Ideas

 
 

Ideas

Ideas is CBC Radio's program of contemporary thought.

Updated: Daily
Download episodes from this podcast for: 3 months
Visit Show Site: http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/

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Featured Podcast

The Doppelgänger

Julia struggles flirting over text messages and it’s hampering her love life. But she also struggles with all text messages.

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Featured Podcast

9-1-1

When a flashlight bomb killed Wayne Greavette in 1996, it also destroyed his family. David Ridgin searches for answers.

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Featured Podcast

Discovering you`re a psychopath

James Fallon is determined to overcome his worst instincts.

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Featured Podcast

Native Child and the Full Moon

Tegan Smallwood, 15, isn’t sure which nation she's from because her mom was adopted during the Sixties Scoop.

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All podcast episodes

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A Modest Proposal About Satire

Political comedy is everywhere on TV, but contributor Peter Brown is concerned: the laughter on late-night shows seems to be giving way to the earnest partisan cheering that comedian Seth Meyers calls "clapter". Are our current politicians becoming satire-proof? Or has satire always merely preached to the choir? In search of answers Peter looks to the classic satire of Juvenal, Swift and the Arab-speaking world, as well as prominent current practitioners including Armando Iannucci, creator of "Veep" and "The Death of Stalin".

Download A Modest Proposal About Satire
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One House Many Nations: Building tiny homes to solve a national crisis

n the Opaskwayak Cree Nation (or OCN), they've come up with their own home-grown solution to a national housing crisis. Paul Kennedy made a mid-winter visit to the reserve - situated at the junction of the Opasquia and Saskatchewan Rivers, in Northern Manitoba - to see community members building the first small wooden house.

Download One House Many Nations: Building tiny homes to solve a national crisis
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A Map of the Heart, Part 2: The Icelandic Sagas

More than a thousand years ago, rebel Vikings and other settlers fleeing from Norway settled on a craggy, uninhabited island in the north Atlantic: Iceland. There they built a new world pretty much from scratch, with a new legal system, a new social order and - eventually - a new language. They also created stories about who they were. Philip Coulter time-travels into the heart of the Icelandic sagas.

Download A Map of the Heart, Part 2: The Icelandic Sagas
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Magic, Medicine and the Placebo Machine

Jay Olson performed his first magic trick when he was five years old. The former professional magician turned McGill University PhD student reveals how the power of suggestion can be used to help treat medical conditions. Central to his research is what he calls a 'placebo machine,' which he's been using to help migraine sufferers and children with disorders such as ADHD. This episode is part of our ongoing series Ideas from the Trenches, featuring innovative work by PhD candidates across Canada.

Download Magic, Medicine and the Placebo Machine
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Culture Weaponized: Ali Velshi on shutting our mouths and opening our ears

Ali Velshi is a reporter, analyst, and self-identified "double immigrant". And he's worried about what he calls "the growing weaponization of culture." In a talk he gave at the Peter Wall Institute at the University of British Columbia, Velshi says identity politics have splintered people along ever-narrower definitions of identity - and it's derailing America.

Download Culture Weaponized: Ali Velshi on shutting our mouths and opening our ears
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Creating Conscience, Part 3: A history of treating the psychopath

We're all familiar with the idea of the "bad seed". Incorrigible children and unruly adolescents who later commit terrible crimes. Over the last decade, they've increasingly been referred to as psychopaths. But unlike the way their adult counterparts are viewed, there's renewed hope that younger people with psychopathic traits can be redeemed.

Download Creating Conscience, Part 3: A history of treating the psychopath
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A Map of the Heart: The Icelandic Sagas, Part 1

More than a thousand years ago, rebel Vikings and other settlers fleeing from Norway settled on a craggy, uninhabited island in the north Atlantic: Iceland. There they built a new world pretty much from scratch, with a new legal system, a new social order and - eventually - a new language. They also created stories about who they were. Philip Coulter time-travels into the heart of the Icelandic Sagas.

Download A Map of the Heart: The Icelandic Sagas, Part 1
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A matter of life and death: Sue Gardner on public broadcasting

In a public talk at Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, Sue Gardner argues that that we've returned to the same set of ominous social conditions which led to the creation of public broadcasting in the first place - and that now is the time to recommit to public service journalism.

Download A matter of life and death: Sue Gardner on public broadcasting
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International perspectives on the 'idea of north'

From the Blue Metropolis/Metropole Bleu Festival in Montreal, Paul Kennedy discusses the 'idea of north' with writers from Quebec's Inuit North, Denmark and Norway. They compare and contrast the North as they know it, and how they express that through their writing.

