• A Look Ahead at the COVID-19 Pandemic with Dr. Ashish Jha

    Air Dates: September 13-19, 2021

    When schools finished the academic year earlier this summer, they looked forward to the fall with the first cautious optimism anyone had felt in years.  But Dr. Ashish Jha has offered level-headed wisdom that the pandemic simply is not over.

    Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH, is a physician, health policy researcher, and the Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.  Before joining Brown, he was the K.T. Li Professor of Global Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.  An internationally respected and consulted pandemic expert, Jha strongly believes that communication with the public is an essential part of public health, and never more important than during a public-health emergency like COVID-19.  He appears regularly on national news network shows, is active on social media, and is the authoritative voice on the “COVID: What Comes Next” podcast, available from The Providence Journal and the USA TODAY Network.  In addition to his duties at Brown, maintains a clinical practice at the Providence VA Medical Center.

    On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Jha discusses the Delta variant of the coronavirus, the uptick in vaccination rates in high-transmission areas, breakthrough coronavirus infections among vaccinated individuals, and the durability of the COVID-19 vaccines available today.

    “Story in the Public Square” continues to broadcast each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET, and Sundays at 2:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

  • 2021 Fall Event Series Announced

    We are pleased to announce our 2021 fall event series.  Tickets to these events are free and will be available about two weeks prior to the event date.  Please RSVP for each event on the Pell Center’s Eventbrite page and call 401-341-2927 or email [email protected] with questions.  Scroll to the bottom of this page to sign up for our email list and be notified when tickets become available.  While we currently plan to hold all of our fall events in person, they may be changed to a virtual format depending on the course of the pandemic.

     

    Title: Our Own Worst Enemy: The Assault from Within on Modern Democracy

    Speaker: Tom Nichols, Ph.D., U.S. Naval War College

    Date: September 13, 2021

    Time: 6:00 p.m.

    Location: Salve Regina University, O’Hare Academic Building | Lawn – Cliff Walk*

    In partnership with the Pell Honors Program and the League of Women Voters of Newport County

     

    Title: 9/11 and Afghanistan: A 20-Year Retrospective

    Speakers: Hayat Alvi, Ph.D. U.S. Naval War College & Mark Jacobson, Ph.D., Syracuse University

    Date: October 13, 2021

    Time: 7:00 p.m.

    Location: Salve Regina University, O’Hare Academic Building | Bazarsky Lecture Hall*

     

    Title: Critical Race Theory and the End of Myth-Making: Into America’s Fear of Truth Telling (Part of Multicultural Education Week)

    Speaker: David Stovall, Ph.D., University of Illinois-Chicago

    Date: October 25, 2021

    Time: 7:00 p.m.

    Location: Salve Regina University, O’Hare Academic Building | Bazarsky Lecture Hall*

    In partnership with Salve Regina University’s Office of Multicultural Programs and Retention

     

    Title: Presentation of the 2021 Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square

    Honoree: Michael Paul Williams, Richmond Times Dispatch

    Date: November TBD, 2021

    Location: Salve Regina University*

     

    Title: End of the Evil Empire: 30 Years After the Collapse of the Soviet Union

    Panelists: Evelyn Farkas, President, Farkas Global Strategies; George A. Krol, U.S. Ambassador (Ret.); & Peter Zwack, Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Ret.)

    Date: December 1, 2021

    Time: 7:00 p.m.

    Location: Salve Regina University, O’Hare Academic Building | Bazarsky Lecture Hall*

     

    *Location subject to change depending on the course of the pandemic.

     

  • Uncovering the Secret History of the War in Afghanistan with Craig Whitlock

    Air Dates: September 6-12, 2021

    It’s been 20 years since the attacks of 9/11.  Next month, we’ll mark the 20th anniversary of the arrival of American troops in Afghanistan who toppled the Taliban regime and hunted down Osama bin Laden.  Now, as American combat troops leave Afghanistan, we sit down with Craig Whitlock who has pieced together the secret history—warts and all—of America’s war in a land long-called “the graveyard of empires.”

    Craig Whitlock is an investigative reporter for The Washington Post.  He has covered the global war on terrorism for the Post since 2001 as a foreign correspondent, Pentagon reporter, and national security specialist.  In 2019, his coverage of the war in Afghanistan won the George Polk Award for Military Reporting, the Scripps Howard Award for Investigative Reporting, the Investigative Reporters and Editors Freedom of Information Award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for international reporting.  He has reported from more than sixty countries and is a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

    On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Whitlock discusses his new book, “The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War.”  His investigative story uncovers the once-private interviews with generals, diplomats, federal employees, and aid workers that revealed the realities of the war in Afghanistan were at odds with the information the American public received on its progress throughout the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations.

