The inaugural Octavian Forum — our theme is “OPPORTUNITY FROM CHAOS” — is coming October 17 at Sotheby’s in New York.  Join us for a one-day event of conversations and presentations from experts and leaders as we look at the opportunities and risks arising from the world’s current inflection point.  You’ll hear from chess master Garry Kasparov and Max Boot on artificial intelligence and Russia, hedge fund legend Michael Steinhardt on the markets, Erica Jong on everything, CIA analyst Sue Mi Terry on Kim Jong-Un, Nouriel Roubini and Jim Grant on interest rates, former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar on Europe, Dennis Ross and Elliott Abrams on Israel, John Currin on art, former Pixar CFO Lawrence Levy on running a creative business, and much more.

Other speakers include:

Tom Kaplan, Chairman of The Electrum Group
Yousef al-Otaiba, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the U.S.
Amanda Vaill, best-selling historian and author of Hotel Florida
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, former Defense Minister of Germany
Alexei Ratmansky, choreographer and American Ballet Theater artist in residence
Charlene Barshefsky, former U.S. Trade Representative
Kenneth M. Pollack, Middle East expert and best-selling author
Juan Zarate, chairman, Financial Integrity Network, and senior national security analyst for NBC and MSNBC

And you won’t just be listening.  Delegates are encouraged to ask questions, raise issues, and continue the conversation with our presenters and other attendees.  Our magazine, The Octavian Report, is for leaders, by leaders, and our readership has always been as impactful as our contributors.  Come, meet and exchange views with other thought-leaders and decision-makers from across disciplines — CEO’s, investors, diplomats, government officials, thinkers, artists, advisors — as we learn from each other and navigate these complicated times.  And, we promise, it will be engaging, inspiring, informative, alarming, and fun.

Our event is by invitation only and attendance is limited.  If you have received a non-transferrable invitation code, please click the REGISTER tab above to register.  If you would like to apply to attend, you can do so there as well by telling us a bit about yourself and what you can bring to the event.

We look forward to seeing you at Sotheby’s.

READ: The Octavian Forum in The New York Post



Juan Zarate

Chairman and Co-Founder, the Financial Integrity Network

Julian Fennessy

Co-founder and co-director, Giraffe Conservation Foundation



Agenda is subject to change, please check back for updates and additional speakers.
Discussions and conversations include questions and answers from the audience.

Big Money: Macro Risks and Opportunities
Jim Grant, founder, Grant’s Interest Rate Observer
Nouriel Roubini, CEO Roubini Macro Associates

A discussion on the future of monetary policy, interest rates, currencies, and other macroeconomic issues with some of the world’s leading market observers.

Saving Giraffes: A Tall Order
Julian Fennessy, co-founder and co-director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation

Almost unnoticed, the giraffe has become endangered. Julian Fennessy spends his life trying to save them.  He’ll explain why.

Market Masters: Ideas and Risks
Michael Steinhardt, investor and philanthropist
Boaz Weinstein, Founder and CIO, Saba Capital
Tom Kaplan, Chairman of The Electrum Group

A conversation with three of the greatest living investors — the best hedge fund manager ever, one of the top credit traders, and the largest investor in gold — as they offer their views on the markets, opportunities in equities, debt and commodities, and potential risks.


Staying Strong
Luke Weber, cancer survivor

15-year-old Luke Weber was diagnosed with a rare cancer at age three. His incredible story is so inspiring it has to be heard to be appreciated.

The Middle East: Hard Questions, Harder Answers
Dennis Ross, former U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East
Elliott Abrams, former Deputy National Security Advisor
Yousef al-Otaiba, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the U.S.
Robert Danin, Senior Fellow, CFR and Harvard Kennedy School
Moderated by Steven A. Cook, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

It doesn’t get more complex than the Middle East.  Four leading diplomats with decades of experience discuss Israel, Iran, the Gulf, Turkey and the future of the world’s most combustible region, led in discussion by Steven Cook, the CFR’s expert on the Arab World.


Lost in Translation: The End of Atlanticism?
Jose Maria Aznar, former Prime Minister of Spain
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, former Defense Minister of Germany

The trans-Atlantic alliance was a linchpin of the postwar global order. Now it is under attack from within and without.  Our panel of former world leaders explain the landscape and the likely road ahead.

North Korea: Inside The Hermit Kingdom
Sue Mi Terry, former CIA analyst

All eyes are on Kim Jong-un as the North Korean crisis threatens catastrophe.  Former CIA analyst and leading Korea expert Sue Mi Terry explains it all.

No Friends But the Mountains: On the Kurds
Kenneth Pollack, American Enterprise Institute and former CIA analyst

The Kurds: a people in search of a state. Bestselling author Ken Pollack explains their role in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran and makes the case for nationhood.


