Business of Blockchain

April 23, 2018
MIT Media Lab
Cambridge, MA

About

Blockchain—You've heard the term, now understand the impact.

Digital technologies let people who’ve never met do business across borders and continents in an instant. But how can they trust one another without relying on bureaucracy and middlemen? How can security, identity, and ownership be guaranteed while still operating at the speed of the Internet?

Blockchains, or distributed ledgers, may provide the answer.

Companies, researchers, and governments are exploring how blockchains can secure trust without the need for middlemen or third parties. Leaders in a wide range of industries around the world are seeking to understand how distributed ledgers can help them operate more efficiently.

MIT Technology Review in collaboration with MIT Media Lab Digital Currency Initiative invite you to a one-day conference examining the technology, ethics, and impact of blockchains.

• Meet pioneers in this emerging field
• Learn about the technology to gain business advantage
• Separate fact from hype, and what’s imminent from what’s far off

New feature: Blockchain Primer

Join us for a pre-event explainer session on the fundamentals of blockchain, featuring experts from MIT and industry.

Sunday, April 22
6:00-8:00 pm

Open to all Business of Blockchain conference attendees. Opt in as part of your registration.

Speakers

Meet the pioneers of this emerging technology.

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  • Robleh
    Ali

    Research Scientist, DCI, MIT Media Lab

    The Future of Digital Currency

    Robleh Ali is a research scientist at the MIT Media Lab's Digital Currency Initiative. His main focus is on how national currencies can be issued digitally outside the existing banking system and what role central banks should play in such a system. The overall aim is to fundamentally reform the financial system by changing the way money is issued. He previously led the research into central-bank-issued digital currency at the Bank of England.
  • Brian
    Behlendorf

    Executive Director, Hyperledger Project

    Blockchain: Unlocking the Power and Potential

    Brian Behlendorf is the executive director of Hyperledger Project. Behlendorf was a primary developer of the Apache Web server and a founding member of the Apache Software Foundation. He has also served on the board of the Mozilla Foundation since 2003 and the Electronic Frontier Foundation since 2013. He was the founding CTO of CollabNet and CTO of the World Economic Forum. Most recently, Behlendorf was a managing director at Mithril Capital Management, a global technology investment firm.
  • Kathleen
    Breitman

    Cofounder and CEO, Tezos

    Kathleen Breitman is a cofounder of Tezos, a blockchain-based smart contract platform with an on-chain governance mechanism to coordinate and push upgrades to its network. Before joining Tezos, Kathleen was a senior strategy associate for R3, a blockchain consortium of more than 70 financial firms. She has also worked at Accenture, Bridgewater Associates, and the Wall Street Journal. She holds a degree from Cornell University.
  • Michael
    Casey

    Senior Advisor, DCI, MIT Media Lab

    Michael Casey is a senior advisor at MIT Media Lab's Digital Currency Initiative and a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is also chairman of the advisory board for CoinDesk, for which he writes his weekly "Token Economy" column, and a founding member of the Global Blockchain Business Council. A writer, researcher, and public speaker on economics and digital technology, Michael was a journalist for most of his career, including 18 years at the Wall Street Journal, where he was a senior columnist covering global finance. He is the author of five books, including The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything and The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and the Blockchain Are Challenging the Global Economic Order, both coauthored with Paul Vigna, and The Social Organism: A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life, co-written with Oliver Luckett.
  • Dan
    Elitzer

    Blockchain & Distributed Web Portfolio Lead, IDEO CoLab

    Creative Approaches to Driving Change with ICOs

    Dan leads the blockchain and distributed Web portfolio for IDEO CoLab, a collaborative R&D network and venture studio. He earned his MBA from MIT Sloan in 2015, during which he founded the MIT Bitcoin Club and cofounded the MIT Bitcoin Project, an initiative that distributed $100 in Bitcoin to every MIT undergrad in the fall of 2014.
  • Rod
    Garratt

    Maxwell C. and Mary Pellish Chair, Professor of Economics, University of California Santa Barbara

