New Thinking for a New World - a Tallberg Foundation Podcast

40 Episodes
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By: Tällberg Foundation

Aiming to provoke people to think — and therefore act — differently about the global issues that are shaping their future, the Tällberg Foundation is sharing some of its conversations in podcast form. The podcast invites you to hear from leaders from different sectors and geographies as they explore issues that are challenging and changing our societies.

Worth Repeating: The Whole World is Watching!
Last Thursday at 1:17 PM

Back in March we talked to Russian journalist Yevgenia Albats at the beginning of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Listen to her tell it like it is!

In August, 1968 American anti-war protesters chanted, “The Whole World is Watching.” What might have been hyperbole then, is fact now: the whole world really is watching Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

Except for audiences in Russia itself, that is, where there is virtually no reporting of what is happening in Ukraine that doesn’t mesh with the government’s narrative about what it calls its “special operation” to crush Ukrainian...


Code Red: not for Earth, for Humanity?
06/23/2022

"Human pressures on earth have reached dangerously high levels" which could imperil humanity’s survival,

“For the first time in human history, we face a planetary emergency.” Those words were written by Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Scientists tend to be sober, measured in their assessments and with a preference for others to draw the big picture conclusions. So, when an earth scientist as distinguished and accomplished as Rockström writes that “Human pressures on earth have reached dangerously high levels” which could imperil humanity’s survival, we should listen.

Are you listen...


Worth Repeating - Them vs Us: What Ukraine Is Really About
06/09/2022

Leopoldo López, a Venezuelan patriot, explains how the fight to save Ukraine reflects a much bigger, existential fight for freedom everywhere.

As Russia's war on Ukraine grinds on with no end in sight, what's at stake may be changing. At first, President Putin's demands seemed aimed at creating a buffer between Russia and NATO, even if some of his wildest rhetoric envisioned the possibility of kicking the United States out of Europe. But as Blitzkrieg turned into a war of attrition, arguably the confrontation is becoming about something much bigger than European security arrangements. **It's becoming about how t...


Are You Listening?
06/02/2022

Too many people seem voiceless or, at least, don’t think their voices are heard by those whose decisions shape their lives. Is the problem that too many are voiceless or that too many are not listening?

One of the ironies of the 21st century is that even though, everyone on the planet seems to have a cell phone and to be actively connected to social media, too many people seem voiceless or, at least, don’t think their voices are heard by those whose decisions shape their lives. The result is a huge gap between citizens and their puta...


Don’t Fool with Mother Nature!
05/26/2022

We live in an era of accelerating, disruptive climate change, with catastrophic consequences that every credible forecast says will worsen.

We live in an era of accelerating, disruptive climate change. This isn’t about the random bad storm, but about systemic, dramatic shifts in climate that manifest as extreme weather of all sorts: wet bulb temperatures that threaten life, droughts destroying crops, floods of Biblical proportions, shrinking ice caps, etc. Change is everywhere, with catastrophic consequences that every credible forecast says will worsen.

But how can we understand the reality of those changes? What’s actually happening in t...


Speaking Truth to Power in the Real World
05/19/2022

Listen as three of the good “guys” discuss the reality in the trenches of the fight for human rights.

At a time when autocrats are rampaging and our democracies are weakening, the need for citizens to defend their rights has never been greater. But, does speaking truth to power matter in the real world? While we celebrate the bravery and eloquence of those who stand up to injustice and overweening authority, too often the bad guys seem to win. What would it take to change that outcome?

The Tällberg Foundation recently organized a conversation among three of th...


Ukraine Changes Everything
05/16/2022

This war is far from over and its reverberations will be with us for a long time. Most importantly, the war seems to be the straw that is breaking the camel’s back of the post-Cold War world order, with unpredictable consequences.

Russia’s war on Ukraine changes everything. Thousands have died; Ukrainian cities have been destroyed; the country’s factories and farms are largely rubble. Ukraine’s heroic resistance has denied the Russian’s their expected quick victory—resistance fueled by unprecedented Western sanctions on Russia and almost unlimited military resupply from NATO countries to Ukraine.

But the dama...


Sweden Burning? Really?
05/05/2022

Listen as Lars Åberg explains what Sweden has done right, but also what it has done wrong.

We live in the age of the refugee—and the numbers of people fleeing their homes are almost certainly going to continue to increase. Will they be welcomed or will destination countries try to harden borders?

