Jacob Ward is technology correspondent for NBC News, and previously worked as a science and technology correspondent for CNN, Al Jazeera and PBS. The former editor-in-chief of Popular Science magazine, Ward writes for The New Yorker, Wired and Men’s Health. His ten-episode Audible podcast series, Complicated, discusses humanity’s most difficult problems, and he’s the host of a four-hour PBS documentary series, “Hacking Your Mind,” that introduces a television audience to the fundamental scientific discoveries in human decision making and irrationality. In 2018, he was a Berggruen Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioural Sciences.
Jeffrey Wright has appeared in numerous films, television, and theater productions including: Broadway: Angels in America (Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards), Topdog/ Underdog (Tony nomination, Obie Award – also London and Off-Broadway) and Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk, all directed by George C. Wolfe. Off-Broadway: Julius Caesar, King Lear (NYSF). Regional: Les Blancs, Juno and the Paycock, She Stoops to Conquer (Arena Stage); Playboy of the West Indies, Daylight in Exile, Search and Destroy (Yale Rep.). Film: Basquiat (1996, Independent Spirit Award nomination), Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), Cadillac Records (2008), Syriana (2005), Broken Flowers (2005), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), Ride with the Devil (1999), Ali (2001), Shaft (2000), Source Code (2011), The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay (2014), and Catching Fire (2013), No Time To Die (2021), The French Dispatch (2021), and The Batman (2022). TV: Angels in America (Golden Globe and Emmy Awards), Lackawanna Blues, Boycott (AFI Award), Westworld for which he received several nominations. Wright is a Graduate of Amherst College (BA, political science; honorary doctorate, humane letters). Wright is the Co-founder and chairman, Taia, LLC and Taia Peace Foundation.
Jessamine Chan’s short stories have appeared in Tin House and Epoch. A former reviews editor at Publishers Weekly, she holds an MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts and a BA from Brown University. Her work has received support from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Wurlitzer Foundation, the Jentel Foundation, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, the Anderson Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Ragdale Foundation. She lives in Chicago with her husband and daughter.
Maria Ressa is the co-founder, CEO of Rappler.com, an online news organization in the Philippines. Maria, one of TIME’s Person of the Year for 2018 and TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in 2019, has been honored around the world for her courageous and bold work in fighting disinformation, “fake news”, and attempts to silence the free press. A journalist for over 35 years, Maria has been arrested on 10 charges related to exposing the Duterte government’s corrupt practices and was convicted of cyber-libel in June. She is out on bail pending her appeal but true to form, Ressa, vows to keep fighting.
Maria was featured in the 2020 documentary A Thousand Cuts, which profiles her fearless reporting on the abuses of Duterte’s presidency, while also illustrating social media’s capacity to deceive and entrench political power. Maria now travels the world speaking to organizations of all kinds on freedom of the press, democracy, and corporate governance.
Timothy Frye is the Marshall D. Shulman Professor of Post-Soviet Foreign Policy at Columbia University. Born in Utica, New York, he worked for the United States Information Agency in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, advised the Russian Securities and Exchange Commission in the 1990s, and co-directed a research laboratory at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow from 2011-2022. His books include Building States and Markets After Communism: The Perils of Polarized Democracy and Property Rights and Property Wrongs: How Power, Institutions, and Norms Shape Economic Conflict in Russia. He lives in New York City.
David Pevsner is an LA-based actor and writer, with a little modeling on the side. His film appearances include Scrooge and Marley (as Ebenezer Scrooge), Spa Night, Joshua Tree 1951: A Portrait of James Dean, Role/Play, and Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption. His guest starring roles on television include Silicon Valley, NCIS, I’m Dying Up Here, Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy, Liz and Dick, Law and Order LA, and he starred in the popular web series Old Dogs and New Tricks.
Les Johnson is a physicist whose many books include A Traveler’s Guide to the Stars, Graphene: The Superstrong, Superthin, and Superversatile Material That Will Revolutionize the World; Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel; and The Spacetime War. He serves as principal investigator for NASA’s first interplanetary solar sail space missions, Near-Earth Asteroid Scout and Solar Cruiser, and lives in Madison, Alabama.
Anna Moschovakis is the author of the novel Eleanor, or, The Rejection of the Progress of Love and of three books of poetry, most recently They and We Will Get into Trouble for This. Her translation of David Diop’s At Night All Blood Is Black (Frêre d’âme) was awarded the 2020 International Booker Prize. Raised in Los Angeles, she has lived in New York since 1993 and currently makes her home in the Western Catskills.
Isaac Fitzgerald appears frequently on The Today Show and is the author of the bestselling children’s book How to Be a Pirate as well as the co-author of Pen & Ink and Knives & Ink (winner of an IACP Award). His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Best American Nonrequired Reading, and numerous other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Joe Ide is of Japanese American descent. Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Joe’s favorite books were the Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories. The idea that a person could face the world and vanquish his enemies with just his intelligence fascinated him. Joe went on to earn a graduate degree and had several careers before writing his debut novel, IQ, inspired by his early experiences and his love of Sherlock Holmes. Joe lives in Santa Monica, California.