Around the Institute

A Toast to Ideas!

June 29, 2012

On Salience
In a provocative op-ed for Al Jazeera, political scientist Tarak Barkawi explains how “9/11 stole my whiteness.” The politics of race in a post-9/11 world is, let’s just say, tricky—and Barkawi underscores the ways in which a singular, tragic moment re-calibrated Western notions of multiculturalism and religious tolerance. In other words, some themes rapidly became more salient. Whether it be 9/11, the Fukushima disaster, or the 2008 financial meltdown, game changing events happen unexpectedly; and for advocates working those issues, being prepared to get in the ring at a moment’s notice matters. 

Celebrating Ideas
The Aspen Ideas Festival is underway and our good friends from the Aspen Global Health and Development Program are out and about in Aspen, Colorado hosting a series of conversation around a critical theme—“Our Planet: Seven Billion and Counting,” Follow along by subscribing to Festival updates or check back as clips from the sessions go up on the Festival blog. Then, see what the members of the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health have to say. Don’t forget to add your two cents by using #7billion and #AspenIdeas.

10’s the Magic Number…
The cool folks at Spitfire Strategies celebrated their 10th anniversary last week. In honor of this milestone, they just published a blog post on their top 10 lessons learned over the years. We’re particularly fond of lesson three: “Social change happens when you move beyond awareness.” Spitfire’s research on the “Activation Point” of audiences is really cutting edge. Though there’s no recipe for activating people to act on behalf of your issue, Spitfire puts together some useful tips for maximizing the likelihood of action, and ultimately change.