    Cryptocurrencies and Global Monetary Policy

    Rod Garratt holds the Maxwell C. and Mary Pellish Chair in Economics at the University of California Santa Barbara. He has served as a technical advisor to the Bank for International Settlements, a research advisor to the Bank of England, and a vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. At the FRBNY he co-led the Virtual Currency Working Group for the Federal Reserve System. After leaving the FRBNY he consulted for Payments Canada and R3 on Project Jasper, a proof of concept for a distributed-ledger-based wholesale interbank payment system. Garratt received a BA from the University of Waterloo and a PhD from Cornell. He has published in the top economics journals including Econometrica, the American Economic Review, and the Journal of Political Economy. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Financial Market Infrastructures and the Journal of Network Theory in Finance.
  • Gary
    Gensler

    Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management; Former Chairman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission

    Ethics and Governance in the Blockchain Era

    Gary Gensler is a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and senior advisor to the director of the MIT Media Lab, where he is a senior advisor to both the Digital Currency Initiative and the Ethics and Governance of AI project. Gensler served as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (2009-2014), leading the Obama administration's post-crisis reform efforts of the $400 trillion market in over-the-counter derivatives, or swaps. In recognition, he was a recipient of the 2014 Tamar Frankel Fiduciary Prize. He currently is chairman of the Maryland Financial Consumer Protection Commission. Gensler earned his undergraduate degree in economics in 1978 and his MBA from the Wharton School in 1979.
  • Ibrahim
    Gokcen

    Chief Digital Offier, A.P. Moller - Maersk

    Industry Impact: Global Supply Chain Implications

    Ibrahim Gokcen is the chief digital officer for Maersk Transport & Logistics, where he leads digital strategy, product delivery, and organization across container shipping, port operations, and supply chain management. He previously held digital leadership roles for 12 years at GE in a variety of areas, including commercial, innovation, IT, product management, and R&D. Ibrahim holds a PhD in computer science and a BS in software engineering.
  • Sharon
    Goldberg

    Cofounder and CEO, Commonwealth Crypto

    Sharon Goldberg is the CEO and cofounder of Commonwealth Crypto, a Boston blockchain startup that is making cryptocurrency trading faster and more secure. She is also an associate professor in the computer science department at Boston University. At BU, her research focuses on blockchain and on securing the protocols that provide many of the global Internet's core functions. She received her PhD from Princeton University in 2009 and her BA from the University of Toronto in 2003. She has worked as a researcher at IBM, Cisco, and Microsoft, as an engineer at Bell Canada and Hydro One Networks, and on working groups of the Federal Communications Commission and the Internet Engineering Task Force. She is the recipient of two IETF/IRTF Applied Networking Research Prizes, an NSF CAREER Award, an N2 Women Rising Star in Networking and Communications Award, and a Sloan Research Fellowship.
  • Jonathan
    Johnson

    President, Medici Ventures

    Bitcoin, ICOs, and Corporate Finance

    Jonathan Johnson is a member of Overstock's board of directors. Jonathan joined Overstock in 2002 and has been an integral part of the company's meteoric growth from a small startup to a publicly traded company with nearly $2 billion in sales and over 2,000 employees. He has served as its chairman of the board, acting CEO, and president and in a number of other executive roles. He was intimately involved in the company's decision to begin accepting Bitcoin four years ago. Jonathan is also president of Medici Ventures, Overstock's subsidiary that oversees a portfolio of blockchain technology companies. In this role, he is responsible for pioneering growth and innovation in applying blockchain to financial markets and beyond.
  • Gideon
    Lichfield

    Editor in Chief, MIT Technology Review

    Gideon Lichfield has been the editor-in-chief of MIT Technology Review since December 2017. He spent 16 years at The Economist, first as a science and technology writer and then in postings to Mexico City, Moscow, Jerusalem, and New York City. In 2012 he left to become one of the founding editors of Quartz, a news outlet dedicated to covering the future of the global economy that is now widely recognized as one of the most innovative companies in digital media. Gideon has taught journalism at New York University and been a fellow at Data & Society, a research institute devoted to studying the social impacts of new technology. He grew up in the UK and studied physics and the philosophy of science.
  • Silvio
    Micali

