Since the Museum opened its doors 25 years ago, globalization and the digital revolution have transformed our lives. Although the world constantly changes, human nature never does.

For its inaugural Global Issues Forum, the Museum gathered some of the brightest minds to explore what Holocaust history teaches about the vulnerabilities that shape our choices and the agency we have as individuals. Watch forum highlights.

Session One Nature or Nurture—Are we hard wired to hate?

Explore the history, psychology and science of extremism that fueled the Nazi regime and drives movements today.

David J. Anderson

Neuroscientist, Cal Tech

David J. Anderson is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is also the Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology, Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Leadership Chair, and Director of the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology. For the past 15 years, he has researched the neural circuits that control emotional behaviors in animal models. His work on flies, for example, is centered on understanding how internal states control defensive and social behaviors, including aggression. Anderson received his A.B. from Harvard University (Biochemical Sciences, Summa Cum Laude); his Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the Rockefeller University, where he trained with Nobel Laureate Guenter Blobel; and his postdoctoral training at Columbia University with Nobel Laureate Richard Axel. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2007 was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences.

Arie W. Kruglanski

Holocaust Survivor and Social Cognitive Psychologist, University of Maryland

Arie W. Kruglanski (@akruglanski) is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. His interests have been in the domains of human judgment and decision making, the motivation-cognition interface, group and intergroup processes, and the psychology of human goals. He has recently served as panelist of the National Academy of Sciences panels on counterterrorism, and educational paradigms in homeland security. Kruglanski is the principal investigator on a study of radicalization and deradicalization in the Middle East and in South and Southeast Asia, as well as on a psychological study of refugees. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California at Los Angeles. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society, as well as the outgoing president of the Society for the Study of Motivation.

Wendy Lower

Author and Historian, US Holocaust Museum

Wendy Lower is the acting director of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She has been associated with the Museum in various roles since 1994 as a historical consultant for special exhibits and a member of its Academic Committee. Lower is also the John K. Roth Chair and Professor of History at Claremont McKenna College, as well as the director of its Mgrublian Center for Human Rights. As a German Research Foundation Fellow at the Ludwig Maximilians Universität in Munich (2007–2012), she co-led an initiative to establish a federally funded German Center for Holocaust Studies at the Institute for Contemporary History. Her book Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields (2013) was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Jewish Book Award and has been translated into 23 languages. Lower received her Ph.D. from American University.

David Gregory

Analyst, CNN

David Gregory (@davidgregory) is an analyst on CNN and the host of the David Gregory podcast featuring interviews with newsmakers and thought leaders. He is also the author of How’s Your Faith?, a memoir about his attempts to deepen his own faith amid the rough and tumble of broadcast news. For nearly 20 years, Gregory worked at NBC News, serving as the moderator of Meet the Press and as chief White House correspondent during the George W. Bush presidency. He contributed anchoring duties to all of the network’s major programs including Today and Nightly News. A staple of the network’s special coverage, Gregory anchored the breaking news of Osama Bin Laden’s capture and death and was a key player in election night coverage spanning four presidential cycles. He also serves on the board of Martha’s Table, a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening families and feeding the poor in Washington, DC.

Session Two What is driving the rise of white supremacy and neo-nazism—and how do we counter it?

Examine how hateful ideologies spread and the power of individuals to use their voice to create change, as demonstrated by two young men who forged an unlikely friendship.

R. Derek Black

Former White Supremacist

R. Derek Black was raised in a prominent White Supremacist family. His father founded the Web’s first major racial hate site called Stormfront, and Black spent the first two decades of his life as an enthusiastic aid to his family’s activism. He founded Stormfront for Kids at age 11 and oversaw Stormfront Radio for several years. Homeschooled from third grade, Black attended white nationalist conferences with his father and helped organize Stormfront’s first national convening. His arrival at New College of Florida was met by loud condemnation by his fellow students. During a weekly Shabbat dinner hosted by classmate Matthew Stevenson, Black met a new circle of friends who prompted him to reexamine the movement’s ideology. Although he initially held onto his beliefs, these students challenged him to defend his viewpoint. Black eventually conceded that the ideology he had fought so hard to promote was harmful, and he renounced the movement and philosophy in 2013. He has spent the years since then coming to terms with his identity and sharing his experiences.

