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CNN's flagship debate program is back ... again

May 04, 2014

Those with an interest in invective-free debates among experts should check out the "Intelligence Squared" series at

Intelligence Squared – S. Dana Wolfe’s Words to the Wise

March 05, 2014

With an extensive background in politics and an eclectic résumé to impress any mover and shaker—including a handful of Emmy awards won during her time at ABC News Nightline and a highly respected NPR show, Intelligence Squared U.S. journalist and producer S. Dana Wolfe talks education, politics, and how women may be predisposed to getting ahead.

Intelligence Squared U.S. Showcases Live In-Tweet Video Experience

October 30, 2013

Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates is the first online broadcast to showcase's new live, in-tweet video player.

The new video player will play live streams and on-demand video directly in tweets; Intelligent Squared U.S. will use the capability to share tonight’s live streamed debate directly with their Twitter followers.

"We're excited to partner with to present our debates live on Twitter, viewable in real time," said Clea Chang, Director of Marketing and Digital Strategy for Intelligence Squared U.S. "With Twitter's powerful network effects, we can expand our audience and further raise the level of public discourse online.”

“We are proud to join a select group of approved providers that have the capability to present live and on-demand video streams within the Twitter platform,” said Blaise Zerega, President and CEO of “This capability enables our partners to broaden the reach of their conferences and event video with a click of the “Tweet” button. Now our partners can better capitalize on the existing Twitter chatter around their events and conferences by bringing the video directly to their Twitter followers., the leading provider of video production, online distribution and monetization services for the conference and event industry, today announced the capability to stream live and on-demand video within Twitter via the player. When a Twitter user shares a link to a live stream or on-demand video on, their followers will be able to watch the video directly in that tweet with the video player. This feature will be showcased during the live stream of today’s Intelligence Squared U.S. debate, “Let Anyone Take a Job Anywhere,” starting at 6:45 pm EDT.

The event can be viewed at

Intelligence Squared U.S. Twice Named Winner in the 34th Annual Telly Awards

July 18, 2013

The 34th Annual Telly Awards has recognized Intelligence Squared U.S. with two awards in the Film & Video category: the Silver award for Live Events and the Bronze award for Political/Commentary. With nearly 12,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, this is truly an honor.
Founded in 2006 and taped in front of a live audience in New York City, Intelligence Squared U.S. has grown into a unique multi-platform experience that spans live events, radio, television, podcasts, digital and social media that is heard and watched by millions internationally. Currently airing in nearly 80% of PBS and WORLD channel airing households across major markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Boston, the series also reaches viewers globally through its interactive streaming and video services on, Vimeo, and YouTube.
The Telly Awards was founded in 1979 and is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, the finest video and film productions, and online commercials, video and films.  Winners represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments in the world.
A prestigious judging panel of over 500 accomplished industry professionals, each a past winner of a Silver Telly and a member of The Silver Telly Council, judged the competition, upholding the historical standard of excellence that Telly represents.  The Silver Council evaluated entries to recognize distinction in creative work – entries do not compete against each other – rather entries are judged against a high standard of merit.  Less than 10% of entries are chosen as Winners of the Silver Telly, our highest honor.  Approximately 25% of entries are chosen as Winners of the Bronze Telly.  
“The Telly Awards has a mission to honor the very best in film and video,” said Linda Day, Executive Director of the Telly Awards.  “Intelligence Squared U.S.’s accomplishment illustrates their creativity, skill, and dedication to their craft, and serves as a testament to great film and video production.”

Intelligence Squared U.S. Wins 2013 Silver Award at New York Festivals International Radio Programs Awards

June 18, 2013

Intelligence Squared U.S. has been named the 2013 winner of the Silver Radio Award for Best Public Affairs Program at the New York Festivals International Radio Programs & Promos Awards. Currently broadcast on over 200 NPR stations nationwide, Intelligence Squared U.S. was selected from entries from over 36 countries by a Grand Jury of industry leaders worldwide, recognizing the series as the World's Best Work in Programming.

Founded in 2006 and taped in front of a live audience in New York City, Intelligence Squared U.S. has grown into a unique multi-platform experience that spans live events, radio, television, podcasts, digital and social media that is heard and watched by millions internationally. With close to 200,000 monthly subscribers, Intelligence Squared U.S. has become one of NPR's most popular public affairs podcasts, praised by Forbes as one of "Five Podcasts that Will Change the Way You Think." Currently airing in nearly 80% of PBS and WORLD channel airing households across major markets including New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Boston, the series also reaches viewers globally through its interactive streaming and video services on Fora TV, Vimeo, and YouTube.

