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Intelligence Squared is the world’s leading forum for debate and intelligent discussion. Live and online we take you to the heart of the issues that matter, in the company of some of the world’s sharpest minds and most exciting orators. Join the debate at www.intelligencesquared.com and download our podcasts every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
 
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Afghan women’s voices are at increasing risk of being silenced and as more of their rights slip away, so do their stories. In this episode we hear from three women from the UNTOLD writers programme, who are the co-creators of My Pen is the Wing of a Bird, a new anthology of Afghan women's fiction. Lucy Hannah is founder of UNTOLD, Zarghuna Kargaar …
 
Author and environmental journalist Eugene Linden's new book, Fire and Flood: A People’s History of Climate Change from 1979 to the Present, lays out how successive US governments managed to delay action on climate change when they should have been raising the alarm. It also looks at why the climate emergency will have a big impact on the global ec…
 
Is it time to abandon the five-day work week? Or is the "five-days on, two days off" cadence of work and rest more important than ever? This event was organised in partnership with Slack, your digital HQ. Slack connects your teams, tools, customers and partners in a digital place that’s fast, flexible and inclusive for a work-from-anywhere world. F…
 
During an era of identity politics, culture wars and increasing awareness of the structural biases that contribute to global inequality, it’s easy to become pessimistic about the possibility of making diverse democracies work. Yascha Mounk is a writer and political scientist whose recent book, The Great Experiment: Why Diverse Democracies Fall Apar…
 
We live in a time of greater uncertainty than ever before in human history. We are poised between the twin precipices of climate change and rapidly accelerating technological development. How we manage them will determine whether our future is one where humans will thrive, falter or something in between. Welcome to the Futureverse – brought to you …
 
Is the West doing enough to help Ukraine? What kind of endgame should Ukraine be seeking – all-out victory over Russia or a negotiated settlement that will allow both sides to claim they have won? To help answer some of these questions, we invited three prominent Ukrainian voices to get the view from the country. Kira Rudik is the MP who went viral…
 
Reportedly the planet's richest person, multibillionaire Elon Musk is currently seeking to buy the World's online public square, Twitter. Should billionaires be able to buy so much influence? For this week's Sunday Debate we revisit a discussion from 2021 investigating just that, when we invited Professor Linsey McGoey of Essex University and Ryan …
 
Since the war in Ukraine began, dwindling remaining hopes of maintaining even the outward appearance of a free democratic process in Russia have been all but eliminated by the Kremlin regime. Joining us on the programme to discuss the dangerous game of voicing dissent in Russia is activist and journalist Zhanna Nemtsova, daughter of murdered Russia…
 
For the second part of our analysis of one of the most tense elections in Europe of recent years, we hear from Sophie Pedder, Paris bureau chief at The Economist and author of Revolution Française: Emmanuel Macron and the Quest to Reinvent a Nation. Sophie is joined by foreign-policy writer and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, Ben Judah, for …
 
Greg Hoffman spent nearly three decades building the Nike brand. In the process he helped transform a shoe company into an identity that resonates the world over. His recent book, Emotion by Design, opens up his philosophy and shares what he has learned from a life in marketing and turbo-charging brands. Hosting the discussion is economist, author …
 
Emmanuel Macron has become the first sitting president of France to be re-elected since 2002. But while Macron won the election, France’s far-right and its leader Marine Le Pen has now boldly established itself in the political mainstream. In his victory speech, President Macron acknowledged that, “Many of my compatriots voted for me, not to back m…
 
Morten Christiansen is Professor of Psychology at Cornell University and Nick Chater is Professor of Behavioural Science at Warwick Business School. Together, they've written The Language Game, a new book which explores the science and psychology of language and some of its mysteries too. Hosting the discussion is journalist Christine Ro, whose wor…
 
Chris Hirst, Global CEO of advertising group Havas Creative, cuts through the bullshit and gets to the heart of modern leadership in this straight-talking podcast brought to you by Intelligence Squared. In this episode, Christ Hirst speaks to Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House Director of Communications - a post he held for an infamous 11 d…
 
George Packer is journalist and author whose words, during 15 years as staff writer for the New Yorker and latterly at the Atlantic, have helped frame American public life. His latest book is Last Best Hope: America In Crisis and Renewal, which is now finding its way to shelves as a paperback, and reflects on the polarised nature of US politics and…
 
Jason Cowley is Editor of British political weekly, The New Statesman. He’s also an author and his latest book, Who Are We Now? Stories of Modern England, is a timely reflection on the identity of his home nation. The book follows both individual stories of everyday life and the broad arc of national politics over the past 25 years spanning the asc…
 
Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, Moses and the Ten Commandments, the parting of the Red Sea. These are a few of the stories from the Old Testament. And then there’s the New Testament, with its account of the life of Jesus, the Good Samaritan, the raising of Lazarus and the feeding of the five thousand. Whatever our creed or background, these stories are e…
 
