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Eric  Liu

Eric Liu

Best-Selling Author & CEO, Citizen University


Eric Liu is an author, educator, and civic entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Citizen University, which promotes and teaches the art of powerful citizenship through a portfolio of national programs, and the executive director of the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program. His books include the national bestsellers The Gardens of Democracy, and The True Patriot, co-authored with Nick Hanauer. Eric’s most recent book is You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen. His first book, The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker, was a New York Times Notable Book featured in the PBS documentary “Matters of Race.” His other books include A Chinaman’s Chance: One Family’s Journey and the Chinese American Dream; Guiding Lights: How to Mentor – and Find Life’s Purpose, the Official Book of National Mentoring Month; and Imagination First, co-authored with Scott Noppe-Brandon of the Lincoln Center Institute, which explores ways to unlock imagination in education, politics, business and the arts. Read More >

Eric served as a White House speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and later as the President’s deputy domestic policy adviser. After the White House, he was an executive at the digital media company RealNetworks.

Eric lives in Seattle, where he teaches civic leadership at the University of Washington and hosts Citizen University TV, an award-winning television program about civic power. In addition to speaking regularly at venues across the country, Eric also serves on numerous nonprofit and civic boards. He is the co-founder of the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility. A board member of the Corporation for National and Community Service, he is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School. He is a regular columnist for CNN.com and a correspondent for TheAtlantic.com. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

TEDTalk: Why Ordinary People Need to understand Power

TEDTalk: There's No Such Thing As Not Voting

Obama Summit Closing Session

Citizen Power

The Garden of Democracy

Exploring the Dangers of Polarized Politics for American Governance

Points of Light

The Art of Purpose, Mentorship, and Citizenship

Citizen University - How to Talk With the Other Side

Speech Topics

Citizen Power

Far too many Americans are illiterate in power — what it is, how it operates, why some individuals have more than others. As a result, those few who do understand power wield it disproportionately. How can you learn to activate your civic power to see problems through fresh eyes, and bypass broken institutions, stale ideologies, and divisive politics? In this powerful talk about power and civic purpose, Eric Liu expounds the values, knowledge and skills of effective citizenship, and rejuvenates the meaning of being an active American.

Who Is Us: The Future of American Identity

Our country has never been more diverse or more polarized, and the question of what it means to be American—and how we create a sustainable story of “us”—is front and center in our politics and culture. In this rich and provocative talk Eric Liu examines the birthing of a new America and argues that today’s fights over racial justice and social inclusion are fights to ensure that this country lives up to the full promise of its creed, and why now, more than ever, we need to ask: Who is us? Who gets to define modern America?