True Callings: On Creativity 
John Currin, artist
Erica Jong, novelist, essayist and author of Fear of Flying
Alexei Ratmansky, choreographer and American Ballet Theater artist in residence

An engaging conversation on art, life and the creative process with John Currin, one of the greatest painters of our time, Erica Jong, writer and icon, and Alexei Ratmansky, the MacArthur Award winning choreographer of Whipped Cream.

Rumor Hath a Thousand Tongues: On Fake News
Amanda Vaill, best-selling historian and author of Hotel Florida

Fake news is nothing new and had dangerous beginnings during the Spanish Civil War. Award-winning historian Amanda Vaill talks propaganda, Ernest Hemingway and the fight for Spain.


Checkmate: From Putin’s Russia to Deep Blue
Garry Kasparov, world chess champion and Chairman, Human Rights Foundation
Max Boot, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

Russia and artificial intelligence are two of the most important topics today. Garry Kasparov, the world’s greatest chess player, knows both intimately. In a wide reaching conversation with bestselling author and preeminent columnist Max Boot, Garry will explain how the game will unfold.

Model of Efficiency: Andrew Carnegie’s Four Hour Work Day
David Nasaw, historian and winner of the National Book Award

Andrew Carnegie became the richest man in the world working four hours a day.  His biographer explains the secrets to efficiency and his success.

The Old Order and the New Disorder
Charlene Barshefsky, former U.S. Trade Representative
William Kristol, founder and editor-at-Large of The Weekly Standard and political commentator
Juan Zarate, chairman, Financial Integrity Network, and senior national security analyst for NBC and MSNBC

The world order seems to be crumbling. Our panel discusses the future of trade, NATO, and other global institutions.

Dreaming in Realtime: Pixar, Steve Jobs, and the Middle Way
Lawrence Levy, former CFO of Pixar and author of To Pixar and Beyond

When Lawrence Levy joined Pixar, it was a failing technology company.  Together with Steve Jobs, he transformed it into an award-winning entertainment colossus and went toe-to-toe with Michael Eisner and Disney.  He explains how their turned the company around, their secrets to negotiating, and how balancing creativity and structure are crucial for any enterprise.


Our partners are listed below. Please contact Leigh Gilmore, our director of strategic partnerships, at to learn about how to partner with Octavian.

Sotheby’s has been uniting collectors with world-class works of art since 1744. Sotheby’s became the first international auction house when it expanded from London to New York (1955), the first to conduct sales in Hong Kong (1973), India (1992) and France (2001), and the first international fine art auction house in China (2012). Today, Sotheby’s presents auctions in ten different salesrooms, including New York, London, Hong Kong and Paris, and Sotheby’s BidNow program allows visitors to view all auctions live online and place bids from anywhere in the world.

Sotheby’s offers collectors the resources of Sotheby’s Financial Services, the world’s only full-service art financing company, as well as the collection advisory services of its subsidiary, Art Agency, Partners. Sotheby’s presents private sale opportunities in more than 70 categories, including S|2, the gallery arm of Sotheby’s Global Fine Art Division, and two retail businesses, Sotheby’s Diamonds and Sotheby’s Wine.

In February 2015, RM Auctions formed a strategic partnership with Sotheby’s to become RM Sotheby’s, the world’s largest auction house for investment-quality automobiles. Sotheby’s has a global network of 80 offices in 40 countries and is the oldest company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (BID).

Established in Rome in 1945, Brioni was founded by tailor Nazareno Fonticoli and entrepreneur Gaetano Savini. The founders named the brand after the Brijuni Islands in Croatia, a jet set vacation destination of the time.

Brioni gained recognition for its signature Roman Style suiting and contemporary sportswear handmade in Penne, Italy. Suits crafted by Fonticoli and Savini quickly became the lifestyle choice for iconic Hollywood stars, heads of state and business leaders, sealing Brioni’s status as engineer of elegance and master of style.

The new “Brioni Roman Style” facilities shaped the inimitable Brioni method: a process of craftsmanship which requires 220 steps and more than 22 hours to make a single suit. In 1985, Brioni opened its tailoring school, Scuola di Alta Sartoria with the aim of transmitting the unparalleled Brioni sartorial method to the next generation.

Today, Brioni continues to embody the highest level of sartorial excellence for the most discerning clients in the world through a network of directly owned boutiques and select stores.

The company is part of Kering group, a worldwide leading Luxury, Sport & Lifestyle group headed by François-Henri Pinault.



The Octavian Forum will be held at Sotheby’s in New York at 1334 York Avenue.

Sotheby’s is the world’s premier auction house and the official auction partner for The Octavian Forum.


If you have received your invitation code, please click the button below to continue to our events registration page.



Attendance at The Octavian Forum is limited. However, we are seeking out leading thinkers and doers from a range of fields to enrich our community’s dialogue and spark connections. If you would like to attend, please email us below a little about yourself and your interest.