    “Story in the Public Square” continues to broadcast each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET, and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

  • Modern Democracy and the Assault from Within with Tom Nichols

    Air Dates: August 30-September 5, 2021

    Democracy is under attack—in the former Soviet-dominated lands of Eastern Europe, in Turkey, Brazil, India, and yes, even the United States.  Tom Nichols urges us not to just look for leaders to whom we can ascribe blame, but to look at ourselves and discern our own role in the weakening of America’s democratic institutions.

    Nichols is a professor at the U.S. Naval War College and an adjunct at the U.S. Air Force School of Strategic Force Studies and the Harvard Extension School. He is a specialist on international security affairs, including U.S.-Russia relations, nuclear strategy and NATO issues. A nationally known commentator on U.S. politics and national security, he is a columnist for USA Today and a contributing writer at The Atlantic. He served as a staff member in the U.S. Senate and has held fellowships at CSIS and the Harvard Kennedy School. He has taught at Dartmouth, La Salle and Georgetown. He is also a five-time undefeated ‘Jeopardy!’ champion.

    On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Nichols discusses his latest book, “Our Own Worst Enemy: The Assault from within on Modern Democracy.”  He says as members of democracy, we are our own worst enemy.  “A lot of the problems that we face in the late 20th and now early 21st century were within our grasp to solve, but we prefer to blame others and we’re becoming a very uncivic culture.”  He adds that the book argues for the need to look at ourselves and rekindle civic engagement to support the kind of citizenship that liberal democracy requires to survive.

    “Story in the Public Square” continues to broadcast each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs 8:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET, on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “ Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

  • Championing Democracy with M. Ali Kadivar

    Air Dates: August 16-22, 2021

    Personal conviction and democratic activism often go hand-in-hand.  Mohammed Ali Kadivar is both a scholar of democracy and an advocate whose family has long been vocal proponents of it.

    Kadivar is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and International Studies and director of the Middle East Popular Politics Lab at Boston College.  The Middle East Popular Politics Lab focuses on collecting and analyzing data on various instances of contentious mobilization such as revolutions, wars, civil wars, anti-regime protests, and pro-regime mobilization globally, in the Middle East, and particularly in Iran.  His work contributes to political and comparative-historical sociology by exploring the interaction between protest movements and democratization.  Kadivar draws from his experience as a participant-observer of the pro-democracy movement in Iran, and his research agenda explores these issues on a global scale, using case studies, comparative-historical methods, and statistical analyses.  He earned a doctorate in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a bachelor’s and master’s degree in political science from University of Tehran in Iran.  His research has been published in the American Sociological Review, among many other publications.  His work has received awards from the Comparative Historical Sociology, Global and Transnational Sociology, Sociology of Development, and Peace, War and Social Conflict sections of the American Sociological Association.

    On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Kadivar suggests the United States adopt a broader Middle East strategy to address Iran.  Drawing from his studies on democratization, Kadivar says high levels of democratic government in a region is a strong promoter of democracy for other nations there.  He recommends the United States actively promote democratic activity with the Middle Eastern governments it has existing relationships with to ultimately promote democracy in Iran.

    “Story in the Public Square” continues to broadcast each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs 8:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET, on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “ Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

     

  • Exploring a Future World War with Elliot Ackerman and Admiral James Stavridis

    Air Dates: August 9-15, 2021

    On more than one occasion, we’ve welcomed guests to this show who engage in “speculative” or “useful” fiction.  Elliot Ackerman and Admiral James Stavridis are the latest, their new book, titled 2034, looks at what a war between the United States and China might look like in the not-so-distant future.

    Admiral James Stavridis is a retired four-star U.S. naval officer.  He is currently an Operating Executive of The Carlyle Group, a global investment firm and Chair of the Board of Counselors of McLarty Associates, an international consulting firm.  Previously he served for five years as the Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.  He led the NATO Alliance in global operations from 2009 to 2013 as Supreme Allied Commander with responsibility for Afghanistan, Libya, the Balkans, Syria, counter-piracy, and cybersecurity.  He also served as Commander of U.S. Southern Command, with responsibility for all military operations in Latin America from 2006-2009.  He earned more than 50 medals, including 28 from foreign nations in his 37-year military career.  Admiral Stavridis earned a Ph.D. in international relations and has published nine books and hundreds of articles in leading journals around the world.  He is a monthly columnist for TIME Magazine and Chief International Security Analyst for NBC News.

