FDU Professor of Political Science and History Samuel Raphalides, FDU student Matthew Alston, former Secretary of State John Kerry and FDU President Christopher A. Capuano

John Kerry, who served as Secretary of State under President Barack Obama, opened the sixth season of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s acclaimed New Jersey Speakers Series at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, N.J.,  on October 10.


Fairleigh Dickinson University President Christopher A. Capuano introduced the evening’s program, connecting the University’s mission — to prepare world citizens — with the goal of the NJSS.


“We are known for transforming lives,” Capuano said. “We do that in many ways, including through programs like this, where we hear from those who have not only transformed lives but who have changed the world.” 


Kerry, a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, served as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, the U.S. Senator from Massachusetts from 1985-2013, and was the Democratic candidate for president in 2004. As Secretary of State, he facilitated the reopening of the U.S. embassy in Cuba and became the first sitting U.S. Secretary of State to visit the Hiroshima memorial in Japan.


Kerry focused his remarks on the 2015 anti-nuclear proliferation deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, that he negotiated with Iran, under which Iran dismantled much of its nuclear program and gave internal inspectors extensive access to its production facilities in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.


During the question and answer session, Kerry said that he believes climate change is “the most existential threat that we face on the planet today,” but also represents an enormous economic opportunity.


“It’s a signal to the marketplace,” he said. “We need to make investment in innovation and push the curve of discovery.”


He concluded by noting that, in 2016, only about half of eligible voters cast a ballot. The rules of government have not changed; the people have changed, he said. “Change the people. That is the only thing that will make a difference.


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The New Jersey Speakers Series, presented by Fairleigh Dickinson University, is sponsored by the Allergen Foundation, Delta Dental, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, PNC Bank, Star-Ledger powering, TD Bank, Schenck Price, and WCBS NewsRadio 880. Tickets to the series are sold by subscription only. For tickets or information, visit, or call 1-888-MY-NJPAC (1-888-696-5722).


If your company would like to be a part of this exciting series, sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact Christopher Groff, Assistant Vice President for Corporate and Foundation Relations at or 9908-229-1656.