Rose Anderson, Executive Director of New York Festivals International Radio Programs and Promos Awards said, "This year's New York Festivals Radio Awards Grand Jury of award-winning producers, writers, and programming executives from around the globe judged wide-reaching, complex, innovative and in-depth radio programs from around the world. The exceptional entry by Intelligence Squared U.S. raised the level of public discourse on some of the most divisive issues today and was honored with the NYF Silver Radio Deco Trophy for Best Public Affairs Program."

"Intelligence Squared U.S. is a shining example of public discourse at its best," said Eric Nuzum, VP of Programming at NPR. "A program like this could only thrive on public radio. We are elated to see this series recognized with this prestigious award."

The series has attracted some of the world's top thinkers including Paul Krugman, Steve Forbes, Karl Rove, Malcolm Gladwell, Alan Dershowitz, Peter Thiel and Arianna Huffington for 75 debates on a wide range of provocative topics including global warming, genetically engineered babies, science refuting religion, a nuclear Iran, the financial crisis, the marketing of organic foods, and the death of mainstream media.

In addition to monthly live events from NYC's Kaufman Center, IQ2US has recently hosted debates at premiere intellectual events, including the Aspen Ideas Festival, Chicago Ideas Week and will partner with The McCain Institute for International Leadership and The Aspen Strategy Group for inaugural debates this summer. Debates have been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Men's Health, Forbes, and panelists appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe and WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show to discuss the series' timely propositions.

Intelligence Squared U.S. was founded by businessman and philanthropist Robert Rosenkranz. ABC News correspondent John Donvan is the moderator, and the executive producer is Dana Wolfe.

Robert Rosenkranz Creates Debate on Hot-Button Issues with Intelligence Squared U.S.

June 11, 2013

For Robert Rosenkranz, an investor and philanthropist who runs Delphi Financial Group, philanthropy doesn’t get more satisfying than Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US).

Rosenkranz created the debate series in response to his frustration with what he saw as the lack of true public discourse in the United States. "In America there is no such thing as a real debate,'' he has said. So after receiving his favorite birthday present from his wife—a detailed report on different formats he could use to encourage civil discourse around controversial issues—Rosenkranz created IQ2US.

The program, based on London’s highly successful Intelligence Squared events, presents Oxford-style debates in New York on a wide range of provocative and timely topics, ranging from genetic engineering to the minimum wage to Pentagon funding. The debates also attract well-known participants, including an array of public figures such as Arianna Huffington and author Michael Crichton.

IQ2US an Oasis of Civilized Debate

April 04, 2013

There is a place where the fine art of civilized and civil debate is making a comeback. Intelligence Squared U.S., an Oxford style debate format show distributed by National Public Radio and available online and through free podcasts, is that wonderful combination of education, exposition and entertainment. IQ2US, it’s shorthand name, is not new. The show has been produced in the U.S. since 2006 as an initiative of the Rosenkranz Foundation to promote healthy civic dialogue. The original British version is still going strong after more than a decade (and can be viewed online, too, something I highly recommend.) But lately the U.S. enterprise has caught a buzz. Or maybe it is just that I’ve newly discovered this gem, and have been sifting through its meaty archive ever since.

IQ2US NY Emmy Nomination

February 06, 2013

New York, NY – Wednesday, February 6, 2013. The 56th Annual New York Emmy® Award nominations took place this morning at the studios of CUNY-TV.

Al Trautwig. October 4, 2011. (MSG Network).
Al Trautwig. December 23, 2011. (MSG Network). “MSGs Vault.”
John Donvan. October 15, 2011. (Thirteen/WNET). “Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate Series.”
Laura Savini. July 15, 2012. (WPIX-TV). “Meet the Artist: Milos.”
Michael Kay. September 22, 2011. (YES Network). “CenterStage.”
Paula Zahn. April 26, 2012. (Thirteen/WNET). “NYC-Arts.”

