Intelligence Squared U.S.-logo

Intelligence Squared U.S.


Brings Oxford-style debating to America - one motion, one moderator, three panelists for the motion and three against.

Brings Oxford-style debating to America - one motion, one moderator, three panelists for the motion and three against.
More Information


New York, NY




Brings Oxford-style debating to America - one motion, one moderator, three panelists for the motion and three against.






635 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20001 (202) 513-3232


Should College Athletes Be Paid?

Motion: Pay College Athletes College sports is a big-money business, with football and basketball programs generating millions of dollars in revenue every year. While coaches and athletic directors in Division I programs routinely score seven-figure contracts, student-athletes are currently prohibited from sharing in the profits. Is it time to rewrite the rules in college sports and allow athletes their fair share of the profits? Or would providing monetary incentives -- above and beyond...

Duration: 00:50:35

Is Western Democracy In Danger?

Motion: Western Democracy is Threatening Suicide Do populist and nationalist uprisings signal Western democracy’s certain decline? Or can recent events be seen as part of a healthy and regenerative antidote to policies that have challenged liberal institutions and marginalized the middle class? Some predict that a resilient liberal world order will rally to triumph over fear, xenophobia and fractured political parties – others say that support for autocratic alternatives is on the rise....

Duration: 00:52:29

Is the U.S. Healthcare System Terminally Broken?

MOTION: The U.S. Healthcare System is Terminally Broken Criticized by patients, providers, and politicians alike, the United States healthcare system is hardly a crowd-pleaser. Is the most expensive health care system in the world beyond repair? FOR Dr. Robert Pearl, former CEO of the Permanente Medical Group Shannon Brownless, author of Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer AGAINST Dr. Ezekiel Amanuel, a bioethicist and an architect of the Affordable Care...

Duration: 00:51:15

Face-Off with China: Foreign Policy in the Trump Era

Special: "Unresolved" Debate Format Against the backdrop of North Korea's nuclear advances and escalating regional tensions, we ask: How should the U.S. respond to its most urgent national security threats? In a wide-ranging evening of debate, General David Petraeus joins military historian Max Boot for a keynote conversation and broad look into the most pressing global challenges of the Trump era. Then, four of the world's most prominent foreign policy voices zero in on the most...

Duration: 00:51:48

How to Debate... Yourself.

Think about your most strongly held political belief. How did you arrive at your position? What experiences, information, or opinions influenced you? In the final installment of our summer podcast series on the state of political discourse today, we dive into an increasingly important skill: the ability to debate yourself. Our host John Donvan sits down with Yale Law professor Peter Schuck to discuss his new book, One Nation Undecided: Clear Thinking About Five Hard Issues That Divide...

Duration: 00:20:44

A Summer Challenge: Radical Rethinking

Here at Intelligence Squared U.S., we love a good argument – almost as much as we love an audience willing to change its mind. So when the New York Times’ David Leonhardt challenged Americans to do just that this summer, we took notice. In an op-ed entitled, “A Summer Project to Nourish Your Political Soul,” David asked readers to, "pick an issue that you find complicated, and grapple with it." But he didn’t stop there: David then advised readers to, “consider changing your mind, at least...

Duration: 00:31:46

The State of Debate in Congress: The American Healthcare Act

Mickey Edwards, former member of Congress for 16 years, and vice president and program director at the Aspen Institute, recalls a more civil time in American politics, when both Democrats and Republicans were more likely to engage in debate on Capitol Hill. In this episode, he speaks with Intelligence Squared U.S. host John Donvan about the ways in which Congressional deliberation has changed over the past 40 years, and paths to restoring open discourse in Washington. To support the show,...

Duration: 00:26:45

Your Private Data: Can Tech Companies Keep it from the Law?

Motion: Tech Companies Should Be Required To Help Law Enforcement Execute Search Warrants To Access Customer Data Do you have a secret that no one else knows? What about Apple, Google, Facebook, Verizon, or Uber? Are you sure they don’t know your secret? Digital data – emails, text messages, phone records, location records, web searches – contain traces of almost every secret. They also contain traces of almost every crime. Tech companies may promise to protect our data from prying eyes....

Duration: 00:53:50

Will Video Games Make Us Smarter?

MOTION: Video Games Will Make Us Smarter.

