Intelligence Squared MD: The Lost Art of Debate is Needed Now More Than Ever

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Hello and welcome to the Meaningful Business podcast. I’m Peter Stojanovic, Deputy Editor at HotTopics and your host.

Together we’re finding out how businesses and their leaders champion purpose, people and planet alongside profit - and in the process how to define and lead a meaningful business.

Today’s guest, who you’ve just heard, is Matt McAllester, former Editor in Chief of Newsweek and now Managing Director of Intelligence Squared. In simple terms, Intelligence Squared hosts and curates debates. But it’s aim is bold: to establish itself as a world leading platform for live, topical debates featuring well-known names and faces across the celebrity, academic and political spheres

And it’s well on its way to achieving that: it hosts over 45 debates a year, across 11 countries and has over half a million plays and downloads a month, not counting its live audiences. Past speakers include Malala Yousafzai , James Comey , Kate Winslet, Sheryl Sandberg , Jonathan Dimbleby , Helena Bonham Carter , Mary Beard - actors, politicians, experts and journalists alike stand on stage and argue for or against motions, covering a wide range of themes. Think the value of blockchain, the state of China, the rise of Populism, even topics like the architecture of the Universe. There truly is a debate for everyone.

And when I caught up with Matt, we discussed what it’s like to create such a product, but also why debates themselves, and the art of argumentation, is such a necessary tool for society and businesses alike right now.

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