NYU Wagner and The Century Foundation are proud to present Debates of the Century @NYU Wagner, a public debate series showcasing thoughtful, informed dialogue from experts on the most vital national policy issues.

Upcoming DEBATES

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SCHOOL VOUCHERS

“Public funds should be used to support private school vouchers”

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 

Doors Open 6:00pm | Debate 6:30pm – 8:00pm

Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia currently have private school choice programs. Proponents of vouchers point out that low-income children—too often stuck in failing public schools—deserve the opportunity to choose superior private options just like their more affluent peers. Skeptics observe that private school vouchers divert funding from public schools, voucher students’ academic outcomes are difficult to measure or inconsistent, and some students might lose certain civil rights protections in private schools. What are the risks and rewards of using public money to fund private schooling? Who benefits, and who gets left behind? Join us for a debate on private school vouchers to hear the answers to these questions and more. Read More

Featuring: Michael Petrilli, President of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover InstitutionRichard D. Kahlenberg, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation

Moderated by: Kyle Spencer, award-winning journalist and frequent New York Times contributor

PAST DEBATES

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POLICING

“Police need to be held more accountable.”

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

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The 2014 deaths of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died during an arrest, ignited nationwide protests, outcry, and debate over the state of policing in the United States. After additional incidents of police force, some resulting in death, tensions between police and civilians have galvanized media and public attention. Consensus around the most effective way to keep every community safe and ensure accountability continues to be a matter of debate among policymakers, police, and activists alike.

Featuring: Samuel Sinyangwe, policy analyst, data scientist, Black Lives Matter activist, and Campaign Zero co-founder; Eugene O’Donnell, veteran NYC police officer, prosecutor, and John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor

Moderated by: Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice

syria
SYRIA

“There should be more U.S. intervention in Syria.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

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The Syrian civil war is a human catastrophe, threatening international stability, undermining regional alliances, and challenging U.S. counterterrorism strategies and interests in the Middle East. Bashar al-Assad has systematically destroyed his own state rather than reform his rule and negotiate a political transfer of power to a real elected leader. The fragmentation and power vacuum in Syria has spurred the rise of the Islamic State, exacerbated the war in Iraq, and polarized the region. The U.S. government is already deeply involved in a covert war in Syria, and the humanitarian response to the crisis. It’s time to expand that policy into a more assertive and effective intervention.

Featuring: Ambassador Robert S. Ford, former U.S. Ambassador to Syria, and Senior Fellow at the Middle East Institute, Derek Chollet, Counselor and Senior Advisor for Security and Defense Policy, The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs

Moderated by: Deborah Amos, NPR, international correspondent covering the Middle East

NationalSecurity
NATIONAL SECURITY

“Government should have lawful access to any encrypted message or device.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

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Some people believe the recent dispute between the FBI and Apple over a locked iPhone marks the return of what privacy advocates called the”crypto wars” of the 1990s, when federal authorities tried and failed to mandate government access to most forms of electronic communication. Although the FBI managed to decrypt the iPhone at issue without the company’s help, Apple and others are racing to build devices and messaging services that no one but their owners can unlock. The legal question remains unresolved in Congress, where competing bills have been introduced, and in dozens of cases pending in state and federal courts. Learn More.

Featuring: Edward Snowden (via live video link), Fareed Zakaria, Host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, Author, and Journalist

Moderated by: Barton Gellman, Author, Journalist, The Century Foundation Senior Fellow

Immigration
IMMIGRATION

“America should embrace the undocumented and expand immigration.”

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

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As the current presidential election season has made clear, immigration is a hot-button issue which raises questions of national security, jobs, and even American identity and morality. While many Americans agree that we should reform our country’s approach to immigration, they disagree on what direction it should take. Learn more

Featuring: Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of National Immigration Law Center, David Frum, Senior Editor, The Atlantic

Moderated by: Jonathan Alter, author and journalist

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HIGHER EDUCATION

“Public college should be free.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

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Post-secondary education is more important than ever for achieving success in America. As the demand for a better-educated workforce increases, so does the cost of a diploma. Should we re-examine the American system of public post-secondary education, so that tuition could be free? Learn more.

Featuring: Sara Goldrick-Rab, Professor of Educational Policy & Sociology at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Richard Vedder, Director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity

Moderated by: Melissa Harris-PerryMaya Angelou Presidential Chair and Director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University and Author of Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America.