Duration: 00:52:06

BONUS PODCAST - Unresolved: Trump's First 100 Days

The first 100 days of the Trump administration have been filled with a whirlwind of new policies and challenges to Washington orthodoxies, and the country is sharply divided. But if we are open to it, we might find that there are reasonable arguments being made by both sides on many issues. And those conversations can start by considering: President Trump’s “America First” policy, and what it means to different people; the administration’s impact on the health of the stock market and our...

Duration: 00:57:20

Has Walmart Been Good For America?

Walmart has long been a target for critics of corporate expansion, but does the company really deserve the scrutiny? Some say that the big-box retailer devastates small communities by pushing out locally-owned businesses, mistreats its workers through low pay and restrictive work hours, and forces American companies to use cheap foreign labor to produce goods at low cost. Others point to the fact that Walmart provides countless jobs to low-skilled American workers, sells affordable goods,...

Duration: 00:55:03

Is Universal Basic Income the Safety Net of the Future?

Imagine getting a check from the government every month. $600 guaranteed. It's happening in Finland, where a pilot program is being launched to test what's known as a "universal basic income". As technology transforms the workplace, jobs and income will be less reliable. The idea is that a universal basic income could serve as a tool to combat poverty and uncertainly in a changing society, and provide a cushion that empowers workers, giving them latitude to take risks in the job market....

Duration: 00:53:18

Are Charter Schools Overrated?

Motion: Charter Schools Are Overrated In the 25 years since Minnesota passed the first charter school law, these publicly funded but privately operated schools have become a highly sought-after alternative to traditional public education, particularly for underserved students in urban areas. Between 2004 and 2014 alone, charter school enrollment increased from less than 1 million to 2.5 million students. Many charter schools boast of high test scores, strict academic expectations, and...

Duration: 00:53:53

Has the U.S.-Saudi "Special Relationship" Outlived its Usefulness?

Motion: The Special U.S.-Saudi Relationship Has Outlived Its Usefulness In 1945, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia met onboard the USS Quincy. A close relationship between the two countries has been maintained ever since, with oil and military and intelligence cooperation at its foundation. But the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. shale revolution, human rights concerns, and diverging interests in the Middle East, have all put strains on this relationship....

Duration: 00:54:03

Should We Give Trump a Chance?

Motion: Give Trump a Chance

Duration: 00:52:13

Is Policing Racially Biased?

MOTION: Policing Is Racially Biased In 2014, the shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, set off a wave of protests and sparked a movement targeting racial disparities in criminal justice. Since then, there have been other controversial deaths of African Americans at the hands of law enforcement that have captured the public’s attention, from Tamir Rice, to Philando Castile. But there are some who say that these encounters, many of them recorded,...

Duration: 00:53:29

Should states call a convention to amend the Constitution?

Motion; Call a Convention to Amend the Constitution Almost everyone can think of something they would like to change in the U.S. Constitution. Some would like to update it to fit new technologies and evolving social mores. Others think the Supreme Court has illegitimately “updated” it too much already, and would like to restore its original meaning. Either way, it is always tempting to invoke Article V to amend the Constitution—to “fix" it, or “restore" it, or “improve" it...

Duration: 00:51:51

Is Obama's foreign policy a failure?

MOTION: Obama's Foreign Policy is a Failure For many, Obama’s presidency will be defined by its accomplishments. Taking out Osama bin Laden, disengaging from fights in the Middle East that America cannot win, defusing the threat of a nuclear Iran, and refocusing our attention and resources to Asia, where our greatest opportunities and biggest long-term challenges are located. But for others, it has been marked by missteps and retreat—pulling back where action and leadership was needed,...

Duration: 00:53:31

Has Gerrymandering destroyed the political center?

MOTION: Gerrymandering is destroying the political center. It is alleged that the practice of gerrymandering—dividing election districts into units to favor a particular group—subverts democracy by making congressional districts “safe” for one party or the other. As a result, only those voting in primaries are in effect choosing our representatives. Are primary voters more extreme in their views, and therefore pulling democrats to the left and republicans to the right? Or is the impact of...

Duration: 00:50:35

Should We Give Undocumented Immigrants a Path to Citizenship?

Motion: Give Undocumented Immigrants a Path to Citizenship There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, and the question of what to do with them has sparked years of fierce debate, but no significant action. In 2013, the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” managed to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate, only to get it dropped by the House. And in 2016, a deadlocked Supreme Court decision stalled President Obama’s executive actions, DACA and...

Duration: 00:50:35

See More