Welcome to The Scholars’ Circle

Producers: Maria Armoudian (host), Doug Becker (host), 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 – US Rejoining the Paris Climate Accords and Vaccination as human right – January 24, 2021

The US has rejoined the Paris Climate Accords. What next steps should the US and the world take to mitigate the damage from the climate crisis? [ dur: 31mins. ]

  • Pamela Chasek is a Professor of Political Science at Manhattan College. Among many publications she is the co-author of Global Environmental Politics.
  • Shannon Gibson is Associate Professor of Political Science, International Relations, and Environmental Studies at the University of Southern California. She is the author of the forthcoming book Politics of Global Environment.
  • Larry Schweiger is a former president and CEO of National Wildlife Federation. He is the author of Last Chance: Preserving Life on Earth.

Vaccine distribution for the Covid virus has begun. What human rights issues are raised with the process of distributing the vaccine? How much do wealth and privilege determine who gets vaccinated? We take a global approach to vaccine nationalism and equitable distribution of the vaccine. [ dur: 26mins. ]

Amnesty’s report on this topic is Fair Shot: Ensuring Universal Access to Covid-19 Diagnostics, Treatments and Vaccines.
Amnesty’s report on Vaccine for Palestinians
Amnesty’s report on Human Rights Approach to Eradicating Covid-19.

This program is produced with generous contribution from Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Prisoners Human Rights in times of COVID-19 pandemic and Insights into race to develop autonomous vehicles- January 17, 2021

Covid-19 has worsened prison conditions worldwide. This week we explore the human rights implications of the pandemic on prisons. [ dur: 32mins. ]

China is winning the race for autonomous cars, despite inherent advantages for the United States. We explore this race and why China is winning. [ dur: 26mins. ]

This program is produced with generous contribution from Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – The future of American Democracy and What is Trump’s legacy? – January 10, 2021

The mob seizure of the US Capitol this week has raised several concerns about the future of American democracy? Was this a coup attempt? Is this beginning an era of undemocratic actions against peaceful transitions following elections? And is the Trump Presidency an anomaly to American democracy? [ dur: 27mins. ]

The authoritarianism of the Trump Administration has lasting implications for the Presidency. We discuss this authoritarianism and his impact on the Republican Party. [ dur: 31 mins. ]

This program is produced with generous contribution from Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Privacy affects security, society and democracy – January 3, 2021

Is the age of privacy over? We spend the hour on technology, spying and privacy, exploring how privacy, and the lack of it, affects security, democracy and society. What exactly is at stake when we lose our privacy? [ dur: 58 mins. ]

For a transcript of this interview, please visit: TheBigQ

Produced by the Scholars’ Circle team: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Anaïs Amin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Adaptation by Agriculture and Food system for the 21st century – December 27 , 2020

We spend the hour on good food politics, the food revolution, and the movements to build equitable and sustainable food systems. First, we’re joined by Will Allen author of Good Food Revolution. Hosted by Maria Armoudian [ dur: 25 mins. ]

  • Will Allen is the author of Good Food Revolution and the founder of the non-profit Growing Power.

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: 33 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 generous contribution from Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Western Sahara conflict towards peaceful resolution – December 20, 2020

Last month a nearly three decade cease fire in Western Sahara broke and the war raged once again. The United Nations is taking up the Western Sahara issue despite opposition from powerful countries. Meanwhile, the Trump Administration proposed a change the long standing US position on Western Sahara. What does this mean for the conflict? What is the likelihood of peaceful resolution? [ dur: 58mins. ]


For news from Saharawi people you can visit http://www.saharawivoice.com , on facebook https://www.facebook.com/saharawivoice/, on twitter: https://twitter.com/saharawivoice?lang=en


This program is produced by the following team members: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – US and international response to Covid-19 vaccine & Decolonizing the language of arms control – December 13, 2020

Promise in a new Covid-19 vaccine is tempered by the huge spike in cases in the United States. What lessons will nations learn from the virus response and when can we expect to control the pandemic? [ dur: 27mins. ]

Arms control discourses are centered around western notions of modernity and civilization. What does it mean to decolonize the language around arms control? [ dur: 30mins. ]

This program is produced by the following team members: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Will the Biden Administration Re-Join the Iran Nuclear Deal? – December 5, 2020

President Elected Joe Biden campaigned on a promise to return to normalcy. He has promised to return to the Iran Nuclear Deal. But what complications does he face to fulfill this promise? [ dur: 58mins. ]

This program is produced by the following team members: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Impact of Women who lead nations in times of Covid-19 pandemic – November 29, 2020

The popular media narrative is that countries led by women are performing better with Covid. But is this really true? And if so, what are the reasons? Is it the nature of leadership or is it the values of society that determine the successes or failures of governments confronting Covid? Hosted by Doug Becker. [ dur: 58mins. ]

This program is produced by the following team members: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Aftermath of The US Election 2020 exposes A Crisis of Legitimacy – November 22, 2020

Was the election conducted properly? Will mail in ballots be counted and will that count be allowed to stand? Will the US Supreme Court decide the final outcome? And what, in any case, will become of American democracy? In this urgent and timely event, University of Auckland lecturers will use the lenses of law, political science, and psychology to explain this contested election and discuss the implications of the final outcome. This is a recording of the panel gathered at University of Auckland Law School on November 18th, 2020.

This program is produced by the following team members: Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.