The Forum

The City Club Raleigh National Public Affairs Forum, created in 2014, is a burgeoning national free speech and media platform where national speakers deliver messages of importance to the citizens of Raleigh, the state and the nation. The Forum engages City Club Raleigh membership, community leaders, the general public and the mass media with newsworthy events.

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September 19th at 11:30am
Raleigh Mayoral Race Candidates Discussion
presented by The Forum
Please RSVP 

Reservations required for this plated lunch by September 16, 2019@ 5pm
Members should order their tickets via phone, website, or member app.
Guests can buy tickets at Ticket Leap.

September 6, 2018
Speaker: Thomas Pickering, Career Ambassador
Interviewer: David Hartman, Emmy-Winning Journalist, Original Host of Good Morning America

Topic: “Future of U.S.- Iran Relations”

Bio: Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering is Vice Chair of Hills & Company. He holds the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service. In a diplomatic career spanning five decades, he was U.S. ambassador to Israel, the Russian Federation, India, El Salvador, Nigeria, and Jordan. From 1989 to 1992, he was Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, and he then served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Earlier in his career, he was Special Assistant to Secretaries of State William P. Rogers and Henry Kissinger. He also served in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves.

News and Observer
Former UN Ambassador Speaks at City Club Raleigh

March 22, 2018 
Speaker: Leighton “Snuffy” Smith, Jr., Four Star Navy Admiral

Event Moderated by David Hartman, Original Host of Good Morning America

Topic: America, NATO, Russia + China; What’s Next? 

Bio: Leighton W. Smith, Jr. graduated from the Naval Academy with the Class of 1962 and received his wings in January 1964. He retired from active service in October 1996 with the rank of Admiral. As a naval aviator, Smith flew carrier based, light attack jet aircraft during multiple deployments to the Mediterranean, North Atlantic, Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. These included three cruises in waters off North Vietnam where he flew over 280 combat missions. Smith, who has commanded at sea at all levels in the aviation community to include squadron, wing, aircraft carrier and Carrier Battle Group, has logged over 4,200 flying hours and 1000 carrier arrested landings. Appointed to four star rank in April 1994, he became Commander in Chief, U. S Naval Forces Europe and Commander in Chief Allied Forces Southern Europe (1994-1996). In December of 1995, he assumed, concurrently, command of the NATO led Implementation Force, (IFOR) in Bosnia, a position he held until August 1996. 

Smith’s military awards include two Defense Distinguished Service Medals, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and 29 Air Medals. He has also received the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, the French Order of National Merit with the rank of Grand Officer and, in March 1997, was made an Honorary Knight of the British Empire in a private audience with Her Majesty the Queen. In 2007, he was selected as a Distinguished Graduate of the US Naval Academy, the institutions most prestigious award.


June 7, 2017
Speaker: Patrick Cronin, Senior Advisor + Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center For New American Security (CNAS)

Event Moderated by David Hartman, Original Host of Good Morning America

Topic: North Korea: Implications for U.S. + East Asia Security 

Bio: PATRICK M. CRONIN is a Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Previously, he was the Senior Director of the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) at the National Defense University, where he simultaneously oversaw the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs. Dr. Cronin has a rich and diverse background in both Asian-Pacific security and U.S. defense, foreign and development policy. Prior to leading INSS, Dr. Cronin served as the Director of Studies at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). At the IISS, he also served as Editor of the Adelphi Papers and as the Executive Director of the Armed Conflict Database. Before joining IISS, Dr. Cronin was Senior Vice President and Director of Research at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). 

In 2001, Dr. Cronin was confirmed by the United States Senate to the third-ranking position at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). While serving as Assistant Administrator for Policy and Program Coordination, Dr. Cronin also led the interagency task force that helped design the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). 

From 1998 until 2001, Dr. Cronin served as Director of Research at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Prior to that, he spent seven years at the National Defense University, first arriving at INSS in 1990. He received the Army's Meritorious Civilian Service Award upon his departure from NDU in 1997. He has also been a senior analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses, a U.S. Naval Reserve Intelligence officer, and an analyst with the Congressional Research Service and SRI International. 

October 11, 2016
Speaker: Judy Woodruff, Co-Anchor, PBS NewsHour

Event Moderated by David Hartman, Original Host of Good Morning America

Topic: The 2016 Election

Bio: Woodruff has covered politics and other news for more than three decades at CNN, NBC and PBS. In February 2016, she made history alongside Ifill serving as the first all-women panel to moderate a presidential debate. For 12 years, Woodruff served as anchor and senior correspondent for CNN, where her duties included anchoring the weekday program, "Inside Politics." At PBS from 1983 to 1993, she was the chief Washington correspondent for The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. From 1984-1990, she also anchored PBS' award-winning weekly documentary series, "Frontline with Judy Woodruff."  

