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Eric Liu    

Founder of Citizens University, Writer

Eric Liu is an American writer and founder of Citizen University. Liu served as Deputy Assistant to President Clinton for Domestic Policy at the White House between 1999 and 2000.

He served as Speechwriter and Director of Legislative Affairs for the National Security Council at the White House from 1993 to 1994. President Obama nominated him in January 2015 to serve on the board of directors of the federal Corporation for National and Community Service and he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate; his term has expired in December 2017.

Liu has authored many books: "Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy", "You're More Powerful Than You Think", "A Chinaman's Chance", "Guiding Lights: The People Who Lead Us Toward Our Purpose in Life", and "The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker". Liu and businessman Nick Hanauer have co-authored two political books: "The True Patriot" and "The Gardens of Democracy".

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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