Journalist and writer Dipo Faloyin's new book, Africa Is Not A Country, looks to challenge overly simplistic narratives for one of the most culturally diverse regions on Earth. The African continent is home to over 2,000 languages – from Igbo to Xhosa, Franglais to Yoruba – and comprises countries as politically varied as post-Arab Spring Egypt, fa…
 
Back for a third series, Alannah Weston, Chairman of Selfridges Group, speaks to inspiring leaders driving transformational systems change to put sustainability at the heart of their businesses. In this episode, Alannah is joined by Andy Cato, co-founder of Wildfarmed. Andy is a Grammy-nominated musician, one half of the incredible Groove Armada. I…
 
Writer and audio documentary maker Hana Walker-Brown’s new book, A Delicate Game, investigates the reasons for sport’s troubling relationship with CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a type of dementia caused by repeated injuries to the head. Walker-brown interviewed athletes including former rugby star Steve Thompson, 43, who has no memory of …
 
By launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has started the first war in Europe for a generation, defying the post-Cold War international rules-based order and inflicting great suffering on millions of civilians in the process. Gideon Rachman is chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times and his latest book is The Age…
 
We go back to 2020 for this week's podcast, a discussion from our friends at Intelligence Squared Germany, who hosted a live debate in Berlin on whether the EU's recently announced 'Green Deal', a plan to deliver both economic growth and carbon neutrality, is really achievable. The debate was held in partnership with The European Council on Foreign…
 
Oded Galor’s remarkable new book, The Journey of Humanity, can feel like seeing the world with fresh eyes. His analysis of the origins of wealth and inequality is compelling, original and, especially during these troubled times, refreshingly optimistic. Speaking across the political divide the book sets out a convincing blueprint for how a better l…
 
Food is the best medicine, believes genetics expert Tim Spector, but most of the dietary advice that we are given is wrong, he claims. In his latest bestselling book, Spoon-Fed: Why Almost Everything We’ve Been Told About Food Is Wrong, he argues that the most dangerous myth of all about food is the assumption that we all respond to the same foods …
 
With the world facing a climate crisis, how can travel and tourism be part of the solution? For this programme, Intelligence Squared partners with Singapore Tourism Board to bring together cross-industry experts to discuss how the travel and tourism industry can go beyond sustainable storytelling and take real steps to help tackle some of the chall…
 
Blockchain technology has gone mainstream. It earns huge amounts of column inches and airtime. Stories abound of Bitcoin millionaires and multimillion-dollar ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings). New cryptocurrencies are launched every week. People who don’t entirely understand what they’re buying are rushing to purchase Bitcoin for fear of missing out, a…
 
Following the fall of communism in 1989, American political scientist Francis Fukuyama shot to fame with his thesis about the ‘end of history’ – the idea that the entire world was set on a path towards universal liberalism. But 30 years on, liberalism is under attack from both the Right and the Left – and from Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Professor Fuk…
 
Nick Higham is a journalist and author known to TV viewers in the UK as a former correspondent for BBC News and also as regular host of its literary interview show: Meet the Author. His new book, The Mercenary River: Private Greed, Public Good, A History of London's Water, tells the story of a resource in the city many take for granted. But the flo…
 
Over four million people have fled Ukraine since Russia's invasion began. The support for Ukranians has been compassionate and heartwarming but it has also raised questions about why those fleeing North Africa and the Middle East are not afforded the same degree of sympathy. Sally Hayden is an award-winning journalist and photographer, and Africa C…
 
How we save the planet is clear: we need to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees in order to avoid doing irreversible damage. But exactly what should we do to reduce damaging greenhouse gas emissions? In recent years, hydrogen has emerged as a promising source of clean energy. It has been called ‘freedom fuel’, the ‘Swiss a…
 
We are in an era of crisis, collapse, and reactionary tyrants, argues Laurie Penny, but we are also witnessing a transformation: a revolutionary change in how we define gender, sex, consent and whose bodies matter. In her new book, Sexual Revolution: Modern Fascism and the Feminist Fightback, Laurie offers an urgent analysis of this moment of sexua…
 
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has laid bare the West’s reliance on Russian oil and gas. Around 40 per cent of Europe’s gas comes from Russia, while some 7 per cent of US oil is Russian. Journalists Javier Blas and Jack Farchy’s new book, The World for Sale: Money, Power and the Traders Who Barter the Earth’s Resources, tells the story of how trading…
 
Bestselling investigative journalist Oliver Bullough discusses his recent book, Butler to the World, which details how Britain became a favoured destination for funnelling the finances of oligarchs and the globe's super rich. He joins fellow journalist and broadcaster Manveen Rana to talk about the book and how international finance plays into the …
 
In this debate from the Intelligence Squared archive, we head back to 2020, when we invited journalist and broadcaster Mehdi Hasan, academic and writer Azadeh Moaveni, the Saudi political analyst Salman al-Ansari and former Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan to debate the motion: Iran is Not Our Enemy. The discussion touches on many issues that hold re…
 
