Full Name
Melody Barnes
Job Title
Co-Director for Policy and Public Affairs, Democracy Initiative at the University of Virginia
Chair, Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions
Speaker Bio

Melody Barnes is the chair of the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions and Opportunity Youth Forum. She is executive director of the University of Virginia’s Karsh Institute of Democracy where she is also the J. Wilson Newman Professor of Governance at the Miller Center of Public Affairs and a senior fellow at the Karsh Center for Law & Democracy. Melody was Assistant to the President and director of the White House Domestic Policy Council during the Administration of President Barack Obama. Prior to her tenure in the Obama Administration, she was executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress and chief counsel to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Currently, Melody serves on the boards of Ventas, Booz Allen Hamilton, the Hewlett Foundation, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, and the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is also narrator and host of the podcast, LBJ and the Great Society and co-editor of Community Wealth Building & The Reconstruction of American Democracy. Melody earned her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she graduated with honors in history and her J.D. from the University of Michigan.

Melody Barnes