About This Show
Host Christopher Phillips democratizes and Socratizes with an eclectic mix of guests with an array of views and voices who join him in seeking new portals for achieving ever-greater openness and connectedness as individuals and as a society. Chrisophter is founder of the global Socrates Cafe and Democracy Cafe movements (SocratesCafe.com, DemocracyCafe.org), bestselling author and sought after speaker and moderator (ChristopherPhillips.com), an entrepreneur (SocratesGroup.org), and an Investment Advisor Representative for Martin Capital Advisors (https://www.martincapital.com/about-us/our-people/), Chris's website is ChristopherPhillips.com
Special thanks to Odin Halvorson (OdinHalvorson.com), our masterful volunteer editor and engineer, for his invaluable contributions to this podcast.Read more »
Most Recent Episode
There are no limits to what we can discuss and question at a Socrates Cafe -- Jenan Abdullah, Qatif, Saudia Arabia
Imagine you are a woman and live in a country in which you have no rights. None. Not the right to vote, nor even the right to drive a car (while that will change next month at long last, the government -- an absolute monarchy -- has arrested many who led the movement for this right). Imagine you love philosophy, but that you have to read philosophical works, including 'Socrates Cafe: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy,' secretively online, because it's forbidden.
Imagine you love exploring philosophical and political questions, and that you are so courageous enough to arrange a gathering with like-minded women, in a public place, to do just that, come what may.
That is what Jenan Abdullah has accomplished. Jenan, 21, is a dentistry student at a university in the city of Qatif. When she learned about Socrates Cafe and read our facilitators guide, she felt this was just the thing for her, and other women in Saudi Arabia, and she was inspired and determined to start one, even though it could put her at risk if the powers that be in the absolute monarchy in Saudi Arabia discover what she is up to.
Jenan is the organizer of the first-ever Socrates Cafe for women in Saudi Arabia. All those who gathered with Jenan were strangers at the outset, but after they explored the questions 'What is freedom?' and 'Should abortion be allowed?' these diverse and thoughtful souls became fast friends -- and even though Jenan planned only to have a Socrates Cafe once a month, they now have pledged to convene it at least every other week.
It is thrilling and humbling that I have played some modest part in this, and that our Socrates Cafe endeavor over time might be a great force for positive social change (indeed upheaval). I talked with Jenan about her experiences and hopes and dreams, not just with Socrates Cafe, but for herself and for Saudi Arabia itself -- and how Socrates Cafe might prove to be part of an unstoppable force in making her country more open. Listen in.
(Apologies for the poor quality of the recording, but Jenan had to do this at an internet cafe with a weak signal. Also, I misunderstood one word she said -- I heard 'coverment,' thinking she was referring to the head scarves women there have to wear, when she was in fact referring to 'government'). I look forward to doing another podcast with Jenan, who has my boundless admiration, as well as with other participants in her ground-breaking gathering in the near future.
[Thanks as always to our volunteer engineer Odin Halvorson for working his magic splicing this together.]Read more »