Presented in Partnership with:
The National Park Service
Independence National
Historical Park
Technology Partner:
Sponsored by:
First Niagara Bank

About the Webcast

This livestreamed conversation is the fourth in the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia's Stan and Arlene Ginsburg Great Debate Series. It is being broadcast from Congress Hall, where the U.S. Congress met when Philadelphia was the capital from 1790-1800.

About the World Affairs Council

The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to informing and engaging people of all ages on matters of national and international significance. The Council provides its members and the greater Philadelphia community with access to influential figures in the global arena as well as opportunities to visit fascinating destinations through its unique travel program. With the support of individual and corporate members, the Council’s global education program enhances the education of area students who are the citizens, workforce and leaders of the future.

About Independence National Historical Park

Independence National Historical Park is many things to many people. It is, of course, as it was intended to be, a national shrine. The events that took place here two centuries ago, and the buildings and objects associated with them, are what attract visitors from every state in the Union and almost every country around the globe. This place where our nation began arouses deep feelings. The attentive silence of the crowds in the Independence Hall is a testament to this emotion. So is the awe on the faces of children as they view the Liberty Bell for the first time. But Independence Hall is more than an object of reverence. It is also a place to be reminded of the ideals that formed the basis for the founding of the United States, and on which its continued survival depends. And as they tour the park, visitors are made aware that the formation of this nation was the work of men, imperfect like themselves, who transcended their faults and foibles to create an enduring republic, the oldest in the world and a model for free men everywhere.

About the Stan & Arlene Ginsburg "Great Debates" Series

The Stan and Arlene Ginsburg Family Foundation “Great Debates” Series of the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia explores the most pressing and vexing public policy questions facing our nation and the world, seeking to bring together some of the best and most provocative minds, with differing points of view, on these questions, creating a forum for audiences to decide for themselves “the whole truth.” The “Great Debates” series is being made possible by a challenge grant from the Stan and Arlene Ginsburg Family Foundation, with the challenge having been met by Council supporters UGI Corporation, AMETEK, Inc., and SEI Private Wealth Management.

Questions via Twitter


Congress Hall
6th & Chestnut Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19106


5:30 p.m. Registration
5:45 p.m. Program
7:15 p.m. Program Conclusion

The American presidency is the centerpiece of the U.S. political system, the symbol of our government to the nation and the world, and the most visible figure in U.S. politics.  Over the course of our country’s history, several presidents maintained an extraordinarily high profile and wielded great power – among them George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt – but what actually makes a president “great?”  Is greatness defined by creating new powers for the office and new programs for the federal government, or getting the federal government out of the way of Americans’ freedom to pursue happiness in their own ways? Is America facing an “end of greatness,” where we are more presidency-dependent than ever, but the president’s capacity to deliver is rapidly diminishing?  Or are we experiencing a void of heroic and inspirational presidents, with the increasingly polarized nature of politics preventing the rise of another truly great leader?

In anticipation of the 2016 presidential election campaign, the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia and the Independence National Historical Park will host a conversation on the executive office itself and discuss the type of president America really needs in the Oval Office. In this discussion, we will ask the questions: Should we, as citizens, continue to aspire to “greatness” in our only nationally elected office—and what does that mean, anyway?

Sharing their views on the American presidency are David Eisenhower, director of the Institute for Public Service at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication and Aaron David Miller, vice president for New Initiatives and a distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., and a former U.S.-Middle East negotiator who’s advised Republican and Democratic Secretaries of State. Mr. Eisenhower is the grandson of President Dwight Eisenhower and the son-in-law of President Richard Nixon, and the author Eisenhower at War 1943-1945, a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Dr. Miller is the author of the just published, The End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have (and Doesn’t Want) Another Great President.

Welcome Remarks

Cynthia MacLeod, Superintendent
Independence National Historical Park

Featured Speakers

Aaron David Miller David Eisenhower
Aaron David Miller David Eisenhower

Featured Book
The End of Greatness: Why America Can't Have (And Doesn't Need) Another Great President