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New Thinking for a New World – a Tällberg Foundation Podcast

Aiming to provoke people to think — and therefore act — differently about the issues that are shaping our future, the Tällberg Foundation is sharing insights from distinguished leaders from different sectors and geographies as we explore the most pressing issues that are challenging and changing our societies.

Listen to the episodes here or find us on a podcast platform of your choice (Apple podcast, Spotify, Acast, Stitcher, Google podcast, Youtube, etc).

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Latin American Democracy: Dead or Alive?

  Why hasn’t liberal democracy developed deeper roots in Latin America? Why are institutions under pressure in so many places? Why do many Latins seemingly embrace “strong man” rather than democratic solutions to their social, economic, and political problems? Brian Winter is editor-in-chief of Americas Quarterly and the vice president for policy at Americas Society/Council […]

New World Order: Middle East Chapter

Iran sits at the center of this emerging new reality. Rapprochement among Arabs and peace with Israel is one thing if it is aimed at a united front against Iran, but quite another if it is about finding new ways to work with Iran on common objectives. That really would be New Thinking for a […]

Can Brazil’s Democracy Survive Bolsonaro?

Can Bolsonaro bully his way into reelection? Will the country’s democratic institutions be so badly damaged by him that Brazil’s future stability could be at risk? Most importantly, what do the Brazilian people actually want? Ambassador Sergio Silva do Amaral was born in São Paulo, Brazil. He received a law degree at the University of […]

Cyber (In)Security in a Connected World

Cyber insecurity is a reality of life in the digital age. We all worry about being hacked, about losing personal or corporate secrets to online bandits. But what happens when nations do it? Is that war? Marcus Willett CB OBE, has extensive experience of advising governments and companies on cyber, in the UK and internationally. […]

Can We Innovate Our Way to Better Times?

Can we really innovate our way out of the mess? Are we smart enough to translate fantastic discoveries into tangible benefits for people? Livio Valenti is a sustainability entrepreneur leveraging scientific discoveries to build innovative companies in the healthcare, biotechnology and material science field. He is the co-founder of Vaxess Technologies, a biotechnology company developing […]

Who Cares About Migrants?

here do they go and who will take them? What rights do migrants seeking safety have? Who worries about them in a world that is focused on coping with Covid? Becca Heller is the co-founder and Executive Director of the International Refugee Assistance Project. IRAP provides legal assistance to refugees all over the world. She […]

​​A German Millennial Looks at a New — Or, at Least, Different — World

For all practical purposes, the 20th century ended when the Berlin Wall fell, followed by, rather quickly and relatively quietly, the collapse of the Soviet Union. Dr. Ulrike Franke is a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). She leads ECFR’s Technology and European Power initiative. Her areas of focus include […]

Are Your Thoughts Safe?

Where is neuroscience taking us? Rafael Yuste works at the forefront of neuroscience. In an effort to protect your individual neuro-identity and neurorights, he is joined by Jared Genser, a leading international human rights lawyer. Jared Genser is an international human rights lawyer who has spent his career practicing law, engaging in serious scholarship, and […]

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

If art is a window on the soul of a nation, what does ours look like? Who do we, defined loosely as the West, think we are in the sense of identity? What’s our mood? Jonathan Burnham is President and Publisher of the Harper Division at HarperCollins, overseeing imprints which include Harper, Harper Paperbacks, Harper […]

Hot War, Cold War, New War

Lithuania is a frontline state in the growing confrontation—some think it is already war—between East and West. Dalia Bankauskaitė, a defense and security expert at Vilnius University, and Marius Laurinavičius, a journalist and analyst at the Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis, are both in that camp. Dalia Bankauskaitė is a Partnership Associated Professor at Vilnius […]

A New Middle East

Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates long serving ambassador to the United States and also a key player in the process of creating this new Middle East, discusses the future of the region. Yousef Al Otaiba is the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States and Minister of State. His […]

Does Democracy Have a Future in Latin America?

