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How to Win at Intelligence Squared US

April 19, 2016

I'm a big fan of the Intelligence Squared US (IQ2) debate program, so when I learned that the program had compiled data on the 119 debates it had held since 2006, I was eager to dive in. And in doing so, I learned a few things: People do change their minds a fair amount. They are more likely to change their minds on science and technology issues; on politics and economics, opinions tend to be a little more stable, though still somewhat fluid. Also, what appears to be consensus at the start of a debate is often illusory.

Yes, this is a small and nonrepresentative sample with a self-selected audience — and generally thoughtful debaters on both sides. But the relative fluidity of opinion is important. It suggests that ideas and arguments can actually matter, and that when both sides get a fair and equal shot to make their case, minds can indeed be swayed.

This matters because ideas and arguments are in fact an important part of how politics actually works. Contrary to simple explanations that it's all about the campaign contributions or partisanship, considerable lobbying takes place on issues where the public is not deeply engaged enough for it to be partisan, and where there is campaign money sloshing around on both sides. Significantly, there are many issues with which lawmakers and their staffers don't have much expertise, and where they are relying on the arguments that come before them.

The problem is that these arguments are often one-sided — for every $1 spent by public interest groups and unions, corporations spend $34. I've frequentlyargued that if we could level the playing field and balance out the arguments on both sides, we'd have a more reasoned debate that might result in better public policy. Obviously, lawmakers, their staffers, and other policy elites have more external pressures and obligations than your average IQ2 audience member, voting anonymously in an auditorium. But thoughtful presentations and good arguments do make a difference. The quality of debate matters.

Manhattan Institute President's Update: Spring 2016

March 31, 2016

This year, as part of efforts to inject challenging ideas into oncampus conversation, the Adam Smith Society is partnering with Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US), an organization founded in 2006 by MI trustee and Delphi Financial Group CEO Robert Rosenkranz. IQ2US sponsors an event series based on the traditional Oxford-style debate format, with one side proposing and the other side opposing a sharply framed motion. The series has reached millions through multiplatform distribution, including radio, television, live streaming, podcasts, and interactive digital content. In March 2016, the Adam Smith Society and IQ2US cosponsored a debate— It’s always encouraging to see young people who are inquisitive and open-minded, and also inclined in the right direction. —The Weekly Standard’s William Kristol appropriately, at Yale—on the resolution “Free speech is threatened on campus,” an event that was broadcast on KQED/San Francisco, KERA/Dallas, and KOPB/Portland. The Adam Smith Society looks forward to sponsoring future debates with IQ2US as the year goes on.

This Debate Model Could Actually Challenge Presidential Candidates

February 25, 2016

The five reaming Republican candidates will debate tonight in Houston. The debates have draw big ratings wins for news organizations—13.5 million people watched the last GOP debate on CBS two weeks ago.

For the news networks, the debates have become sporting events, with a national anthem, a highly produced introduction with photos and soundbites from the candidates, and then there's the post debate analysis where pundits pick the winners and losers.

It may be great television for political junkies, but what do people learn from these debates? Is it even possible to learn about a candidates policies in a 60 second statement and a 30 second rebuttal?

Robert Rosenkranz, the founder and chairman of the debate series Intelligence Squared U.S., and John Donvan, ABC News correspondent and moderator for Intelligence Squared, say an Oxford-style debate would offer a better solution for voters and viewers.

Megyn Kelly but No Donald Trump at Fox News Forum

February 22, 2016

As mentioned previously, the tenth Republican debate looms Thursday — hosted by CNN and Telemundo, moderated by Wolf Blitzer and staged at the University of Houston in Texas. But there are complaints. Some say entertainment outweighs policy information: Robert Rosenkranz — founder of Intelligence Squared U.S., an organization that has staged 117 public policy debates — counsels that things must change.