Download International perspectives on the 'idea of north'
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Shakespeare and Company

It's tempting to think only of Shakespeare when we think of the Elizabethan era - the late 1500s to early 1600s. But he was only one of many writers, and there was a whole other world of literature and ideas, and of artists thinking and writing about the society of their times. Moderated by theatre critic Robert Cushman, a discussion from the Ideas Forum at the Stratford Festival featuring actors and writers and directors with fresh perspectives into Shakespeare's life and times.

Download Shakespeare and Company
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Fail Better: What baseball can teach us about failure and community (Encore June 7, 2017)

Baseball may have inspired more books than any other sport - but none quite like philosopher Mark Kingwell's recently published, Fail Better: Why Baseball Matters. It's the first book-length philosophical meditation on what has been called America's national pastime. Paul Kennedy takes him out to a ballgame, and discusses everything from RBIs, to the metaphysics of failure, and how Kingwell borrowed the title for his baseball book from a work by Samuel Beckett.

Download Fail Better: What baseball can teach us about failure and community (Encore June 7, 2017)
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The Enright Files: Conversations with some of Ireland's finest writers

If any nation punches above its weight in literature, it might be Ireland — a small island nation that has produced four Nobel Prize winners in literature and countless other poets, playwrights and novelists of international renown. On this month's edition of The Enright Files, conversations with some of Ireland’s finest writers about the art of fiction and a literary sensibility that is both universally resonant and discernibly Irish.

Download The Enright Files: Conversations with some of Ireland's finest writers
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A politically incorrect debate about political correctness (The Munk Debates)

Does 'political correctness' impede free speech, and blockade the exchange of ideas? Or does it create a better society by confronting the power imbalances that keep marginalized groups marginalized? In this Munk Debate, bestselling author Michael Eric Dyson and journalist and commentator Michelle Goldberg argue that political correctness promotes diverse societies and social progress. On the opposing side: renaissance man Stephen Fry and controversial psychologist Jordan Peterson, who contend that "PC" throttles free thought and divides society.

Download A politically incorrect debate about political correctness (The Munk Debates)
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Foreign Policy + Feminism = ?

Foreign policy is usually defined in "masculine" terms: arms trade, intervention, war, sanctions, and MAD (mutually-assured destruction). But what would international relations look like if food security, family planning, and workplace equity were also centre pieces of foreign policy?

Download Foreign Policy + Feminism = ?
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The Paris Riots, 1968, Part 1: A failed revolution that changed the world

It's been said that the "revolution" of 1968 failed, but it was a failure that changed the world. Philip Coulter went to Paris to talk to some of the people who were there on May 10 1968, the day of the first big demonstration. Part 1 of a 3-part series.

Download The Paris Riots, 1968, Part 1: A failed revolution that changed the world
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On the Move from Montreal: A profile of Little Burgundy

As part of ongoing IDEAS coverage of work-related mobility issues throughout Canada and around the world, Paul Kennedy profiles the Montreal neighbourhood of "Little Burgundy". For much of the 20th century, this vibrant, overwhelmingly black community was home to many of the railroad porters who worked on coast-to-coast trains for both Canadian National and Canadian Pacific. By definition, their job description required them to be "away from home" for two weeks at a time.

Download On the Move from Montreal: A profile of Little Burgundy
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The Paris Riots of 1968, Part 3: A failed revolution that changed the world

Students taking to the streets to protest — it looked like a simple thing, fifty years ago in May 1968. But it proved to be the spark that started a conflagration. Thousands of demonstrators turned into hundreds of thousands, barricades were built, cars were burned. Then the workers joined in, and by the middle of May 1968, most of France was on strike. It was a political crisis like no other — and then it evaporated. It's been said that the "revolution" of 1968 failed — but it was a failure that changed the world. Philip Coulter went to Paris to talk to some of the people who were there in May 1968.

Download The Paris Riots of 1968, Part 3: A failed revolution that changed the world
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Creating Conscience, Part 2: A history of treating the psychopath

For decades psychiatry has been asking: what makes a psychopath? The list of possible explanations stretches back over centuries: demonic possession, trace metals in the body, bad mothering, violence on television, birth trauma. In Part 2 of this series, Mary O'Connell returns to an interview she did with a serial killer 20 years ago, to understand what motivated him and what insight can experts give us about the modern-day psychopath.

