When Gail Christopher, executive director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity and a senior scholar in George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, talks about “ensuring a future,” she’s really talking about creating a system of equity that produces opportunities for everyone. In her second podcast with Mason President Gregory Washington, Christopher expands on the idea that academic institutions are essential for shifting the cultural ethos to one that is not racist, and discusses the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Conference recently held at Mason.

Are the midterm elections the most important in our time? Maybe, maybe not. Jennifer Victor, associate professor of political science in George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government, and Mason president Gregory Washington wrestle with that, and you might be surprised at the answer. Want more surprises? Then hear why high voter turnout could be a double-edged sword for our democracy and how the parties misread the electorate. And just what is “thermostatic politics?”

September 6, 2022

His sound is renowned

Dr. Michael Nickens, an associate professor of music in George Mason University’s Reva and Sid Dewberry Family School of Music, tells Mason President Gregory Washington how he transforms from his mild-mannered persona into Doc Nix, the flamboyant leader of the Green Machine, the nation’s No. 1 pep band. The band isn’t a mechanical process, Nix says. There are times its members are collectively “exploring the universe in that moment. And those are the moments that feel like we have really accomplished something.” Actor Bill Murray is a fan of the band, and Nix is pretty good on the tuba.

Alpaslan Özerdem, dean of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, talks to Mason President Gregory Washington about the keys to effective peacebuilding, whether it concerns the war in Ukraine, gun violence or local issues. And don’t miss the discussions about how the Carter School helped broker a peace accord in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and how an alien invasion could help heal the rift between Russia and the West.

Rep. Cori Bush, Missouri's first Black congresswoman, talks to George Mason University President Gregory Washington about the importance of the class she is teaching this summer at Mason. A pastor, teacher, nurse, and a Black Lives Matter activist in Ferguson, Mo., Bush explains her unusual path to Congress, and doesn’t flinch when discussing issues surrounding race and policing.

Louise Shelley, a University Professor and director of Mason’s Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center explains to Mason President Gregory Washington the connections between the war in Ukraine and Russian corruption and organized crime, and how criminals and terrorists take advantage in diverse ways of the globalized world in which we live. Shelley’s center exposes that criminality and recently helped take 55 million counterfeit and sub-standard medical masks out of circulation worldwide with the takedown of more than 50,000 online marketplaces and social media posts.

Jim Trefil, a physicist and Robinson Professor at George Mason University, explains to Mason President Gregory Washington the importance of a scientific worldview. The author of more than 50 books and one of the developers of the modern theories about quarks as a fundamental component of the universe, Trefil is helping pioneer a new way of teaching science and says you don’t have to be in a lab to learn. ‘You live in a world full of science. Oh, and just FYI, Trefil says, ‘There is life even if you’ve been rejected by Playboy.’

Larry Pfeiffer, director of George Mason University’s Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security, explains to Mason President Gregory Washington about Vladimir Putin’s real agenda in Ukraine. He also details why the war in Ukraine matters to the United States, even though the U.S.’s long-term geopolitical, economic and technological challenge is from China. Pfeiffer also asks Americans to guard against autocracy at home, because, as he said, it doesn’t take much for a country’s values to be subverted and freedoms suppressed.

Charles Chavis, an assistant professor of conflict resolution and history at George Mason University, and director of African and African American studies at Mason, talks about his new book that explores the lynching of a young Black Man in Salisbury, Md., and how understanding his story and the Black experience in the United States can help find ways to fight anti-Black violence. Chavis also pushes for a National Truth and Reconciliation Program to give the country the chance to reset and “deal with the truth.”

Ted Dumas, an associate professor of psychology, is an experienced researcher who is ringing alarm bells about the damage from climate change. His book, “If Food Could Talk: Stories From 13 Precious Foods,” explains how foods such as coffee, chocolate, bananas and avocados could soon disappear for good. Dumas tells Mason President Gregory Washington how the book came about, how these foods can be saved – a pooping bear in Japan might provide a way to save cherries – and how the book was almost entitled “The Last Chocolate Kiss.”

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