MSNBC’s Ali Velshi to present Manatt-Phelps lecture on Oct. 18

AMES, Iowa – MSNBC anchor and business correspondent Ali Velshi will discuss the impact of the Trump administration’s domestic and international policy shifts when he presents the fall 2017 Manatt-Phelps Lecture in Political Science.

Velshi – a former anchor at Al Jazeera America and CNN – will present “Political and Economic Transition at Home and Abroad” at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 18, in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. The presentation and reception following in the South Ballroom are free and open to the public.

Velshi is known for his ability to explain in plain terms the causes of the global financial crisis, the debt ceiling and the budget debates. He reported on the U.S. presidential campaign and provided overseas coverage of ISIL, the Syrian refugee crisis and the Iran nuclear deal as the host of Al Jazeera America's “Ali Velshi on Target.”

On MSNBC, Velshi co-hosts “Velshi & Ruhle,” which examines the intersection of business, politics and the economy. He also appears as an economic analyst on other MSNBC and NBC television shows.

"We are very pleased that Ali Velshi will deliver the Manatt-Phelps lecture this year,” said Tom Phelps, who established the lecture series in 2002 with the late Ambassador Charles T. Manatt and their spouses Kathleen Manatt and Elizabeth Phelps. “He will bring a unique perspective to the campus, having covered the global economy, American business and finance, and U.S. politics – including how technology is impacting all three. He has a front-row seat to history as a network anchor, and will share his perspective on how the world sees the United States at this most interesting time in our history."

Michele Manatt, the daughter of Charles and Kathleen Manatt, noted that Velshi has worked at some of the world’s most influential media organizations. “He knows how these networks make decisions about their news coverage,” she said. “It will be important to give him a sense of what matters here on the ISU campus and in Iowa. We expect a fascinating evening with Mr. Velshi,” she added. “We hope for a spirited two-way exchange, which is the ethos of this lecture series."

Velshi is the author of “Gimme My Money Back” and co-authored “How to Speak Money” with former CNN colleague and Iowa State alumna Christine Romans. In 2016, Velshi was nominated for two Emmy Awards for his work on disabled workers and Chicago’s red-light camera scandal. In 2010, he was honored with a National Headliner Award for Business and Consumer Reporting for a special on the near collapse of the American auto industry. In addition, CNN was nominated for a 2010 Emmy for Velshi’s breaking news coverage of the attempted terror attack on Northwest airline’s flight 253 into Detroit.

Born in Kenya and raised in Canada, Velshi graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, with a degree in religion. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by his alma mater in 2016.

“Velshi’s experience and expertise position him perfectly to help our students develop a well-rounded understanding of how world affairs affect Iowa’s people and economy,” said Mack Shelley, University Professor and chair of political science. “This is a golden opportunity for students to see how politics, economics, and societal trends intersect in the modern world to affect where we are headed as a planet.”

Previous Manatt-Phelps lectures have featured ambassadors from crucial American allies and friends – France, Germany, India, Spain and Sweden – as well as distinguished leaders from America’s largest trading partners, such as Mexico’s secretary of foreign affairs and Canada’s former minister of foreign affairs. Other speakers include then-U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden, then-U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne and counterterrorism expert Malcolm Nance.

In addition to the Manatt and Phelps families, the fall 2017 Manatt-Phelps Lecture in Political Science is co-sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, political science department, Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by Student Government.