Campbell Conversations

Sundays at 6:00 p.m.

Every week Grant Reeher, Director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at Syracuse University, leads a conversation with a notable guest. Guests include people from central New York - writers, politicians, activists, public officials, and business professionals whose work affects the public life of the community - as well as nationally-prominent figures visiting the region to talk about their work.

The Campbell Conversations are longer interviews which encourage the character of the interviewee to be exposed. This allows you to learn more about the person, how they got to where they are, and where they plan to go. Grant attempts to go beyond the usual press conference questions and sound bites, which usually accompany a discussion about his guests.

Podcasts of the show are available via iTunes.

If you have any questions about an episode or any comments for Grant, feel free to contact him by email at gdreeher@maxwell.syr.edu at your convenience.

See also:  The Campbell Debates

Grant Reeher at the Campbell Debate
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State lawmakers have passed their second straight on time budget. Speaking with Grant Reeher just before the budget passed, Syracuse area State Senator John DeFrancisco describes the budget process and discusses whether or not it has improved in recent years.

In their so-called retirement, Tom and Liz Brackett founded and now run an education non-profit, the Brackett Refugee Education Fund. In this conversation, they relate the story of how they decided to start this, how they approach and structure the work of their organization, and what inspires them to keep up the effort.

Marcus Matthews is the Resident Bishop for the Upper New York Area of the United Methodist Church. In this conversation he discusses the relationship between religion and politics, and how that relationship plays out in the Bishop's desire to see his churches have a greater presence and impact in their communities.

There are conflicts, and then there are conflicts.  Peter Coleman, director of the international center for cooperation and conflict resolution at Columbia University, has identified a category of our seemingly most intractable conflicts—the five percent—and has studied them systematically. 

He’s the author of The Five Percent:  Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts.  What leads individuals, groups, and even entire nations to fall into the five percent trap, and what can they do to get out of it?  Find out on this edition of the Campbell Conversations.

Ann Wright and Kathy Kelly were both in Syracuse this week to be sentenced for their part in the protests against the MQ-9 Reaper drones in Afghanistan, which are being flown remotely from Hancock Field. 

There is nothing more powerful than the truth.  That’s the faith that has sustained Tom Devine’s three-decade campaign to promote and protect whistleblowers in the corporate and governmental realms.

The Campbell Debate
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The Campbell Public Affairs Institute at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University presents The Campbell Debates, a debate series on timely issues of public importance with a fresh, provocative format.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney works on the front lines of the "unfunded mandate" issue, a phrase we've been hearing with increasing frequency at all levels of political discussion.  What exactly is the problem with unfunded mandates? 

Perhaps no one is better suited to evaluate President Obama’s new investigative and prosecutorial unit on abuses in the mortgage industry than former governor and attorney general Eliot Spitzer.  As a prosecutor and attorney general, he was known for his aggressive pursuit of financial abuse; he warned us about the ultimate financial collapse; and he has written about these topics extensively since the crisis in 2008. 

What drives those who have invested their time in the Occupy Wall Street movement, and what message is at the movement's core? In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, three Syracuse activists who had been camping at the Occupy Syracuse site prior to being evicted by the city tell their stories and make their case.

It's an entirely political discussion on this week's Campbell Conversations, as Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle and political consultant Scott Armstrong consider the Republican presidential field in light of the Iowa Caucus results.  Among the questions they consider are:  What surprised them?  Is the party dangerously fractured as it heads toward the general election?  What could unite it?  Are the norms of the Republican Party changing in important ways?  Is Romney still the nominee apparent?  And what are the calculations about a vice presidential candidate at this point?

What made Upstate New York such a hotspot for the abolitionist and women’s rights movements?  Was it just geography, or was it something about the people who lived here?  Historian Judith Wellman, an expert on the Underground Railroad and the women’s rights movement in the 19th century, answers this question and offers other stores and information that illuminate this time period and counter some of the stereotypes we have about our region’s place in history.

