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Can You Imagine a Public Without a Square?

John Donvan
Monday, June 22, 2020

For more than a decade, I've been your host and moderator. I've stood on stage, between two teams of two, to guide you through the biggest debates of the day. This spring, that became impossible.  

In March, we canceled seven live debates we had planned. But we knew this forum and this community could not go silent. Instead, we transformed Intelligence Squared U.S.  

Without access to a control room, we developed an in-home studio kit that has been deployed to debaters worldwide. We have already recorded guests live from San Francisco to Singapore. And perhaps the greatest silver lining of all: In this new model, we can produce more relevant content at a faster pace than we ever thought possible. 

In the past few months, we have:  

- Produced five virtual debates. We've reached hundreds of thousands of viewers with our new digital events. These have been heralded among our best programs to date and feature new digital tools to help engage our audience and spark ongoing conversation and connection.

- Programmed our timeliest content ever. All of our programming has been related to the impact of Coronavirus on our foreign policy, global financial system, domestic manufacturing, and political dynamics. 

- Launched a weekly newsletter. The “Intelligence Briefing” illuminates the substantive debate behind the headlines Americans are reading every day.  

- Developed a new podcast and radio series. “Discourse Disruptors” explores the state of public discourse in America by featuring the leaders shaping our most important conversations. 

Now, our nation is in the midst of a truly historic moment, faced with a global pandemic and civil unrest. We simply cannot become a public without a square.


Help Us Keep the Public Square Alive


If you believe — like I do — that Americans need more than cable news boxes and Twitter feuds to help us debate and discuss the policy choices that lie ahead, I hope you will support this program. Intelligence Squared U.S. is a nonprofit organization. We're funded by you.  

We're gearing up to produce a new series of debates that will be available to the public on national radio, podcast, and digital platforms. Your support means we will be able to continue producing this content and expand our programming to address the needs of the day.  

As always, thank you for your support.  


John Donvan, 
Host & Moderator

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