    Elliot Ackerman is the author of the novels “2034,” “Red Dress In Black and White,” “Waiting for Eden,” “Dark at the Crossing,” and “Green on Blue,” as well as the memoir “Places and Names: On War, Revolution and Returning.”  His books have been nominated for the National Book Award, the Andrew Carnegie Medal in both fiction and non-fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize among others.  His writing often appears in Esquire, The New Yorker, and The New York Times where he is a contributing opinion writer.  Ackerman’s stories have also been included in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Travel Writing.  He is both a former White House Fellow and Marine and served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart.

    On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Ackerman and Stavridis discuss their recently published novel, “2034.”  Drawing from their extensive military and foreign relations experience, the co-authors explore a very plausible future between the United States and its foreign adversaries.

    “Story in the Public Square” continues to broadcast each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs 8:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET, on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “ Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

     

  • Discussing the American Health Crisis with Martin Halliwell

    Air Dates: August 2-8, 2021

    With the advent of effective vaccines, it feels—we hope not foolishly—like the pandemic may be coming to an end.  But Martin Halliwell says the crisis in American public health isn’t limited to one particular disease—it’s a theme that recurs again and again over the last century in these United States.

    Halliwell is a specialist in American cultural, intellectual and literary history of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries and in the health humanities.  He is also a professor of American Studies at the University of Leicester’s Centre for American Studies and the current head of the School of Arts. He is the Co-Lead for Humanities and Social Sciences for the University’s Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund and a member of the Action on Communities on Health and Equality group.  Halliwell currently sits on the AHRC’s Science in Culture Advisory Group and is a member of the cross-research council Mental Health Experts Group.  He has served as the Co-Chair the Arts and Humanities Alliance since 2016, sitting on the British Academy’s Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Skills Advisory Group and the Strategic Forum for the Humanities.  Halliwell’s recently published book, “American Health Crisis,” analyses contemporary public health crises in America through a historical and cultural lens, bringing individual events together to a narrative of calamity that has brought us to our current crisis in health politics.  He holds a doctorate in American Studies from the University of Nottingham.

    On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Halliwell discusses his book, “American Health Crisis,” which details the history of U.S. public health emergencies and ways we can turn the tide.  He contrasts the advances in medical science and public health education over the last century with the public health emergencies of today often echo the public health emergencies of yesterday and access to health care that remains a dominant issue in American life.

    “Story in the Public Square” continues to broadcast each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs 8:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET, on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “ Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

     

     

  • Zakiya Dalila Harris and her novel, “The Other Black Girl”

    Air Dates: July 26-August 1, 2021

    “The Other Black Girl” is one of the most anticipated and critically acclaimed releases of 2021. Part thriller and part social commentary, the author Zakiya Dalila Harris has been heralded for her “genre-bending evisceration of workplace privilege.”

    Zakiya Dalila Harris is based in Brooklyn, New York, and has a passion for writing and talking about Blackness, books, and oldies music. Her debut novel and New York Times bestseller, “The Other Black Girl,” was published in 2021 and was named a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 by TIME, The Washington Post, Harper’s Bazaar, Entertainment Weekly, Fortune, and the BBC. Its television adaptation is currently in development with Tara Duncan, Temple Hill Entertainment, and Hulu.  Harris earned her MFA in nonfiction creative writing from the New School and her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She was born and raised in Connecticut.

    On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Harris describes “The Other Black Girl’s” main character, Nella Rogers, as a young, Black editorial assistant working at Wagner Books publishing company in New York.  Working in an all-white office environment, she longs for a coworker who understands her experience.  When Hazel-May McCall joins the firm, Rogers is hopeful just such a person has arrived, but Harris reveals the two women are on diverging paths as the plot turns sinister.

    “Story in the Public Square” continues to broadcast each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs 8:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET, on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “ Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

  • Learning to Pray with Father James Martin, S.J.

    Air Dates: July 19-25, 2021

    The faithful among us often learn to pray as children.  We ask for things.  We might even, sometimes, say thank you.  Father James Martin asks what it would mean to pray like adults—and offers insights about faith in public life and the challenges to democracy.