Jim Greene is not an academic Dickens scholar, but he plays Dickens and runs the Dickens Christmas Festival in Skaneateles.  In this holiday version of the Campbell Conversations, he talks - often in the character of Dickens - about the meaning and the writing of "A Christmas Carol," the Christmas holidays, and his experiences in the town.  Given the stark portrayals of poverty in his writing, what would Dickens have made of the Occupy Wall Street Movement?  Here’s one person’s take.  All in all, the conversation contains holiday wisdom worthy of Dickens’s tale.

A little over 100 days ago, Sharon Contreras began her appointment as the superintendent of the Syracuse City School District.  She inherited deep challenges--low test scores and graduation rates, and an austere budget climate.  Following her "first 100 days" period of listening and assessment, she is issuing a strategic plan to improve the city's educational system. 

When we think about China these days, its emergent international economic power dominates most of our attention, but how are economics and changing demographics affecting the Chinese culture?  In this Campbell Conversation, Bill Jankowiak, an anthropology professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and an expert on Chinese culture, discusses the cultural paradoxes and tensions that economic growth and the rise of individualism have created for this society.  Jankowiak is a particular expert on Chinese youth culture, and he also describes how that culture is changing, and how those chang

Public trust in government—especially the federal government—is at a modern all-time low point.  What are the biggest challenges to a well-run government?  What are the best ideas for improving it?  Which government agencies are particularly well-run, and which not so well-run?  As the Managing Director of the Strategic Issues Team at the U.S.

The expansion of Syracuse’s Carousel Center Mall—the first stage of the grander and still-planned project called Destiny USA—seems to be getting some traction of late.  Parts of the expansion will be open later this month.  David Aitken, a Destiny executive and spokesperson, discusses the expansion and the future plans for the project, and reflects on why the Destiny project has been such a political and economic lightning rod for the region’s residents and the media.  He also discusses the exterior appearance of the expansion and the possible tensions—and synergy—between this project and t

If, like many Americans, you’re worried about the future of Medicare, you’ll want to listen closely to this conversation about the program and the contentious politics surrounding it.  In a very information-rich interview, nationally recognized expert and University of North Carolina professor Jonathan Oberlander breaks down the elements of Medicare, the different proposals to change it, and explains why this huge—and popular—government program has become such a political lightning rod in recent years.  He also prognosticates about different possible futures in terms of Medicare’s structure

In this week’s segment, the Campbell Conversations returns to the upcoming November elections, with a discussion among six of the nine candidates for State Supreme Court Justice in the six-county fifth judicial district—a district that encompasses much of WRVO’s listening area.  This program is presented on-air in two parts. Part one on Friday, and the second Saturday. The audio available here is the entire hour long discussion. 

Perhaps the most intriguing local race this November is the match-up in the fourth City Council district between Democrat and Working Families Party candidate Khalid Bey and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins. Hawkins has run for many seats in the past, including governor and U.S. Senator, and not come close to winning, but the last time he ran for city council he garnered about 40 percent of the vote.

Dan Grossman is a freelance environmental journalist who has frequently appeared on public radio and the BBC, and has written for the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Scientific American. He’s won a host of prestigious awards and been funded by many highly respected organizations—among them the Peabody award, the National Science Foundation, and the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

What is the state of American democracy?  What are the roots of our democratic shortcomings, and what do we need to do to improve the health of the political process?  Jean Bethke Elshtain, democratic theorist, ethicist, and noted public intellectual at the University of Chicago—and author of Democracy on Trial—wrestles with these mighty questions in this substantively rich interview.  Elshtain has also written an influential book on just war—Just War Against Terror—and she considers the American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan through that lens.  Was the war justif

Oswego, NY – Ash Sangha may have the most interesting elected student position on the planet. As the President of the Oxford Union Society, he meets the worlds' top political and business figures, and major celebrities, as well as presiding over the famous Oxford Union debates. In this conversation, he discusses how the debates work, their role in British society, and the cultural differences between the U.S. and U.K. when it comes to high-spirited but reasoned and polite political debate.

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