Download Creating Conscience, Part 2: A history of treating the psychopath
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The Restaurant: A table divided

There's a lot more happening at a restaurant than simply ordering from a menu and getting your food. Restaurants are sites of self-expression — spaces in which status and distinction are performed and lines between class, race, and gender are reflected and reinforced. Restaurants are also sites of aspiration and transformation. Contributing producers Michelle Macklem and Zoe Tennant discover explore how we've gone from dining in to dining out, and what dining out reveals about our identities.

Download The Restaurant: A table divided
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Enlightenment Now: Why Steven Pinker believes in progress

It may be tempting to think human civilization is on the verge of collapse: environmental degradation, the rise in authoritarianism, ballooning income disparities. But Harvard psychologist and linguist Steven Pinker is having none of it. He argues that the Enlightenment has given us so much that we can hardly see it anymore. And he believes it's now time to champion Enlightenment values once again: rationality, verifiability, and above all: the ideal of progress itself.

Download Enlightenment Now: Why Steven Pinker believes in progress
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The Paris Riots of 1968, Part 2: A failed revolution that changed the world

Students taking to the streets to protest — it looked like a simple thing, fifty years ago in May 1968. But it proved to be the spark that started a conflagration. Thousands of demonstrators turned into hundreds of thousands, barricades were built, cars were burned. It was a political crisis like no other — and then it evaporated. It's been said that the "revolution" of 1968 failed. But it was a failure that changed the world. Part 2 of a 3-part series.

Download The Paris Riots of 1968, Part 2: A failed revolution that changed the world
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Creating Conscience, Part 1: A history of treating the psychopath

The mystery of the psychopath. A human riddle that has haunted and stumped us for centuries. Is the psychopath mad or just plain bad? Evil and beyond redemption, or potentially treatable? IDEAS producer Mary O'Connell explores these questions in this 3-part series.

Download Creating Conscience, Part 1: A history of treating the psychopath
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Making Marco Polo (Encore January 21, 2016)

Almost everything we think we know about Marco Polo - traveller, explorer, the man who brought the wonders of the East to the West - is being questioned. Tony Luppino searches for the real man and story behind the legendary wanderer, and discovers someone even more interesting and unexpected.

Download Making Marco Polo (Encore January 21, 2016)
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Starving out resistance: Anne Applebaum on Stalin’s deliberate famine in Ukraine

Paul Kennedy in conversation with historian Anne Applebaum, winner of the 2018 Lionel Gelber Prize. The journalist and academic won the prestigious nonfiction award for her book, "Red Famine". It tells the story of how Stalin's collective farming policies in the early 1930s induced starvation among 3 million Ukrainian peasants. The book argues that this act was no byproduct of bad policy decisions, but instead a deliberate effort to crush Ukrainian nationalism and resistance —with repercussions that extend into our own era of Russian-Ukrainian tensions.

Download Starving out resistance: Anne Applebaum on Stalin’s deliberate famine in Ukraine
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The Enright Files: Philosophy outside the Ivory Tower

As universities come under increasing pressure to prove their economic value — to both students and the business world — the humanities seem to be the first things put on the chopping block. And more than most disciplines, a philosophy degree is considered to be of dubious value. On this month's edition of The Enright Files, we revisit interviews with thinkers who make the case for philosophy’s enduring relevance, particularly as our lives and our society becomes more enmeshed in technology.

Download The Enright Files: Philosophy outside the Ivory Tower
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May '68: A Tale of Four Cities

The student-led protests of May 1968 on the streets of Paris dominated the news of the day and have since entered the realm of popular mythology. Contributor David Zane Mairowitz was there. He was, as he puts it, an observer-participant, documenting the myth as it was being made -- not only in Paris, but in other epicentres of protest: San Francisco, New York, London. The exhilaration and the revolutionary fervour also had a darker, violent side, he shows. In the end, May 1968 was as much about social change as it was a publicity stunt for itself.

Download May '68: A Tale of Four Cities
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Taming the Beast: Are violent urges part of men's nature?

How does a just society reconcile the desire for peace, with the desire, most often by men, for violence? How much does nature stir boys, men, to fight? And to what extent can they control that stirring? Author Daemon Fairless takes IDEAS producer Mary Lynk on a road trip to try and unlock why some men are drawn to violence. They meet up with a science teacher, a MMA fighter, and a serial killer, who are profiled in his new book: Mad Blood Stirring: The Inner Lives of Violent Men.