Arguably, no country in the West has been more welcoming to refugees over the years than Sweden has. Progressive, secular, social democratic, Swedes have worked hard to integrate migrants into their society, to help refugees create new lives in their new home country.

H...


Them vs Us: What Ukraine Is Really About
04/28/2022

Leopoldo López, a Venezuelan patriot, explains how the fight to save Ukraine reflects a much bigger, existential fight for freedom everywhere.

As Russia's war on Ukraine grinds on with no end in sight, what's at stake may be changing. At first, President Putin's demands seemed aimed at creating a buffer between Russia and NATO, even if some of his wildest rhetoric envisioned the possibility of kicking the United States out of Europe. But as Blitzkrieg turned into a war of attrition, arguably the confrontation is becoming about something much bigger than European security arrangements. **It's becoming about how t...


Poland to the Rescue
04/21/2022

Marta Górczyńska, a Polish human rights lawyer, has dealt with her country’s efforts to close the border with Belarus as well as its enthusiastic opening of the border with Ukraine (at least for Ukrainians).

Russia’s war on Ukraine has set off the largest movement of refugees in Europe since the last World War. Around 5 million people, 90% women and children, have fled the country and at least another seven million people have been internally displaced. Those numbers, as well as the uncounted thousands of civilians who have been killed or wounded, are rising rapidly as President Putin...


How Worried Are You?
04/14/2022

Dr. Tytti Erästö's key assumption has long been that rational leaders would never use nuclear weapons. But now she is asking, what about irrational ones?

One of the many unintended consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is the renewed discussion among politicians, as well as in the popular media, of nuclear war. President Putin may have cast the first stone, but many others have quickly followed. Would Russia have dared invade Ukraine if that latter had not traded in their stockpiles of nukes in the 90s? Would Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi still be in their pa...


Does China Have Russia’s Back?
04/07/2022

Tough question that may be impossible to answer, but Alicia Garcia-Herrero recently offered some possibilities.

Perhaps the biggest known unknown in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is China's role. But we have some clues: during the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese and Russian presidents issued a communique saying their country's relationship has "no limits."

What does that actually mean? How far will China go to keep Russian troops in the field? Promises aside, are there in fact limits?

Tough questions that are very difficult, maybe impossible to answer, but our guest on this episode of New Th...


Worth Repeating: Looking For—and Finding—Real Leaders
03/31/2022

Listen to the 2021 Prize winners: Asha de Vos, Sri Lanka and Tero Mustonen, Finland.

The only hope for a world awash in troubles is that leaders with vision, universal values, and determination will seize the moment. Not just in politics, but across sectors and across countries. Unfortunately, nothing like that is yet happening.

But just bemoaning the lack of leaders accomplishes nothing. That’s why we established and have nurtured the Tällberg-SNF-Eliasson Global Leadership Prize.

In 2021 our global jury selected two amazing leaders: Asha de Vos, a Sri Lankan marine biologist who has established a w...


The Whole World is Watching!
03/24/2022

At great personal peril, Russian journalist Yevgenia Albats tells it like it is—to the Russians who depend on her and to us, who need her.

In August, 1968 American anti-war protesters chanted, “The Whole World is Watching.” What might have been hyperbole then, is fact now: the whole world really is watching Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

Except for audiences in Russia itself, that is, where there is virtually no reporting of what is happening in Ukraine that doesn’t mesh with the government’s narrative about what it calls its “special operation” to crush Ukrainian “Nazism” in the pur...


Is China Complicit in Ukraine?
03/17/2022

Why did Xi apparently green light Putin's war? What does China potentially gain from war in Europe? How does this war fit into China's long-term strategy?

Arguably, any understanding of the Russian invasion of Ukraine must take into account the Beijing Winter Olympics or, rather, the meeting there of Presidents Xi and Putin. They held extensive talks about the state of the world and about their relationship. When they finished, they declared that friendship between China and Russia “has no limits" and that “there are no forbidden areas of cooperation.” Can there be any doubt that they included Putin’s war pl...


The Faces of War
03/10/2022

Janine di Giovanni has spent much of her celebrated career witnessing the worst of what mankind can do to itself, but also the best that people under extraordinary circumstances can do for others.

The world is transfixed by the tragic images emerging from Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine: broken people and families, destroyed schools, homes and buildings. Unfortunately, many modern conflicts never really end, so the casualties of such wars never have a chance to heal. Whether or not that will be the case in Ukraine remains to be seen, but that certainly describes the wars in Syria, th...


