Mon., July 30  8 pm
Dr. John Holdren, Climate Change
Great Harbor Yacht Club

Mon., Aug. 6   8 pm
Jon B. Alterman, Jerusalem’s Enduring Power Explained
Great Harbor Yacht Club

Thurs., Aug. 9   7 pm
A Conversation With Gen. David Petraeus
Nantucket High School

Mon., Aug. 13   8 pm
Amb. R. Nicholas Burns, America’s Global Leadership In Crisis
White Elephant Conference Center

Each lecture has a $25 admission. Tickets available at the library or Purchase Tickets online.

Dr. John Holdren

Mon., July 30, Dr. John Holdren, climate change science.

After serving as U.S. President Barack Obama’s senior advisor on science and technology, Dr. Holdren is now at the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC), the world’s top ranked independent climate-change think tank, as a senior adviser. He will provide an update on the latest climate change data as well as his view on where American and international policies stand related to addressing the impact created by the warming of planet Earth.

Mon., Aug. 6, Jon B. Alterman, Jerusalem’s Enduring Power Explained

Jon Alterman

The most contested piece of geography on earth is the Old City of Jerusalem. Only a third of a square mile in area, it has been the focus of prayer—and warfare—for millennia. What explains Jerusalem’s enduring power over the imagination? How has the idea of Jerusalem changed through the centuries? How have politicians used Jerusalem, and what does that mean for the city’s future?
Alterman is a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic And International Studies, where he holds the Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy and teaches Middle Eastern studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and George Washington University. He has also served at the U.S. Department of State and as a special assistant to the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs.  On Nantucket, Alterman helps us sort out the complicated political and cultural landscape of the Middle East.

Thurs., Aug. 9., Retired US Army General David Patraeus, National Security.

Gen. David Petraeus

General Petraeus served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and commanded U.S. and International Security Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.  He is currently partner at KKR Global Institute and a professor at CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College and the University of Southern California. A graduate of the United States Military Academy, General Petraeus also earned a Ph.D. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and later completed a fellowship at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Mon., Aug. 13, Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns, America’s Global Leadership In Crisis

Amb. R. Nicholas Burns

Ambassador Burns teaches diplomacy and international relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government where he is founder of the Future of Diplomacy Project and chairs the Programs on the Middle East and on India and South Asia. During his long career in the U.S. State Department he has served under U.S. Presidents George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and was also ambassador to Greece.

At the Department of State he has served on the National Security Council, NATO, been director of Soviet Affairs and department spokesman.


Since 2005, the Atheneum has presented a celebrated and diverse roster of speakers who address key issues of the day as part of the library’s Geschke Lecture Series. The events are held in July and August each year.

Previous Geschke Lecture Series have included:

  • 2017: Dr. Jerrold Rosenbaum, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University Understanding Depression;  Robert Traver, Villanova University, Managing Polluntants from Stormwater; Peter Baker & Susan Glasser, New York Times & POLITICO, Current Events & Washington Politics; Richard Haass, National Security Council, A World In Disarray; Panel Discussion:  Making A Difference In Africa With Pam Allyn (LitWorld) and Vanessa Kerry (Seed Global Health).
  • 2016: David Mindell, MIT and author of Our Robots Our Selves;  Jay Famiglietti, University of California & NASA, Water Security; Robin Wright Washington Post and the New Yorker, foreign policy; Dr. Wayne Shreffler, Massachusetts General Hospital, food allergies.
  • 2015: Susan Glasser, POLITICO Editor; Ajay Royan, Mithril Capital Management co-founder; Roz Chast, New Yorker cartoonist; Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, Alzheimer’s disease research.
  • 2014: Dr. Walter Willett, Harvard University nutritionist; Esther Dyson, chairman of EDventure Holdings and founder of HICcup; Joe Klein, author and TIME Magazine columnist; And, Peter Baker, New York Times White House correspondent.
  • 2013: David Owen, a New Yorker author ; John Donoghue, a Brown University neuroscientist; Harvard University astronomer Dr. Robert Kirshner ; Maureen Orth, Vanity Fair special correspondent, and Chuck Todd, Chief White House Correspondent for NBC News; and United Nations prosecutor Richard Goldstone.
  • 2012: Jill Abramson, Executive Editor of the New York Times; Lawrence Lessig, Harvard University Ethics professor and author of Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress; Panel Discussion on the Economy, moderated by David Gregory, NBC News with Jack Welch, General Electric, Louis V Gerstner, Jr., IBM and Bob Wright, NBC; And, Louis Susman, United States Ambassador to the Court of St. James.
  • 2011:Ian Frazier, author and New Yorker staff writer; David Gregory NBC moderator of “Meet The Press”; Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of 11 books; and, Joseph Nye, Jr., Dean Emeritus of the Kennedy School, Harvard University.
  • 2010: Computer technology innovators Chuck Geschke (Adobe) and Bob Metcalfe (3Com); New York Times Columnist and Author Thomas Friedman; Washington Post Columnist and MSNBC Commentator Eugene Robinson; and President of Pew Research Center Andrew Kohut
  • 2009: Pulitzer-Prize-winning biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin; Presidential Advisor David Gergen; CBS News journalist Lesley Stahl; and Carnegie Corporation President Vartan Gregorian.
  • 2008: Print and television journalist Mike Barnicle; former Delaware Governor Pete du Pont; NPR journalist Mara Liasson; Washington Post journalist Robin Wright; PBS journalist Gwen Ifill.
  • 2007: Committee for Economic Development, Charles Kolb; MIT President Dr. Susan Hockfield; Natural Resources Defense Council, Frances Beinecke; Presidential Advisor David Gergen; Project HOPE Dr. John Howe III; Business Week columnists Jack and Suzy Welch.
  • 2006: National Review journalist Jay Nordlinger; NPR President Kevin Klose; New York Times editor Jill Abramson; Jay Rosen of New York University; CBS News journalist Katie Couric; CBS News anchor Lesley Stahl; NBC News anchor Tim Russert; PBS television host David Brancaccio; Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Henninger; Concord Monitor photographer Daniel Habib.
  •  2005: Authors Patricia Ebrey, Nancy Berliner, Jerome Silbergeld, Andrea and Lynde McCormick, Neil Baldwin, David McCullough, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Father Robert Drinan, and U.S. Senator Bill Frist.