Professor Lewis Gordon is a leading philosopher and Department Head at the University of Connecticut who believes that intellectual thought matters as much as political activism in the struggle to achieve racial justice. His recent book Fear of Black Consciousness is an exploration that combines academic theory and also his ideas on pop culture to …
 
In his theory of evolution, Charles Darwin cast the female animal as passive, coy, monogamous and submissive: in other words, in the shape of a Victorian housewife. Meanwhile the male animal became the main event, the dominant driver in his theory of evolutionary change. But according to a revolution in zoology and evolutionary biology, this is all…
 
Helen Thompson is Professor of Political Economy at the University of Cambridge, a columnist for The New Statesman, and has been a regular contributor to the Talking Politics podcast. Her new book, Disorder: Hard Times in the 21st Century, looks at decades of geopolitical history that have fed into our current moment: one of war and conflict, natio…
 
Banks, energy suppliers and oligarchs are just some of the targets that sanctions enforced by the West are looking to put pressure on in order to halt Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine. In this edition of The Sunday Debate, we ask how effective the financial freeze caused by sanctions can be in comparison to the potential impact of a fully fledged mi…
 
Cal Flyn’s Islands of Abandonment was one of the UK’s bestselling books of 2021. It was the Sunday Times Science and Environment book of the year and won her the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. In this episode she talks with broadcaster and science communicator Helen Czerski about the extraordinary places where humans no longer live – …
 
John Simpson is the BBC’s World Affairs Editor and has dedicated his life to telling stories from the frontline having joined the BBC more than 50 years ago as a reporter. In this special episode, Chris Hirst, Global CEO of advertising group Havas Creative, meets the veteran journalist to discuss having a front seat for some of the most significant…
 
Journalist and author John Preston is a master of storytelling, with his novels The Dig and A Very English Scandal having been snapped up for both Netflix and BBC adaptations. His most recent book is Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell, which tells the story of the rise and fall of the infamous 20th-century UK newspaper and media magnate. Preston j…
 
Technology might move fast but the fears surrounding it remain ever-present. Back in 2015 Intelligence Squared gathered both tech evangelists and technology naysayers to debate how robots and AI might swallow up jobs in years to come. The speakers included economist, commentator and author George Magnus, internet entrepreneur and author Andrew Keen…
 
Whether it's arguing over cancel culture, mask-wearing or what to do with statues, the culture wars now seem to be a constantly reappearing flashpoint in public discourse. Acclaimed writer and podcaster Jon Ronson was curious to learn how this phenomenon had come about and has spent the last year creating the hit radio and podcast series, Things Fe…
 
The World Monuments Fund in partnership with Intelligence Squared brings together a panel of experts to explore key sites in Black history and illustrate the pivotal role heritage can play in teaching us about underrepresented narratives from the past. Playwright, author and broadcaster Bonnie Greer OBE is joined by David Harewood MBE, actor, direc…
 
'Sprakkar' is an ancient Icelandic word meaning extraordinary or outstanding women. It forms the basis of the new book by Eliza Reid, author and co-founder of the Iceland Writers Retreat, who is also the nation's First Lady. Rosamund Urwin from the Sunday Times joins Eliza to discuss the book, which tells the stories of Iceland’s women and also the…
 
Among wine lovers, there is no greater divide than that between Burgundy and Bordeaux. These are the world’s most celebrated wine regions. What separates them and why the great rivalry? Back in 2015 we invited two of the UK's top wine critics, Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson, to debate the issue. Chairing the event was Michelin-starred chef and re…
 
The future. It’s all there, in front of us. It could go wonderfully. Or it could go badly wrong. It will inevitably require our passions and our ingenuity. So how do we see the challenges early on, find solutions and help make the world a better place? For ourselves, for our families, for everyone. Welcome to The Futureverse, a new series brought t…
 
Journalist and Russia expert Owen Matthews and Radek Sikorski, former foreign minister of Poland, discuss the biggest crisis Europe has faced since the Second World War. In conversation with investigative reporter Manveen Rana, Matthews and Sikorksi explain the background to the crisis and attempt to answer: what does Putin want? Learn more about y…
 
Anna Delvey and Simon Leviev, now infamously known as The Fake Heiress and The Tinder Swindler, are two characters who have infiltrated pop culture and gripped Netflix viewers over recent months. Their joint claim to fame? They're both notorious con artists. So why are viewers and listeners so drawn to these stories of true crime? Writer and author…
 
Rob Davies is an investigative journalist for The Guardian and his new book, Jackpot, tells the story of how Britain came to be one of the largest gambling markets in the world. The book describes how the mainstreaming of gambling advertising in the early 2000s combined with high-tech microtargeting of online gamblers has meant that the industry to…
 
Carl Erik Fisher is a psychiatrist, bioethicist and recovering alcoholic who has spent years tracing the history of addiction. His new book is The Urge: Our History of Addiction, a sweeping study of the issue and an urgent call for a more expansive, nuanced and compassionate view of one of society's most difficult challenges. Learn more about your …
 
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