Special Edition: War in Europe
03/08/2022

The Tällberg Foundation recently hosted a conversation about the conflict in Ukraine and its implications. This conversation featured Jan Eliasson, Pierre Lellouche and

Most of us thought the war in the Balkans would be the last conflict in Europe; the last time that armies would invade, civilians die and borders changed by force. We were wrong. A revanchist Russia, led by President Putin, is trying to redraw borders, roll back history, and change Europe’s security reality. This is not a new Cold War, but a very hot one. It’s impossible to predict how or when this ends...


Talking about Talking
03/03/2022

The Russian attack shattered the European security structure. Listen to Emma Ashford's thoughts and speculation about a new security structure for Europe.

Wars have cycles: sooner or later, the fighting ends and the negotiations begin. As hard as it is to imagine amidst the unfolding tragedy of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the diplomats and politicians will eventually gather to define new borders, behaviors, and rules. The Russian attack shattered the European security structure that had evolved after the Cold War ended; something must replace it.

Of course how the fighting ends will shape whatever negotiations ensue. Bu...


Welcome to the End of Democracy
02/24/2022

Joel Kotkin argues that the withering of democratic process and institutions reflects the deeper transformation of American and European societies.

"We may remain, as we are now, nominally democratic, but be ruled by a technocratic class empowered by greater powers of surveillance than those enjoyed by even the noisiest of dictatorships.”

Those words were written by Joel Kotkin in a recently published essay on democracy’s demise. Donald Trump is not the villain of the piece, as most pundits want us to believe, nor other populists outside the United States. Rather, Kotkin argues that the withering of demo...


What’s Next for the Climate: A Post Glasgow Perspective
02/17/2022

No one is better positioned to answer those questions than Tomas Anker Christensen, Denmark's climate ambassador.

Climate change is the ultimate example of a problem that can only meaningfully be addressed at the global level. Dramatic action in a few countries may be interesting, maybe even important depending on the countries, but actually reducing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere requires many countries moving rapidly in the same direction.

Last November, more than 100 countries sent delegations—many including presidents and prime ministers—to Glasgow for the 26th United Nations High Level Meeting on Climate. It was...


Saving Democracy, One New Leader at a Time
02/10/2022

Alice Barbe, a French political activist, recently shared her ideas, hopes and solutions on how politics ought to work.

In many, perhaps most countries in the West, there is a wide and growing gap between citizens and their political leaders. Governments often fail to deliver on basic aspects of the social contract and voters sometimes respond by endorsing extreme solutions on the right or the left. Populists have not proven any better at delivering what voters want, so anger and frustration increase while democracy suffers. COVID made it worse. On the one hand, most governments in most places gathered...


Will there be war?
02/03/2022

Listen as Constanze Stelzenmüller—an expert on Germany, geopolitics and trans-Atlantic relations - shares her views on what is at stake.

Hostile troops massing on the border of a Central European democracy, fears of staged provocations, risk of a wider conflict that could spiral out of control, urgent diplomatic negotiations that fail to soften a would be aggressor's demands. No, it's not 1938, it's 2022, but Russia's threats against Ukraine and its demands for new security and arrangements in Europe sound all too familiar.

Of course, the huge difference today is that Germany is not only firmly anchored in...


Looking for Change in All the Right Places: The New Middle East
01/27/2022

Has the Middle East of strict Islam suddenly turned into something more modern?

The Middle East is changing. In the past couple of years, peace treaties have been signed between Arab countries and Israel. New investment and trade relationships are emerging based on economics, not religion. The threat of war between Shia and Sunni is no longer in the headlines. Western powers, especially the United States, seem to be fading from the scene.

Almost more amazing than any of that, in December more than 700,000 Saudi kids participated in a four-day rave in the Saudi desert with regular...


Are the Bad Guys REALLY Winning?
01/20/2022

What does historian and journalist Anne Applebaum mean by “the 21st century is, so far, a story of the reverse”?

Whether we like it or not, global politics today is defined by confrontation—which could lead to conflict—between autocracies and democracies. However, unlike the great geopolitical divisions of the past, the new dividing lines are not ideological or ethnic or religious or economic. Rather, the two camps are defined by how their leaders come to and maintain themselves in power. The autocracies seem to have figured out they have much in common, including fear of democracy, and translate that und...


Worth Repeating Cyber Defenders: Protecting Human Rights Online
01/13/2022

Ronald Deibert is fighting back against digital predators to protect citizens and civil society.