By any measure, Latin American democracy is in trouble. Will things get worse before they get better? Patricio Navia, Eduardo Amadeo, Sergio Guzmán, all think (and certainly hope) that democracy will survive in their countries and in their region. Eduardo Amadeo has served his country in many capacities, most recently (2015-19) as an elected member […]

Welcome to the High-Tech Barbecue

Can we produce enough food to meet humanity’s growing needs and wants, without further environmental damage? Is it possible to move the center point of the production process from the farm or the sea into the laboratory? Didier Toubia is the co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms, a cultivated meat company that is shaping the future […]

Heart of Darkness

  How is Africa doing? Can Africa produce the food, energy, economic activity, education, and social and political stability that all those people, especially all those young people, need and deserve? And is democracy the best means to that end? Michela Wrong has spent nearly three decades writing about Africa, first as a Reuters correspondent […]

Leadership Special: Fio Omenetto and Bright Simons

Two prize winners and friends, Fio Omenetto and Bright Simons, discuss how great leaders can change everything. Fiorenzo G. Omenetto is the Frank C. Doble Professor of Engineering, and a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts University. He also holds appointments in the Department of Physics and the Department of Electrical Engineering. His research interests […]

The hope of our future

Youth is the hope of our future. When it comes to governance, is that a good thing in a world where there is a growing body of evidence that youth’s satisfaction with democracy is declining in many countries? Listen as Cristóbal Marín Rojas and Julien Richard discuss the challenges of making democracy work. Julien Richard […]

Leadership Special: Jan Eliasson, Former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations

The Tällberg-SNF-Eliasson Global Leadership Prize is named in honor of Jan Eliasson, one of the most accomplished global diplomats of our era. In this special episode, Jan discusses how great leaders can change everything. Jan Eliasson (Stockholm, Sweden) is a Swedish and international diplomat. He most recently served as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United […]

Alone together: China and America

We seem to be moving from a world where markets ruled to one where politics rules: the politics of nationalism and confrontation, of East versus West instead of East and West. Weijian Shan, economist, businessman, investor, shares his unique perspective, not just on global markets, but on how the world really works. Weijian Shan is […]

Girls, Interrupted

Dr. Maliha Khan, one of the leaders of the Malala Fund, talks about how the pandemic has made the goal “all girls, everywhere should have free, safe, quality education”, even more difficult to achieve. The global pandemic affects almost everyone on the planet—but it especially affects children. And what’s bad for kids is worse for […]

Leadership Special: Nithya Ramanathan, Engineer working to improve human health with sensory intelligence

Today’s world is short of a lot of things—sustainable environment, peace, prosperity, equality—but what we lack most is innovative, global, values-based leadership. If we can find and nurture that kind of leadership, the rest will follow. In this special episode, you will meet Prize winner Nithya Ramanathan as she is interviewed by Cecilia Weckstrom. Nithya […]

The Chinese Puzzle

What does China—or, more particularly China’s leadership and the Chinese Communist Party— want from the rest of the world? Domination or collaboration? Allies or subjects? War or peace? Dr. Jonathan D. T. Ward is an internationally recognized expert on Chinese global strategy and US-China competition. He earned his PhD in China-India relations at the University […]

The kids are not alright!

“All children of all ages and in all countries are being effected in particular by the socioeconomic impacts and in some cases, by mitigation measures that may inadvertently do more harm than good. This is a universal crisis. And for some children, the impact will be lifelong.” Robert Jenkins, Chief, Education and Associate Director, Programme […]

Leadership Special: Jared Genser, international human rights lawyer

In this special episode, you will meet Jared Genser, one of the three 2020 Tällberg-SNF-Eliasson Global Leadership prize winners. Listen, as he is interviewed by Shahidul Alam, photographer, writer, curator and activist and a member of the 2020 prize jury. Jared Genser is an international human rights lawyer who has spent his career practicing law, engaging […]

The best of times, and the worst of times

Even as the pandemic, like some giant glacier, slowly and unevenly recedes, the world seems frozen in place as it deals with the mess left behind. But is this crisis or opportunity? This week’s guests are dedicated to the latter proposition. They both are trying to make the world the kind of place it could […]

If it’s illiberal, is it democracy?

Europe is increasingly divided: between the frugal North and the Club Med South; between the illiberal East and the progressive West. In many ways, the latter is more profound at a time when democracy is under pressure almost everywhere. Listen as our guests discuss the profound conflicts that will shape their countries—and perhaps Europe—for decades […]

Leadership Special: Sylvia Earle, world-class oceanographer and educator

In this special episode, you will meet Sylvia Earle, one of the three 2020 prize winners. Listen, as she is interviewed by Ashok Mirpuri, Singapore’s ambassador to the U.S and a member of the 2020 prize jury. Sylvia A. Earle is a pioneering ocean scientist, explorer, author, influential speaker and conservation leader known as a […]

Casas Muertas

“Venezuela without Maduro is a Venezuela that could be a country with plenty of opportunities. A country that first of all need to be safe, especially for young Venezuelans. A country that could again explore oil, but also could diversify its economy. A country that could be one of the best countries to visit in […]

When is too much freedom too much?