Intelligence Squared U.S.'s Talking Heads

January 16, 2013

Intelligence Squared U.S. takes its civic duty with more gravitas. The idea is that American attitudes have grown more entrenched and insular thanks to the Internet and to TVs with more than three channels. “We want to help people understand the facts behind the emotion,” Rosenkranz explained to an interviewer when the show launched. “Force people to have a greater respect for civil discourse, not trying to be bland, but appreciating how complicated the issues are.” The result lacks some of the gladiatorial fun of its British cousin. Host John Donvan, a former foreign and White House correspondent for ABC News, is an interventionist moderator who treats the debate more like a multi-person interview, interjecting questions, shushing the dominant, and congratulating guests at the end on their integrity.

Debate series launched on pubradio comes to PBS

November 13, 2012

Intelligence Squared U.S., the nonpartisan public policy debate series airing on public radio and some public TV stations, is coming to PBS Plus in January, with Chicago’s WTTW as the presenting station.

Eight debates will be offered monthly through 2013 during non-pledge periods, starting Jan. 17. The first episode takes on the provocative motion “Better Elected Islamists than Dictators.”

The one-hour programs, which already air on more than 220 NPR stations, are condensed from recordings of the one-hour-and-45-minute debates moderated by ABC News correspondent John Donvan before live audiences in New York. The series launched in 2006 as a nonprofit initiative of the Rosenkranz Foundation.

“We felt that it was the right time to go national,” said Dana Wolfe, executive producer of Intelligence Squared U.S.

In an interview, WTTW’s top TV executive Daniel Soles described the program as “a very unique offering” for the system: “thoughtful intelligent discussions on issues that affect us, presented in a way that allows the audience to make up their own minds.”

Before each debate, members of the studio audience are polled on whether they agree or disagree with the motion. A second poll is taken at the debate’s conclusion to determine whether the debate team arguing for or against the motion “wins”; the side that changes the most minds is declared the victor. “No one is demonized, and you’re rewarded by being articulate and presenting a good case,” said Soles, WTTW senior v.p. and chief television content officer.

A debate recorded Oct. 10 during the Chicago Ideas Week festival, for example, demonstrated how the viewers’ opinions can shift. The pre-debate poll on the motion to ration end-of-life care showed support by 43 percent, opposition from 22 percent and 35 percent undecided. Following the debate, support nearly doubled to 81 percent, 12 percent were opposed and just 7 percent remained undecided.

An earlier version of the TV show aired on Bloomberg TV, and in the 2011–12 season the programs moved to WNET, WLIW and NJTV in the New York area. Select debates, different from those to be offered for broadcast through PBS Plus, also air on the digital World channel syndicated by American Public Television. All debates also stream live on and are archived on the Intelligence Squared U.S. website.

WTTW aired a handful of the shows in past seasons, including debates that were staged in Chicago, before deciding to sign on as presenting station for the PBS Plus distribution deal. “We’re really glad that after a few years these debates will finally be available to all the stations around the country,” Soles said. “I’m confident there is going to be a loyal following.”

The NPR audience has steadily grown, Wolfe said, noting that the podcast is currently averaging 100,300 monthly downloads, up from 85,052 a year ago. She said producers are also developing a website widget that will allow stations to invite their listeners and viewers to vote on debate motions in advance of local broadcasts.

How to Turn Obama and Romney's Faceoff Into a Real Debate

September 28, 2012

Wednesday night. Romney vs. Obama. Live. The 28th episode in America’s long-running television series — the presidential debates — in which two men go on stage and face off without scripts or teleprompters, and with the ever-present possibility of getting trounced or humiliated. In presidential politics, a debate — a real debate — is a test like no other.

That’s why none of us has never seen one. A true debate is just too risky. From 1960 onward, the events called presidential debates have delivered not clashes of of rhetorical greatness but the spectacle of two people engaged in dueling job interviews. These interviews unfold side by side in front of the same human resources representative, and the skill needed to land the position is much the same as the one eighth-graders rely on to win spelling bees: the ability to memorize the answers to the questions ahead of time, then repeat them, precisely as learned. Debates? Modern politicians don’t partake in debates. Not real ones.

Now, I serve on real debates. I know real debates. Real debaters are friends of mine. And these campaign-season sessions are not real debates. In fact, I would argue in the affirmative for the following proposition: We must change the format of the presidential debates.

Because the format is the problem. While the Commission on Presidential Debates, which stages these events, was criticized this year for booking too few female and minority moderators, and perennially for excluding third-party candidates, the more entrenched issue is the structure of the debates themselves. They are designed to keep the candidates from getting into trouble or embarrassing themselves by looking mean, uninformed or scared. That is a backward priority. A debate is a contest, a competition, a battle. The rules should be calibrated to produce the best contest possible, not to protect the contestants from themselves.