We live in an always on, hyperconnected, digital society. Almost every aspect of our lives now has a virtual element, which means we leave endless trails of data to be hoovered up for good and for evil. Unfortunately, some of the results include cybercrime, illegal spying, harassment, cyber intimidation and identity theft.

It’s bad enough when these activities are aimed at you or me; much worse when they target dissidents, crusading journalists, citizens who are pushing back against government oppression. That’s wher...


Worth Repeating: Escaping the Taliban
01/06/2022

Listen as Jamila Afghani talks about escaping the Taliban, and what she expects for her country.

The Taliban's surge to power in Afghanistan is one of those events that will have repercussions for years to come. Geopolitical, strategic, military, perhaps religious, but most importantly, humanitarian. We all watched in horror as hundreds of thousands of women, men, and children tried to flee what seems likely to be a re-imposition of the Taliban's brutal pre-modern style of ruling.

Jamila Afghani, our guest this week, succeeded in getting out with her family. Jamila is an educator, a leader, and...


Worth Repeating - China: On the Road to Perdition?
12/30/2021

Is China’s leadership acting out of strength or weakness? Is war possible? Is war avoidable?

Under President Xi Jinping, China has shown a growing willingness to act outside the accepted geopolitical, economic and even diplomatic global framework and practices. Indeed, Beijing’s actions suggest a rejection of the post-war system in favor of one that is not just rejiggered to accommodate China’s growing superpowers, but that is dominated by it.

The latest data points? President Xi did not show up at COP 26; reports from Glasgow suggest the Chinese have been playing a spoiling role in the cl...


Searching for New Leaders
12/22/2021

Listen to Pashtana Durrani, an Afghan activist and educator and Christian Ntizimira, who champions palliative care in Rwanda, discuss leadership.

Great leaders may or may not be born that way, but their skills and abilities certainly evolve and mature over time. For years the Tälberg Foundation has nurtured leaders who are relatively early on their journeys through a variety of programs. This year we took another step in our own leadership journey by establishing an Emerging Leader category for the Tällberg-SNF-Eliasson Global Leadership Prize.

The idea is simple: identify and honor leaders who have already ha...


Looking For—and Finding—Real Leaders
12/16/2021

Listen to two amazing leaders: Asha de Vos, Sri Lanka and Tero Mustonen, Finland.

The only hope for a world awash in troubles is that leaders with vision, universal values, and determination will seize the moment. Not just in politics, but across sectors and across countries. Unfortunately, nothing like that is yet happening.

But just bemoaning the lack of leaders accomplishes nothing. That’s why we established and have nurtured the Tällberg-SNF-Eliasson Global Leadership Prize.

In 2021 our global jury selected two amazing leaders: Asha de Vos, a Sri Lankan marine biologist who has established a w...


Give Peace a Chance (this time in the Middle East)
12/09/2021

Listen as Ambassador Dina Kawar parses the possibilities, good and bad, in the Middle East

Like almost everything else on the global scene, the Middle East of today is significantly different than the region that has been such a locus of conflict over the past 50 years. Key actors seem to be refocusing their political and diplomatic efforts from war to peace and are beginning to build a new network of relationships that transcend old rivalries. Some of this reflects a growing awareness that local leaders, not those in Washington, Moscow, or elsewhere, are likely better equipped—and certainly better mo...


Save the Seas
12/02/2021

Oceanographers Sylvia Earle from the US and Asha de Vos from Sri Lanka talkes about water, the oceans, threats, and solutions.

Do you care about the future of the oceans? Are you worried that pollution, acidification and warming of the seas could transform the planet as much as, maybe more than, what’s happening to the rainforests?

Seventy percent of the earth is covered by water. If we want a livable planet, we need livable oceans. Can we save the oceans? If failure is not an option—and it should not be—who needs to do what?

...


Cyber Defenders: Protecting Human Rights Online
11/24/2021

Ronald Deibert is fighting back against digital predators to protect citizens and civil society.

We live in an always on, hyperconnected, digital society. Almost every aspect of our lives now has a virtual element, which means we leave endless trails of data to be hoovered up for good and for evil. Unfortunately, some of the results include cybercrime, illegal spying, harassment, cyber intimidation and identity theft.

It’s bad enough when these activities are aimed at you or me; much worse when they target dissidents, crusading journalists, citizens who are pushing back against government oppression. That’s wher...