    Rev. James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, editor at large of America magazine and consultor to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication.  He is the author of numerous books, including New York Times bestsellers “Jesus: A Pilgrimage, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything” and “My Life with the Saints,” which Publishers Weekly named one of the best books of 2006.  His latest book, “Learning to Pray, a Guide for Everyone,” was published in 2021.  Martin is a frequent commentator in the national and international media and has appeared on all the major networks and outlets including the Colbert Report, NPR’s Fresh Air, the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.  Before becoming a Jesuit priest in 1988 he graduated from the Wharton School of Business.

    On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Martin discusses the purpose and challenges of prayer and the role of religion in public life today.  Emphasizing the power of storytelling, Martin says, “arguments and debates close minds down, but stories open minds up.”

    “Story in the Public Square” continues to broadcast each week on public television stations across the United States.  A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link.  In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs 8:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET, on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “ Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

  • “Story in the Public Square:” A Look Back at One Year in Virtual Production

    Above: Author and comedian Gina Brillon prepares to tape an episode of “Story in the Public Square” virtually with hosts Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller in November 2020.  Below: Jim Ludes’ home studio.

    In early 2020, news of the coronavirus’ spread across the globe made headlines.  As the first cases emerged in Rhode Island, schools and offices closed; it became clear production of “Story in the Public Square” was no longer possible in the studio.  Determined to adapt, the production crew sprang into action and prepared to produce the show virtually.  Co-hosts Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller put together their at-home studios and prepared to bring distinguished guests to cloistered audiences tuning in to public television stations across the country.

    Prior to guests arriving on screen, fine-tuning and adapting the available technology proved to be a challenge in the weeks leading up to the first remote episode taping.  Miller reflected on the initial weeks he spent at his home studio in Rhode Island.  He said the pandemic was both a blessing and a curse when producing the show—the curse pertaining to the inevitable technical challenges the crew faced along the way.  He noted the loss of camaraderie that came with “not seeing our crew and having guests in-person at the studio” was an added setback.

    The blessing of being remote, Miller continued, has been hosting guests from all over North America who would not have otherwise had time to make the trip to the Rhode Island PBS Studio.  “I am thinking especially of guests from California, Colorado and Oregon, and even British Columbia, including some in the film and televisions industries, who have graced our show during the pandemic,” he said.

    Reflecting on the last year, Ludes said, “we produced over 60 new episodes remotely after the pandemic hit.  The constant, the one thing that has carried the show from its earliest days has been the guests—incredible storytellers, scholars, and artists—who don’t just expand our understanding of the world, they expand our understanding of what it means to be human.”

    Guests like Mo Rocca, Tricia Rose, Robert Dallek, Josh Gad, Ida Darvish, and Dr. Megan Ranney have shed light on the latest information surrounding the pandemic and provided context for the wide range of issues facing Americans over the last year.  As “Story in the Public Square” begins broadcasting its seventh national season this month, the incredible guests who share their diverse perspectives and stories continue to drive its success.

    “After every episode, Jim and I talk about how lucky we are to be able to bring these guests to our audience.  We’re grateful to every single one of them,” added Miller.

    Seasoned television producer Carolyn Deady joined the “Story in the Public Square” production team in October 2020, bringing a wealth of industry knowledge to the program.  A former international producer at CSPAN in Washington, D.C., Deady was the liaison with world legislatures, obtaining coverage of parliamentary proceedings for broadcast to offer the CSPAN audience an international perspective on events affecting the United States.

    Deady said, “I was, and remain, so impressed that Jim, Wayne and the whole crew had continued to produce the show, week after week, with all of the challenges that come with that prospect, especially of the technical sort.  The whole crew at Rhode Island PBS are a joy to work with, maintaining their enthusiasm and dedication throughout this difficult time, and the guests have been amazing!”

    “Story in the Public Square” was also honored with its fifth Telly Award in 2021, winning bronze for its 2020 episode featuring Elizabeth Rush, author of “Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore.”  Rush’s book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction and the 2020 Reading Across Rhode Island selectee from the Rhode Island Center for the Book.

    The series continues to broadcast each week on public television stations across the United States.  In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs 8:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET, on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124.  “Story in the Public Square” is produced by the Pell Center at Salve Regina University and presented by Rhode Island PBS via NETA, the National Educational Telecommunications Association.