Conversations from the Leading Edge Archive
Below are all the episodes of Conversations from the Leading Edge. To get the latest episodes delivered as soon as they’re released, subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.
To listen to Conversations from the Leading Edge on the old wireless, tune into the NYC public radio station (89.9FM) at 9PM (EST) on the first Tuesdays of the month when the Late City Edition program is scheduled.
January 2019 – In January 2019, we sat down with University of Hawai`i student Marcus Armstrong-Patterson and Chief Resilience Officer of Honolulu Joshua Stanbro to discuss what the city is doing to adapt to climate change. The City and County of Honolulu Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency (Resilience Office) was established by City Charter in 2016 with overwhelming approval by O‘ahu voters. As mandated by Charter, the Resilience Office is tasked with tracking climate change science and potential impacts on City facilities, coordinating actions and policies of departments within the City to increase community preparedness, developing resilient infrastructure in response to the effects from climate change, and integrating sustainable and environmental values into City plans, programs, and policies. As a member of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities network, the Resilience Office is also responsible for developing Oʻahu’s Resilience Strategy, which will include the City’s first-ever climate action and adaptation plan.
December 2018 – Eliana Elías, Co-founder and Executive Director of Minga Perú, sat down with us to discuss her experiences working in the Peruvian Amazon and other rural areas to design and implement strategies that combine communications, women’s leadership and sustainable community development. She shares insights and stories about her initiatives with NGOs and indigenous groups on education, conservation and health. With Mikaela Luttrell-Rowland, Director of the Women, Peace and Security Program, Eliana Elías discusses the model she brings for communication and participation for social change and what peace and security mean for her and the communities she works with.
For more information about Minga Peru: mingaperu.org/en/home/
October 2018 – Anastase Nabahire, the Coordinator of the Justice, Reconciliation, Law and Order Sector Secretariat in Rwanda discusses the role of restorative justice and mediation practices in post-genocide Rwanda. Interviewed by AC4 Co-Executive Director Peter T. Coleman, Nabahire shares his background and learnings on what a trauma-informed justice system is and how it works, joined in conversation also with Emily Gould, Co-Founder of African Peace Partners and lecturer at the Columbia Law School. Learn more about Restorative Justice and Mediation in Rwanda from Anastase Nabahire’s talk given at Columbia University Law School, October 2018: echo360.org/media/3f8e78fe-520d…3cf70e3a1efb/public
August 2018 – “From the standpoint of a refugee family, unity is critical to their strength-building and success” says humanitarian response experts Neil Boothby and Zahirah McNatt. As part of an initiative to conduct a regional study on the effects of family separation on displaced people, Boothby and McNatt have published a report on Syrian refugees in Jordan. Their report Impact of Separation on Refugee Families outlines the several ways in which family separation negatively impacts the Syrians facing this displacement, including financial burdens, increased child labor, emotional distress, broken social networks, parenting challenges and changes to familial roles. In this conversation, McNatt and Boothby tell about their own backgrounds and how they got involved in this initiative and they provide background, current understandings and perspectives for future solutions. What are the barriers to reunification of family members, and how would reunifying Syrian families across the Middle East and Europe alleviate current burdens? Read the full report: bit.ly/refugeeseparation
March 2018 – Jose Pascal da Rocha, a lecturer on Mediation at Columbia University in the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution MSc Program with over 20 years experience in crisis negotiation in volatile environments, discusses his extensive experience and new books on the topic in this conversation with Beth Fisher-Yoshida. Professor da Rocha tells us about his background in international mediation, the role of mediation in hybrid warfare environments, and insights and tips for students wanting to know more about being an international mediator.
February 2018 – Accomplished astrophysicist and mathematician Larry Liebovitch discusses his current work on the AC4 Sustainable Peace Project with project lead, Peter T. Coleman. Liebovitch is a Professor of Physics and Psychology at Queens College of the City University of New York and also currently an Adjunct Senior Research Scientist at AC4. The professors discuss their collaborative work over the past three years with a team of scholars and practitioners on trying to understand peaceful societies and their core dynamics. Professor Liebovitch shares insights about the mix of time-honored and contemporary tools they are using on this project to understand complex systems of peaceful societies and to create models and real world applications from their understanding so that policymakers will be able to think more carefully about what they’re doing in their communities to create peace. “This has been fun for me to work with because it is applying things from the physical sciences to a situation that is a lot more difficult to understand.”
