ON APRIL 8, 2019, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former Vice President Al Gore joined a John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum panel to discuss the American presidency in the 21st century. The evening paid tribute, on the 100th anniversary of his birth, to Richard Neustadt, presidential advisor, Harvard Kennedy School professor, and the first director of the School’s Institute of Politics. Gore and the other panelists, including the historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, examined the current state of presidential leadership and posed the question, “What would Dick Neustadt say?” Gore said that the current political climate is “not normal” and poses a threat to the future of American democracy. He offered the following caution to the American people and other citizens around the world: “In order for the promise of representative democracy and self-governance to be redeemed in the 21st century, we have to find that the majority of people are willing to devote time and attention to the role of the citizen in the self-governing process.”

Headshot of Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo.

“There’s plenty of time to go make money, but there’s not always a great time to change the world for the better.”

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, giving the Godkin Lecture in March.

Headshot of President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana.

“Young people are willing to risk everything to improve their circumstances. … What this means is that if we provide them the right environment in Africa, they will make our continent great.”

President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana at the Africa Development Conference in March.

Headshot of Former Senator Bob Corker.

“Washington more closely reflects the American people than they would like to wish.”

Former Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, at a Forum in April.

Former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson.

“It struck me as being incredible ... how male and technical this world was. Nothing about human rights. Nothing about gender. Nothing about what I understood to be the problem.”

Former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, at a Forum in April, describing the first climate conference she attended.

Headshot of Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum.

“We have to be careful with race, continuously, certainly for candidates of color. That it is still a third rail, and it is still very difficult to talk about.”

Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum at a Forum in April.

Headshot of Peter Navarro, President Donald Trump’s trade adviser.

“America, the piggy bank, will continue to be plundered by a trade deficit that transfers more than half a trillion dollars of American wealth a year into foreign hands.”

Peter Navarro, President Donald Trump’s trade adviser, speaking at a Forum in April.

Banner photo by Jon Chase; portraits by Martha Stewart