    Ford Professor of Engineering, MIT

    Silvio Micali received his laurea in mathematics from the University of Rome and his PhD in computer science from the University of California at Berkeley. Since 1983 he has been on the MIT faculty in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, where he is Ford Professor of Engineering. Silvio's research interests are cryptography, zero knowledge, pseudorandom generation, secure protocols, and mechanism design. He is the recipient of the Turing Award (in computer science), the Goedel Prize (in theoretical computer science), and the RSA prize (in cryptography). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • Patrick
    Murck

    Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University

    A Blockchain Entrepreneur's Guide to the Legal Galaxy

    Patrick is a lawyer and expert on bitcoin and blockchain-based technologies. He will conduct research into the law and policy implications of Bitcoin, distributed ledgers, and smart contracts.

    Previously Patrick was a cofounder of the Bitcoin Foundation, where he served at times as general counsel and executive director. He has engaged regulators and policymakers in the US and Europe on Bitcoin and the emerging digital economy. He was named among America's 50 Outstanding General Counsel for 2014 by the National Law Journal.

    Patrick also serves as president of the board of directors for the BitGive Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on charitable giving and social impact using Bitcoin.
  • Neha
    Narula

    Director, DCI, MIT Media Lab

    Examining Open, Trustless Digital Payments and Contracts

    Neha Narula is director of the Digital Currency Initiative, a part of the MIT Media Lab where she teaches courses and leads cryptocurrency and blockchain research. While completing her PhD in computer science at MIT, she built fast, scalable databases and secure software systems, and she spoke about these topics at dozens of industry and research conferences.

    In a previous life, Narula helped relaunch the news aggregator Digg and was a senior software engineer at Google. There, she designed Blobstore, a system for storing and serving petabytes of immutable data, and worked on Native Client, a system for running native code securely through a browser.
  • Frank
    Yiannas

    Vice President of Food Safety, Walmart

    Industry Impact: Food Safety in the Global Supply Chain

    As vice president of food safety, Frank Yiannas oversees all food safety and other public health functions for the world's largest food retailer, Wal-Mart, serving over 200 million customers around the world on a weekly basis. Prior to joining Wal-Mart in 2008, Frank was the director of safety and health for the Walt Disney World Company, where he worked for 19 years. In 2008, Frank was given the Collaboration Award by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He is the 2007 recipient of the NSF International Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Food Safety and the 2015 Industry Professional Food Safety Hero Award by STOP Foodborne Illness. Frank is also a past president of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) and a past vice-chair of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). He is an adjunct professor in the Food Safety Program at Michigan State University, and in 2017 was awarded the MSU Outstanding Faculty Award. He is the author of the books Food Safety Culture: Creating a Behavior-Based Food Safety Management System and Food Safety = Behavior: 30 Proven Techniques to Enhance Employee Compliance, by Springer Scientific. Frank is a registered microbiologist with the American Academy of Microbiology. He received his BS in microbiology from the University of Central Florida and his MPH from the University of South Florida.

In the heart of the MIT campus

This event takes place at the MIT Media Lab, in the heart of the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Here you can't help but feel the excitement and inspiration of being at the top university in the world, surrounded by the top technology minds anywhere.

MIT Media Lab
Building E14
75 Amherst Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
View on a campus map »

Blockchain 2018 Schedule

Join the conversation.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

  • 5:00
    Early Registration

    Check in and pick up your materials early for the evening's pre-event explainer session

  • 6:00
    Blockchain Primer

    A pre-event explainer session on blockchain fundamentals

Monday, April 23, 2018

  • 8:30
    Registration & Breakfast
  • 9:00
    Opening Remarks

    A welcome from MIT Technology Review’s editor in chief, our forum emcee.

    Gideon Lichfield Editor in Chief, MIT Technology Review
  • 9:05
    The Promise (and Perils) of the Cryptocurrency Craze

    Assessing the potential of cryptocurrencies in the global economy.

