Welcome to The Scholars’ Circle

Producers: Maria Armoudian, Ankine Aghassian & Melissa Chiprin
contact us : host (at) scholarscircle.org

The Scholars’ Circle is a weekly production. Our library contains interviews from 2011 to present.

Below are our 10 most recent recordings.



Scholars’ Circle – Humanitarian crisis in Yemen -/- Culture boycott of Israel in the BDS movement – November 18, 2018

Experts say Yemen is the worse humanitarian crisis in modern history. Warnings from the UN say the death toll from starvation could reach 18.4 million by the end of the year. why is this happening? And what can be done? [ dur: 29 mins. ]

  • Dr. Charles Schmitz is a professor of geography at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland. From 2004 to 2014, he served as president of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies. He is an affiliated scholar with the Middle East Institute in Washington DC. Professor Schmitz is the co-author of Historical Dictionary of Yemen.
  • Hammoud Salhi is Professor and Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Cal State Dominguez Hills. He is a host of SWANA Region Radio on KPFK in Los Angeles. He is a commentator for Arabic media.

Guest host Sam Smith speaks with historian Mike Levine about musicians, cultural boycotts and the BDS movement. [ dur: 30 mins. ]

This program is produced with contributions from the following volunteers: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Anaïs Amin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Impact of US Midterm Elections -/- Why bad behavior is almost always good politics – November 11, 2018

First, what does the US midterm election results mean for international relations, ethical considerations of US border policy and the future of US-Russian relations? Guest host Doug Becker speaks with three experts. Doug is Professor of International Relations at USC. Here’s that discussion. [ dur: 28 mins. ]

Then, what do dictators, CEOs, and political leaders have in common? We’ll re-explore some of the strategies for getting and keeping power with Alastair Smith coauthor of “The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior Is Almost Always Good Politics“. [ dur: 30 mins. ]

This program is produced with contributions from the following volunteers: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Anaïs Amin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – US Elections: Voters Turn – October 28, 2018

What is at stake in the upcoming midterm election? How does our current moment fit within American history? What are the factors that will determine the election’s outcome? And what does it mean for the future of the US? We have four experts on American history and politics with us.

This program is produced with contributions from the following volunteers: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Anaïs Amin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Birds, insects colony collapse in the current state of climate change – October 28, 2018

First, Bird Colony collapse and crop failures.

  • Josh Tewksbury is Research Professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder and Director of the Colorado Global Hub, Future Earth. He is also Executive Editor of Anthropocene magazine. He is the co-author of the studies Increase in crop losses to insect pests in a warming climate and Defaunation leads to interaction deficits, not interaction compensation, in an island seed dispersal network.
  • Curtis Deutsch is Associate Professor of Chemical Oceanography in the School of Oceanography at Washington University. He is the co-author of the studies Acceleration of oxygen decline in the tropical Pacific over the past decades by aerosol pollutants, Microbial functional diversity alters the structure and sensitivity of oxygen deficient zones, and Increase in crop losses to insect pests in a warming climate.
  • Steven R. Beissinger is Professor of Conservation Biology in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the co-author of the studies Mojave Desert Bird Populations Plummet as Region Warms and Dries and The push and pull of climate change causes heterogeneous shifts in avian elevational ranges.

Then, birds, bees, whales and turtles all use the earth s magnetic field to guide their behaviour. Now scientists have learned much more about how. Joining us is Andres Vidal Gadea. He s a professor of Molecular Neuroethology at Illinois State University who has made the fascinating discoveries. [ dur: 15mins. ]

  • Andrew Vidal Gadea, Professor of Molecular Neuroethology, Illinois State University . His research website at Illinois State University.

This program is produced with contributions from the following volunteers: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Anaïs Amin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Preserving fresh waters -/- Memory Entrepreneurs shaping the future – October 21, 2018

First, how water has shaped our past and how new water challenges are shaping the future. We talk with Charles Fishman author of The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water. [ dur: 30 mins. ]

Then, on the Scholars’ Circle panel, the so-called “memory entrepreneurs” try to change how we remember the past to shape the future. Are they losing the Cold War memory fight? [ dur: 28 mins. ]

This program is produced with contributions from the following volunteers: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Anaïs Amin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Side effects of google and facebook businesses -/- Teaching children civics and community – October 14, 2018

First, are Google and Facebook increasing income inequality, harming the arts and damaging democracy? Our guests says yes. [ dur: 44 mins. ]

Then, how one university professor is teaching children about community, civics, empathy and giving. [ dur: 14 mins. ]

This program is produced with contributions from the following volunteers: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Anaïs Amin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Refugee Camps -/- Equitable and Sustainable Food System – October 7, 2018

First, why do people remain in refugee camps for decades? [ dur: 28 mins. ]

  • Elizabeth Cullen Dunn is Associate Professor of Geography and International Affairs at Indiana University–Bloomington. She is also the author of No Path Home and Privatizing Poland.

Then, our guests have studied the food system and what it means to have an equitable and sustainable system. What are the problems in the system and what are the solutions? [dur: 30 mins. ]

Raj Patel and Saru Jayaraman are contributors to The Nation magazine’s special issue, “The Future of Food: Setting the table for the next generation“.

This program is produced with contributions from the following volunteers: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Anaïs Amin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – History of Big Science in United States -/- Green-washing Culture – September 30, 2018

First, the birth of what we know as big science. The big money supported, cross institution collaborations that have supported both medicine and weaponry. How did science and government get so entrenched with industry, and one another? And what have been the results? We discuss with Michael Hiltzik his latest book Big Science: Ernest Lawrence and the Invention That Launched the Military Industrial Complex. [ dur: 28 mins. ]

  • Michael Hiltzik is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author. He has been writing for the Los Angeles Times for three decades and is currently the Times’ Business Columnist. He is the author of many books including, The New Deal: A Modern History; The Plot Against Social Security, and his latest Big Science: Ernest Lawrence and the Invention That Launched the Military Industrial Complex.

Then, greenwashing culture. How journalism, the entertainment industry and museums impact our environment. We discuss with Toby Miller his latest book Greenwashing Culture. [ dur: 28 mins. ]

  • Toby Miller is the Professor and Director of the Institute for Media and Creative Industries at Loughborough University London. He is author and editor of over 40 books. His numerous publications include, Greenwashing Culture, Greenwashing Sports, The Routledge Companion to Global Cultural Policy (co-editor), and The Sage Companion to Television Studies (co-editor).

This program is produced with contributions from the following volunteers: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Anaïs Amin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Tracking and Prosecuting Money Laundering Organizations – September 23, 2018

We discuss the many faces to money laundering, the cost to society and potential remedies. Why is it so hard to track and prosecute money laundering? How does it finance terrorism? [ dur: 58 mins. ]

This program is produced with contributions from the following volunteers: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Anaïs Amin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Will International Finance protect human rights -/- Responsibility of Individual, State and Institutions – September 16, 2018

Can international finance systems be harnessed to protect human rights? While historically financiers have funded some of the worse of human rights abuses, finances also enabled great human leaps. Our guest argues that it is time to alter the financial system for the good of humanity. [ dur: 29 mins. ]

Then, our guest studies factors that shape our lives and ways of being in life, like ideas and events. What does it really mean to be responsible? It might depend on where you live. [ dur: 29 mins. ]

This program is produced with contributions from the following volunteers: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Anaïs Amin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.