Vikas Shah MBE Interviews the world's leading thinkers, and the people shaping the century.

On Identity: A Conversation with Kwame Anthony Appiah

If you lose your ego, you lose the thread of that narrative you call your Self,” wrote Haruki Murakami in his book Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche “…humans, however, can’t live very long without some sense of a continuing story. Such stories go beyond the limited rational system (or the systematic rationality) with which you surround yourself; they are crucial keys to sharing time-experience with others…” In a hyperconnected world, our identities matter more than ever – they become empowering, weaponised, sanctuary and danger simultaneously and it’s perhaps because of this, that we must now understand identity more than ever before. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah, author of The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity and Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University. We discuss the nature of identity, the labels we place on each other, and how best to  understand their significance and role in society.

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Diseases of the Heart

I want you to make a fist and hold it just to the left of the centre of your chest.  Just under your ribs, is an organ, around that size, which will beat around 3 billion times in your lifetime pumping blood around the 100,000 miles of vessels that supply every part of your body. The heart is a miraculous product of evolution, and one which plays a role more critical in the fact that we are alive, and the fact that we could die – than any other organ in our body.   Perhaps unsurprising therefore that even with our advances in medical science, cardiovascular disease remains the largest single health burden to humanity, contributing to over 30% of all deaths worldwide and costing the global economy over $1 trillion each year. To understand more about the reality of cardiovascular disease, I spoke to two of the world’s most preeminent cardiovascular physicians, Dr. Haider Warraich (Author of: State of the Heart, Exploring the History, Science and Future of Cardiac Disease) and Dr. Sandeep Jauhar (Author of: Heart: A History)

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A Conversation with Ece Temelkuran on How to Lose a Country, in 7 Steps.

I am one of the early birds…Ece Temelkuran told me, “I saw democracy collapse in Turkey and tried to warn the United States, European Countries and Britain about this.  I’ve been telling people that what you think is normal, or a passing phase, is part of a bigger phenomenon that affects us all.  Somehow though, European democracies feel they’re exceptional – and too mature to be affected by neofascist currents.Ece Temelkuran is an award-winning Turkish novelist and political commentator, whose journalism has appeared in the Guardian, New York Times, New Statesman, Frankfurter Allgemeine and Der Spiegel. In this exclusive interview, we discuss the dangers of populism, authoritarianism and fascism, and why we need to act now.

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Learning from the Holocaust

In one of the darkest moments of modern civilisation, over six million Jews were killed by Nazi Germany in a state-sponsored genocide.  This event (The Holocaust) killed over two-thirds of Europe’s entire Jewish population. It took decades for the Jewish people and the rest of the world to make-sense of what happened during World War II, and for most of us- it is impossible to imagine how the very few survivors of such atrocities could rebuild their lives, but some did; and those individuals have gone-on to become ambassadors of hope, of peace, and of reconciliation at a time where it would appear our world has not just forgotten the past, but is doomed to repeat it.  I had the privilege of speaking to three Holocaust survivors who have gone-on to become humanitarians, peace-activists and educators. Walter Ziffer (author of ‘Confronting the Silence, A Holocaust Survivor’s Search for God’), Iby Knill (author of ‘Woman Without a Number’) and Eva Schloss MBE (author of ‘Eva’s Story: A Survivor’s Tale by the Stepsister of Anne Frank’).

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What My Life In Sports Has Taught Me

What My Life In Sports Has Taught Me: An exclusive guest-post for Thought Economics by: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – The NBA’s All-Time Leading Scorer, 3x Award Winning Columnist of the Year, NY Times Best-Selling Author & Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient.

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How to Change the World

In these exclusive interviews, I speak to the leaders of five of the world’s most influential civil sector organisations. Brian Gallagher (CEO of United Way Worldwide, the world’s largest privately-funded non-profit), William “Bill” Drayton (Founder & CEO, ASHOKA), Gilles Carbonnier (Vice President of the ICRC, International Committee of the Red Cross), Linda Fuller (Co-Founder of Habitat for Humanity & the Fuller Center for Housing) and Nancy Lublin (Founder & CEO, Crisis Text Line). We discuss how the charities, social enterprises, foundations, organisations and individuals in the civil sector are changing our world.

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Tickling Giants: How Comedy & Satire Can Challenge Politics

To learn more about how satire and comedy can influence politics, I spoke to Dr. Bassem Youssef (whose story is told in the film ‘Tickling Giants,’ by Sara Taksler), Hasan Minhaj (host and creator of the weekly comedy show Patriot Act on Netflix) and Prof. Amber Day (author of Satire and Dissent: Interventions in Contemporary Political Debate).

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A Conversation with Bumble Founder & CEO, Whitney Wolfe Herd

In 2014, Whitney Wolfe Herd launched Bumble as, “the only dating platform where women make the first move…” Today, Bumble has over 55 million users in 150 countries.  As Whitney notes herself, “Bumble has now grown far beyond a dating app into a networking platform, allowing people of all genders to make empowered connections in all areas of their lives, whether that means you’re seeking a romantic relationship, making new friendships or growing your professional network.” Like many of the world’s fastest growing entrepreneurial companies, Bumble is rooted around real pain points, faced by millions of people, which are solved elegantly, intuitively and engagingly.  I caught up with Whitney to learn more about her entrepreneurship journey, and what it takes to build a successful scale-up business.

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Cyberhate & The Rise of the Trolls

To learn more about the phenomenon of cyberhate and the reality of trolling I spoke to David Baddiel (comedian, author, screenwriter & presenter), Ginger Gorman (journalist and author of Troll Hunting: Inside the world of online hate and its human fallout) and Hussein Kesvani (journalist and author of Follow Me, Akhi: The Online World of British Muslims)

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War and Peace

In this exclusive series of interviews, we speak to seven experts on conflict and peace building.  Four Nobel Peace Prize Winners; Prof. Jody Williams (Chair, Nobel Women’s Initiative), Dr. Shirin Ebadi (Human Rights Lawyer and Educator), President Maarti Ahtisaari (Former President, Finland and Founder of CMI – The Crisis Management Initiative), Lech Wałęsa (Former President, Poland) alongside Marina Cantacuzino (Founder, The Forgiveness Project), Ben Ferencz (Former Prosecutor, Nuremberg War Crimes Trial) and Bertie Ahern (Former Taoiseach – Irish Prime Minister).  We discuss the causes of war and conflict, the impact of these phenomena on society, and look at what it will take to achieve a world at peace.

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