Matthew Stevenson

MBA Student

Matthew Stevenson was born and raised in South Florida. After graduating from Stanford University’s Online High School, he attended New College of Florida, the state’s honors college, where he received degrees in mathematics and economics. Shortly after enrolling at New College, Stevenson began organizing a weekly Shabbat dinner in his dormitory that included people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs. He invited Derek Black to join in one of these gatherings so that he could see firsthand the people that White Supremacists despised. Black soon became a regular attendee, and as the connections made at those Shabbat dinners became deeper, his views began to change. After graduating, Stevenson worked as an equity research associate at an investment bank in Atlanta, Georgia, and is currently pursuing his MBA at Columbia Business School. He periodically speaks with students about the importance of treating others with human dignity and positively influencing those around us.

Krista Tippett

Peabody Award Winning Host, Public Radio's On Being

Krista Tippett (@kristatippett) is a Peabody-award winning broadcaster, National Humanities Medalist, and New York Times bestselling author. She founded and leads The On Being Project; hosts the globally esteemed On Being public radio show carried on over 400 stations nationwide, and podcast, downloaded 52 million times in 2017; and curates the Civil Conversations Project, an emergent approach to conversation and relationship across the differences of our age. The National Humanities Medal citation reads, in part, “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.” Tippett is a graduate of Brown University and received a Master’s of Divinity from Yale University. Her books include Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living and Einstein’s God: Conversations about Science and the Human Spirit.

Session Three Can technology and civic engagement disrupt exremist movements?

The Nazi regime used radio to spread propaganda and indoctrinate followers. Discover the pivotal role that technology plays today in helping extremist ideology take root and in countering hate.

Rachel Brown

Executive Director, Over Zero

Rachel Brown is a former fellow with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Founder and Executive Director of Over Zero. She is also the founder of Sisi ni Amani Kenya, which created a text messaging and community engagement model to counter dangerous speech and diffuse local violence. Rachel is the author of Defusing Hate: A Strategic Communication Guide to Counteract Dangerous Speech, which brings together insights from diverse fields of expertise—from marketing to cognitive neuroscience—to support practitioners seeking to design communications-based interventions for atrocity prevention. She received her undergraduate degree in International Relations from Tufts University.

Maajid Nawaz

Former Islamist and Founder, Quilliam

Maajid Nawaz (@MaajidNawaz) is the founder of Quilliam, a London-based think tank that aims to challenge extremist narratives while advocating pluralistic, democratic alternatives that are consistent with universal human rights standards. Nawaz is a former leader of a global Islamist group who now criticizes his prior ideological dogma, while remaining a secular liberal Muslim. He is the author of Radical: My Journey Out of Islamist Extremism as well as Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue. He is an Honorary Associate of the UK’s National Secular Society, a weekly columnist for the Daily Beast, and an occasional columnist for the London Times, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal, among others. He received his undergraduate degree in Arabic and Law from SOAS University of London and a Master of Science in Political Theory from the London School of Economics.

Vidhya Ramalingam

Co-Founder, Moonshot CVE

Vidhya Ramalingam (@vidhya_ra) is a founder of Moonshot CVE, which counters violent extremism through data-driven innovation. She is an expert in designing CVE strategies for nongovernmental organizations, global think tanks, and governmental institutions, with a specialization in prevention of far-right extremism. Previously Ramalingam was Senior Fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London-based think tank, where she set up and ran the international program on far-right extremism and intolerance. From 2012 to 2014, she led the EU’s capacity building program on far-right terrorism, working with over 300 practitioners across 10 countries. She holds various roles including Commissioning Panelist for the UK Security and Intelligence Agencies and Economic and Social Research Council. Ramalingam received her undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Inequality Studies from Cornell University and holds an M.Phil. in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford.

Leigh Gallagher

Senior Editor at Large, Fortune

Leah Gallagher (@leighgallagher) is senior editor-at-large at Fortune and the co-chair of the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. She is also author of The Airbnb Story: How Three Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions…and Created Plenty of Controversy and The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving. From 2014 through 2016, Gallagher was the host of Fortune Live,’s weekly 30-minute video show featuring one-on-one interviews and roundtable panels with CEOs, entrepreneurs, and other business leaders. A seasoned on-air commentator, she has appeared regularly on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, CBS This Morning, and CNBC’s Squawk Box, as well as “Weekly Wrap” with host Kai Ryssdal on public radio’s Marketplace. Gallagher is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a past visiting scholar at the Business and Economic Reporting program at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. She received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University.

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