When candidates debate each other, they should debate each other. In a real debate, the participants engage, they grapple, they get into each other’s hair (metaphorically, of course). Without that clash of ideas and personalities, there’s no point in getting the two sides together on one stage. But in the presidential debates over the years, the rules have bizarrely permitted the candidates to “debate” without actually addressing each other. Some have spent the entire night studiously avoiding eye contact. Their escape mechanism is the moderator, designated as the one person on stage whom both candidates must address, in a weirdly triangulated conversation, as they work through the questions the moderator poses. So it becomes those questions, not the candidates’ ideas or personalities, driving the discussion. It feels hollow. It feels forced. There’s a simple fix for this: Make these candidates talk to each other.

IQ Squared: A Better Way to Debate

August 22, 2012

With the debate moderators announced and the dates set, America awaits this year’s three presidential and one vice presidential debates.

Robert Rosenkranz thinks there’s a better way. His “Intelligence Squared U.S.” program was founded in 2006 and can be heard on 220 National Public Radio stations, on public television’s digital channel WORLD and via an online stream at Fora.TV.

Why Leaders Must Be Readers

August 02, 2012

Reading cultivates strong leaders - but what if you don't have time to read? Here's what to do: "Listen to content while driving or walking to work (I suggest “This American Life” and “Intelligence Squared” on NPR – I’m obsessed with both)."

Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates Announce Politically Minded Fall Season and Six Years of Milestone Growth

July 27, 2012

Influential public policy debate series Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US) announces it's thirteenth season of six provocative new debates this fall. Beginning September 12th at new venue Kaufman Center, this season will cover some of the most pressing issues of this year's Presidential election while providing a new forum for intelligent, informed discussion.

CALL FOR ARTISTS: 2012 Election Debate Image Contest

July 12, 2012


You are invited to participate in the First Annual Intelligence Squared U.S. Visual Debate Contest.

Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates is a nonprofit, nonpartisan debate series broadcast nationwide on NPR and PBS.  We are currently planning our next debate series focused on 2012 election issues which will premiere live in New York City September 2012.

This opportunity will award national exposure through, NPR, PBS and other national media partners; exhibition of your original work for sale at private debate events; recognition in social media, digital and print promotions; dedicated press releases and more. Your work will be selected by a panel of high-profile members of the NYC fine arts and media industries.

Digital graphic design, photography, fine art, composite images, pop culture references and mixed media will all be considered.  Images must be able to be digitized and duplicated in print as high-resolution images.

We will select one work to visually represent each debate topic in our Fall 2012 series, focused on election issues.

Topics available currently include the following and are subject to change:

Do Super PACs enhance democracy by increasing political speech, or are elections being bought by the wealthy few?

As the U.S. struggles through recession, will defense cuts compromise national security, or can we maintain pre-eminence on less?

Should we ration costly end-of-life care, or should difficult medical decisions remain with patients and their families?

Are the nation’s wealthiest not paying their “fair share,” or should tax breaks be extended for everyone?

Post-election related topics include:

The “War on Drugs” fills prisons with drug users and cost taxpayers $2.5 trillion.   Is this a war that we’re winning?

Evolution or creation?  Has modern science debunked religion’s core beliefs, or can science and religion co-exist?

Please submit any questions or contact us for more in-depth topic information – we will share any further details you might need.  

Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions.

Submissions will be accepted until August 15, 2012.  

We look forward to your work.

Intelligence Squared Profile in Port Magazine

June 18, 2012

Robert Leeming talks to US series producer Dana Wolfe about the US debate series


May 18, 2006

Few would argue that the level of public discourse in our society has reached a dangerously low point. Witness the mean-spirited partisanship of Congress and the belligerent rudeness of cable television discussions of the issues of the day, which themselves tend to be more about celebrities and scandals than thoughtful analysis of pressing topics like the struggle against Islamic militancy, global warming, and improving our children’s education.

SMART TALK: By Liz Smith

July 06, 2006

N.Y.C. businessman and philanthropist Robert Rosenkranz is bringing the lively British debate "Intelligence Squared" to the states this fall. As in London, where the show attracts curious, on-the-ball ordinary folks and celebs with more on their minds than we give them credit for, the series will present the hot political, cultural and social issues of the day in an Oxford-style, three-on-three debate. "Intelligence Squared U.S.A." begins at New York's Asia Society and Museum this September with this subject up for discussion: "We Must Tolerate a Nuclear Iran." Visit for more information or to purchase tickets. This is the sort of thing that should be on TV, to remind people numbed by the current "shout-downs" that pass for debate and discussion that there is another way to make a point.

