Skip to main content

Tired of Agenda? Let’s Talk Truth!

Ask questions and get answers: Sound, intelligent, informed answers.

Acton’s 8th Annual Chicago Open Mic Night will be taking place on Wednesday, November 8th at the University Club of Chicago. Join us for a unique opportunity to engage with a panel of experts on today’s hottest issues featuring:

For more information or to register, contact Nick Porter at 616-454-3080 or


Paul J. Bonicelli, Ph.D.
Acton Institute

Director of Programs and Education

Paul J. Bonicelli, Ph.D. is the director of programs and education at the Acton Institute. Previously, he has served as executive vice president at Regent University (VA), provost at Houston Baptist University (TX), and dean of academic affairs at Patrick Henry College (VA).  He began his teaching career as assistant professor of political science at Grove City College (PA) and has taught as an adjunct professor for the Rep. Bill Archer Fellows Program of the University of Texas in Washington, DC. 

He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Tennessee, an M.A. in public policy from Regent University, and a B.A. in English from the University of Memphis.  Prior to embarking on a career in higher education, he served as a researcher and analyst in Washington, DC on trade issues and democracy promotion.

Bonicelli served in President George W. Bush’s administration at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and was tasked with advancing the cause of political and economic freedom by means of US foreign assistance.  He was confirmed by the US Senate to serve as assistant administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean, overseeing all foreign assistance programs in the region.  Pursuant to the president’s second inaugural address and his national security strategy, Bonicelli worked with the National Security Council and the State Department to devise and implement the president’s Freedom Agenda.  The goal of the agenda was to support peoples seeking to build ordered liberty in their countries.  During his time in the administration Bonicelli had oversight of USAID’s global democracy and governance programs (80 countries as well as international organizations), testified before Congress three times, served as head of delegation in multilateral fora and represented the United States in negotiations with foreign governments and international organizations.

Bonicelli has been a foreign policy advisor for several presidential campaigns and currently serves on two committees of the John Hay Initiative (Human Rights and Democracy, International Development) offering specific expertise on foreign policy that supports liberty abroad.  He serves as a senior advisor to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and maintains a regular national and international media presence (television, radio, web) providing opinion and commentary via various news outlets.  He writes regularly on international relations for Foreign Policy magazine’s Shadow Government blog as well as forThe Federalist.  He is a member of the board of directors of American Majority and Voter Gravity (electoral politics training and voter technology development).

Samuel Gregg, D.Phil.
Acton Institute

Director of Research

Samuel Gregg, D.Phil. is research director at the Acton Institute. He has written and spoken extensively on political economy, economic history, ethics in finance, and natural law theory. He has an M.A. in political philosophy from the University of Melbourne, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford. He has authored many books, including For God and Profit (2016), Becoming Europe (2013), Wilhelm Röpke’s Political Economy (2010), The Modern Papacy (2009)and On Ordered Liberty (2003).

Ismael Hernandez
Freedom & Virtue Institute

Founder & Executive Director

Ismael Hernandez is the founder and executive director of the Freedom & Virtue Institute. Ismael grew up in a communist household and joined the Socialist Party of Puerto Rico. Eventually, he surrendered Marxism and embraced free markets. He has a master’s Degree in Political Science and served for 15 years as in inner-city Catholic ministry in SW Florida. In 2016, Ismael wrote his first book, Not Tragically Colored: Freedom, Personhood, and the Renewal of Black America—published by the Acton Institute. Ismael Hernandez currently lives in Fort Myers with his wife and three children.

Event Details

Start Date

End Date


University Club of Chicago
76 East Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60603
United States


6pm Registration
Cocktail Party with hors d’oeuvres and cash bar

7pm Program
Dessert reception to follow


Free event with RSVP

*The University Club of Chicago maintains a strict business attire dress code. Jacket and tie are required for all men. No jeans allowed.

More Upcoming Events