Recently in Great Conversations Category

Public Mission, Urban Challenges: The 21st Century

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, the legislation that laid the groundwork for this country's land-grant research universities, U of M President Eric Kaler sat down with Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Syracuse University, to discuss their institutions' responses to the urban challenges of the 21st Century.

Human Rights Challenges of the 21st Century

Mary Robinson, and David Wippman - April, 2011 - A groundbreaking politician and lifelong crusader for human rights, Mary Robinson has not had a career free from controversy. But, then again, as David Wippman, dean of the U of M Law School says, "A human rights advocate holding a high-profile office must sometimes take principled but unpopular positions."

Wippman, who is himself a respected authority on international law, human rights, and ethnic conflict, will interview Robinson for the April 7 Great Conversations at the U of M Coffman Memorial Union, sponsored jointly by the College of Continuing Education and the Law School. "Mary is arguably one of the world's leading figures on human rights issues," he says. "She breathed new life into the Irish presidency. In her role in the U.N. and beyond, she pioneered new approaches to human rights and rule of law issues. I think this will be an inspiring and educational conversation."

Robert Bruininks, Jonathan Cole, and Robert Berdahl - September 30, 2010 - University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks speaks with Jonathan Cole, former provost and dean of faculties at Columbia University and Robert Berdahl, former chancellor of The University of California, Berkeley. As a special part of the celebration of Homecoming, the trio discuss the future of American higher education: what makes it great and how to sustain its global stature.

World Pandemics and the Environment

Larry Brilliant and Jonathan Foley - June 15, 2010 - Jonathan Foley is the director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, where he is a professor and McKnight Presidential Chair in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior. He also leads the IonE's Global Landscapes Initiative. Lawrence Brilliant is an American physician, epidemiologist, author, and philanthropist. He is the former director of Google's philanthropic arm and has served as CEO of two public companies. From 1976-79, he participated in the successful W.H.O. smallpox eradication program and, in 2005, was awarded the TED Prize for this important work. In April 2009, he was chosen to oversee the Skoll Urgent Threats Fund, established by eBay founder Jeff Skoll.

The Global Economic Crisis

Hernando de Soto with J. Brian Atwood - May 18, 2010 - Hernando de Soto is a Peruvian economist internationally known for his work on the informal economy and the importance of property rights. Praised by President Clinton as "the world's greatest living economist" and named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Forbes magazine, de Soto is the President of Peru's Institute for Liberty and Democracy, located in Lima. J. Brian Atwood is the dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs of the University of Minnesota. Among his past leadership posts, he served as the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development during the Clinton Administration; as the leader of the transition team at the State Department and as Under Secretary of State for Management, also during the Clinton administration; and as a member of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's Panel on Peace Operations.

The Transformative Power of Art

Rafael Yglesias with Madelon Sprengnether - April 20, 2010 - Described by The New York Times as "one of America's most prominent novelists," Rafael Yglesias is a screenwriter and the author of nine novels. His novel Fearless was made into a 1993 major motion picture, for which he also wrote the screenplay. After a 13-year absence, his latest novel, A Happy Marriage, has just been published to rave reviews. Yglesias's film Fearless was the subject of a chapter in Madelon Sprengnether's acclaimed book, Crying at the Movies: A Film Memoir. A faculty member in the University of Minnesota English Department, Sprengnether is a Regents Professor, the highest honor bestowed on University of Minnesota professors.

Feeding the World: At Home and Abroad

Tom Vilsack with J. Brian Atwood and Allen Levine - October 5, 2009 - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack speaks with Dean J. Brian Atwood of the Humphrey Institute and Dean Allen Levine of the college of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. The trio engages in a wide-ranging conversation about food aid and international development, obesity and nutrition, food security, farm and foreign trade policy, and a host of other topics related to the USDA's mission.

The World’s Most Powerful Court

Kenneth Starr and E. Thomas Sullivan - May 12, 2009 - From freedom of speech to separation of church and state, from abortion to affirmative action, the U.S. Supreme Court exerts pervasive influence over American life, handing down decisions that set the legal standards by which every American lives.