    Neha Narula Director, DCI, MIT Media Lab
    Examining Open, Trustless Digital Payments and Contracts
    Silvio Micali Ford Professor of Engineering, MIT
    Sharon Goldberg Cofounder and CEO, Commonwealth Crypto
  • 10:00
    Initial Coin Offerings Explained

    2017 was the year of the ICO. A look at what the craze has revealed so far.

    Jonathan Johnson President, Medici Ventures
    Bitcoin, ICOs, and Corporate Finance
  • 10:30
    Break & Networking
  • 11:00
    A New Foundation for Financial Services?

    How might the current financial system change with the arrival of blockchain technologies?

    Robleh Ali Research Scientist, DCI, MIT Media Lab
    The Future of Digital Currency
    Rod Garratt Maxwell C. and Mary Pellish Chair, Professor of Economics, University of California Santa Barbara
    Cryptocurrencies and Global Monetary Policy
  • 11:30
    Blockchain: Unlocking the Power and Potential

    The state of the art in blockchain technology, and the potential that this technology has for commercial impact.

    Brian Behlendorf Executive Director, Hyperledger Project
    Blockchain: Unlocking the Power and Potential
  • 12:00
    Lunch & Networking
  • 2:00
    Industry Impact

    Industries around the world are considering the potential applications and influence of blockchains.

    Ibrahim Gokcen Chief Digital Offier, A.P. Moller - Maersk
    Industry Impact: Global Supply Chain Implications
    Frank Yiannas Vice President of Food Safety, Walmart
    Industry Impact: Food Safety in the Global Supply Chain
  • 3:15
    A Global View: Regulations for Crypto Economy

    Governments around the globe are exploring how to update regulations for the blockchain era.

    Gary Gensler Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management; Former Chairman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission
    Ethics and Governance in the Blockchain Era
  • 3:45
    Break & Networking
  • 4:15
    The New Rules
    Patrick Murck Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University
    A Blockchain Entrepreneur's Guide to the Legal Galaxy
    Kathleen Breitman Cofounder and CEO, Tezos
  • 5:00
    Blockchain for Good

    New approaches are emerging for challenges, from serving the unbanked to supporting displaced populations.

    Dan Elitzer Blockchain & Distributed Web Portfolio Lead, IDEO CoLab
    Creative Approaches to Driving Change with ICOs
  • 5:30
    The View Ahead

    Closing plenary session examines the potential implications for every business to consider in the decade ahead.

    Gideon Lichfield Editor in Chief, MIT Technology Review
    Robleh Ali Research Scientist, DCI, MIT Media Lab
    The Future of Digital Currency
    Michael Casey Senior Advisor, DCI, MIT Media Lab
    Neha Narula Director, DCI, MIT Media Lab
    Examining Open, Trustless Digital Payments and Contracts
  • 6:00
    Reception

The Digital Currency Initiative

MIT Technology Review is proud to present this program in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab Digital Currency Initative.

Visit the DCI homepage »

The Digital Currency Initiative is a MIT Media Lab research group focusing on cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin enable open, trustless digital payments and contracts. In the spirit of the Internet's wide reach, this technology and the people behind it have the potential to increase wellbeing for billions of people and become a crucial part of daily life. We engage in fundamental research while shedding light on the associated benefits, risks, and ethical quandaries. Beyond research centered at MIT, we also help support open-source cryptocurrency communities and diversity, and look to foster a broader academic community in this space.

News + Views

Mobile

Like it or not, the future of cryptocurrency will be determined by bureaucrats

Digital coins don’t fit traditional regulatory definitions—what policymakers do about that will determine where the technology goes from here.

Biomedicine

This new company wants to sequence your genome and let you share it on a blockchain

People will be able to earn cryptocurrency in exchange for letting pharma companies use their data.

Mobile

What the Coincheck hack means for the future of blockchain security

Half a billion dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency was stolen—that’s gotten people’s attention.

Mobile

Telegram’s ICO: Give us $2 billion and we’ll solve all of blockchain’s problems

The encrypted messaging company’s plan is bold, but short on details.

Speaker nominations

We’re gathering the experts who’ll give you the inside track on the technologies and businesses that are disrupting industries, creating entirely new markets, and changing society.