“The question now is do we believe that completely unregulated speech on the social media platforms and the internet will, the way that it’s structured, really result in a good outcome because good speech can counter bad speech? Do we think that that’s still true? Or do we think that it’s not true? And if […]

“Expect to have very violent reactions after the pandemic”

“I am struck that the bad guys—Trump, Boris Johnson, Netanyahu—have been able to handle this crisis infinitely much better than the good guys in Europe—Macron, Merkel, von der Leyen and so on—who have been highly bureaucratic, slow, incompetent.” — Pierre Lellouche   Europe has had a bad few years. The struggles between North and South […]

Iran’s Annus Horribilis

“I think among the political establishment, survival has somewhat emboldened the Iranian leadership. They feel strengthened by their ability to push back against sanctions. They feel strengthened by their ability to empower the domestic economy despite sanctions.” — Dr. Sanam Vakil “So, in spite of all the difficulties, we must admit that Iran is surviving […]

High Anxiety

  “As a result of the pandemic and its ongoing nature, we’re seeing that people’s coping resources are sort of wearing thin. We’re seeing depression develop, anxiety, panic, people turning to alcohol to help them cope and people even thinking that they’d be better off dead or having thoughts of suicide.”  — Dr. Jonathan DePierro […]

Do you believe in Magic?

“I constantly compare where we are right now with Zoom communication and other platforms to movies in the 1890s and television in the late ’40s, early ’50s.” — Mark Mitton The pandemic has forced most of us to move from real life to virtual life—and we are mostly unhappy about the results. It’s not just […]

Looking for a New Normal (or something like it)

“I think the new normal is, first of all, all of us have to stop and reevaluate what we are doing and how we’re doing it.”  — Sandra Breka We live at a time of pandemic, recession, growing doubts about the future and form of capitalism, challenges to democracy, shifts in global power. The response […]

“A republic, if you can keep it”

 One of America’s most revered founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, allegedly used those words to describe what kind of political system the writers of the U.S. Constitution had created. The amazing events of recent weeks—Donald Trump’s concerted efforts to undo an electoral outcome that he didn’t like, the assault on the Capitol, and the impeachment […]

Lines in the Sand

“We all know what the major hotspots are, it’s China in the South China Sea, and Korea and North Korea and the atomic bomb, it’s Iran and their quest for a nuclear weapon, it’s various issues in Mesopotamia, Iraq, and Syria, all across Africa, there are a host of red lines that mostly delineate where […]

Welcome to the Brave New (digital) World

“Things have been changing and evolving so quickly, that what surprised us nine months ago doesn’t necessarily surprise us anymore. Initially, it was just surprising that people could actually work while remote, that it was possible to get things done. Actually, people were not only working, but they were showing up more productive. People were […]

Why Europe?

“I think by tradition, by history, by culture, by philosophy, the model of the way of life in Europe is in a way better for people, better for nature ,at least in the concept we have of what’s good and bad, than in the rest of the world.” — Pascal Lamy Pascal Lamy, former Director […]

Follow the Science

“At the end of the day, we are all part of the same global population, and that virus does not recognize countries. It does not recognize races. It does not recognize ethnicities. We’re all in it together.” — Dr. Ali Nouri 2020 will probably be remembered as the year of COVID. But perhaps more importantly, […]

Live and let live

When we started at CTPH people were like, “Why are you combining conservation and public health? Why are you combining animal health and human health?”…but we’re glad to see that we’re seeing benefits…We’re seeing win-win situations for both people, animals and the environment”. —  Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka 2020 will be remembered as the Pandemic Year, […]

Democracy in America

The U.S. election has come, but not quite gone as President Trump continues to resist the otherwise apparent victory of Joe Biden. Notwithstanding that drama, what did the voting tell us about America, Americans, and democracy? Scott Miller, political and business consultant, and Josh Steiner, investor and adviser to Bloomberg LP, are deeply immersed in […]

Amazonian Armageddon

Once again, the Amazon is burning—and deforestation may be approaching a tipping point that could turn the world’s largest rain forest into dry savanna or even dessert. What are the potential consequences? Why aren’t we terrified? Who should be doing what? In this episode of New Thinking for a New World, Alan Stoga talks to […]

Has China Won?

