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 – Why US Supply Chain Failed During the Pandemic and How to make it Resilient – December 5, 2021

The pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of the supply chain, with its emphasis on lowering cost without regard to resilience of disruptions. Can government and industry cooperate to build resilience without adding prohibitive cost to production? How responsible is the government to managing the supply chain? What are the larger issues of global supply and production models? [ dur: 58mins. ]

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

Scholars’ Circle – What happened at COP26 in Glasgow ? – November 28, 2021

After world leaders met in Glasgow to mitigate the climate crisis, what exactly did they discuss? What was in the agreement and what does that mean for the future of the planet? We break down some of the specific agreements and the language used to confront the climate crisis. How does a promise to “phase down” the use of coal fall short of the required action to confront the crisis? What role should indigenous peoples, largely unrepresented at the meetings, play at administering these carbon reductions? [ dur: 58mins. ]

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

Scholars’ Circle – Will Carbon emission reduction goals be met with voluntary commitments by Corporations and the Nation State – November 21, 2021

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 Ankine Aghassian, Doug Becker, Melissa Chiprin and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Algorithms, how do they make biased decisions? – November 14, 2021

Algorithms reflect the biases of the society in which they exist and the programmers who create them. There has been a social and political reaction against their use. How do algorithms govern social and political interactions? What is the most proper use of algorithms? And what are the biases that persist in their use? [ dur: 58mins. ]

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

Scholars’ Circle – Critique on Governance in Post-Colonial Cameroon, a country with linguistic and sectarian divide and clashes – November 7, 2021

Cameroon has seen increased violence and an ongoing civil war based on its linguistic, sectarian divide. Can the nation survive? How much is this a democracy deficiency and how much is this failure of leadership? How can Cameroon overcome its governance challenges? [ dur: 36mins. ]

As civil war in Cameroon continued with clashes between the Franchophone and Anglophone populations, protests against violations of federalism agreements were met with state led violence. What were the impacts? We’ll hear from one of the organizers. [ dur: 22mins. ]

  • Fontem A. Neba was Secretary General of the Teacher’s Trade Union of the University of Buea before his arrest on the 17th of January, 2017. He was Secretary General of the now banned Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium. Mr. Neba was Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Buea. Now he is in exile and serves as the Secretary General of the Southern Cameroon’s Alliance.

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

Scholars’ Circle – Consequence of Oil Spill on the Southern California Coast – October 31, 2021

Earlier this month, an oil spill devastated parts of the ecosystems off the coast of Southern California. We explore how to limit the destruction arising from oil production and spills during the transition away from fossil fuels. [ dur: 58mins. ]

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

Scholars’ Circle – Decolonizing the mind: a conversation with Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o – October 24, 2021

David Lloyd speaks with the world-renowned Kenyan novelist, playwright and poet, critic and widely influential postcolonial theorist, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. They explore the problem of colonization of languages, his commitment to writing in his native language, and his incarceration and exile for political dissidence. And with the panel they discuss a new book of essays on his work, Ngũgĩ in the American Imperium. [ dur: 58mins. ]

This program is produced by Ankine Aghassian, David Lloyd, and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Capital Punishment in USA and reasons why it faces increased opposition – October 17, 2021

The death penalty in the United States has faced increased opposition based on ethical, political, and legal concerns. Several states have outlawed it, but the federal government has returned to its use with a feverish wave of state executions last year. We discuss the implications of the use of the death penalty in the US and examine additional forms of extreme sentencing, such as life without parole. [ dur: 58mins. ]

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

Scholars’ Circle – Examining Disability and Ableism – October 10, 2021

The rights of persons with disabilities is a growing and important area of human rights. But what does it mean to ensure equal treatment under the law? What exactly is a disability, and who makes the judgment? And what do we mean by ableism? [ dur: 58mins. ]

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

Scholars’ Circle – Impact of American Lawyers on International Human Right Cases ; One Year after Armenia and Azerbaijan war – October 3, 2021

We interview Maria Armoudian who has published a book on international human rights and the role that lawyers have played at advancing cases against human rights abusers. Maria Armoudian is the author of Lawyers Beyond Borders : Advancing International Human Rights Through Local Laws and Courts. [ dur: 30 mins. ]

Then, we explore the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan a year after the war over the disputed region of Ngoro-Karabagh. What is the current status of the region following the cease-fire? Is there possibility of lasting peace? [ dur: 26 mins. ]

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