Every year, the Cathedral’s Ignatius Forum brings together the sharpest minds and most eloquent voices to tackle contemporary issues of ethics, scientific exploration, moral responsibility and global affairs. Previous programs are available for on-demand viewing.

Ignatius Forum 2022

“Man, Machine, and God”

With the very fast acceleration of artificial intelligence, we are approaching what may be an inflection point in human history—the moment when A.I. is so advanced that it is impossible to know whether you are talking in a chat, say, with a human or a computer.

Before we take this next step in human-machine evolution, we need to think very carefully. Henry Kissinger, among others, has asked – Is the Age of Artificial Intelligence the end of the Age of Reason? These issues in technology may sound recondite, but they go to the heart of what it is to be “human.” What are the essential values that should guide our human interaction with each other, the planet, and the infinity beyond?

Dean Randy Hollerith, David Ignatius of the Washington Post, and The Hon. Amy Ignatius host Ignatius Forum 2022. Guest speakers include:

  • The Honorable Henry Kissinger, Former U.S. Secretary of State
  • Eric Schmidt, Chairman of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence and former chief executive of Google
  • Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology
  • Debo Olaosebikan, Chief Executive at Kepler Compute,
  • Dr. Noreen Herzfeld, Professor of Science and Religion at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict

Ignatius Forum 2021

“Our Future In Space”

Space is the new frontier for humanity. NASA is planning a new generation of exploration, scientists are debating the possibility of extraterrestrial life, and military planners are developing weapons for space warfare. What does this “space rush” mean – at a moment when private citizens are launching spaceships, and the Director of National Intelligence has released a report assessing Unidentified Aerial Phenomena? As we look toward the heavens, what does the possibility of life “out there” mean for our religious life?

David Ignatius of the Washington Post leads this wide-ranging discussion on our common future in space, and whether we’re alone in this vast universe. Speakers include:

  • Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence
  • Avi Loeb, Harvard University Department of Astronomy. Astronomer and best-selling author. Extraterrestrial (2021)
  • Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator and former US Senator (FL 2001-2019)
  • David Wilkinson, Durham University and ECLAS (Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science). Theologian and astrophysicist. Science, Religion, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (2013)

Ignatius Forum 2019

“What are the Laws of War in Cyberspace?”

Bombs may not be dropping, tanks may not be rolling, but America is engaged in a high-stakes cyber war with her adversaries where there are few rules, no moral framework and no end in sight.

Critical questions have yet to be answered by our national security system: How should America protect itself wisely? Can the U.S. help shape new “rules of war” that protect civilians, critical infrastructure and other essential non-military targets in this emerging zone of conflict?

Following keynote presentations by Ambassador Susan Rice, former National Security Advisor, and Brad Smith, President of Microsoft and a leading voice on these issues, David Ignatius of The Washington Post moderates a panel discussion on the state of cyberwarfare and the reality of persistent engagement with adversaries in this domain. Panelists include:

  • Ambassador Susan Rice, former National Security Advisor
  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • David Ignatius, Columnist, Washington Post
  • Gen. Keith Alexander (ret), CEO of IronNet and former head of the National Security Agency and Cyber Command
  • Joseph Nye, Harvard professor and co-chair of Aspen Strategy Group
  • Laura Rosenberger, Director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund, former foreign policy advisor and National Security Council staff

Ignatius Forum 2017

Nuclear Weapons: America, North Korea, Iran and the World at a Crossroad

At a time when the world again seems to be creeping closer to a nuclear showdown, join Washington National Cathedral in a discussion about the threat of nuclear weapons and global efforts to reduce the likelihood that they will ever be used. Guests include:

  • Former Secretary of State John Kerry (2013-2017)
  • Former Secretary of Defense William Perry (1994-1997)
  • Former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley (2005-2009)
  • Author on arms control and US-Russia issues, Susan Eisenhower
  • Journalist Ray Suarez
  • Washington Post columnist David Ignatius