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Open to Debate

Open to Debate is the only media platform in the country devoted to promoting healthy, nonpartisan, debate-driven dialogue. It stands as a meeting ground for the intellectually curious, where individuals with contrasting perspectives can interact respectfully and openly.

The crux of the mission is to champion an open mind for problem-solving, both on individual and national levels. At its core, "Open to Debate" is a clarion call to dispense with contempt and embrace constructive dialogue, showing respect for diverse perspectives and the intrinsic worth of an informed debate.

Recognizing that the future of American democracy hinges on bridging divides, "Open to Debate" counters destructive "Us vs. Them" narratives. Its goal is to reintroduce critical thinking, fact-based reasoning, and civility into the public square, creating a model for the nation that values a free exchange of ideas.

The influence of "Open to Debate" is palpable - 32% of its audience shift their views on controversial issues post-debate, testifying to the potency of respectful discourse.

The program unfolds on public radio, through podcasts, and digital videos, persistently fostering an environment where divergent viewpoints can engage in respectful and open-minded debate.

Formerly known as "Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates", the show rebranded as "Open to Debate" to more accurately portray its mission and commitment to addressing deep-seated national polarization. The name embodies the ethos of being open - to listening, to disagreements, to understanding, to learning, and to recognizing "the other side".

  • Debate: Coleman Hughes and Jamelle Bouie on Color Blindness for Black History Month
    During Black History Month, we reflect on a debate that confronts America’s complex history with racial and social inequality. How can we ensure fair treatment for all in the workplace, on campuses, and in our personal interactions? Is it possible to imagine a future beyond race? As we honor this month of remembrance and celebration, we revisit a conversation that confronts the challenges of our past and the promise of a future that aspires to secure equitable opportunities for all. Arguing Yes: Jamelle Bouie, Columnist for the New York Times Arguing No: Coleman Hughes, Host of the “Conversations with Coleman” podcast and Contributing Writer at The Free Press Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
  • Unresolved: The Iran Threat
    Iran’s regional role has changed post-October 7, but is Iran a bigger global threat than we think? In partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations, National Security Council and State Department veterans will debate in our Unresolved format Biden’s Iran diplomacy, Iran's use of proxies in the Middle East, its nuclear ambitions, and whether Iran now poses a threat to the global order. Michael Doran, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Peace and Security in the Middle East at the Hudson Institute Barbara Slavin, Distinguished Fellow at the Stimson Center Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
  • How to Resolve Conflict in Relationships: A Conversation with Esther Perel
    Couples have arguments over many topics. However, it’s through resolving conflict that both people in the relationship feel heard and seen. Psychotherapist, relationship expert, and New York Times-bestselling author Esther Perel says conflict when navigated skillfully can lead to growth, resilience, and a stronger bond. In this conversation with John Donvan, Perel discusses her new online course, shares her experience working with different relationship types, strategies for transforming conflict into a constructive dialogue, and the importance of validating both sides’ perspectives. Our guest: Esther Perel, Psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
  • Is the Republican Party’s Refusal to Raise Taxes Fiscally Irresponsible?
    Whoever wins the 2024 election will soon face a critical decision about extending four trillion dollars in tax cuts expiring next year. Whether taxes will be raised, or cut is in question, against the backdrop of 34.1 trillion dollars in federal debt. For the past few decades, the Republican Party has embraced the belief that lower tax rates and less government spending boost the U.S. economy. However, there is disagreement among conservative thought leaders about the way forward on taxes for the Republican Party. Specifically, some argue that preferences for tax cuts ignore the looming deficit and that refusing to raise taxes further imbalances the federal budget. However, others continue to argue that our debt is caused by government overspending and will actually be helped by tax cuts and that these same cuts also help promote a flourishing economy. With this background, we debate the question: Is the Republican Party’s Refusal to Raise Taxes Fiscally Irresponsible? Arguing Yes: Oren Cass, Executive Director of American Compass Arguing No: David McIntosh, President of the Club for Growth Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