The competition between China and the United States is the defining geopolitical reality of the 21st century. The evolution of its new Great Game will determine whether our collective future will be one of prosperity or disaster. In this episode of New Thinking for a New World, Alan Stoga talks to Kishore Mahbubani, the renowned […]

Happy (?) Birthday

  The United Nations turned 75 this year—but the pandemic overwhelmed its birthday party. The UN, built in a different world, has succeeded in its core mission: preventing World War III.  But is the UN, as it is now constructed, relevant to the problems of the 21st century? In this episode of New Thinking for […]


Do you think we live in a world that is increasingly dangerous, full of not just Great Power competitors, but potential enemies? A world of winners and losers, where conflict and even war are possible? Such a world is described by General H.R. McMaster, a highly decorated U.S. military officer, former national security advisor and […]

Migrants (barely) Surviving

 Like a great magician, the pandemic has drawn our attention away from things that are hiding in plain sight. One of those has been the plight of millions of refugees and migrants who are in refugee camps or trying to escape from war, violence, poverty or other scourges. In this episode of a New […]

A World Divided

The world’s a mess.  The great powers today, the Chinese and the Americans, seem to disagree on most things. The UK has left the EU and the Europeans are split North against South, East against West. China’s pushing its neighbors. Russia’s pecking at Europe’s borders. Although each of those has its own story, is there […]

Africa Agonistes

South Sudan celebrated its hard-won independence in 2011, but today is considered one of the most fragile, even failed states in the world.  What went wrong?  Why are democratic governance and prosperity so elusive for the people of Sudan and much of the rest of the Horn of Africa? Peter Biar Ajak has answers and […]

A Silver Lining to the Covid Disaster?

Closed borders, hoarded medical equipment, confused policies, nasty summits. By any measure, the pandemic has not been the EU’s finest hour.  But has it been bad enough that even Europe’s current leaders realize they must do better?  Might the failures of the last months result in a brighter future for Europe? Ana Palacio, former Minister of […]

War, What is it Good For?

Turkey and Greece are locked in a struggle in the Eastern Mediterranean that feels like it belongs more in 1920 than in 2020.  Is war possible?  Will Greece’s European allies come to its rescue?  What happens if Turkey’s aggressive president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan miscalculates how far he can push the Greeks? In this New Thinking […]

Sometimes History Rhymes

One hundred years ago to the month, the collapsing Ottoman Empire was finally out of its misery in the Treaty of Sevre. However, in an echo of American author Mark Twain’s dictum that history never repeats, but sometimes rhymes, President Erdogan of Turkey today seems set on creating a new Ottoman power with reach from […]

Are We Really All in This Together?

  Why do we seem unable to work together to manage our common home? Is the Covid pandemic considered “global” while Ebola was not, because Covid has laid waste to rich countries, while Ebola did not? Is the failure of governments that we see almost everywhere actually the failure of citizens for not demanding more of their leaders? Cardinal […]

African Possibilities

At least so far, what plagues Africa is less Covid-19, than its consequences: collapsed economies, an industrial world that is closing to Africa, a deceleration (if not reversal) in globalization, a new “Cold War” (this time between China and the West), severe climate change, and the urgent need to grow and develop faster to serve […]


Why do nations, rich and poor, tolerate widespread slavery, human trafficking and even the buying and selling of young children in the 21st century?  These abominations exist everywhere and at a scale that makes them one of the largest global criminal enterprises.  How is that possible? In this episode of New Thinking for a New […]

The Covid Economy: Your Bust, My Boom

Like everything in life, Covid is producing losers and winners, not the least from the tsunami-like global recession it has spawned. It’s even possible that the pernicious economic effects will linger long after the pandemic has faded—and that the winners will still be winners. That’s one of the issues explored in the latest episode of […]

Is America Finished?

Why has America stopped investing in itself? Why do things—from cell phones to highways to schools to trains—work so much better in so many countries that used to look to the United States as their model?  Tällberg’s New Thinking for a New World podcast explores those questions and others with Christine Loh who is a […]

America: Darkness Before the Crack of Dawn?

Maybe this mess—a resurgent pandemic, collapsing economy, screaming politicians, and deep racial inequalities laid bare—is exactly what the United States needs.  Maybe the outcome will be a more normal country, instead of one that thinks it is exceptional. That might be better for Americans as well as for the rest of the world, argues Jorge […]

Are “we” capable of fixing all that is breaking? Or is it too late?