Worth Repeating: Can We Unearth Solutions to the Climate Challenge?
11/18/2021

Listen to Tero Mustonen, one of 2021 Tällberg-SNF-Eliasson Global Leadership Prize winners.

Rapidly accelerating climate change is uniquely modern — but climate change is not. The planet has warmed and cooled in the past, even during mankind’s time. What can we learn from those events that might help us cope with the extremes that are our present and future? Can indigenous people who understand nature differently than most of us teach us how to cope with today’s terrifying challenges?

Our guest on this week’s New Thinking for a New World podcast, Tero Mustonen, is a climate s...


China: On the Road to Perdition?
11/11/2021

Is China’s leadership acting out of strength or weakness? Is war possible? Is war avoidable?

Under President Xi Jinping, China has shown a growing willingness to act outside the accepted geopolitical, economic and even diplomatic global framework and practices. Indeed, Beijing’s actions suggest a rejection of the post war system in favor of one that is not just rejiggered to accommodate China’s growing superpowers, but that is dominated by it.

The latest data points? President Xi did not show up at COP 26; reports from Glasgow suggest the Chinese have been playing a spoiling role in the...


Electrify Everything!
11/04/2021

Do we have the technologies in hand to decarbonize economies in ways that are compatible with how people want to live?

Politicians from around the world are in Glasgow for the 26th United Nations Conference on Climate Change. That the disastrous impacts of climate change are increasingly evident is testimony to many things, not least the practical shortcomings of the first 25 UN meetings. Why are we where we are? The science is clear; politics, much less so.

But do we know what to do? Do we have the technologies in hand to decarbonize economies in ways that...


Greta’s Right: Less Talk, More Action
10/28/2021

What is actually being done about climate change?

Searching for "Climate change" on Google produces 1.1 billion results in less than a second. It seems almost everyone everywhere is talking about it, including the great and the good who are gathered in Glasgow at the UN's 26th Climate Change Conference. But what is actually being done?

The gap between rhetoric and action is critical. Action comes in two flavors: top-down policies that aim to decarbonize and bottom-up behaviors of ordinary people, communities, and companies. In many ways, it’s the latter where real change occurs.

Santiago Go...


Worth Repeating: Slouching Towards Bethlehem, 21st Century Style
10/21/2021

If art is a window on the soul of a nation, what does ours look like? Who do we think we are in the sense of identity?

We live in a time of profound change. For anyone who doubted how fundamentally our world is changing, the global pandemic was a catastrophic proof point. Even as we in the West become more conscious of inequalities that have been part of our societal fabric for a long time, we're becoming less sure of our identities. Even as technology breaks down borders and barriers, many of us are retreating to our tribes...


Worth Repeating: Is It Possible to Be Optimistic About Climate Change?
10/07/2021

Listen as Thomas Anker Christensen and Daniel Martinez-Valle talk about the need and opportunity for urgent, positive creative climate activism in the wake of the pandemic.

For the first time in 75 years, the whole world is focused on the same problem and, in the process, mobilizing unprecedented political will, state authority and fiscal resources as well as relying on scientists to build evidence-based policies. How do we transfer all of that energy to addressing even the larger, more deadly challenge of climate change?

We invited Tomas Anker Christensen, Denmark’s Climate Ambassador, and Daniel Martinez-Valle, Chief Executive Of...


Escaping the Taliban
09/30/2021

Listen as Jamila Afghani talks about escaping the Taliban, and what she expects for her country.

The Taliban's surge to power in Afghanistan is one of those events that will have repercussions for years to come. Geopolitical, strategic, military, perhaps religious, but most importantly, humanitarian. We all watched in horror as hundreds of thousands of women, men, and children tried to flee what seems likely to be a re-imposition of the Taliban's brutal pre-modern style of ruling.

Jamila Afghani, our guest this week, succeeded in getting out with her family. Jamila is an educator, a leader, and...


Can We Unearth Solutions to the Climate Challenge?
09/23/2021

Tero Mustonen is a climate scholar who combines indigenous knowledge with academic research. Listen to his insights on how to promote positive change on a damaged planet.

Rapidly accelerating climate change is uniquely modern — but climate change is not. The planet has warmed and cooled in the past, even during mankind’s time. What can we learn from those events that might help us cope with the extremes that are our present and future? Can indigenous people who understand nature differently than most of us teach us how to cope with today’s terrifying challenges?

Our guest on thi...