“Prime-time presidential debates were a brilliant innovation of the 1960s, meant to inform voters and let them see the candidates in action. Their format, however, is due for an update,” Mr. Rosenkranz wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Monday, with co-author John Donvan, former White House correspondent for ABC News. “These debates tell voters almost nothing that can’t be gathered from 30-second campaign ads. There is no time for depth, no payoff for nuance, no serious discussion of policy.”

The two urge the Commission on Presidential Debates to adopt an “Oxford-style” debate — no trick questions, no memorized talking points “disguised as answers,” and candidates who actually debate each other. They also cite the sterling example set by the seven Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 which cast challenger Abraham Lincoln against incumbent Stephen A. Douglas for the U.S. Senate seat in Illinois.

“We need a format that is more Lincoln-Douglas, less reality TV,” explain Mssrs. Rosenkranz and Donvan.

We Need Better Presidential Debates

February 21, 2016

Prime-time presidential debates were a brilliant innovation of the 1960s, meant to inform voters and let them see the candidates in action. Their format, however, is due for an update.

Since the 1970s, when Jimmy Carter debated Gerald Ford, the setup has been the same: a structured interrogation. Moderators barrage the candidates with unpredictable questions, often designed to catch them in a trap. The contender has two minutes to respond, and then his opponent is given 60 to 90 seconds for rebuttals. They deliver memorized talking points, offer cherry-picked data, and evade anything uncomfortable. Moments of embarrassment don’t last long; a new topic comes along in minutes.

These debates tell voters almost nothing that can’t be gathered from 30-second campaign ads. There is no time for depth, no payoff for nuance, no serious discussion of policy. It isn’t surprising that the average percentage of the voting-age population tuning in has dropped steadily to 25% in 2012, from more than 58% when debates began in 1960. Even so, more than 60 million Americans in 2012 watched debates, giving them substantial influence.

For the 2016 general election, the nonprofit that oversees the format, the Commission on Presidential Debates, ought to adopt Oxford-style debate, a proven format that would better clarify the candidates’ differences. Here’s how it would work: A sharply framed resolution—for instance, “bigger government won’t solve our problems”—is devised for one side to support and the other to oppose.

The Democrat and Republican each start with a seven-minute opening statement. Then the contenders address and rebut the best arguments their opponent has made. The moderator’s role is simple, but vital: to ensure that the candidates actually debate each other—that they respect the process, respond to points made, refute or concede as necessary, and honor time limits.

Yes, that means the moderator can cut in, but to preserve the integrity of the debate, not to ask trick questions. The debate ends with two-minute closing arguments, a final opportunity to sway the audience.

Before and after the event, viewers are encouraged to vote for or against the proposition. The public, not pundits, will declare the winner. That gives a compelling and dramatic arc to the program. It is a battle of wit and persuasion, a test of intelligence and judgment, and it will leave the audience both informed and fascinated.

Oxford-style debate would force the candidates to respond to intense questions, marshal relevant facts, and expose weaknesses in their opponents’ arguments. Memorized talking points could not be disguised as answers. This format would quickly reveal how well the candidates think on their feet, how deeply they know the subject, how well they understand the trade-offs, and how persuasive they are without teleprompters.

We know it works. One of us is chairman, and the other moderator, for Intelligence Squared U.S., a regular debate program. Since 2006 we have mounted some 117 debates, often to sold-out theaters in New York, Boston and Chicago. We have explored nearly every topic discussed on the presidential campaign trail, including income inequality, business regulation, immigration, guns, taxes and health care. We’ve tackled questions regarding Russia, China, the Middle East and America’s role in the world. On average, 46% of attendees change their minds during our debates.

We propose a miniseries of hourlong debates between the Democratic and Republican nominees, each on a single resolution crafted to expose their fundamental differences.

Some examples: Does the U.S. intervene abroad too often? Has the Environmental Protection Agency gone overboard? Should a path to citizenship be granted to illegal immigrants? All of these issues will illuminate competing visions of the American dream. Presumably, anyone running for president will be able to answer them with the confidence that comes from deep conviction and a lifetime spent developing his or her own political philosophy.