At NBC News, Woodruff was White House correspondent from 1977 to 1982. For one year after that she served as NBC's Today Show Chief Washington Correspondent. She wrote the book, "This is Judy Woodruff at the White House," published in 1982 by Addison-Wesley. Judy is a graduate of Duke University, where she is a trustee emerita.  

Jun 16, 2016
Speaker: Claudia Ruiz, Mexico Secretary of Foreign Affairs

Topic: Current State of the U.S. – Mexico Bilateral Relationship 

Bio: Claudia Ruiz Massieu was first elected to Mexico's House of Representatives in 2003. She returned to Congress as a Federal Congresswoman in 2009, where she served as Secretary of the Interior Committee and member of the Budget, Public Accounts and Finance Committees. She was a member of the Steering Committee of the Congressional Public Finances Research Center and was also a member of the Mexico-Poland and Mexico-United States Friendship Inter-parliamentary Groups. In 2012 she ran for a seat in the Federal Senate representing the State of Guerrero. In the Executive Branch, Ms Ruiz Massieu served as Chief of Staff to the Executive Secretary of the National Public Security System at the Federal Public Security Ministry and as head of the Institutional Planning, Development and Innovation Department at the Office of Mexico's Attorney General. 

As a member of the current governing party, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, Ms Ruiz Massieu chaired the National Citizen Outreach Movement. In 2012, she became a member of President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto’s transition team, as Head of the Human Rights and Transparency Unit. Ms Ruiz Massieu has been awarded with the French Ordre national du Mérite (as Grand Officier), the Order of the British Empire (as Dame Commander), and the Portuguese Ordem do Mérito (Grã-Cruz class). Claudia Ruiz Massieu served as Minister of Tourism from 1 December 2012 to 27 August 2015, and was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs on 27 August 2015.
Mexican secretary talks relationship, not walls in Raleigh appearance
American's Relationship with Mexico  

March 31, 2016
Speaker: H.E. Lukman Faily, Iraq Ambassador to the United States of America

Topic: Iraq - Current Challenges and Future 

Bio: From June 2010 until May 2013, Faily served as Iraq's Ambassador to Japan. Prior to his assignment, he served as an Ambassador at the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Faily lived in the United Kingdom for 20 years, working in the Information Technology sector for several transnational companies. During his last 10 years in the UK, he held senior management positions in two major American companies, Ceridan Centrefile and then Electronic Data Systems, which is now part of Hewlett Packard. In addition, he held consultancy and team-leader positions in the Information Technology sector. 

While living and working in the UK, Faily was an active leader within the large Iraqi exile community and served as a trustee for several non-governmental Iraqi organizations. He also played an active role in opposing Saddam's dictatorship and advocated for democracy and rule of law in Iraq.  

November 3, 2015
Carly Fiorina, Presidential Candidate 

Event: Meeting with Carly Fiorina which included the Forum Committee, North Carolina opinion makers, and political & community leaders. Ms. Fiorina provided a detailed presentation and Q&A session.  

August 20, 2015 
Speaker: Richard Burr, Senator and Chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Topic: Where Are We Now in National Security 

Bio: First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994, Burr served five terms in the House and is currently serving North Carolina in his second term in the U.S. Senate. In the Senate, Burr serves as Chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and sits on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and the Finance Committee.Born in Charlottesville, Virginia, and raised in Winston Salem, North Carolina, Burr is a graduate of Wake Forest University. He also serves on the Board of Brenner Children’s Hospital and the West Point Board of Visitors.

News and Observer:

Time Warner Cable News:


March 10, 2015
Inaugural Speaker: Thomas W. Ross, President of the 17-Campus University of North Carolina

Topic: The Future of Higher Education in the U.S. 

Bio: Ross, who served as a North Carolina State Superior Court judge for 17 years, became president of the 17-campus UNC in 2011. Born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, Ross holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Davidson College (1972) and graduated with honors from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law (1975).  He also has served as President of Davidson College, executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, a philanthropic organization devoted to improving the lives of the people of North Carolina and, early in his career, served as chief of staff in the Washington, D.C. office of U.S. Congressman Robin Britt.