Looking for silver linings may be an integral part of the human condition.  Even during the bleakest moments—like during a global pandemic, a global recession, leadership failures and profound social stress almost everywhere—we try to find bits and pieces of positive energy and new ideas.  In this episode of Tällberg’s “New Thinking for a New […]

Is America Racist — if so, will it ever not be?

American Carnage or American Dream? It matters to everyone everywhere whether or not the United States is in terminal decline or (painfully) resetting the basis of its democracy and its society. If the former, the global order will change in incalculable ways, for better or for worse. If the latter, life after the pandemic could […]

First, help yourself – A Moroccan leader on coping with life after Covid

Like everywhere else, Morocco must cope with the potentially overwhelming health, economic and political consequences of the pandemic.  But unlike most places, the country has a well-designed, focused strategy to mitigate the worst of what is happening and, possibly, to position itself—and the rest of Africa—for a better future. In this episode of the Tällberg […]

The Millennial Future

In the midst of a global pandemic, many countries, leaders and people have turned local.  That is not all bad: some people are working to strengthen their local communities, exploring new grassroots solutions and showing support for local businesses. Could these contribute to a new normal that is more people-oriented and more sustainable?  Is it […]

Is It Possible to Be Optimistic About Climate Change?

   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 […]

Is Europe’s Future Green or Black?

The global Covid-19 pandemic has exposed deep fissures in the global political and economic fabric. For democracy to survive, the social contract needs to be reimagined; economies needs to be re-engineered and climate change – that is now accelerating at a pace that could quickly dwarf the consequences of the pandemic – needs to be […]

The American Condition

 In this week’s podcast episode, Scott Miller and Josh Steiner explore the potential impact of the pandemic on longer term trends shaping the United States. What is the state of the Union? Has the American dream become American carnage? Covid-19 has laid bare many pre-existing fissures and deep distress in American society. Can the exhausted […]

Climate After Covid

Christiana Figueres—climate activist, one of the key architects of the Paris Climate Agreement and 2016 Tällberg/Eliasson Global Leadership Prize winner—passionately believes that the pandemic offers a unique opportunity to focus on constructive climate action.  In this New Thinking for a New World podcast, she discusses the possibility of leveraging the massive political and economic resources that governments […]

The Value(s) of Democracy

Democracy is under huge pressure everywhere, made worse by the global pandemic. Too many governments in too many places are failing to deliver on the basic social contract with their citizens. In this podcast, celebrated photographer and human rights activist Shahidul Alam of Bangladesh discusses these issues from the perspective of a country which struggles […]

Will Democracy Survive Covid-19?

Democracy and democratic institutions were under severe pressure well before the novel Coronavirus appeared. Could the added burden of the pandemic break the back of democracy as we have known it? How worried should we be by governments proclaiming wartime powers and instituting new kinds of location and information tracking, all in the name of […]

Understanding Coronavirus and Its Implications

In this podcast, Anne Goldfeld, a scientist and doctor with deep pandemic experience, discusses what we know about Covid-19, what we still need to learn and why it is a global problem that demands a global response. Anne, who is Senior Investigator of the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine and a Professor of Medicine […]

What Is a Thought?

Rafael Yuste, a professor of biological sciences at Columbia University and a 2018 Tällberg/Eliasson Global Leader speaks with Alan Stoga, the Tällberg Foundation’s chairman about recent and prospective progress in neuroscience. They discuss such questions as could our evolving understanding of the human brain lead to a new Renaissance? What are the implications of this […]

Grappling With the Unknown

In this week’s episode of the Tällberg Foundation Podcast, we listen to a conversation between Anne Goldfeld, Faustin Linyekula, and Saul Griffith who share their perspectives on the future and their relationship with it. The three 2019 Tällberg/Eliasson Global Leadership Prize winners discover how their respective expertise – medicine, dance, and fighting climate change – are all […]

What Is the Future of Democracy?

In our second episode of the Tällberg Foundation Podcast, we listen in on a panel conversation addressing these questions. Panelists: Kenneth Lusaka (The Rt. Hon. Speaker of the Senate, Parliament of the Republic of Kenya), David Sperling (Research Professor and Senior Research Fellow, Strathmore Governance Centre; Kenya ) and Ulrika Karlsson (Special Advisor on Global […]

Unpacking a Tällberg Workshop: Hopes, Concerns and Red Threads

Our initial podcast was recorded in Nairobi, Kenya, after a Tällberg Workshop. Three members of the Tällberg Foundation community reflect on “New Thinking for a New World.” Optimism or pessimism about the future may have less to do with facts, and more to do with filters: young or old, local or global, African or western. […]
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