Bio-Ethics of the Future

Doris Taylor and Patricia Simmons - April 16, 2009 - Biomedical research has led to significant improvements in the health of all Americans and increased human longevity over the past century. Join two leading doctors as they discuss the breakthrough therapies needed to prevent, treat, and, hopefully, one day cure, fatal ailments.

America's Constitutional Crisis

Seymour Hersh, Larry Jacobs, and Walter Mondale - March 10, 2009 - Three political experts review the constitutional framework of the American model of governance, particularly the ongoing constitutional crisis over the authority and roles of the legislative and executive branches.

Revenge of the Right Brainers

Daniel Pink and Darlyne Bailey - June 3, 2008 - Darlyne Bailey, Dean of the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development discusses the influential book A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future with author Daniel Pink.

Defending Human Rights

Kerry Kennedy and Barbara Frey - May 13, 2008 - Barbara Frey, Director of the Human Rights Program in the College of Liberal Arts' Institute for Global Studies discusses human rights issues with Kerry Kennedy, author and founder of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights.

American Democracy in Dissent

Daniel Ellsberg and Larry Jacobs - February 26, 2008 - Larry Jacobs, the University of Minnesota’s Mondale Chair for Political Studies and Director of the Center of the Study of Politics and Governance at the Humphrey Institute, discusses American Democracy with Daniel Ellsberg, political activist and author.

What Happened to Your Parachute? - The New Face of the Working World

Richard Leider and Richard Bolles - June 5, 2007 - Richard Leider, Senior Fellow at the Center for Spirituality and Healing and author of seven books including The Power of Purpose, is joined by Richard Bolles, author of the best- selling career planning book in history, What Color is Your Parachute, for a lively discussion of pursuing a purposeful life.

Donna Gabaccia and Ruben Martinez - May 8, 2007 - Donna Gabaccia, Director of the University’s renowned Immigration History Research Center, traces global immigration issues with Ruben Martinez, award-winning journalist and author of The New Americans and Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail.

For One; For All - International Human Rights

Kathryn Sikkink and Juan Mendez - April 24, 2007 - Regents Professor Kathryn Sikkink, author of numerous books including Mixed Signals: U.S. Human Rights Policy and Latin America, discusses international human rights with Juan Mendez, a human rights lawyer and former political prisoner from Argentina who was named the first Special Adviser on Genocide Prevention at the United Nations.

Bridging the Digital Divide - The Future of Public Education

Robert Elde and Larry Rosenstock - March 27, 2007 - Robert Elde, Dean of the College of Biological Sciences, envisions an inspiring future for K-12 education with Larry Rosenstock, founder and CEO of San Diego’s innovative charter school High Tech High.

What's Making America Fat? The Obesity Epidemic

Allen Levine and David Kessler - February 20, 2007 - Allen Levine, Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences, explores the complex causes of the obesity epidemic with David Kessler, former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

Social Forces Reshaping Retirement

Phyllis Moen and Marc Freedman - May 16, 2006 - Dramatic social changes and shifting demographics are starting to alter our traditional notion of retirement. In this conversation, two innovative thinkers challenge previously held myths and explore new possibilities -- how to reshape retirement in ways that offer retirees a greater range of options while improving overall quality of life.

Rethinking our Urban Environments

Judith Martin and Congressman Earl Blumenauer - May 1, 2006 - In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the prospect of rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in a manner that assures its safety and livability -- while preserving its unique character and heritage -- poses both daunting challenges and unprecedented opportunities. Join two visionary urbanists as they assess the various issues at hand.

The Future of Affordable Housing

Ann Forsyth and Nicolas P. Retsinas - March 28, 2006 - Housing that is well designed, sustainable and affordable has the power to strengthen our communities and revitalize our urban centers. In this discussion, two astute community development experts examine the complex dynamics shaping the current affordable housing debate.

Protecting Water Quality for Future Generations

Deborah Swackhamer and David Schindler - February 28, 2006 - Water is one of life's most basic requirements. In this season's first conversation, two of the foremost authorities on water quality discuss the challenges and rewards of safeguarding our most precious natural resource.

The Struggle and Hope for Southern Africa

Allen Isaacman and Graca Machel - April 19, 2005 - An inspiring advocate for human rights discusses the ravages of war on its most innocent victims with a renowned scholar of African history.

