June 15, 2012
Danielle Deabler, NPR





NPR and The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars today announced that they are teaming up to present a new, year-long public event series called The National Conversation. The two organizations will co-produce the series, which will tackle some of America's most pressing global and domestic issues. Each event will feature lively discussion among top national and international thought leaders, experts, government officials and commentators -- moderated by a NPR journalist and hosted by the Wilson Center.

The first of the free year-long series begins on June 20 with an in-depth discussion entitled: "Should the U.S. Change, Contain, or Engage Nuclear 'Outliers' -- Iran and North Korea?" Wilson Center Director, President and CEO Jane Harman and NPR President and CEO Gary E. Knell will deliver opening remarks and introduce a panel featuring the Wilson Center's International Security Studies Director Robert S. Litwak and New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman. Steve Inskeep, host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most listened to news radio news program, will moderate. In September, The National Conversation examines security issues in a post 9/11 world. More dates and series topics will be announced as they are confirmed.

"Fostering a civil dialogue on tough issues both at home and abroad is core to NPR's mission, and our partnership with the Wilson Center is a natural extension of what our journalists do every day," said Knell. "We're honored to join with this esteemed institution and to be a part of an outstanding tradition of non-partisan conversations about complex issues before a live DC audience."

"As the nation's #1 provider of public radio content and programming, NPR was the obvious partner for this project," said Harman. "The National Conversation series provides a safe political space - free from spin - for deep and informed discussion on the most important challenges facing our nation and our world."

The new co-produced series was sparked by The Wilson Center's prior success with an event series that included such topics as: "9/11: The Next Ten Years;" "U.S. National Debt," the rollout of a serious game - Budget Hero - designed to let players balance the federal budget; "Afghanistan: Is there a Regional Endgame?;" "Regaining America's Competitiveness;" "In Search of a National Security Narrative for the 21st Century;" and "The Islamists Are Coming: Who They Really Are."


For a full list of The Wilson Center's previous National Conversation series, including transcripts, video playback, and exclusive interviews, see www.wilsoncenter.org/thenationalconversation.

The Wilson Center is a strictly nonpartisan bridge between the worlds of policymaking and scholarship. By conducting relevant and timely research and promoting dialogue from all perspectives, it works to address the critical current and emerging challenges confronting the United States and the world.

NPR is an award-winning, multimedia news organization and an influential force in American life. In collaboration with more than 900 independent public radio stations nationwide, NPR strives to create a more informed public - one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures.