"Polarization is the Mother of Extremism" | Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, Ideas Beyond Borders

Iraqi-born human-rights activist Faisal Saeed Al Mutar is a firm believer that education and a free flow of ideas across the world can combat extremism. His organization, Ideas Beyond Borders, is dedicated to empowering the vulnerable with hope and preventing extremism before it takes root. For example, they have translated more than two million words into Arabic that promote diversity of ideas.


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Audrey Scagnelli
"If I'm not challenging your world view...I'm not doing my job" | Deb Mashek, Heterodox Academy

Did you ever choose to stay quiet in a college classroom in fear of rustling feathers? If so, the Heterodox Academy wants you to know you’re not alone. Founded in 2015, Heterodox is a network of over 2,500 academics across the country that are committed to having a diversity of viewpoints in the classroom. We spoke with their executive director, Deb Mashek, about their important work and about two elements that are critical to learning: discomfort and challenge.

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Audrey Scagnelli
"Polarization Is Not the Problem" | Professor Morris P. Fiorina

Morris P. Fiorina is an optimistic political scientist like few others. He grew up in rural Pennsylvania and worked in steel mills to put himself through college. A professor at Stanford University and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Fiorina has spent much of his life studying the American electorate. In this episode, Fiorina busts political myths, explains the difference between sorting and polarization and offers a reassuring perspective on today's political climate.

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Audrey Scagnelli
The McCain Institute Is On A Mission to Get Us In the Arena | Ambassador Kurt Volker

Since the fall, the McCain Institute has used its #MavericksNeeded campaign to stand up against injustice and defend the dignity of all people. Following President Trump’s latest round of tweets about Senator McCain, the institute released a fact sheet about the Senator’s legacy to set the record straight.

In this episode, we sit down with Ambassador Kurt Volker, Executive Director of the McCain Institute and former US Ambassador to NATO, to discuss Senator McCain’s legacy as well as the work the Institute is doing to get more citizens engaged and In the Arena.

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Audrey Scagnelli
Voters Not Politicians | Katie Fahey

The bright and bubbly Katie Fahey of Grand Rapids, Michigan wanted to do something that captured the energy of the 2016 election that people from across the aisle could actually unite over. Sound impossible? Not to Katie. What started as a Facebook post led to hundreds of thousands of Michiganders taking on the fight to tackle gerrymandering.

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Audrey Scagnelli
Building A Movement: Democracy Entrepreneurs | Alan Khazei

Alan Khazei builds movements. First, it was expanding service through City Year, which later became the brainchild for AmeriCorps (which has facilitated 1.2 billion hours of public service!). Then it was expanding social entrepreneurship through Be the Change. Today Alan is spearheading the group Democracy Entrepreneurs, which just hosted its first Democracy Entrepreneurship Summit at the Harvard Kennedy School. Inspired in part by seeing his own family divided by the 2016 election, he’s working “to get underneath what is going on in our democracy” and to support organizations in this space.

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Audrey Scagnelli
All In Together: Rising Tides Lift All Boats

In the fall of 2016, former journalist Erin Ruberry set out to create In Better News, a newsletter that highlights acts of kindness from Americans across the country. Erin built an online space focussed on the Good joins Sanity to talk about her mission to make the internet a happier place (and to talk about the one and only Dolly Parton!).

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Audrey Scagnelli