Intelligence Squared U.S. is relaunching under a new name and brand to underscore the urgent need for balanced, civil, and respectful debate in America — now more than ever.

Starting with the program release on Friday, April 14th, Intelligence Squared U.S. will become Open to Debate.

Why the change? Open to Debate better reflects our mission as a public media program and nonpartisan organization. Open to Debate is more accessible and engaging, and clearly defines what we do for listeners. Open to Debate also resonates more with younger and more diverse audiences, as well as our loyal program followers. We feel it is mission-critical to make this change now to restore trust to the public square and bridge the divides in our communities.

This is more than just a name change. It’s about conveying a new, more focused mission to address how historic levels of polarization are dividing our nation and how we can actually fix it. The key word in the new name Open to Debate is “Open.” That means open to listening. Open to disagreeing. Open to understanding. Open to learning. Open to “the other side.”

About the launch of Open to Debate:

  • Open to Debate will feature a sonic rebrand with custom composed music, new show notes, promos, and a wider array of topics to engage new listeners.
  • John Donvan is the primary host and there will be occasional guest hosts.
  • The program will follow three debate formats: Oxford-Style, Agree to Disagree, and Unresolved.
  • The brand promise stays the same: Always lively, respectful, and diverse discussions with top world thinkers, policymakers and journalists from across the ideological spectrum.

Open to Debate has been a year in the making. The new name was developed by experts spanning the globe in behavior psychology, technology, public policy, and education to address how we can help bring order back to the chaos in our national conversations and restore trust in America’s institutions.

We know debate works to find common ground. On average, 32% of the Intelligence Squared U.S. audience changes their mind on contentious topics after hearing a debate. That’s the power of debate done right, and at scale, it can change the direction we’re headed in America.

Open to Debate is a call to action: All of us should keep an open mind to solve the complex problems that lie ahead. From the audience’s point of view, being Open to Debate means being open-minded themselves.

Open to Debate is a reminder: To solve our greatest problems, we must operate in a contempt-free zone. We need to be able to sit in the same room and exchange ideas with people we disagree with. “Open to Debate” represents a gesture of respect for the good faith of those we disagree with, for the intelligence and integrity of those who watch or listen, and for the value of argument done well.

Open to Debate is a duty: The future of American Democracy depends on the strength of communities to work together and overcome our differences. “Us vs. Them” thinking is destructive to our social fabric, and we need a national model to guide debates to a healthy and free exchange of ideas.

There’s an exciting lineup of programs and guests coming up and we hope that you will consider adding Open to Debate to your weekly schedule, or airing individual episodes as specials programming.

OPEN TO DEBATE is available free as a one-hour, weekly series or for use as specials
Available on CONTENT DEPOT and PRX