Download Taming the Beast: Are violent urges part of men's nature?
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How Internet Monopolies Threaten Democracy (Encore Dec 15, 2017)

The unfulfilled promise of the internet has been a long-term concern of Digital Media and Global Affairs expert Dr. Taylor Owen, who delivers the 2017 Dalton Camp Lecture in Journalism. He argues the reality of the internet is now largely one of control, by four platform companies — Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple — worth a combined $2.7 trillion — and their impact on democracy is deeply troubling.

Download How Internet Monopolies Threaten Democracy (Encore Dec 15, 2017)
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The hidden power of food: Finding value in what we eat (Encore November 23, 2017)

In Canada we waste about a third of the food we produce. And yet four million Canadians experience food insecurity. In partnership with the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph, we hear from Dawn Morrison whose work focuses on Indigenous food sovereignty and Bryan Gilvesy, a long-horn cattle rancher who puts sustainability first. Part 2 of a 2-part series.

Download The hidden power of food: Finding value in what we eat (Encore November 23, 2017)
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Playdoh's Republic: Children as natural philosophers (Encore December 19,2017)

Why were we born? Is life just a dream? What makes something wrong or right? Children often ask questions like these — sometimes to the exasperation of their parents. But children really want to know why the world is the way it is. And they want to know how we know. Maybe that's because they're open, curious and inquisitive — they're natural philosophers.

Download Playdoh's Republic: Children as natural philosophers (Encore December 19,2017)
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Roaming Imagination: What the stories we tell about bears say about us (Encore November 22, 2017)

Bears hold a powerful place in the human psyche. From early cave drawings and myths as old as language itself, to modern scientific research, the family Ursidae has captivated the imaginations of humans around the world. At the heart of our obsession are contradictions: a magnetism that draws us in and fear that pushes us away. Contributing producer Molly Segal explores the stories we share about bears, what they say about us and our future.

Download Roaming Imagination: What the stories we tell about bears say about us (Encore November 22, 2017)
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Who are you? Five stories of how gender shapes identity

How does gender drive identity? And what do we mean by gender anyway? We live in an age of something far more fluid than the standard male/female dichotomy. It's not surprising many people are feeling confused. From The Stratford Festival, a discussion featuring "Radical Reverend" Cheri DiNovo, writer Rinaldo Walcott, artist Syrus Markus Ware, and trans activists and educators Kim Katrin and Tiq Milan.

Download Who are you? Five stories of how gender shapes identity
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It's Alive! - Frankenstein at 200

In 1818, the world was introduced to an entirely new kind of monster. Mary Shelley published Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus and for two centuries her creation has stalked the stage, then the screen; inspired art, and filled the pages of countless sequels and comic books. Frankenstein's creature has become the most famous monster of the modern era.

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Confronting the 'perfect storm': How to feed the future (Encore November 16, 2017)

We're facing what could be a devastating crisis—how to feed ourselves without destroying the ecosystems we depend on. We already produce enough food to feed everyone on the planet. Yet 800 million people are undernourished, while another 2 billion are overweight or obese. And at the same time, almost one third of the food we produce goes to waste. In partnership with the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph we seek out creative solutions to a looming disaster. In this episode we hear from waste expert Tammara Soma and international food security expert Tim Benton.

Download Confronting the 'perfect storm': How to feed the future (Encore November 16, 2017)
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The Verdict on Sir John A. Macdonald: Guilty or innocent?

Part 2 of John A. Macdonald on Trial. As celebrations of Canada's 150th birthday continue to fade into the background, the controversy around Sir John A. Macdonald's legacy continues to build. This special episode of IDEAS puts Canada's first Prime Minister on trial for 'crimes against humanity.'

Download The Verdict on Sir John A. Macdonald: Guilty or innocent?
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Sir John A. Macdonald on trial for crimes against humanity, Part 1

He's seen as the father our nation. Without him, Confederation might never have happened. And as the celebrations of Canada's 150th birthday continue to fade into the background, the controversy around Sir John A. Macdonald's legacy continues to build. This special episode of IDEAS puts Canada's first Prime Minister on trial for "crimes against humanity".

Download Sir John A. Macdonald on trial for crimes against humanity, Part 1
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Is Liberalism Doomed?

By the end of the Cold War, liberalism had emerged triumphant around much of the developed world -- until the recent rise of populism in Europe and the U.S. Suddenly, the political landscape is looking ominous. What is liberalism's future? A debate among public intellectuals from London's "Battle of Ideas" festival.

Download Is Liberalism Doomed?
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How Martin Luther invented the modern world (Encore November 29, 2017)

It has been 500 years since Martin Luther supposedly nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. There's no proof he ever did that — and it may not matter. We're still living in the aftershocks of the religious, political and social revolution that he began. This program looks at Martin Luther's legacy, and why he still evokes impassioned debate today.