Venue + Travel

April 23, 2018
MIT Media Lab
Cambridge, MA

MIT Media Lab

Building E14
75 Amherst Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
View on a campus map »

Conference Location: Entire 6th floor of Building E14

Attendee Registration: Lobby on 1st floor of Building E14

Hotel information

Hyatt Regency Cambridge

Discounted Conference Rate:
$229/night
See more details

Hyatt Regency Cambridge is located along the scenic Charles River overlooking the Boston skyline and is in the midst of two uncommonly exciting cities, Boston and Cambridge. Discover Boston and Cambridge at a hotel just minutes from Boston, adjacent to MIT, Harvard and Boston Universities. The Hyatt's guests are greeted with a dynamic 16-story atrium lobby featuring 470 newly renovated guestrooms. Zephyr on the Charles is the hotel's full service restaurant featuring eclectic dining, extraordinary views and authentic service. The state-of-the art Hyatt Stay Fit Health Club features a 75 ft heated indoor pool, eucalyptus sauna and steam room.

Book online at the discounted rate »

You may also reserve your room by phone at: 617-492-1234. Be sure to mention the MIT Technology Review Blockchain room block.

The group rate expires on April 1, 2018.

Directions

MIT is located on the north shore of the Charles River Basin in Cambridge, MA, USA. The campus is within three miles of two major interstate highways and less than six miles from a major international airport; it is accessible via public transportation. MIT is a 15-30 minute walk from downtown Boston (depending on the weather). MIT is a 30-40 minute walk from Harvard University, which is located just up the river from MIT.

Via Public Transportation

MBTA ("The T") Subway — Take the Red Line subway to the Kendall/MIT Station.

The Media Lab is located on the Red Line at the "Kendall/MIT" stop of the subway. You can transfer to the Red Line without additional fees from any other subway line at the appropriate station. Please check the subway map at your boarding point for more detailed information.

At the Kendall/MIT stop, you will surface on Main Street in Kendall Square. Landmarks include the Marriott Hotel and the MIT Coop. Facing Main Street, with the Marriott Hotel and the MIT Coop to your back, proceed right (west) to the first traffic light. This is the intersection of Main Street and Ames Street, with Legal Seafoods on the corner. Turn left onto Ames Street. The Media Lab is about halfway down the block, the second building on the left at 20 Ames Street. It is a large, contemporary, white­tiled building. Adjacent and connected to E15 is the new Media Lab expansion building (E14); its address is 75 Amherst Street. For information on Boston's public transportation system, including maps and schedules for bus, subway, and commuter rail service, please consult the MBTA.

From Logan Airport

By Taxi — Taxi fare from the airport is about $20­$25. During non­rush hour, the taxi ride will take about 15 minutes. During rush hour, the ride could take 30 minutes.

By Subway — From any terminal at Logan Airport, take the Silver Line bus to South Station. At South Station, change to the Red Line subway to Kendall/MIT (inbound toward Alewife). Under normal conditions the ride will take about 30 minutes; the fare is $2.00.

By Car — Leaving the airport, follow the signs to the Sumner Tunnel. Enter the tunnel and stay in the right lane. At the end of the tunnel, continue to stay in the right lane, start down an incline and bear to the right immediately at the sign for Storrow Drive. Take Exit 26 for Cambridge/Somerville. Follow the signs for Back Bay/Cambridge (do not take the exit for Cambridge/Somerville). Stay in the right lane and follow the signs for Storrow Drive Westbound. After you pass under the pedestrian walkbridges, change to the left lane and take the exit for 2A North. Turn right and cross the Harvard Bridge (Massachusetts Avenue).

Driving

From the Massachusetts Turnpike — Exit at "Brighton/Cambridge." Follow signs to Cambridge. The Doubletree Hotel will be on your right. Go straight over the bridge into Cambridge (on River Street) and take your first right onto Memorial Drive. The Charles River will be on your right. Go straight on Memorial Drive, staying to the left and going over the overpass at the Boston University (B.U.) Bridge (past MicroCenter). Staying in the left lane, pass under the next bridge, which is the Harvard Bridge (Massachusetts Avenue). The first street after that bridge, to the left, is Ames Street—but it is one way in the wrong direction. You will have to take the second left (sign says Kendall Square) onto Wadsworth Street. Take the first left onto Amherst Street. The Media Lab is at 75 Amherst Street (E14) and 20 Ames Street (E15), at the corner where Amherst Street ends at Ames Street.

