APM’s Marketplace host and senior editor Kai Ryssdal delivered the keynote address at The Murphy Institute’s Mary C. Parker Yates Lecture to a standing-room-only audience on October 19, 2023. The lecture explored the challenges and opportunities for building a sustainable sense of shared national identity in the U.S. in an era of increasing polarization.
Ryssdal, who also co-hosts the podcast Make Me Smart, is an award-winning journalist with over 20 years of experience covering business and the economy. Marketplace is aired on NPR News and targets the latest developments in both national and international business, the global economy, and wider events linked to the financial markets.
In his lecture, Ryssdal focused on the idea that a shared national identity is essential for a healthy democracy. However, he also acknowledged that such an identity is difficult to achieve in a country as diverse as the United States. “We are a nation of many different cultures, religions, and backgrounds,” Ryssdal said. “But we also share some common values, such as freedom, opportunity, and equality.”
Ryssdal offered several suggestions for fostering a sense of shared national identity, including:
- Teaching civics education in schools.
- Encouraging people to engage in civic activities, such as voting and volunteering.
- Celebrating our shared history and culture.
- Finding common ground with people who have different viewpoints.
The lecture was followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience, moderated by Murphy Institute Executive Director Gary “Hoov” Hoover. “Kai Ryssdal is an award-winning journalist who has covered business and the economy for over 20 years,” said Hoov. “He is a thought leader on issues of national identity and polarization, and I am grateful that he was able to share his insights with the Tulane community.”
The Mary C. Parker Yates Lecture is designed to promote university-wide discussion of issues of current concern. Each year, the Yates Lecture brings leading thinkers and public figures to the Tulane campus.
The lecture was held in the Myra Clare Rogers Memorial Chapel on the Tulane University campus. View the 2023 Yates Lecture.