl Security,” who will discuss “Election Security in November 2020.” Her Girl Security is a first-of-its-kind model designed to empower girls in national security.
  • Dr. Joanne Freeman, prize-winning Yale historian, who will discuss “The Implications for American Democracy of a Peaceful Transition of Power.”

    Recognized as an expert on Alexander Hamilton, she also wrote the book “The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War.”

  • Dr. Lara Brown, director of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, who will talk about “The 2020 Presidential Election and the Future of America.”

    Considered an expert in presidential campaigns and elections, she has written blogs for The New York Times, Politico, The Huffington Post and others.

  • Dr. Caroline Heldman, professor at Occidental College and television analyst for such news outlets as Fox News, who will discuss “The 2020 Presidential Election and the Future of America.”

    She was thrust into the spotlight after she and others alleged sexual harassment against Fox News Anchor Bill O’Reilly. She works with multiple organizations to help victims of sexual assault and rape.

  • Soraya Chemaly, executive director of The Representation Project, who will discuss “Current Challenges in the Pursuit of Gender Equality.”

She is the author of “Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger.”


The Alturas Institute had planned to host a talk by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this past summer in an event that was postponed by the coronavirus pandemic. Ginsburg had without hesitation agreed to headline the 2021 Conversations with Exceptional Women before she succumbed to metastasis of the pancreatic cancer that took her life at 87.

David Adler, who founded The Alturas Institute, called her a “towering legal giant, champion of gender equality and equal protection for All Americans, a cultural icon and inspiration to millions of women.”

He noted that she dictated to her granddaughter—Laura Clara Spera—that her most fervent wish was that she not be replaced until a new president was installed.

“The principal concern behind her wish, undoubtedly, was to protect the Court’s independence, to save it from being roiled by the politics of a presidential nomination with six weeks left before the November 3 election,” he said. “Justice Ginsburg’s wish has not been honored; indeed, within a few hours of her passing, President Donald Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared their intention to fill her seat ‘without delay.’  Their announcement has triggered a heated national debate on the propriety, equity and wisdom of such immediate action.”

In response David Adler presented a talk titled “Storm Center: Threats to the Court’s Independence as Trump Fills Justice Ginsburg’s Seat.” The program can be accessed in the Alturas Institute’s archives and on YouTube.






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