All posts by host

Scholars’ Circle – Corporations not willing to taking bold actions against greenhouse gas emissions by their businesses – February 11, 2024

Climate Change is an existential threat that demands bold action and a transformation of how humanity uses its resources. Concepts like “net zero” and “carbon offset” have done little toward decreasing the amount of greenhouse gases we emit into the atmosphere. Is the current legal and voluntary structure adequate to meet the challenge of climate change? Are we up to the challenge? [ dur: 58mins. ]

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Somaliland and Ethiopia relations affects Horn of Africa region; Niger Coup side steps democracy – February 4, 2024

Ethiopia is the first nation to recognize a breakaway region of Somalia called Somaliland since its declaration of independence 33 years ago. Why did Ethiopia recognize it and what does it mean for peace in the region.

Niger’s promising democracy was toppled by a military coup last year. We revisit the causes of the coup to remind us of the need for continuing pressure on military governments to return to democracy and the rule of law.

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Guatemala election and inauguration drama explained; Puerto Rico’s struggle with corruption and self determination – January 28, 2024

In the summer of 2023, Guatemala elected as President an outsider with a famous last name—Bernardo Arevalo. But his political opponents used ever level of law they could to try to deny his Inauguration. Why was he victorious and what does his election mean for the future of democracy in the Central American nation? [ dur: 28mins. ]

The island of Puerto Rico has a complex relationship with the federal government in the United States. Should it seek statehood or independence? Or is the status quo the best option for the nation. This segment was recorded January 2023. [ dur: 30mins. ]

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – International Laws on occupation of territories and war crimes by state and non-state actors – January 21, 2024

What responsibilities do occupiers have in their occupation of territories? And is there a legal requirement to eventually end the occupation? [ dur: 28mins. ]

In the laws of war, countries do have the right to defend themselves. But what do those laws require in the process of waging war? How does this apply to Israel’s war in Gaza? And what legal rights do non-state actors have for self-determination? [ dur: 28mins. ]

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – MLK legacy on Politics and BLM movement of 21st century ; Book Author interview – By the Numbers – January 14, 2024

To commemorate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. we explore the impact of Dr. King and his memory on contemporary issues, including the role of women in the movement and the security of people of color as embodied in the Black Lives Matter movement. What is the meaning of Dr. King’s dream today? [ dur: 30mins. ]

*This was part of a panel discussion recorded January 2023. To hear the entire discussion please visit: here.

How did better understandings of mathematical concepts and the rise in numeracy rates change society, politics, philosophy and science? And what did it mean for religion? We explore how educating ordinary people, the adoption of Arabic numerals, alongside related changes transformed early modern England. [ dur: 28mins. ]

This program is produced by Maria Armoudian, Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Book interview, Abundant University, remaking higher education for a Digital World; Why is liberal arts education necessary? – January 7, 2024

For many people, access to universities for study and degrees is a means to future economic success. So families sacrifice to pay for this education, or often take out substantial loans to cover the cost. But what if universities opened their access and became truly abundant as a societal resource. Economist Michael Smith, in his new book The Abundant University, makes the case for rethinking access to higher education. [ dur: 28mins. ]

Universities want to appeal to their students, who increasingly look to their schooling as a training period for future employment. But this puts traditional liberal arts departments like philosophy at risk. We examine the future of liberal arts education in light of the trend to silo student training into pre-professional programs at the undergraduate level. [ dur: 30mins. ]

This program is produced by Maria Armoudian, Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Knowledge of politics in a democracy and Insight into trees as a way to mitigate CO2 in the atmosphere – December 31, 2023

Why do people seem to know so little about politics? And what does that mean for democracy? We speak with Arthur Lupia author of Uninformed: Why People Know So Little About Politics and What We Can Do About It. [ dur: 27mins. ]

Governments and others have advocated to offset carbon emission by planting more trees. But is this really the long term solution? Our experts say it won’t be enough. And in some cases, in can make matters worse. [ dur: 31mins. ]

This program is produced by Maria Armoudian, Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – COP28 meeting outcome – December 24, 2023

The latest climate change meetings, Cop-28, just ended in Dubai. After an initial pessimism about an agreement, with controversies over leadership and the location of the meetings, there were some intriguing breakthroughs. The meeting yielded new agreements on a loss and damage fund and a transition from fossil fuels. But many of previous agreements have yet to be implemented. What does that mean for addressing climate change? What exactly was accomplished by this meeting, and what remains on the agenda for future meetings. [ dur: 58mins. ]

This program is produced by Maria Armoudian, Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Henry Kissinger forging memorable trail of destruction when he pursued foreign policy for United States and others – December 16, 2023

Henry Kissinger was perhaps among the most influential people on US foreign policy and global events, fr which some consider him a war criminal. How should Kissinger be remembered? What does this answer say about the US in the world?

In 1979 Vietnam invaded Cambodia, a country ravaged by a war partly caused by US bombings, and overthrew the genocidal Khmer Rouge government. What have been the consequences of that decision? We explore the reasons for this invasion with the author of a new book.

This program is produced by Maria Armoudian, Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Democracy is eroding in United States, why and how to stop the decline – December 10, 2023

Democracy is eroding in the United States? What are the causes and what should be done? Is the erosion of democracy because of political elites and specifically the reaction of the Republican Party to the 2020 election? Or does it run deeper? [ dur: 58mins. ]

Recorded February 2022.

This program is produced by Maria Armoudian, Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin and Sudd Dongre.