Distinguished Speaker Series Expands to Long Beach, Celebrates 24 Years of Candid, Relaxed Evenings With Renowned Changemakers

Series features Former President George W. Bush in September, 24 years after his mother and former First Lady of the United States Barbara Bush did the same.

By Susan Payne

History comes full circle this fall as the Distinguished Speaker Series of Southern California establishes its fifth location at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center Terrace Theater.

This fall, the series celebrates its 24 years of candid, relaxed evenings with world leaders, Pulitzer Prize winners, best-selling authors, explorers and celebrated personalities who offer profound insights and lively discussion. 

Starting in September, the series will feature George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States who held two consecutive presidential terms, established new institutions after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and built global coalitions to remove violent regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, liberating more than 50 million people from tyranny.

In 1997, Kathy Winterhalder, co-owner of the Distinguished Speaker Series, said Barbara Bush, former first lady and widow to the late George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, was among the first lineup of speakers for the Distinguished Speaker Series.


“A full circle moment,” Winterhalder said.

Currently, President Bush is the author of three bestselling books: Decision Points (2010), 41: A Portrait of My Father (2014), and Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors (2017).  

In August, American troops withdrew from Afghanistan, causing Taliban takeover in most of the largest cities in Afghanistan. Once a target to the Taliban, education activist Malala Yousafzai has lived an incredible life devoted to activism. 

While the Taliban worked to destroy schools as a cornerstone of its terror campaign, Yousafzai championed girl education at age 11, determining to give Pakistani girls access to a quality education. In 2012, she was shot by Taliban while traveling home from school on the bus with her friends in Pakistan at the age of 15.

Currently, Yousafzai resides in Birmingham, England and remains an advocate for education and for girls to become agents of change in their communities. She won the Children’s Peace Prize in 2011 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 because of her long-standing efforts to see every girl complete 12 years of free, safe, quality education.

Bush is scheduled to speak in Long Beach and Beverly Hills this fall. Yousafzai has five speaking arrangements booked in the Distinguished Speaker Series next May, toward the end of the series.

To see one of these speakers, is to see them all. Ticketholders have access to attend any engagement at one of its five locations with subscription-based pricing: Douglas Brinkley (best-selling American history author), Diana Nyad (record-breaking athlete and storyteller), Tara Westover (best-selling author), Jay Leno (comedian and talk show host), David Cameron (former prime minister of the United Kingdom), Bob Woodward (Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter) and Dan Buettner (happiness explorer and best-selling author), in addition to Bush and Yousafzai.

Each event is an hour and a half long on a Sunday or weekday evening and is designed to inspire, enlighten, entertain and inform each guest. At some events, dialogue with the speaker through Q&A format is available.

“Sometimes, it’s the least known speakers in our lineup that patrons — after years — remember the most,” Winterhalder said. “We feel really good about what we offer to the community, and we want everyone to sign up, become a subscriber and be a part of this life changing entertainment.”

To become a Distinguished Speaker Series subscriber, or view biographies for each of the speakers, visit speakersla.com 

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