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Harker Speaker Series

Launched in 2008 to bring leaders and visionaries from a wide variety of fields to share their expertise or unique experiences with Harker.

Harker Speaker Series

The Harker Speaker Series (HSS) was launched in 2008 to bring in leaders and visionaries from a wide variety of fields to share their expertise or unique experiences with Harker parents, faculty and students as well as the greater community. For more information, contact communications@harker.org.

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Watch All of Our Past Event Videos in our HSS Event Playlist

2024 Speaker Series

Image of Michael Eric Dyson

"Chinatown Rising": A Film Screening and Discussion with Filmmakers Harry Chuck and Josh Chuck

Mon., April 8, 7-9 p.m. | 7 p.m. Movie Screening, 8:30-9 p.m. Discussion

Reserve Seats

The filmmakers describe "Chinatown Rising" as "a documentary film about the Asian American movement from the perspective of the young residents on the front lines of their historic neighborhood in transition. Through publicly challenging the conservative views of their elders, their demonstrations and protests of the 1960s-1980s rattled the once quiet streets during the community’s shift in power. Forty-five years later, in intimate interviews these activists recall their roles and experiences in response to the need for social change." More info

Attendance is free but ticket is required.


Author Julie Lythcott-Haims

Past Event: The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe

Join an expert distinguished panel of scholars and Charlene Nijmeh, chairwoman of the Muwekma Ohlone tribe, as they discuss the tribe’s struggle for federal recognition, repatriation of ancestral remains, gentrification, and education opportunities for tribe members.


Past Event: Pantea Karimi

Art and Science in Historic and Political Contexts: A Conversation with Pantea Karimi

Karimi will be featured in a conversation at the Rothschild Performing Arts Center with 6-12 visual arts chair Josh Martinez. This event will include an audience Q&A session and a 5 p.m. reception with food and drink.

Karimi’s work can be found in both private and public collections at Stanford University, the University of California, San Francisco and the University of California, Davis. Internationally, she has had digital works and prints exhibited in Iran, Algeria, Germany, Croatia, Mexico and the UK. She has also been featured by KQED Arts and Culture twice, in 2020 and 2022, and by the KQED forum in 2023.


Image of Michael Eric Dyson

Past Event: Michael Eric Dyson, Ph.D.

The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: An Evening of Performance and Reflection

Distinguished professor, gifted writer, and prominent media personality Michael Eric Dyson, Ph.D., will be joined by professional artists and Harker student performing arts ensembles in a fascinating evening of reflection on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Previous Speakers Include:

Author Julie Lythcott-Haims

The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe

Join an expert distinguished panel of scholars and Charlene Nijmeh, chairwoman of the Muwekma Ohlone tribe, as they discuss the tribe’s struggle for federal recognition, repatriation of ancestral remains, gentrification, and education opportunities for tribe members.

Author Julie Lythcott-Haims

Julie Lythcott-Haims – Author

The Harker Speaker Series is proud to present renowned author Julie Lythcott-Haims, who will discuss her book, “How to Raise an Adult.” Learn more about Julie Lythcott-Haims.

Magdalena Yeşil

Magdalena Yeşil - Investor, Entrepreneur, Author

Pioneering entrepreneur and investor Magdalena Yeşil came to the United States in 1976 with two suitcases and $43, blind to the challenges she would face as a woman and immigrant in Silicon Valley. Today, she is best known as the first investor and a founding board member of Salesforce, the now-multibillion dollar company that ushered in the era of cloud-based computing. Yeşil is a former general partner at U.S. Venture Partners, where she oversaw investments in more than 30 early-stage companies and served on the boards of many. A technology pioneer, Yeşil founded three of the first companies dedicated to commercializing internet access, e-commerce infrastructure and electronic payments. Yeşil was interviewed on stage by a Harker business & entrepreneurship student.

Desolate Angel

Dennis McNally — Jack Kerouac, The Beat Generation and America

Dennis McNally is an author, historian, music publicist, and one of the finest cultural historians of our time. His landmark work, “Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation, and America,” launched him, as a Ph.D. student, into a lifelong engagement with the history of American cultural freedom.

As a result of “Desolate Angel,” McNally was invited by Jerry Garcia to be the Grateful Dead’s official historian, becoming the band's publicist in 1984 during the band’s cultural renewal in the ‘80s and ‘90s. McNally went on to publish “A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead,” and “On Highway 61: Music, Race and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom,” bringing him back to his roots as a cultural historian.

Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya Portrait

Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya

The Harker Speaker Series proudly presented education activist Kakenya Ntaiya, whose childhood dream of attending college led her to an inspiring life of service and advocacy.

Pantea Karimi

Karimi will be featured in a conversation at the Rothschild Performing Arts Center with 6-12 visual arts chair Josh Martinez. This event will include an audience Q&A session and a 5 p.m. reception with food and drink.

Karimi’s work can be found in both private and public collections at Stanford University, the University of California, San Francisco and the University of California, Davis. Internationally, she has had digital works and prints exhibited in Iran, Algeria, Germany, Croatia, Mexico and the UK. She has also been featured by KQED Arts and Culture twice, in 2020 and 2022, and by the KQED forum in 2023.

David Amram

David Amram - Composer, Musician, Author

David Amram’s almost 70-year-long career, still going strong, reads like a who’s who of music history, including collaborations with Jack Kerouac, Leonard Bernstein, Thelonious Monk, Johnny Depp, Hunter S. Thompson, Dizzy Gillespie, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Betty Carter, Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Tito Puente and more. Amram is equally at home in the classical and film genres, working with many symphony orchestras and scoring the films “The Manchurian Candidate” and “Splendor in the Grass.” This treasure of American music was interviewed on stage by historian Charles Shuttleworth and sat in with and conducted Harker instrumental ensembles. Amram’s sharp wit, incredible stories and unique outlook on today’s music industry provided an entertaining evening like no other.

Denis Belliveau

Denis Belliveau - Filmmaker, Author, Explorer "In the Footsteps of Marco Polo"

Some people dream big dreams. Only a few bold adventurers live them. Author, explorer and filmmaker Denis Belliveau shared stories and images from his two-year odyssey retracing Marco Polo’s entire 25,000 mile, land-and-sea route from Venice to China and back, a journey he fully documented in the Emmy-nominated film "In the Footsteps of Marco Polo."

Brimming with adventure, history, art, and no small amount of humor, "In the Footsteps Of Marco Polo" is a deeply enriching educational experience that audiences will not soon forget. Screen the full film.

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Toshio Tanahashi, Shojin Chef

Chef Toshio Tanahashi has been featured in Vogue Nippon, The New York Times and The Japan Times and has written two books on Shojin cuisine.

Khaled Hosseini with Cheryl Jennings

Khaled Hosseini, the Afghan-born best-selling author of “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns," spoke with ABC7's Cheryl Jennings about the writing process, his experiences in Afghanistan and his humanitarian efforts with the Khaled Hosseini Foundation.

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Rick Steves

Rick Steves discussed his book, "Travel as a Political Act," and talked about the ordinary people he has come across in his travels across Europe, Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East, where he has learned about tolerance and cultural diversity, always seeking a fresh perspective as an American and a citizen of the world.

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