Interviewing History: Conversations with America's Leaders

Off-the-record conversations with America’s distinguished government and private sector leaders, hosted by teams of CSIS young professionals

Interviewing History: Conversations with America's Leaders was created to promote interaction between CSIS young professionals and distinguished leaders who have held high-level positions in the U.S. government or the private sector. The major premise is to create an opportunity for young people to understand the complexities of public leadership from those who were directly involved in shaping events at critical times in U.S. history.

Four members of CSIS's research staff are chosen and given the opportunity to interview a distinguished leader. After weeks of research and preparation the team conducts a once-in-a-lifetime interview, drawing out personal stories, life lessons, and concepts in leadership in an off-the-record event over a white tablecloth dinner. Such deliberate and active mentoring is an asset to the talented individuals who come to CSIS to begin their careers, as well as to the organization itself.

Previous guests and their topics of discussion have included:

  • Madeleine Albright, Reflections on the Kosovo War
  • Richard Armitage, India-Pakistan Twin Peaks Crisis
  • Zbigniew Brzezinski, U.S.- China Relations in the 70s
  • Harold Brown, American Troops and the Korean Peninsula
  • General James E. Cartwright, Operation Neptune Spear: The Osama bin Laden Raid
  • Sen. Tom Daschle, The 2001 Anthrax Attack on Capitol Hill
  • John and Annie Glenn, Accomplishments in a Supportive Life-Long Partnership
  • Marc Gossman, Negotiating with the Taliban
  • Carla Hills, Negotiating NAFTA
  • Bruce Laingen, The Iran Hostage Crisis
  • Sam Nunn, 1994 U.S. Mission to Haiti
  • Sean O’Keefe, Leadership in Crisis
  • Thomas R. Pickering, Defusing China
  • Bob Schieffer, Forty Years in Washington: Through the Eyes of a Journalist
  • James R. Schlesinger, The 1971 Cannikin Nuclear Test
  • Brent Scowcroft, Service as the National Security Advisor during the end of the Cold War
  • Theodore C. Sorensen, The Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Dick Thornburgh, The Three Mile Island Crisis
  • William H. Webster, Operation ABSCAM