Design of Everyday Life

Wendy Pradt Lougee and Henry Petroski - March 9, 2005 - Two leading thinkers discuss how curiosity and research can unravel the extraordinary stories behind ordinary objects.

Gender and Race in Medical Treatment

Anne Taylor and Vivian Pinn - February 8, 2005 - Two leading figures in women's health discuss the debate over the relevance of race in determining preventive medicine and the disparities in access to quality health care for patients determined by gender and ethnicity.

An International Political Perspective

J. Brian Atwood and Clare Short, M.P. - November 10, 2004 - Major figures in U.S. and U.K. politics discuss the results of the 2004 American Presidential election and the war in Iraq.

A Revolution in Women's Sports

Mary Jo Kane and Donna Lopiano - October 11, 2004 - After 32 years, two of this country's leading figures in women's sports look back on the hard-won accomplishments of Title IX and discuss their hopes and dreams for the future.

Populism in the Heartland

Thomas Frank and Catherine Liu - May 11, 2004 - Thomas Frank, bestselling author of What’s the Matter with Kansas?, in conversation with U of M Professor Catherine Liu.

Predicting the World’s Ecological Future

Jared Diamond and G. David Tilman - April 13, 2004 - Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jared Diamond discussing the world’s ecological future with U of M Regents Professor G. David Tilman.

Bioethics in the National Spotlight

Harold Shapiro and Jeffrey Kahn - March 23, 2004 - Harold Shapiro, former Chair of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, in conversation with Jeffrey Kahn, Director of the U of M’s Center for Bioethics.

The Loss of 9/11: Two Perspectives

Gail Sheehy and Pauline Boss - February 25, 2004 - U of M Professor Pauline Boss discussing the psychological aftermath of 9/11 with bestselling author Gail Sheehy.

Nurturing the Creative Class

Richard Florida and Robert Bruininks - January 20, 2004 - Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class, discussing economic development with U of M President Robert Bruininks.

Biotechnology and the Environment

Anne Kapuscinski and Margaret Mellon - April 22, 2003 - U of M Professor Anne Kapuscinski discussing biotechnology and the environment with Margaret Mellon, Union of Concerned Scientists.

Business Ethics

Thomas Dunfee and Norman Bowie - March 17, 2003 - Thomas Dunfee of The Wharton School discussing recent corporate scandals with Norman Bowie, U of M’s Carlson School of Management.

Human Rights

Desmond Tutu and Robert Jones - February 25, 2003 - Archbishop Desmond Tutu discussing the fight against apartheid in South Africa with U of M Vice President Robert Jones.

The Art of Remembering

Eva Hoffman and Patricia Hampl - November 19, 2002 - Polish author Eva Hoffman discussing the memoir with Patricia Hampl, U of M Regents Professor of English and Creative Writing.

The Future of Music Education

Joseph Polisi and Margo Garret - October 22, 2002 - Joseph Polisi, President of Juilliard, in conversation with U of M Professor Margo Garret on the occation of the 100th anniversary of the School of Music.

The War with Germs

Judith Miller and Michael Osterholm - September 24, 2002 - New York Times Journalist Judith Miller discussing germ warfare with Michael Osterholm, Director of the U of M’s Center for Infectious Diseases.

Black Intellectual History

Cornel West and John Wright - May 7, 2002 - Bestselling Author Cornel West discussing Black intellectual history with U of M Professor John Wright.

The Media

Brian Lamb and Jane Kirtley - April 2, 2002 - Brian Lamb, Founder of C-SPAN, in conversation with Jane Kirtley, Director of the U of M Silha Center for Media Ethics and Law.

The Stem Cell Revolution

Austin Smith and Catherine Verfaillie - March 26, 2002 - Dr. Austin Smith, University of Edinburgh, discussing stem cell research with Dr. Catherine Verfaillie, Director of the U of M's Stem Cell Institute.

Visionary Architecture

Steven Holl and Thomas Fisher - February 19, 2002 - Steven Holl discussing his addition to the U of M's architecture building with Dean Thomas Fisher.

Inside Politics

Paul Begala and Mark Yudof - January 15, 2002 - Political strategist Paul Begala in conversation with his former law professor, then U of M President Mark Yudof.


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