On Shifting Ground

A 20-year veteran of the CIA and first chief of the Osama bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer has a depth of knowledge about Osama bin Laden that goes far beyond “9/11 mastermind.” Scheuer argues that the United States has underestimated bin Laden’s bravery, strategic thinking and patience, playing into his master plan. Please join Michael Scheuer for an in-depth portrait of Osama bin Laden and his continuing significance and power.

Direct download: 2_23_11_Michael_Scheuer.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:30am PST

As the financial crisis of 2008-2009 began to take shape, the business press took a beating from both sides of the political spectrum for leniency in their coverage of the financial giants. How could the press have missed the story of the century? Was the ideal of the fourth estate a failure? Veteran journalist Anya Schiffrin will discuss the role of the business press leading up to the crisis and how the press may have contributed to the crash itself.

Direct download: 2_22_11_Anya_Schiffrin.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Each year the world sees between 30 and 50 major natural disasters that take countless lives and cause billions of dollars in damage, and many of these natural disasters spiral into humanitarian crises. NGOs and aid agencies are often the most visible face of the international community’s response to such crises, but are they best suited to respond to emergencies of such magnitude? Charles MacCormack, the president of Save the Children, will address these questions and suggest that while NGOs can be simple in motive, it is their dedication to narrow goals that allows them to address issues often over looked by governments or larger organizations. Though “success” is a relative term during periods of disaster and can be hard to measure, MacCormack argues that significant improvements can be seen in the survival rates when there is good communication between organizations as well as long-term recovery goals. In the wake of such natural disasters as the earthquake in Haiti and the floods in Pakistan, can NGOs help to mitigate the causes and consequences of future humanitarian crises?

Direct download: 2_15_11_Charles_MacCormack.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

After Twitter was used as an organizing tool in the protests following the disputed 2009 reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran, the Internet was widely praised as a game-changer for democratic movements. But Evgeny Morozov argues that authoritarian regimes are as strong as ever, and use the Internet to their advantage by restricting speech, spying on dissidents, and publishing propaganda. Mr. Morozov will discuss how the spread of new media around the world should not necessarily be seen as a force for democracy, and how Western hopes for digital revolution could, in fact, backfire.

Direct download: 2_10_11_Evgeny_Morozov.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Climate change is well underway, and although we should continue to work to stop its momentum, we should also prepare to live with it. Mark Hertsgaard traveled the world to learn more about the efforts of other countries to adapt to the new, hot future, and came to some surprising conclusions. Join him to discuss what we can expect over the next fifty years on earth, and how we can face the collective challenges brought about by climate change.

Direct download: 2_9_11_Mark_Hertsgaard.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

In March 2010, Google shut down its China-based search engine, and moved all traffic to its uncensored Hong Kong website, further enflaming the battle of censorship between the world’s largest search engine and the world’s most populous country. New media in China takes a variety of forms, from websites and blogs, to forums and online bulletin boards; this new form of communication has become a vital and popular tool for the average Chinese internet user to distribute and collect information on political, social, religious and business issues. Meanwhile, the Chinese Government is striving to reach a delicate balance on the role of new media—encouraging internet growth to have a more networked economy while exercising controls over people's access to regulated information. Kevin Fong, a special advisor to GSR Ventures, and Duncan Clark, the Chairman of BDA China, will discuss the policies and practices of new media in China. In an increasingly connected world, can China sustain its robust economic growth, while stifling internet freedom at home? And how should business leaders and investors adapt to work in an environment of economic opportunities and state regulations?

Direct download: 2_8_11_China_New_Media.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST