News and Announcements

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Letter from Birmingham Jail

As we mark the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we'll read and discuss the "Letter from Birmingham Jail" (circa April 1963).

It can be accessed from various sources online, including at the following link below:

This meeting is intended to be a small group discussion to allow a robust exchange of views and ideas. The discussion will be focused on a close textual analysis of philosophical insights from this historically-significant document.


Some questions worthy of further exploration or consideration:

- Do any universal themes emerge from the text?

- Who is the intended recipient of the letter and has he pursued the reader or the audience?

- Do you find the moral, philosophical, and religious references to be relevant and persuasive?

- Is this document still relevant in today's society? If so, how?


IMPORTANT: the reading assignment is mandatory, if you wish to attend.

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Debate: "Affirmative action is necessary to redress past racial injustices."

Come watch a live debate on the contentious topic of "Affirmative Action." Fred ( and Karin ( will team up against Chuck ( and Rob ( to engage in a civil and thoughtful debate on this topic.

Here's the final language of the debate resolution:

"Affirmative action is necessary to redress past racial injustices."

The debate will be in an "Oxford-style" format (

The event schedule:

6:00 -- doors open
6:30 -- introduction by the moderator
6:45 to 8:30 -- the debate
8:30 to 8:45 -- event wrap-up

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Political Thinkers: Christopher Hitchens

We'll continue the "Political Thinkers" series. It critically examines the political and ideological viewpoints of prominent public figures, considered to be tremendously influential as a trendsetter.

Here, the goal is to discuss fresh viewpoints -- some of which might be "unconventional" in nature -- in analyzing its applicability in our ever-increasingly complex society. Just like every issue that our group discusses, we examine and evaluate it with an independent and critical lens, at the highest intellectually-rigorous level.


For this discussion, we'll evaluate the work of the late Christopher Hitchens.

To that end, we'll explore the following questions:

- Do his views blur the lines of traditional ideological boundaries?
- What makes his appeal so controversial?
- Have his views and positions always remained intellectually consistent?
- What are his deep-rooted philosophical basis for his stated views and positions, if any?
- What do his rise to popularity indicate about the cultural or political climate of his time period?

We will then examine Hitchens' positions on philosophical topics and key policy matters, including:

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Saturday, December 29, 2018 Foreign Policy Forum: Climate Summit, Paris Protests, Brazil's Bolsonaro, Yemen

As we wrap up another busy year, we'll discuss a few important events and stories unfolding around the world.

1) Paris Protests -- The "Yellow Vest Movement" has sparked the world's attention in the recent weeks. We'll discuss the source of tensions, and the underlying economic and regulatory policies giving rise to this movement.

2) Brazil's Bolsonaro -- Brazil's President-elect is a self-proclaimed "nationalist" and "populist." In the post-liberal Lula-Rousseff era, there are many challenges ahead, including rampant corruption, as well as its relations with the South American neighbors and the U.S. The rise of self-proclaimed "populist" leaders with authoritarian leanings are prevalent in the current era -- what does it say about the current state of affairs?

3) Yemen's War -- The U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen is quickly losing public support. This is especially the prevailing consensus in Congress, in the wake of the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. The Senate, in its resolution, exercises the War Powers Act to order the executive branch to end an unauthorized military campaign. As this war enters its fourth year, we'll discuss the vested interests in this apparent regional proxy war, as well as the grave humanitarian crisis unfolding on our watch.

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The Fifth Annual Holiday Party!

You're cordially invited to join us for the Fifth Annual Holiday Party!

We had so much fun during the First (, Second (, Third (, and Fourth ( Annual Holiday Parties, we'll continue the tradition!

This is a special celebration, as this year marks the Fifth Anniversary of this group!

The vibe: we have the entire second floor reserved, conducive for a fun, festive gathering. "Happy Hour" drink prices offered for select drinks for the duration of the event.


The format: small group discussions with the following themes:

a) 2018: Year in Review -- what were the most important, or perhaps the most under-reported stories or events? Every year, it appears that so much has happened. Let's discuss the important moments that shaped this year and put things in perspective.

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The Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives (Part Two)

This is a follow up to the original "Moral Roots" discussion held back in August (


This is a special event co-sponsored with our friends at 103 Great Ideas Conversations ( The discussions will be moderated by Shrikant and Thomas.

EVENT FORMAT: a short presentation by one of the event hosts. We'll then breakup into a small group of about six attendees and explore these themes in depth. About 45 minutes later, we'll change up and rotate, so that each member has a chance to discuss in a new group.

Questions to be explored:

1) What are the six Moral Foundations across cultures identified by Jonathan Haidt and what do they mean?(Care, Fairness, Loyalty, Authority, Purity & Liberty)

2) Is there a systematic difference in Moral Foundations of those who seek to preserve the values already achieved (roughly speaking, Conservatives) and those who eagerly seek to achieve new values (roughly speaking, Liberals)? If so what is it?

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Debate Night @ WeWork! Topic: "Illegal Immigration"

Come watch a live debate on the contentious topic of "Illegal Immigration." Kyree­ ( and Peter­ ( will engage in a civil and thoughtful debate on this topic.

The final language of the debate resolution will be posted soon, but it may include the following themes:

- "This house supports granting of amnesty to all illegal immigrants."

- "Illegal immigrants pose a 'net cost' to society."

More details to follow.


IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The NYCPF is a nonpartisan organization. As such, we do not promote or advocate on behalf of any particular issues or causes. Rather, our aim is to foster independent, critical thinking by exchange of views with the highest level of intellectual rigor.

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Tech & Politics: The "Weaponization" of Social Media

For this meeting, we'll explore the intersectionality of politics and social media.

To that end, we'll discuss the following themes and subtopics:

- Whether social media exposes the "truth" or simply blurs it?

- How internet trolls shape elections by manipulating the message, and effectively "weaponizing" it.

- How tech and politics have blurred into a new kind of battlespace that plays out on our smartphones and other devices.

- The use, or "weaponization" of social media to engage in live military attacks in real time.

- China's new system of "social credit" in furtherance of its authoritarian regime.

- How the new national security and public safety threats may emerge from the darkest corners of the web, as the society charters into the unprecedented threats of our networked world.

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Post-Election Wrap Up and Analysis, Domestic Terrorism and "Mood of the Country"

Join us for a post-election wrap up and analysis, discussing the outcome of various contests, including the Midterm Congressional Elections, as well as various local races. We'll try to make sense of the electoral outcomes and put things in perspective.

We'll also discuss the recent spate of "domestic terrorism", as the mood of our Nation has taken a very dark turn stemming from the worst form of virulent, tribal politics.

Finally, we'll conclude with the overall "mood of our Nation," by discussing the overall state of affairs on a national level.

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Election Night Watch Party!

After you cast your vote, stop by to hang out to watch the election returns!

From local offices to the fate of the balance of power in Congress, be part of this historic election. You are cordially invited to join us to see the election outcomes unfold in real-time, with a drink in your hand!


IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The NYCPF is a nonpartisan organization. As such, we do not promote or endorse any particular ideologies or political parties. Rather, our aim is to foster independent, critical thinking by exchange of views with the highest level of intellectual rigor.