What is the connection between Shakespeare and politics?

Ken Adelman is currently vice-president of Movers and Shakespeares, which conducts executive training through leadership lessons from Shakespeare. Ambassador Adelman began teaching Shakespeare in 1977 at Georgetown University, and later with honors students at George Washington University.

During the Reagan Administration, Ken Adelman was an Ambassador to the United Nations and then Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, accompanying President Reagan on his superpower summits with Mikhail Gorbachev.

Adelman was a philosophy major at Grinnell College and then attended Georgetown University, where he received a Masters in Foreign Service Studies and Doctorate in Political Theory.

He is the author of five books -- including co-author of Shakespeare in Charge -- and hundreds of articles, was for 20 years national editor of Washingtonian magazine, and for six years a member of the Defense Policy Board. 

While living in Africa from 1972 to 1975, Adelman translated for Mohammed Ali during “The Rumble in the Jungle” heavyweight championship fight in Zaire, and participated in the Zaire River Expedition, venturing down the Congo River on the 100th Anniversary of Stanley’s exploration.

  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Ken Adelman: The link is that . . . human nature. Shakespeare had the greatest insights into what makes people tick than anybody in the world. And Sam Rayburn, who was a great Speaker of the House of Representatives, said, “Anybody who can’t size up another person in the first 20 seconds doesn’t belong in my profession.” And he talked about politics. But Sam Rayburn’s statement was true of any profession. You can’t make it in the world unless you understand human nature. What motivates people, what discourages people, what enlivens people, what inspires people. And no one saw that like William Shakespeare.

Recorded on: 7/2/07 at The Aspen Ideas Festival


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