Download How Martin Luther invented the modern world (Encore November 29, 2017)
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Why democracy depends on how we talk to each other (Encore November 28, 2017)

Does democracy have a future? It's a question is being asked in democracies everywhere. People are frustrated with politics and politicians. And politicians appear weary of democracy. Now populist uprisings to protect the status quo are threatening the foundations of democracy itself. Michael Sandel, world-renowned political philosopher at Harvard University, delivers the 2017 LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture.

Download Why democracy depends on how we talk to each other (Encore November 28, 2017)
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The enduring power of Albert Camus' L'Étranger (Encore December 8, 2017)

It's been 75 years since Albert Camus published "L'Étranger". And it continues to be the most translated book from French into English. Radio Canada producer Danny Braun speaks with a novelist, a rapper, some academics and a former death row inmate to delve into the enduring appeal of L'Étranger — both to the intellect and to the heart.

Download The enduring power of Albert Camus' L'Étranger (Encore December 8, 2017)
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Philiosophers on politics in the age of Trump

On this month's edition of The Enright Files, some of North America’s most astute political philosophers discuss the perplexing and troubling political trends of our times.

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How can we better understand our world & make it a better place?

How can we fix our broken world? And what does it actually mean to love your neighbour? Just some of the questions raised by Payam Akhavan in the 2017 CBC Massey Lectures — on air, and on tour. We also invited you, our listeners, to send us your questions. In this episode, excerpts from the audience discussions after the five lectures, along with Payam Akhavan in conversation with Paul Kennedy answering questions sent in by listeners.

Download How can we better understand our world & make it a better place?
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Lecture 5 - The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures by Payam Akhavan (Encore Nov 10, 2017)

In the horrors of the Iraq war and the depredations of ISIS, basic human dignity collapsed: people did unimaginable things to each other, the abnormal became normal. And Payam Akhavan saw this human disease everywhere- Congo, Uganda, and here in Canada too. Much of the evil we do, he argues, comes from mistaken ideas of religion and what we think God wants of us; the reality is that we need new ideas about our responsibilities to each other, and to listen better to that inner spirit we all have, the spirit of human rights.

Download Lecture 5 - The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures by Payam Akhavan (Encore Nov 10, 2017)
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Lecture 4 - The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures by Payam Akhavan (Encore Nov 9, 2017)

The collapse of the Soviet Union, the falling of the twin towers, and ultimately the implosion of Afghanistan, were momentous events that divided families, destroyed and created friendships, and showed the human spirit in its worst and best aspects. We live in a unitary world, and Payam Akhavan’s travels through the wreckage of the post 9-11 wars show him that there’s only one way forward.

Download Lecture 4 - The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures by Payam Akhavan (Encore Nov 9, 2017)
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Lecture 3 - The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures by Payam Akhavan (Encore Nov 8, 2017)

In the 1990’s the world watched in horror as the Hutus of Rwanda massacred their neighbours, the Tutsis. There was no great will to intervene, but Payam Akhavan was part of the creation of the International Criminal Tribunal that might bring war criminals to justice in the aftermath of the killings. What causes such atrocities, and who are the people who do these things to each other? And what can we learn so these things don’t happen again?

Download Lecture 3 - The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures by Payam Akhavan (Encore Nov 8, 2017)
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Lecture 2 - The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures by Payam Akhavan (Encore Nov 7, 2017)

At least as far back as the American Civil war, people were trying to figure out some rules for war. Right through the two world wars we were sorting out what seemed morally acceptable in international conflict. But by 1995, and the war in Bosnia, the rules seemed to have gone out the window. Payam Akhavan walked the streets of Sarajevo with the UN, among the first working to bring justice into the aftermath of that bloody conflict.

Download Lecture 2 - The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures by Payam Akhavan (Encore Nov 7, 2017)
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Lecture 1 - The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures by Payam Akhavan (Encore Nov 6, 2017)

Payam Akhavan tells the story of how, in the 1970’s, his family was forced to flee from the Iran of Ayatollah Khomeini. It was a time when the world realized that “democracy” wouldn’t naturally take root everywhere. A story of an awakening to human rights, of friends and families broken and destroyed, of ideals crushed, and of the growing realization he had, as a young man, that Canada offered the possibility to participate in the making of a better world.

Download Lecture 1 - The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures by Payam Akhavan (Encore Nov 6, 2017)
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