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50th Anniversary of JFK's Non-proliferation Speech

SOC JFK speech

AU commemorates the celebrated AU Commencement speech in which JFK set forth his views on nuclear disarmament and world peace. The speech is widely regarded as one of the finest political and foreign policy speeches and one which had a major impact in limiting the proliferation of nuclear arms.

JFK Remembered: May 1, 7pm

We invite you to join us for “JFK Remembered,” a special AUSOC-Newseum program with legendary journalist Nick Clooney and NBC’s Tom Brokaw.

This event will commemorate the anniversary of President Kennedy’s seminal speech, “A Strategy of Peace,” delivered at American University 50 years ago, and celebrate the opening of the Newseum’s “JFK” exhibit.

Jointly hosted by AUSOC and the Newseum, the event will be held at the Newseum’s Annenberg Theater (6th & Pennsylvania Ave, NW) Wednesday, May 1 at 7pm. Clooney and Brokaw will share their memories of the Kennedy presidency. The commemorative film “JFK: Building Peace for All Time” and archival footage from the Newseum’s new JFK exhibits will be featured. The program will end at 8:30pm following audience Q&A.

Special discount tickets ($5.00) for AU guests may be purchased through the Newseum website using this code – 8152014. Light refreshments available for purchase in the Newseum lobby 6:00 – 6:45pm.

Past Events

The Art and Craft of Speech Writing Panel and Contest: Why the JFK Commencement Speech at AU Lives on 50 Years Later

Chris Matthews and Prof. Steinhorn

An American University panel-led discussion by MSNBC's Chris Matthews and the announcement of the winners of a student speech writing contest, both sponsored by the School of Communication, marked the start of a university-wide celebration of the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s commencement speech at AU. Master of Ceremonies was Prof. Leonard Steinhorn, Professor of Public Communication and former political speechwriter.


  • Marvin Kalb - covered JFK’s speech at American University as a former chief diplomatic correspondent for CBS News
  • Adam Frankel - former senior Obama White House speechwriter, and worked with Ted Sorensen on Sorensen's autobiography, "Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History."
  • SOC Prof. Robert Lehrman - SOC professor and former White House chief speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore

Winners of What Would a JFK Say Now? Speech-Writing Competition were announced at this event. Learn more

Speech Contest Winners

SOC JFK Speechwriting Contest

Students answered "What would a JFK say Now?" by writing a commencement speech of no more than 1500 words on any broad world issue. Sophomore Ryan Migeed took top honors.

See winners

SOC/SIS Dean's Screening of "Dr. Strangelove”

Deans Rutenbeck & Goldgeier screening Dr. Strangelove

The Deans of SOC and SIS invited students, faculty, and staff to join them for a screening of Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Deans Jeff Rutenbeck and Jim Goldgeier discussed this classic 1960’s cold war film and took questions from audience. Read more

The Untold History of the United States: JFK, To the Brink

Academy Award-winning writer/director Oliver Stone and AU Professor Peter Kuznick sat down for a screening and Q&A about their book, “The Untold History of the United States” and related Showtime series. The event featured an episode and video clips from their program on JFK. The episode examined JFK and the brink of total war during the Cuban Missile Crisis; early Vietnam; JFK's attempts at peace with Khrushchev; a clip of his speech at AU, and his assassination.