Krista Tippett – National Humanities Medalist, Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and host of the podcast On Being, and curator of the Civil Conversations Project – will be at Stanford during winter quarter as the Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor.
The Distinguished Visitor program of the Haas Center for Public Service is a 10-week residency that brings to Stanford prominent individuals whose lives and careers have had significant impact across the nation and globally through public service.
Tippett founded On Being as an NPR show in 2003 and took the show into independent production in 2013. The show airs on more than 400 public radio stations and was downloaded as a podcast over 50 million times last year. Her guests have included Desmond Tutu, Thich Nhat Hanh and Stanford alumnus U.S. Sen. Cory Booker.
When President Barack Obama awarded Tippett the National Humanities Medal in 2014, he said, “On the air and in print, Ms. Tippett avoids easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of every background to join her conversation about faith, ethics and moral wisdom.”
Thought leader conversations
As part of her visit, Tippett will host a series of conversations with thought leaders, beginning with the Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor Lecture on Public Service and the University program on Jan. 29. This event is the first in a series of live tapings on topics including emerging generations’ redefinition of success, humanizing our lives with technology and artificial intelligence.
“There are the difficult conversations that have become lightning rods for our current cultural dysfunction, and there are the generative conversations we’re longing to have but have barely named and commenced in our public spaces. These three topics are in that second category for me,” Tippett said in anticipation of her visit.
“At a time when the university and the nation at large are searching for ways to connect meaningfully across difference, we need people like Krista Tippett who are dedicated to promoting a culture shift that enables us to move beyond division, beginning with the way we speak with each other,” said Harry Elam, senior vice provost for education and the Freeman-Thornton Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. “We appreciate the opportunity to host her on campus and to build on our efforts to ask better questions, reframe debates and understand the complexity of diverse experiences.”
For her on-campus conversations, Tippett will be joined by such guests as Abraham Verghese, the Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor and award-winning author of Cutting for Stone; Denise Pope, senior lecturer in the Stanford Graduate School of Education and co-founder of Challenge Success; Mehran Sahami, professor and associate chair for education and director of educational affairs in computer science; and Jerry Kaplan, strategic director of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law.
On being human
Additionally, Tippett and members of the On Being Project will engage with students, faculty and staff in discussions and workshops on podcasting and reframing conversations.
“I hope to explore in depth at Stanford what I draw out in my radio conversations and public work – how are 21st-century people in general and emerging generations in particular revisiting and reframing the enduring questions of what it means to be human and how we want to live? I’ll be interested both in how I can be a conversation partner in my time at Stanford, and in the questions and learnings I’ll take away to flow into our ongoing discernment about how the On Being Project can best be of service to the world in the years to come,” Tippett said.
Tippett worked as a journalist and diplomat in Cold War Berlin before earning a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University. Her most recent book, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, is a New York Times bestseller, as was her 2010 book, Einstein’s God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit.
Previous Distinguished Visitors have included Stanford alumnus and journalist Ted Koppel, Spelman College President Beverly Daniel Tatum, MacArthur grant recipient Rick Lowe, and former Norway Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland.
The Jan. 29 event, “Emerging Generations’ Redefinition of the ‘Meaning of Success,’” and the subsequent conversations on “The Science of Humanizing Our Lives with Technology” (Feb. 7) and “Artificial Intelligence: A Deep and Reality-Based Conversation About Human Intelligence and Consciousness” (Feb. 14) are free and open to the public.
Additionally, on March 4, Tippett will speak as a guest on Leading a Meaningful Life, an Office for Religious Life discussion series. More information about Tippett’s visit is on the Haas Center website.