From David Milliband on the global refugee crisis to Svendd Brinkmann on resisting the self improvement craze, take a look at the RSA Global team’s favourite public events of 2017.
Anne-Marie Slaughter — one of Foreign Policy's Top 100 Global Thinkers from 2009 to 2012, and the first woman to serve as director of the State Department Office of Policy Planning— visits the RSA to reveal how network theory provides a new set of strategies for the post–Cold War world. While chessboard-style competitive relationships still exist—U.S.-Iranian relations, for example—many other situations demand that we look not at individual entities but at their links to one another. We must learn to understand, shape, and build on those connections.
We are in the midst of a global refugee crisis. Sixty five million people are fleeing for their lives. The choices are urgent, not just for them but for all of us. What can we possibly do to help? Describing his family story as the son of refugees, and drawing revealing lessons from his life in politics, David Miliband shows that if we fail refugees then we betray our own history, values and interests.
Glenn Greenwald is the Pulitzer prize-winning journalist who worked with Edward Snowden to uncover secret global surveillance programmes undertaken by the US and the UK. His partner, David Miranda, is a journalist and the first LGBTQ member of the Rio City Council. In this special RSA event, Greenwald and Miranda discuss power and accountability, surveillance and privacy, Trump and fake news, and the role of journalism in giving a voice to perspectives and events that are ignored and silenced by large media outlets.
While new parties and movements are bringing fresh energy into politics that could benefit democracy, populism has become a defining political trend in the West. Xenophobic and Eurosceptic populist narratives from London to Istanbul are a major threat to liberal democracy and the rule of law, and as the German elections have shown us, far-right movements benefit from these existing uncertainties. Drawing on her observations of the rise of populism and duality (a “them” and “us” mentality) in her native Turkey, award-winning novelist, public intellectual and political commentator Elif Shafak offers cautionary advice about the provisional nature of democracy.
What fundamental values do human beings hold in common? As globalisation draws us together economically, are our values converging or diverging? Is the principle of human rights becoming a global ethic, or a vanishing preoccupation of the elite? Watch Michael Ignatieff, Research Fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, in this RSA Spotlight video - the edits which take you straight to the heart of the event! Or listen to the full event podcast.
In May this year, James Williams, a former Google employee and doctoral candidate researching design ethics at Oxford University, won the inaugural US$100,000 Nine Dots Prize. James argues that digital technologies privilege our impulses over our intentions, and are gradually diminishing our ability to engage with the issues we most care about.
We are living in an age of anger: from American 'shooters' and ISIS to Trump, from a rise in vengeful nationalism across the world to racism and misogyny on social media. Renowned author and essayist Pankaj Mishra visits the RSA to discuss how and why we got to this point.
The pace of modern life is accelerating, and the self-help shelves are groaning with advice on how to keep up – and stay positive in the process. But the demands of life in the fast lane come at a price: anxiety, fatigue and depression are at an all-time high, and our social interactions have become increasingly self-serving and opportunistic. Leading Danish philosopher and psychologist Svend Brinkmann argues that we must not be afraid to reject the self-help mantra. The secret to a happier life lies not in finding your inner self, but in coming to terms with yourself in order to coexist peacefully with others.
Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our life and yet it is increasingly neglected in twenty-first-century society, with devastating consequences. Award-winning professor of neuroscience Matthew Walker provides a fascinating insight in to why it is vital we start taking sleep seriously.
Gretchen Rubin is a sensationally successful podcaster and author of the bestselling books The Happiness Project and Better Than Before. During her lifelong investigation into human nature, explored most recently in her bestselling book Better Than Before, Rubin realised that by asking the seemingly dry question 'How do I respond to expectations?' we gain life changing self-knowledge. She discovered that based on their answer, people seem to fit into Four Tendencies: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. Our Tendency shapes every aspect of our behaviour, so using this framework allows us to make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress, and engage more effectively.