By showing voters who the candidates are, how they think, and what they can teach us about difficult policy choices, these debates will foster the informed electorate essential for a thriving democracy. We need a format that is more Lincoln-Douglas, less reality TV.

The Presidential Candidate Debates Are a Circus, but a New Debate Format Can Fix That

January 29, 2016

Our presidential debate moderators are stuck in an impossible position: Either they allow candidates to spin and not give real answers to questions, or, when they interrupt and insist on a genuine response, they're interpreted as having a personal agenda. The results are a politicized public, a suspicious pool of candidates, and the loss of a democratic forum. John Donvan, moderator of the Intelligence Squared U.S. debates, has proposed an alternate debate format to fix the current circus that are our presidential debates: an Oxford-style debate, or parliamentary debate, where a topic is set for the entire evening and candidates take a "for" or "against" position. This format keeps candidates from fearing "gotcha" questions, allows moderators to enter the debate without fear of reprisal, and preserves what is intended to be a uniquely democratic forum.

The 100 Best, Most-Interesting Podcasts for 2016

January 11, 2016

I used to think podcasts were… not for me. But recently, I’ve been blown away with their ability to expand my horizons. Podcasts can go places other forms of entertainment (and that other e word, education) can’t: you can listen to them on your commute or as you’re falling asleep at night (no disruptive blue light!).

Editors’ picks

10. IQ2 – Intelligence Squared debates will make you A LOT smarter.

There Is a Better Way to Run Presidential Debates. Actually, There Are Several.

November 05, 2015

We are now four debates into the 2016 presidential campaign, and the emerging consensus is that the format stinks. Yes, there may be some entertaining moments, but nobody seems happy with the status quo.

Now that the Republican candidates are reevaluating how the debates should operate, I humbly propose four alternatives to the weird and generally hostile group interview process so in vogue right now:

1. Crisis simulations

2. Oxford-style issue debates

3. Candidates submit the questions

4. Inter-league play

[...]

Oxford-style issue debates

If it's debates we want, it's debates we should have. But what we have now are not actual debates.

For example, we could apply the Intelligence Squared [U.S.] Oxford-style debate format. Split up candidates into teams of two, depending on where they come down on various issues. Then let them debate an issue that divides them: "Resolved: We should voucherize Medicare"; Resolved: "We should have a 10 percent flat tax"; Resolved: "We should engage more aggressively in Syria."

Let the candidates actually debate an issue over the course of 30 to 45 minutes, getting into enough depth to meaningfully help voters actually understand it. Such a format would also clarify who actually understands the issues and who does not.

The Intelligence Squared [U.S.] format is nice because while it is moderated, it also allows debaters to ask some questions of one another. And it has a simple format for declaring a winner. The audience is pre-polled. The side that wins is the side that moves the audience in one direction or the other.

A network could make this into a weekly program for the next several months, cycling through the different candidates in various pairings.

Best of Enemies: The State of Debate

August 26, 2015

Best of Enemies celebrates the dawn of intellectual debate in mass media. Intelligence Squared U.S. celebrates its continued relevance.

These 5 Programs Prove Intellectual Debate Isn't Dead

August 15, 2015

Recently, political discussions relegated to cable news anchors and Twitter feeds have come to share a common criticism of lacking intelligent, nuanced debate. There's even a new documentary, "Best of Enemies," that looks back at the 1968 TV debates between William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal during the Democratic and Republican conventions with a nostalgic eye. The end of the film laments the current state of the news, which mimics the combativeness of the Buckley-Vidal debates without achieving the same intellectual quality.

While the film did a fine job — balancing the events of the time and the personalities of the two debaters — it's unfair to dismiss the (albeit rare) high-quality political back-and-forth of today, even if without the once-in-a-generation magical reputation of the Buckley-Vidal debates.

If you're hungry for arguments more comprehensive than what's offered at presidential debates, feast on one of these five programs:

1. Intelligence Squared U.S.

The “How Does a Debate Moderator Work?” Edition

August 02, 2015

John Donvan has made a career out of staying calm—and staying on topic. A veteran ABC News correspondent, he’s now the moderator of Intelligence Squared U.S., a series of Oxford-style debates on the most controversial issues of the day. In this week’s episode, Donvan tells Aisha Harris why a successful debate starts with a good question and why a moderator must learn the art of interruption.