From Logan Airport — Leaving the airport, take the Sumner Tunnel to 93 North. Exit right off of 93 at the Cambridge/Storrow Drive exit. When the ramp splits, bear right following signs to Storrow Drive. Exit left at the Kendall Square exit. At the traffic light, go right onto the Longfellow Bridge. Follow Main Street (Main flows into Broadway) and take a left at the second set of lights (Ames Street). The Media Lab will be on your left about a block and a half down Ames Street. Logan International Airport's Web site provides up­to­the­minute information on weather, construction, and traffic.

To Logan Airport — Drive away from the river on Ames Street, and make the first right onto Main Street. Follow Main Street to the Longfellow Bridge; proceed over the Longfellow Bridge. At the end of the bridge, there will be signage directing you to Route 93 South. Follow Route 93 South to the Airport exit. From Route I­93: From I­93, take exit 26, and follow the signs to Back Bay along Storrow Drive West, approximately 1.5 miles, to the exit for Route 2A. The exit will be on the left, just before the Harvard Bridge (Massachusetts Avenue). The Charles River will be on your right. As you cross the bridge, you will be looking at MIT. At the end of the bridge, turn right on to Memorial Drive. The first street after that bridge, to the left, is Ames Street—but it is one way in the wrong direction. You will have to take the second left (sign says Kendall Square) onto Wadsworth Street. Take the first left onto Amherst Street. The Media Lab is at 75 Amherst Street (E14) and 20 Ames Street (E15), at the corner where Amherst Street ends at Ames Street.

Cab Companies

Ambassador Brattle: 617.492.1100

Checker Cab Co.: 617.497.9000

Yellow Cab: 617.547.3000

Car Services

Boston Coach: 800.672.7676 (reservation line)

Commonwealth Limo: 617.787.5575

PlanetTran

Uber

Want more blockchain?

Watch video from last year's conference to meet the leaders, understand the tech, and gain a business advantage.

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Register now

Reserve your seat.

Registration includes all sessions, breakfast, lunch, breaks, and a closing reception on April 23. Paying attendees are offered a complimentary one-year Insider Basic subscription.

New this year: a pre-event explainer session on blockchain fundamentals on April 22. Pre-registration is required; opt in when completing your registration.

Your registration also includes the Chain Letter email newsletter with the latest on blockchain tech and its impact delivered to your inbox twice a week. 

We are pleased to offer discounts to MIT alumni and other members of the MIT community, non-profit organizations, select affiliate groups, and parties of three or more. Email to inquire about your eligibility: eventsreg@technologyreview.com.

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    To request a media pass for an MIT Technology Review conference, please fill out the media registration form.

    Media passes are limited, and are granted only to working journalists who intend to cover the event (see media and analyst required credentials on the form). The information you submit will be reviewed carefully, so please be as detailed as possible when filling out the form. Media credential approval for a prior MIT Technology Review conference does not guarantee approval for this event.

    Email press@technologyreview.com with any questions.

  • Cancellation Policy

    If you cancel your registration for any reason, you must notify us in writing before March 21, 2018 for a refund less a $295 processing fee. Cancellations on and after March 21 are nonrefundable. You may transfer your registration to another person at any time by providing authorization to us in writing. All cancellations and transfers should be sent to eventsreg@technologyreview.com.

  • Attendee Code of Conduct

    The mission of MIT Technology Review is to equip our audiences with the intelligence to understand and contribute to a world shaped by technology. We have curated a series of discussions that includes a wide range of views on the most significant technologies and trends of the year. We value diversity of ideas and perspectives from our speakers and our audience. We are proud to bring varying points of view to our stage, and are committed to providing a respectful environment for our speakers and audience. By joining us at an event, you agree to maintain a respectful environment during all parts of the program.

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