January 2018 – In this interview by Meredith Smith, Stephen Gray talks about recent work in Myanmar and his extensive experience in the conflict resolution field, sharing stories, insights and career advise for current students and aspiring peacebuilders. Stephen Gray is a practitioner, author, and entrepreneur in the field of international conflict resolution. After five years as a practitioner in Myanmar, much of his current work involves applied research and advice to international organizations, international non-profit organizations, and public and private donors, where possible incorporating complexity theory and systems thinking. Stephen is the Director of Adapt Research and Consulting.
April 2017 – “I am an American, a Muslim, an academic, a believer. I believe the only way to learn is to teach. As a speaker and writer I hope to work with you and your community.” This from Hussein Rashid. Hussein Rashid is a Professor in the Religion Department at Barnard College of Columbia University, and he is the founder of Islamicate, a consultancy based in NYC. Professor Rashid brings his background in religion and culture to affect positive change in the world. In this conversation with Meredith Smith, he shares about his own religious life, his teaching and current academic work, and the current challenges and possibilities he sees in the contemporary world around religion generally and, and Islam in America specifically. The stories and insights he shares offer insights on many social justice issues in America today and ways to increase understanding so that we can better mediate and contain conflict.
February 2017 – In this episode, Peter T. Coleman interviews Dr. Desmond Patton, an innovative social work researcher who focuses on youth violence research. He shares stories about his research on Internet Banging, as well as the potential utility of social media to identify certain hot zones or spots of violence as well as the implications and challenges of working with social media. He brings qualitative methods and data science to understand how and why youth and gang violence, trauma, grief and identity are expressed on social media and the real world impact they have on well-being for low-income youth of color.
January 2017 – Dr. Kenneth Kressel studies the nature and management of social conflict, with a particular focus on the use of third party mediation as a method for resolving highly polarized conflicts. Dr. Kressel has researched how professional mediators decide what to do when resolving disputes, looking at strategies and practices that lead to mediator success. In this conversation with Dr. Beth Fisher-Yoshida of AC4, he shares knowledge and insights on the role of tacit knowledge in mediator decisionmaking and on different mediator styles. “All mediation is local… context shapes the process,” says Dr. Kressel, a professor in the Department of Psychology at Rutgers University, with PhD from Columbia University.
December 2016 – “The new name of the game is leaks. This has a lot of different effects; one is on our sense of privacy,” says Jenik Radon, Professor at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. He sees the Panama Papers – an unprecedented leak of 11.5 million files from the database of the world’ fourth largest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca – as a global problem. In this conversation with Meredith Smith, he shares his legal insight on corruption, privatization and more, and his wisdom about regulating as a shared civic responsibility that must actively involve an engaged public and media; and he notes how eliciting views and discussing appropriate actions is an important aspect of transparency and democracy.
October 2016 – In this special episode for November 2016, Ali Dineen joined Meredith Smith and Drew Pham, both organizers and colleagues at AC4, for a musical set of folk songs and discussion about the importance of music as a tool for bridging divides and addressing social justice. Ali Dineen is a musician and visual artist who lives in NYC and has been making illustrations and performance pieces for anti-racist and anti-police brutality activism. She collaborates with different artists and musicians on various projects, including cantastoria and other puppetry, traditional and original folk music, and a 1920s jazz band called the Pocket Tonics, as well as the Soundtrack of War event put on at Columbia University’s Teachers College last spring, led by the program Services Together from Intersections International. Ali has a new album coming out next month titled Light Comes In.
October 2016 – This month’s episode features the talk that followed a set of short documentary film screenings focused on Education and Empowerment in the Syrian Refugee Crisis, the first of AC4’s 2nd annual Perspectives on Peace series. The films for this screening included two videos from Capture the Moment: Mobiles for Education competition, sponsored by Their World, and featured the short NY-Times Ops-Doc “Another Kind of Girl”. The talk was led by Dr. Felisa Tibbitts of Teachers College and includes presentations by four panelists, including: community artist and filmmaker, Laura Doggett; Global Social Impact Director at Sesame Workshop, Nada Elatter; Co-Founder of NaTakallam, Aline Sara; and Director of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School, Professor Bruce Usher.
July 2016 – Chukwuma Obasi leads Uniform Justice, a performance-documentary project working to improve community police relations, and in this episode he shares his story about this work of art, conflict resolution and social justice with AC4’s Meredith Smith. Uniform Justice is run with Intersections International, an organization based in NYC, and has currently taken place in Memphis, TN and in Montclair, NJ. This episode discusses the aims of the project and insights learned so far for reducing tensions between police and community and violence within certain communities.