Robert Rosenkranz Philanthropy: Where's His Money Been Going?

June 29, 2015

Rosenkranz's most prominent effort in the area of public affairs is non-partisan in nature—Intelligence Squared U.S., a debate series based on a successful London-based program. Created in 2006, Intelligence Squared U.S. has presented over 100 debates on a wide range of topics from clean energy to the Middle East and is broadcast on over 220 NPR radio stations.

Intelligence Squared U.S. Wins 2015 New York Festivals International Radio Awards

June 24, 2015

For the third consecutive year, Intelligence Squared U.S. has been honored for excellence in radio and podcast programming by the New York Festivals International Radio Programs & Promos Awards.

On Monday night, IQ2US was announced as the 2015 winner of the Silver Radio Award for Best Public Affairs Program and the Bronze Radio Award for Best Regularly Scheduled Talk Program by New York Festivals.

Currently broadcast on over 220 public radio stations nationwide, Intelligence Squared U.S. was selected from entries from over 30 countries by a Grand Jury of industry leaders worldwide, recognizing the series as the “World's Best Work in Programming.”

Founded in 2006 and recorded in front of a live audience in New York City, Intelligence Squared U.S. has grown into a unique multi-platform experience – spanning live events, radio, television, podcasts, and digital and social media – that is heard and watched by millions internationally. With more than 4.5 million podcast downloads in the last year, Intelligence Squared U.S. has become one of NPR's most popular public affairs podcasts, and praised by Forbes as one of "Five Podcasts that Will Change the Way You Think."

The series has attracted the world's top thinkers including Paul Krugman, Steve Forbes, Karl Rove, Malcolm Gladwell, Alan Dershowitz, Peter Thiel, and Arianna Huffington, among 450 other influential thought leaders. IQ2US has produced more than 100 debates on a wide range of provocative topics, including global warming, genetically engineered babies, a nuclear Iran, the financial crisis, the marketing of organic foods, and the death of mainstream media.

In addition to monthly live events from New York City’s Kaufman Center, IQ2US has hosted debates in premiere intellectual spaces, including the Aspen Ideas Festival, Chicago Ideas Week, and the National Constitution Center. 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 have appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe and WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show to discuss the series' timely propositions.

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

Intelligence Squared U.S. Discusses Important World Issues

May 28, 2015

Intelligence Squared U.S., a program based on a highly successful debate program in London, allows viewers to rethink their point-of-view on many important world issues. The program, initiated by the Rosenkranz Foundation operated by Robert Rosenkranz, has presented over 100 debates on provocative and current events that are the subject of conversation around the world.

We Can’t Afford to Take Free Speech for Granted

May 21, 2015

[Greg] Lukianoff is not willing to throw up his arms and throw in the towel. He writes:

I am constantly on the lookout for potential cures for this problem. Litigation plays an important role in the fight, as does having students engage in proper Oxford-style debates (like we see today in the Intelligence Squared series). Comedians and satirists may also join the pushback against the infinite care ethic; after all, it is blazingly clear that politically correct censorship and comedy are natural enemies. And, of course, nothing can replace teaching students at every level of education that old-fashion intellectual habits of epistemic humility, giving others benefit of the doubt, and actually listening to opposing opinions.

Geopolitical Expert Ian Bremmer on the Choices America Faces

May 21, 2015

Q: You seemed to argue at an intelligence squared debate, that the US cannot be the world police anymore. How does this notion fit into your idea of an Indispensable America?

Bremmer: I did argue that (though they assign you the position... and any good debater should be able to analytically handle that). But I think Indispensable America is becoming much more challenging. US allies are less capable/willing to support. US adversaries are more willing to challenge. And the willingness of the American people to pay the tab in blood and treasure is decreasing. I'd be much more comfortable with Indispensable America if I believed we could actually follow through on it.

