Socrates Summer Seminars
Socrates Seminars begin with an opening reception on Friday evening, and conclude Monday afternoon following the final seminar session. The weekend program consists of three four-hour seminar sessions with free time and activities each afternoon. The seminar tuition is $2,000. Scholarships are available by application. Please see below for descriptions of seminar offerings:
Blockchain and the Rise of the Open Sector
The banking crisis of 2008 was not just the impetus for rethinking monetary policy, but a more fundamental challenge to the authority of industrial democracy in the internet age. It was also a part of a growing trend to move to decentralized—peer to peer—forms of organization and collaboration whereby cryptography and algorithms became the new authorities. This seminar examines the phenomenon of the blockchain and “crypto-tokens” to better understand how and why such socio-economic technologies might better enhance or impede the advance of democratic values and principles. We will investigate of the origins of the blockchain and crypto-currencies and explore some of the key issues and challenges confronting the wide scale adoption of blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT). Will the blockchain revolution live up to its billing and represent a step forward for democratic principles? Or is it a bubble and an unwelcome challenge to democratic governments and banks?
Moderators: John Henry Clippinger, Co-Founder of The Tokens Commons Foundation and Swythc.io; Research Scientist at MIT Media Lab City Sciences Group; Peter Hirshberg, Chairman of the Maker City Project.
US, Israel, and the Middle East: Past and Present
We will look at the Arab-Israeli conflict from the perspective of the conflicting narratives and the roots of those narratives. With that in mind, we will discuss the emergence and evolution of Zionism-the Jewish national liberation movement-along with the development of both Arab and Palestinian nationalisms. Palestinian national identity initially was subsumed under an Pan-Arab umbrella and it is important to understand why and when it expresses itself separately. It is also important to understand how these narratives produced mindsets that led to very different approaches to negotiations and different expectations for what it would take to end the conflict. To that end, we will examine stories that highlight what happened in the negotiations, and what it will take to produce Arab-Israeli peace.
Moderator: Dennis Ross, Counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at the Washington Institute
Fulfilling the Promise of Capitalism: The B Corp Way of Leadership
Nearly 80% of the global population believes capitalism needs a re-boot or it needs to go, and our political and social institutions are fraying, in part, as a result. How did we get here? Can capitalism fulfill its promise to create a shared and durable prosperity for all? What is required of leaders in the private, public, and civic sectors to help capitalism regain public trust? Global investors like Blackrock believe this is necessary or laggard businesses will lose Blackrock’s support and license to operate. Join us to explore what we can learn from the growing B Corp movement, seize the opportunity of a global culture shift in expectations about the purpose of business, and affect a change in the institutions which govern corporate and investor behavior so that they are hard-wired to create business models that work for the good of shareholders and for the good of society.
Moderator: Jay Coen Gilbert, Co-Founder of B Lab
Illegal Is Not a Noun
The term illegal, to refer to a human being, has become commonplace in the United States of America. Nobel Peace Prize winner and survivor of the holocaust Elie Wiesel famously said, “there is no such thing as an illegal human being.” Wiesel pointed out that the first thing the Nazis did was to declare Jews an illegal people. It was the first step in dehumanizing them and taking away their rights. If this term has become so commonplace in the United States, what are the actual impacts and consequences in our country? What is the treatment of so-called “illegal” people in our country today? Do they receive due process and equal treatment? While it may seem that this is a conversation only for those affected by immigration, in fact, this is a broader national conversation about who we are as a country and the labels we put on the people living among us.
Moderator: Maria Hinojosa, Host of National Public Radio’s Latino USA
Has Conservatism Failed?
Until a few years ago, it was conventional wisdom that the American conservative movement had been relatively successful over the last half century or so – in achieving some of its policy goals, and shaping the agenda of one of the two major parties. Now, for obvious reasons, the conventional wisdom is that it has failed. We’ll step back and think more broadly about American conservatism – its nature and character, its history, its successes and failures, and its current challenges and possible future.
Moderator: William Kristol, editor at large of The Weekly Standard