New Debate Series Addresses Pressing Questions of the Day

January 01, 2007

In a packed auditorium at the Asia Society and Museum earlier this month, a panel of distin guished scholars, editors, and filmmakers debated the motion: "Hollywood fuels anti-Americanism abroad." The hour-and-a-half conversation about whether the film industry or the war in Iraq was more to blame for growing international ill-will toward America was part of a new live debate series called Intelligence Squared, which is funded by the Rosenkranz Foundation. The debate series is seeking to trade punditry for dialogue, according to the executive producer, Dana Wolfe. The series caters to an intellectual audience eager for more than sound bites on political and social issues of international concern.

Dept. Of Discourse: Oxford On The Hudson

January 07, 2007

The name of Robert Rosenkranz, the businessman and philanthropist, is not universally recognized, even on Park Avenue. “I know a variety of Rosenkranzes—which one is he?” asked Robert Albertson, a principal at Sandler O’Neill, as he mingled at a reception at the Asia Society and Museum the other evening.

5 Questions for...

February 09, 2007

Ask almost any American about the state of public discourse in this country, and he or she is likely to express disappoint-ment and frustration. Hoping to do something about the increasingly partisan and ideological nature of that discourse, philanthropist Robert Rosenkranz and the Rosenkranz Foundation launched Intelligence Squared US, a series of Oxford-style debates that address hot-button concerns of the day, last September. The debates, which feature one three-person team proposing and a second team opposing a sharply framed motion, will be held on Wednesdays throughout the spring at the Asia Society in Manhattan, and are produced for radio and distributed nationally by WNYC/New York City Public Radio and National Public Radio.


February 11, 2007

SERIOUS TALK He made a fortune in private equity, but Robert Rosenkranz’s passion is public policy. That passion has led Mr. Rosenkranz, chief executive of the Delphi Financial Group, to organize a series of public policy debates under the rubric Intelligence Squared US.

Intelligence Squared

February 14, 2007

How the Rosenkranz Foundation is injecting substance and civility into public policy discourse through its modern Oxford-style debate program by Bryan O'Keefe.

A Hobby That’s Part Party, Part Debate, All Intellect

June 02, 2007

When it comes to worthy recipients of noblesse largesse, a well-meaning multimillionaire in New York has no shortage of gratifying options: the sick and the poor; cultural institutions; universities; the public sector.

For Love or Money

February 06, 2009

"IT IS A CONTEST of wit and logic and ideas and facts and argument and, most of all, persuasion."

60 Seconds with... Robert Rosenkranz

October 01, 2007

Robert Rosenkranz, 64, is chairman and CEO of Delphi Financial Group, Inc., and the founder and host of Manhattan's celebrated IQ2 Forum, a monthly gethering of the city's top movers & shakers in social change.

Pointed Political Debate, Minus All the Shouting

October 18, 2009

POLARIZING political talk, overwrought in the extreme, is making for big headlines these days, so it is somewhat counterintuitive (or maybe just smart counterprogramming) that a program based on civilized, formal debate has chosen this moment to try to raise its profile.

The Rosenkranz Foundation Hosts First Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate Series

June 14, 2010

The Rosenkranz Foundation announced it hosted its first Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US), an Oxford-style debate series, outside of New York City.

Intelligence Squared U.S. & The Slate Group to Partner

June 05, 2011

Intelligence Squared U.S., the celebrated New York-based live debate series that’s televised globally and broadcast on more than 220 NPR stations, and The Slate Group, the digital publishing subsidiary of The Washington Post Company whose centerpiece is Slate magazine, announced today an exclusive media partnership for the Fall 2011-Spring 2012 IQ2US debate series. The partnership officially launches on September 7, kicking off the new season.

The New Drama of Ideas

February 10, 2010

When was the last time you got someone to change their mind about a challenging issue? You know the usual drill. At a dinner party the topic of, say, Israel is broached, and the evening turns toxic. Opposing sides trot out long-held prejudices, opinion posing as fact, or - the worst! -statistics. No one even listens to, much less gets convinced by, anyone else.