The Common Good Forum & American Spirit Awards, 2019


The Common Good Forum is an annual program presenting headline issues and the most important, forward-looking ideas affecting public policy and our lives. This year we built a remarkable roster for our annual event, with 30+ participants from government, media, business, foreign affairs and tech, as well as public policy activists.

Our theme this year was

“Rethinking the Democracy Compact”

The very foundations of our nation and the global order have shifted: institutions and gatekeepers are bypassed, societal norms are reorienting and governments are being rearranged - for better or worse. What drives these changes? How do they impact our democracy’s future? Most importantly, how can we harness them?

We presented fascinating discussions on the global transformations underway – greatest international threats and changes from new geopolitical escalations and vacuums; national challenges and our inability to confront our biggest transformations from broken government to gross economic disparities and climate change; growing a vibrant economy and jobs for today and tomorrow; the high-tech and social media revolution and its dangers and opportunities; our shifting political realities, the 2020 race and the impact of activism, immigration, populism, and identity; Fake news and pressure on journalism and freedom of the press here abroad; new scientific and emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and gene editing – in short, configuring anew for a society that is human-centred, inclusive and sustainable.   



Patricia Duff, Founder, The Common Good

Smithsonian Briefing: “The Future of the Women’s Museum”

Emily Rafferty, Karri Brady and Wendy Pangburn

Changemaker Scholarships

Jamie Margolin, age 17 and Alexandria Villaseñor, age 13. Presented by ABC’s Juju Chang and Sharon Patrick

Women & Power

Kay Koplovitz, Mia Love, Sally Quinn, and Alessandra Stanley. Moderated by Juju Chang

The Road to 2020: Leaders & Ideas

Matt Bennett, Margaret Hoover, Steve Israel, Claire McCaskill, and Rick Tyler. Moderated by Errol Louis.

Can’t We All Just Get Along? How Washington Can Best Serve the Nation”

Senator Doug Jones

Renewing Democracy

Max Boot, Nicole Austin-Hillery, Cohen Curtis, and Michael Waldman. Moderated by Ari Melber

Growing a Fair Economy

Alan Schwartz and Stephanie Ruhle

Artificial Intelligence & Warfare

Major General (Ret.) Dr. Robert Latiff

World View: Security Challenges & Opportunities

Ambassador Bill Burns, Ambassador Nicholas Burns and Former Congressman Jane Harman. Moderated by Edward Luce

Rule of Law, Corruption, and Abuse of Power

Bill Browder and Preet Bharara. Moderated by John Avlon

Journalism & Democracy

Tom Brokaw, Lesley Stahl, and Sir Harry Evans

American Spirit Awardees


Sir Harry Evans

Courage in Journalism


Lesley Stahl

Courage in Journalism


Preet Bharara

Distinguished Public Service


Bill Browder

Citizen Activism

Changemaker Scholarship Recipients


Jamie Margolin

Climate Change Action


Alexandria Villasenor

Climate Change Action

Interested in attending future events?