2017’s Chicago Ideas Week begins next week, kicking off a saga of fascinating and thought-provoking talks on topics such as politics, food and hip hop.
If you can’t make it all the way to the Windy City to catch this year’s talks, do not fear. If you have an internet connection, you can take in some of the best talks from previous speakers.
We rounded up some of the best for you to enjoy.
1. Defining what it means to be an American – Jose Antonio Vargas
The US appears to be almost irreparably split at the moment, with the lines forcibly drawn in the sand between Republicans and Democrats. One of the most opinion-dividing choices of the new presidency has been the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
At last year’s event, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and undocumented migrant, Jose Antonio Vargas, discusses his take on being an American in the background of the turbulent times.
2. Checking Your Bias Against Women – Paula Broadwell
“I think every human being has a fundamental need and right to be respected”, is how Paula Broadwell, co-founder and director of the Think Broader Foundation, began her talk at the Chicago Ideas Festival.
Her organisation addresses media bias against women and promotes gender equality. It seems particularly poignant to be making a point about women’s worth and the systematic bias they face throughout their lives at the moment when so many women are speaking up against the harassment they’ve faced in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations.
3. The Future of Elections – Seth Flaxman
How do we get people to vote? And to care about voting? These are the questions Seth Flaxman is trying to address with his work at Democracy Works, a non-partisan organisation which wants to empower citizens to take part in democracy.
Democracy Works has focused its work on using technology to help people register to vote and local election administrators to track absentee ballots. As well, the organisation is working with companies like Google to get ready for the next one.
4. Alec Baldwin Beyond the Screen
Alec Baldwin set aside the orange makeup and blonde hair he is often found in at the moment, to discuss his life at the Chicago Ideas Week. He talks about growing up in Long Island and the drug and alcohol addictions he has overcome in life, as well as his acting career.
5. A Conversation with Hillary Rodham Clinton
Back in 2014, before the dramas of the 2016 presidential election race, Hillary Clinton attended the Chicago Ideas Week to discuss her memoir, Hard Choices. As well as talking about her time as secretary of state in the Obama administration, Clinton talks about her life and how her mother’s experiences affected the challenges and choices she faced in later life.