Tuesday, November 1, 2011

12 Eye-Opening TED Talks for Political Science Students

by , onlinecolleges.net

October 24, 2011
Seeing as how TED hosts its Talks about pretty much every subject around — academic or otherwise — of course political science majors have excellent content available! Whether they prefer focusing on local, national, or international debates, the site offers up a slew of delicious perspectives. While all their videos prove educational and certainly worth a watch, the following 12 sample some of the more seriously interesting issues covered. Use them as valuable classroom supplements or tools towards independent exploration. All of them have something gripping and important to share, so viewers can’t go wrong when exploring beyond this article’s selections!
  1. Dave Meslin: The antidote to apathy

    Political, social and economic turmoil happen because the citizenry so often keeps the issues impacting them at arm’s length. But apathy doesn’t kill nearly as much as one might think. In fact, plenty of people sincerely want to improve their communities, but find themselves locked out by other factors. The media, politicians themselves and other externals have a tendency to isolate constituents and consumers, creating an aura of inaccessibility. But there are ways around the roadblocks, and Dave Meslin outlines the best strategies.
  2. Kiran Bedi: A police chief with a difference

    “Tough policing, equal policing” involves education and prevention as well as intervention, argues this Indian law enforcement official. While working in the prison system, Chief Kiran Bedi instigated a meditation-and-studies regimen that resonated extremely well with inmates. She believes the thousands of prisoners participating in the programming improve their minds, as a calm, healthy outlook reduces one’s chances of committing crimes.
  3. Elizabeth Lesser: Take “the Other” to lunch

    Partisanship and petty bickering pockmark politics the world over, making true negotiation and progress near impossible. Open-mindedness remains crucial in a truly equitable political structure, and one way to nurture this rare and beautiful trait is a simple lunch. Go out with someone of an opposing mindset and simply talk. Elizabeth Lesser offers up three questions to help guide these difficult discussions and hopefully promote improved policies. Someday, anyways.
  4. Maajid Nawaz: A global culture to fight extremism

    With religious and political extremism threatening contemporary geopolitics, hearing straight from a former radical does nothing but shed considerable light on the crucial issue. Collaboration on the grassroots and international levels (and everywhere in between) has to happen in order to address the violent fringes. And in order to do this, nations must set aside their cultural clashes, misconceptions and stereotypes to democratically works towards stability.
  5. Patrick Awuah on educating leaders

    Political science majors will greatly appreciate the call for improved liberal arts education presented here! Using examples from his native Ghana, Patrick Awauah illustrates the role such schooling plays in shaping the nation’s economic and political leaders. The liberal arts encourage analytical and critical thinking skills, not simple rote memorization and parroting back lecturers’ personal ideologies. All of these abilities (hopefully!) translate to improved leadership and decision-making acumen.
  6. Peter Eigen: How to expose the corrupt

    Injustice happens and perpetuates itself because of sustained social and political aberrations and corruptions. In so many cases, these occur thanks to underhanded, illegal relationships between governments and multinational corporations. Organizations such as Transparency International, run by this TED speaker, focus on solid strategies meant to overturn this unfortunate phenomenon holding society back.
  7. Stefan Wolff: The path to ending ethnic conflicts

    Ethnicities and nationalities often clash and create horrendous wars, civil wars, genocides and other atrocities. 2010 witnessed a decrease in such destructive conflicts, but humanity still has a long ways to go before enjoying a more lasting, widespread peace. Some of the more recent examples offer up valuable diplomatic lessons in ending the deadly upheaval and instilling something equitable, mutually beneficial and sustainable.
  8. Zainab Salbi: Women, wartime and the dream of peace

    TED somberly points out that the majority of war stories so often take audiences to the battlefields themselves, oftentimes the homefront’s struggles end up marginally acknowledged. Typically run by those left behind (mostly women), efforts away from the battalions significantly impact the war, usually in ways few realize. Because of this illuminating, provocative lecture, their stories come to vivid life and make a case for inclusion in the postwar peace negotiation process.
  9. Laurie Garrett on lessons from the 1918 flu

    It seems like every few years, humanity starts panicking over the next big deadly pandemic. Although nothing cinematically catastrophic has yet to descend, that doesn’t mean governments shouldn’t prepare themselves for the possibility. Here, a Pulitzer winner concerned with public health issues makes the subject accessible and showcases how scientists and politicians must learn from the pasts’ mistakes.
  10. David Bismark: E-voting without fraud

    Dishonest voting and crooked politicians manipulate the system and try to make it so that the people DON’T get what they want. David Bismark’s proposal tries to eliminate the issue via heavy encryption, barcodes and “some complicated cryptography.” Such a system better protects the integrity of votes and voters alike, utilizing computers without relying on them entirely.
  11. Debate: Does the world need nuclear energy

    The very first debate TED hosted revolves around whether or not countries should rely on nuclear power as a clean energy source. Stewart Brand and Stanford’s Mark Z. Jacobson take turns addressing the pros and cons of the controversial approach with the audience, and again with each other. Any fence-sitting future politicos out there should check out this accessible video, as nuclear energy will continue on as a serious issue for a while yet.
  12. Andrew Mwenda takes a new look at Africa

    “Western” perceptions of the African continent, particularly the sub-Saharan regions, often come skewed thanks to popular media portrayals glossing over or ignoring the inherent social, political and economic complexities. Journalist Andrew Mwenda dispels many of the myths and misunderstandings about what Africa’s nations need and want, particularly when it comes to poverty. Check out this courageous TED for a challenging round of stereotype smashing.

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