May 2016 – In this episode, we feature powerful remarks given by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Ms. Leymah Gbowee, at this year’s Sustaining Peace Conference at Columbia University. For this show, we include the first part of Gbowee’s keynote address on the theme of Women, Peace and Security. Full video of the keynote as well as the following panel discussion with Ms. Sarah Knuckey, Dr. Natasha Anandaraja and moderator Beth Fisher-Yoshida. Full video can be found here: ac4.ei.columbia.edu/events/annual-s…ace-event-2016/
April 2016 – Meredith Smith interviews Michael Hanchett Hanson, a professor of creativity at Columbia, along with Melissa Cesarano, a doctorate student of cognitive studies, focused on socio-emotional learning. Dr. Hanson spent the last 15 years teaching and researching on the development of creativity at Teachers College, and in arts classrooms with learners of all ages around NYC. Dr. Hanson discusses his experiences in the field, and explains his definition of creativity as an ideology, sharing about his new book “Worldmaking: Psychology and the Ideology of Creativity”, and how developing creativity and becoming an agent of change connects to conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
March 2016 – Dr. Janna Levin, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Columbia, discusses the topic of nuclear energy and containment, and its connections to peace and conflict, with AC4’s Meredith Smith and Kim Nguyen. Dr. Levin specializes in black holes and chaos theory, including the cosmology of extra dimensions and gravitational waves in the shape of spacetime. She is the author of How the Universe Got its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space and a recent novel about the famous mathematician and codebreaker Alan Turing, titled A Madman Dream of Turing Machines, which one the PEN/Bingham Prize. She has been called one of the most direct and unorthodox voices in contemporary science. For more info on Janna Levin: www.jannalevin.com
International Women’s Day 2016 – Jin In, women’s advocate, speaker and founder of 4Girls GLocal Leadership – 4GGL joins us on conversations form the leading edge for International Women’s Day
Eastern-born, western-bred, Jin In today is a committed global citizen igniting a new power source – the next generation of empowered female leaders who will transform the world.
Girls GLocal Leadership (4GGL) is currently electrifying a social change movement that is transforming antiquated mindsets about girls in the developing world – from “trash” to a near 1 billion strong, powerful force for change.
February 2016 – Dr. Jason Healey is an expert on current events and policies that effect the cyber realm and the role of cooperation and conflict in cyber space. Dr. Healey is a Professor and Senior Research Scholar at SIPA and a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, where he was the founding director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative. Here he discusses and gives insight on the dynamics of cyber conflict with AC4’s Meredith Smith and Alex James.
November 2015- In this conversation, Professor Beth Fisher-Yoshida discusses Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM), a communications approach to sustaining peace and resolving conflict within communities. She talks with Venera Kusari, 2015 CMM Fellow and alumni of Columbia’s Masters in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program, and host, Meredith Smith. The conversation gives an overview of CMM, telling about the historical origins as well as some current initiatives. Dr. Fisher Yoshida is on faculty and the academic director of the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program at Columbia, one of the Executive Chairs of AC4, and a regular host of the AC4/WKCR *Conversations on the Leading Edge* show.
For more on CMM, start here: ac4.ei.columbia.edu/ac4-supported-i…of-meaning-cmm/
October 2015 – AC4, in collaboration with Scensei, the design analytics and decision support boutique, has spent the past six months engaged in an investigation exploring self-determination as a democratic process in the Basque Country. In particular, this project involved an independent study on Sustainable Human Development, conducting research in collaboration with the Agirre Lehendakaria Center in the Basque Country.
September 2015 – In this conversation, Meredith Smith talks with Dr. Peter Coleman about Dynamical Systems Theory (DST), a mathematical approach to sustaining peace and resolving conflict. He tells about the historical origins of DST as well as current initiatives. Dr. Peter Coleman is a Professor of Psychology and Education at Columbia, the director of the Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Teachers College, one of the Executive Chairs of AC4, and the founder of *Conversations on the Leading Edge*.
For more on DST, watch Prof. Coleman’s talk from Columbia University’s 2015 Sustaining Peace Conference: ac4.ei.columbia.edu/events/annual-s…iningpeace2015/
August 2015 – In this conversation, Meredith Smith talks with Debi Spindelman, the practice manager for Columbia University’s Masters of Public Administration in Development Practice (MDP) program at SIPA, and with Kevin Johnstone, an alumnus of the MDP program, who is currently working in Sierra Leone as the Renewable Energy Policy Advisor at an organization called IBIS. Meredith Smith and Spindelman talk with Johnstone about his current work and the practical implications of the knowledge he learned at SIPA. *The music included in this episode was written and composed by Kevin Johnstone; it is the song that has become the theme song for our show.
