Chaired by Roxane Andrade and Julie Howard, the 2015-2016 Florida Forum line-up featured former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak, former First Lady Laura W. Bush and super bowl champion quarterback Peyton Manning.


Ehud Barak

A global statesman, Ehud Barak has served Israel as Prime Minister, Chief of General Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces and most recently as Minister of Defense. As Israel’s 10th Prime Minister, Barak led the country out of prolonged recession and into an economic boom. In May 2000 Prime Minister Barak ordered the withdrawal of the Israeli Defense Forces from South Lebanon, ending 18 tragic and bloody years of Israel’s presence there. He led far-reaching efforts to negotiate peace agreements, first with Syria and later with the Palestinian authority, with the active participation of President Bill Clinton at Camp David. Regrettably, these negotiations did not result in the breakthroughs necessary to conclude final agreements. Before being elected Prime Minister, Mr. Barak completed an illustrious 36-year career in the Israeli Defense Forces as the most decorated soldier in his nation’s modern history. Additionally, he served as Chief of the General Staff of the IDF where he negotiated and implemented the 1994 peace treaty with Jordan – especially meaningful in light of his warm relationship with King Hussein. Prime Minister Barak also previously served his country as Minister of the Interior and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Barak received Bachelors of Science in Mathematics and Physics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and his M.SC in Economic Engineering Systems at Stanford University in California.


Laura W. Bush

One of the most beloved and admired American First Ladies, for decades Laura Bush has championed key issues in the fields of education, health care and human rights. The author of the bestselling memoir, Spoken From The Heart, Mrs. Bush also founded both the Texas Book Festival and the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Bush continues her work on global healthcare innovations, empowering women in emerging democracies, education reform, and supporting the men and women who have served in America’s military. Born in Midland, Texas to Jenna and Harold Welch, Laura Bush holds a degree in education and a master’s degree in library science. She taught in public schools in Dallas, Houston and Austin, and worked as a public school librarian. In 1977 she married George W. Bush. The Bushes are the parents of twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, and grandparents of Mila and Poppy Hager.

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Peyton Manning

Football superstar, noted humanitarian and master pitchman, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has earned his place among the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history since he signed with the Indianapolis Colts as the first overall draft pick in 1998. The NFL’s only five-time MVP and a 14-time Pro Bowl selection, Manning earns kudos off the field for his work with at-risk youth and health care for children, and is recognizable for his television endorsements of everything from cars to pizza. Not content with past triumphs, Manning shares his continuing quest to be a game changer.




The Florida Forum has delivered a world-class speaker series for 24 years and has raised community awareness and funds for Wolfson Children’s Hospital. 



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The Florida Forum speakers are not, and should in no way, be considered to endorse or support the Florida Forum Presenters or Sponsors.