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China Soon Could Dominate the Global Economy—but Leading It Will Be Tougher

By | November 17, 2017

For China, pursuing global economic leadership is not just a goal. It’s an imperative.
That was the message from panelists at a Zòcalo/UCLA Anderson School of Management event, “Is China Prepared to Lead the Global Economy?” at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in downtown Los Angeles.
China is seeking global economic leadership, panelists said, as Chinese President Xi Jinping made clear at the recently …

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Before Going to War in North Korea, Try Understanding the Place First

By | October 25, 2017

With schoolyard taunts hurtling between Washington and Pyongyang, and fears of nuclear Armageddon escalating from Seoul to Tokyo to Los Angeles, the once-unthinkable idea of a military showdown between North Korea and the United States has become frighteningly plausible.
On an October evening when many Angelenos were pondering the opening game of the World Series rather than end-of-the-world scenarios, a Zócalo/UCLA panel discussion explored the question, …

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California’s Housing Crisis Is a Nasty Intersection of the State’s Worst Problems

By | October 13, 2017

California’s sky-high housing prices haven’t just made it hard to find and afford a place to live. They’ve put pressures on the economy, the environment, transportation, and health that threaten the California dream itself, said panelists at a Zócalo/AARP event at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in Los Angeles.
The event—entitled “Are Housing Prices Destroying the California Dream?”—brought together a scholar, a politician, …

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Can Colleges Teach America What Consensual Sex Looks Like?

By | October 12, 2017

American college campuses, after considerable struggle, are succeeding in drawing a clearer line between consensual and non-consensual sex. But it’s far from clear when the rest of society will follow suit and adopt a similar standard.
That was the message of a Zócalo lecture entitled, “Are College Campuses Rewriting the Rules of Sex in America?” by journalist Vanessa Grigoriadis, contributing editor at The New York Times …

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It’s Hard to Be an American Traitor, Even If You Try

By | October 11, 2017

Why is it so hard to commit treason in the United States?
The short answer—offered at the debut of a Zócalo/KCRW event series, “Critical Thinking with Warren Olney”—amounted to this: America was founded by traitors.
“The American Revolution was a massive act of treason against the British government,” said UC Davis legal scholar Carlton F.W. Larson, who is working on a book about treason. And even before the …

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The Two-Party System Is Not Working—And Not Going Anywhere

By | August 11, 2017

The bad news for Republicans is that their party is dead. The “good” news for the party of Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, William F. Buckley, and Donald Trump is that the Democratic Party also is dead—or maybe even deader.
That was the big takeaway from an August 10th Zócalo panel discussion at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in downtown L.A.’s Little Tokyo district. Titled …

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As Trump’s Policies Harm Immigrants, How Can Local Efforts Best Help?

By | August 10, 2017

Even by the tumultuous measure of Donald Trump’s first months in the White House, none of the new president’s policies or rhetorical outbursts has been more bitterly divisive than his stand on immigration.
Trump’s travel ban targeting predominantly Muslim nations, his eagerness to deport undocumented immigrants who don’t have serious criminal records, his slurring of Mexican migrants as drug dealers and rapists, and his promise to …

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Hawaii’s Identity Is Powerful–and Endangered

By | July 26, 2017

America’s youngest state, Hawaii, isn’t known for making Texas-sized boasts about its greatness, or for aggressively pushing its brand on its neighbors, the way that, say, Florida and California do.
Yet Hawaii may have the strongest sense of identity of any U.S. state—a fierce cultural pride and feeling of exceptionalism that flow from its unique island heritage.
That was the premise of a Smithsonian/Zócalo “What It …

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Changing Audiences Are Making Creators and Institutions Rethink Art Itself

By | June 26, 2017

If the essence of art is necessarily elusive and hard to define, so too is the essence of arts engagement. As audiences grow more diverse and demanding, and new digital technologies allow anyone to become a content creator with the click of a button, arts engagement now embraces a wide array of strategies, methods and goals.
On June 25 in downtown Los Angeles, more than 200 …

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Yes, Classroom Tech Can Tackle Inequality—but Change Takes Politics and Patience

By | June 16, 2017

Even as digital technology has grown exponentially more sophisticated, accessible, and integral to our lives, social inequality has cast a deeper shadow across the United States in recent decades. Simultaneously, getting a quality education has become ever more essential for individual success and fulfillment.
The question of whether tech-enhanced education can help break down—or perhaps even erase—growing social divisions confronted a panel of educators brought together …