July 2015 – The three co-founders of a community-based organization named Fundación Puerta Abierta, based in Medellín, Colombia join AC4’s Kyong Mazarro to discuss their work to foster, encourage, develop and support youth and their communities toward transcending violence and creating social change.
English interview can be heard here on SoundCloud.
June 2015 – André Corrêa d’Almeida discusses his work in sustainability and international development with AC4 Director, Joshua Fisher. They explore elements of trust building and the role of conflict resolution skills in sustainable development. André Corrêa d’Almeida is Professor and Program Manager of the Masters program in Development Practice at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and is the founder and director of several programs at the Earth Institute.
May 2015 – Meredith Smith interviews Sayantani DasGupta, doctor, writer, professor and core faculty of Columbia’s Narrative Medicine program about the role of conflict in her work on health, narrative and social justice.
April 2015 – Interview with Dr. Louis Kriesberg, distinguished conflict scholar, on his new book Realizing Peace: A Constructive Conflict Approach
March 2015 – Meredith Smith, AC4’s Research Coordinator, interviews Dr. Jill Strauss who teaches Conflict Resolution and Communications at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). Dr. Strauss discusses the role of arts in conflict resolution and tells about her upcoming workshop “Storytelling in Contexts of Conflict” that will be offered at the 2015 Sustaining Peace Conference on March 26th at Columbia University.
February 2015 – Beth Fisher-Yoshida interviews Dr. Robert Jervis, Adlai E. Stevenson Professor and Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.
January 2015 – Josh Fisher interviews Columbia’s Glenn Denning, director of both the MPA in Development Practice Program and Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development at the Earth Institute, on the topics of agriculture and conflict.
December 2014 – Peter Coleman interviews Larry Liebovitch, AC4 Adjunct Senior Research Scientist Professor of Physics and Psychology at Queens College of the City University of New York.
November 2014 – Peter Coleman interviews José Pascal da Rocha, a professor of conflict resolution at Columbia discussing his experiences in the field and explaining how paper-based role-playing games have helped him solve huge and seemingly intractable real-world problems.
October 2014 – Beth Fisher-Yoshida interviews AC4’s Peter T. Coleman and Rob Ferguson about their new book – Making Conflict Work.
August 2014 – Beth Fisher-Yoshida interviews Alex Fischer, Associate Director of the Haiti Research and Policy Program at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and Senior Research Associate with CIESIN at Earth Institute.
Photo taken by Alex Fischer in Haiti.
July 2014 – Peter Coleman interviews John Barkat, Assistant Secretary-General and head of the Ombuds (or conflict mediation) program at the United Nations.
June 2014 – Peter Coleman interviews Naira Musallam, who discusses conflict dynamics in Israel, Palestine, Iraq, and Syria, from a complexity science perspective.
May 2014 – Peter Coleman interviews Chris Blattman who discusses work to prevent high-risk men in Liberia from becoming mercenary soldiers.
April 2014 – Peter Coleman discusses the 2013 Kenyan elections with Jacqueline Klopp
March 2014 – Peter Coleman interviews Séverine Autesserre regarding her conflict resolution work in the Congo
January 2014 – Beth Fisher-Yoshida interviews John Zinsser about his experiences as an organizational ombudsman
November 2013 – Peter Coleman interviews Josh Fisher and Kyong Mazzaro regarding their work on “positive peace” and the Millennium Development Goals
October 2013 – Discussion with Nick Redding regarding the AC4 co-sponsored week-long Dynamical Systems Innovation Lab on applying complexity science to conflict and peace
September 2013 – Beth Fisher-Yoshida interviews Jeff Thompson about how body language, gestures, and appearance factor into mediation
August 2013 – Beth Fisher-Yoshida interviews Rob Ferguson who discusses his work on Conflict Intelligence
July 2013 – Beth Fisher-Yoshida interviews Christianna Gozzi & Kyong Mazzaro about conflict mediation
May 2013 – Interview with Beth Fisher-Yoshida on mediation in Israel
March 2013 – Interview with Aldo Civico on gang violence
February 2013 – Interview with Christine Webb on reconciliation behavior
December 2012 – Interview with Joshua Fisher on armed conflict forecasting
October 2012 – Interview with Rob Ricigliano on sustaining peace
September 2012 – Interview with Nick Redding & Christianna Gozzi AC4 Link
July 2012 – Interview with Shahar Sadeh on Middle East nature parks
June 2012 – Interview with Mark Levy on the earthquake in Haiti
May 2012 – WKCR Interviews Peter Coleman about The Five Percent