Relax, It’s a Joke

April 01, 2015

This April Fool’s week, I implore you to prank your friends, family, and even yourself in the best way possible: challenge a deeply-held belief. I highly recommend one of the lively debates put on by Intelligence Squared US. More than 100 debates are archived with both video and audio at intelligencesquaredus.org with provocative topics ranging from “when it comes to politics, the Internet is closing our minds,” to “embrace the Common Core,” “the rich are taxed enough,” “legalize assisted suicide,” and “liberals are stifling intellectual diversity on campus.”

Utne Q&A with John Donvan of Intelligence Squared

February 26, 2015

Intelligence Squared U.S. is an Oxford-style debate series covering a range of relevant controversial topics, from science refuting God to “too big to fail” big banks. The series recently celebrated its 100th debate, and Utne Reader editorial intern Soli Salgado had an opportunity to talk with moderator John Donvan beforehand about how the topics develop, the challenges of moderating, and preserving the integrity of the ancient art of debate.

Utne Reader: How has previous reporting for ABC News helped you as a moderator?

John Donvan: I had 30 years of ABC and did virtually every beat there was: I was a foreign correspondent for 13 years, came back and worked as a general assignment reporter, then as the White House correspondent. In the course of all that, at some point or other I covered every printed story there ever was, sometimes three times over, and that really gave me a broad range: from economy to religion to poverty to race science to medicine to health to politics and international conflicts. We haven’t really had a debate where I haven’t covered the issue in some fashion or other. We just had a debate on genetically modified food, and I did a broadcast on that in 1999. The debate before that was on assisted suicide, and I had done a one-hour documentary on that in 1994. It’s like a perfect repurposing of my entire body of knowledge gained from my career as an ABC reporter.

Our 21 Favorite Podcast Episodes of 2014

December 18, 2014

We asked WNYC staffers to pick their single favorite podcast episode of the year, whether it came from inside our building or across an ocean. These are our chosen ones. Tell us yours!

Intelligence Squared: Is Death Final?

A high-brow debate show takes on the afterlife. That about says it.

-Paula Szuchman, Senior Director, Digital Content

21 Podcasts to Make You Smarter

November 24, 2014

We know the feeling: you feel uninformed about a story in the news, or a pop culture phenomena, or just have questions about the world that have never been answered. Podcasts are here to the rescue. Podcasts are great because you can listen to them while you’re at the gym, driving, on the train, mowing the lawn, hand-washing your laundry, or any other task that can be enhanced with audio knowledge.

We put together a list of our favorite podcasts that have made us smarter, separated them out into groups based on content. We also put together a 2x2, mapping each podcast across two axes: lighthearted vs. serious and looking smarter in front of friends vs. being smarter in your personal life.

A Higher Form of Debate

November 13, 2014

Since 2006, Robert Rosenkranz has been working on elevating public debate in this country. His project is a program called Intelligence Squared (IQ2), a debate series among equals structured to solicit genuine arguments.

My Podcast Subscriptions

September 30, 2014

Wednesday's column is about the state of podcasting, so I'm offering here a list of the podcasts I currently subscribe to.

[...]

Intelligence Squared US Debates -- "One motion, one moderator, two panelists for the motion and two against. From clean energy and the financial crisis, to the Middle East and the death of mainstream media, Intelligence Squared U.S. brings together the world's leading authorities on the day's most important issues. (25th in iTunes)

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 intelligencesquaredus.org.

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 FORA.tv's new live, in-tweet video player.

The new FORA.tv 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 FORA.tv 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 FORA.tv. “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.

FORA.tv, 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 FORA.tv player. When a Twitter user shares a link to a live stream or on-demand video on FORA.tv, their followers will be able to watch the video directly in that tweet with the FORA.tv 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 intelligencesquaredus.fora.tv.

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 FORA.tv, 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.

ON-CAMERA TALENT: PROGRAM HOST/MODERATOR
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.”