  • Is Engineering Solar Radiation A Crazy Idea?
    Right now, climate engineers are working on new technologies, called solar geoengineering, that would reflect the sun’s rays away from Earth as a way to cool the planet. Those in favor argue it would be inexpensive and effective, and could buy us time to get carbon emissions down before the worst impacts of climate change. But others argue it would distract from the underlying issues of climate change and express concern about who would control such a powerful technology. So we debate: Is Engineering Solar Radiation A Crazy Idea? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
  • Is the American Dream in Decline?
    The American Dream – the idea that anyone can achieve success in the U.S. through hard work and determination – is under scrutiny, and some worry it’s no longer achievable for the broader population. Those who agree say increasing healthcare, education, and housing costs create difficulty in having financial stability. Those who disagree argue that the U.S. still offers more opportunities for personal and financial growth than elsewhere. Now we debate: Is the American Dream in Decline? Arguing Yes: David Leonhardt, Pulitzer Prize-winning Senior Writer for The New York Times and The Morning; Author of “Ours Was the Shining Future: The Story of the American Dream” Arguing No: Michael Strain, Political Economy Scholar and Director of Economic Policy Studies at American Enterprise Institute; Author of “The American Dream Is Not Dead: (But Populism Could Kill It)” Nayeema Raza, Journalist at New York Magazine and Vox, is the guest moderator. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
  • David Petraeus and Andrew Roberts on Conflict, War, and Debate
    Debate is a form of conflict that is played out through civility, and the capability to exchange ideas with people we disagree with. But what leads leaders and countries to fall into conflict? In this conversation with Retired U.S. Army General David H. Petraeus and historian Lord Andrew Roberts, guest moderator Xenia Wickett speaks with them about their new book, the nature of military conflict, and how civil debate and conflict are intertwined. Our Guests: General David H. Petraeus, U.S. Army Retired General; Chairman of the KKR Global Institute; Former CIA Director Andrew Roberts, Biographer, Historian, and Member of the U.K. Parliament Xenia Wickett, Geopolitical strategist and moderator at Wickett Advisory and Trustee of Transparency International UK, is the guest moderator. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
  • Mock Trial: Is Trump Guilty in the January 6th Case?
    After the 2020 election, former President Trump discredited the election results. The January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and Trump’s federal indictment on four charges are tied to his claims. The defense claims proof is needed he had planned to commit a crime and he conducted himself under legal advice. The prosecution argues his actions showed criminal intent to defraud the U.S. and was done knowingly. Now we debate: Is Trump Guilty in the January 6th Case? Prosecutor: Lanny Davis, Attorney and Former Presidential Advisor Defense Attorney: Sara Azari, Criminal Defense Lawyer; Legal Analyst for NewsNation Judge's Chair: John Donvan, Moderator-In-Chief and Emmy award-winning journalist Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
  • David Brooks on the Art of Seeing and Hearing Others
    With polarization rising within our society and two wars encouraging division, people are feeling more afraid to engage with people who have differing perspectives. How can we solve that issue, build deeper connections, and get to know someone? New York Times columnist David Brooks says you help them feel seen and understood. John Donvan sits down with Brooks to discuss his book “How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen”, how to foster connections in daily life, and offers a solution to a society in need of appreciating each other’s differences. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
  • Will the Future Be Abundant?
    Today, humanity is thriving, but there are fears the good times will not last. Will tomorrow be better than today? Those arguing “yes” say people have better access to resources and technological advances are making us more prosperous. Those arguing “no” say there are widening socio-economic disparities, our globalized world is bound to collapse, and we’re not doing enough to fight climate change. Now we debate: Will the Future Be Abundant? Arguing Yes: Peter Diamandis, Founder and Executive Chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation Arguing No: Peter Zeihan, Geopolitical Strategist Xenia Wickett, Geopolitical strategist and moderator at Wickett Advisory and Trustee of Transparency International UK, is the guest moderator. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit