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Eric Liu    

Inspirational Civic Leader, Author & Educator

A dynamic author, educator and civic entrepreneur, Eric Liu inspires and energizes audiences everywhere. He is the founder of Citizen University, which promotes and teaches the art of creative citizenship. In settings ranging from the World Economic Forum to the Seeds of Compassion event with the Dalai Lama, from college campuses to corporate boardrooms to grassroots community organizations, Liu brings a message of possibility and responsibility that is unique and powerful.

Hailed by The New York Times and The Washington Post as a leading voice of his generation, Eric Liu has served in senior leadership roles in politics, media, and business. He was a White House speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and later Clinton’s Deputy Domestic Policy Advisor. He is a regular columnist for and correspondent for, and he has authored several acclaimed books that showcase his power as a storyteller and idea generator. He is the son of immigrants form China, and deeply aware of his second-generation responsibilities to push this country to live up to its creed.

Liu’s book Guiding Lights: The People Who Lead Us Toward Our Purpose in Life describes the ways of transformative mentors from all walks of life and was named the Official Book of National Mentoring Month. The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker — his book about race, identity, and assimilation — was a New York Times Notable Book and was featured in the PBS documentary Matters of Race. The True Patriot, co-authored with Nick Hanauer, was a national bestseller and argues that progressives must reclaim patriotism; the pair also co-authored The Gardens of Democracy, which has shaped the national political debate on inequality and the meaning of citizenship. His most recent book, A Chinaman’s Chance, is about being Chinese American in this age of China and America and argues that America still retains a deep competitive advantage - so long as it figures out how to fully activate its diversity.

What connects his wide-ranging work, and what Liu speaks about with passion and clarity, is the question “Who is us?” Liu’s work invites and challenges us to think and act outside our small circles of identity and to build a true “unum” out of our “pluribus.” Whether the topic is diversity, citizenship, or American identity, Eric Liu sparks a belief that we can - and must - be part of something greater than ourselves.

Speech Topics

The Chinese American Way

In this turbulent age defined by China and America, Chinese Americans can show a constructive way forward, says Eric Liu, fusing elements of each nation's culture and embodying a synthesis of values that the world needs now. Liu argues too that no matter how mighty China becomes, America will always retain a competitive advantage that can be boiled down thus: America makes Chinese Americans, but China doesn't make American Chinese. This is a provocative and fascinating topic for our times.

Reimagining Citizenship

What does it mean to be a citizen in America? Is it just a matter of legal documentation, or the dumb luck of birth on American soil? Or is it really about a set of values and know-how that enable each of us to take ownership of our community and country? In this powerful talk about power and civic purpose, Eric Liu awakens us anew to the meaning of being an American.

The Art of Mentoring

Who’s influenced you? How do you pass it on? These two simple questions led Eric Liu on a nationwide journey to capture the essence of being an effective mentor. In this inspiring talk, he shares stories of purpose, failure and possibility that will make you more powerful and mindful as both mentor and mentee in every part of your life.

Race Beyond Black & White

Race in America, even in the 21st century, tends to be black and white: literally, in that it’s often about black and white communities, and figuratively, in that we oversimplify matters of race into a series of false choices. Eric Liu speaks with insight about how Asian American identity can reveal the path to a more honest, more complex and more complete conversation about race and diversity.

The True Meaning of Patriotism

Patriotism is one of the most used and abused ideas in American political life. But what does patriotism truly mean? In this rich and provocative talk, Eric Liu takes both the left and the right to task for forgetting the moral principles that give real meaning to love of country – and reminds us all to live out the American idea in our everyday choices.

A Chinaman’s Chance

In many ways, Chinese Americans today are exemplars of the American Dream. However, this narrative obscures too much: the Chinese Americans still left behind, the erosion of the American Dream itself and the anxiety generated now by China’s rise. Based on his book of the same name, Eric Liu’s speech traces his family’s history, culture and future, piecing together a sense of Chinese American identity — and American identity itself. Provocative, often playful and always thoughtful, Liu provides insights into universal matters such as identity, family, nation and the fate of the American idea.


Eric Liu |

Eric Liu. Liu's latest book is The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story of Citizenship, the ... Eric Liu is an author, educator and civic entrepreneur.

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