Big Thinking

Big Thinking

The Big Thinking series is held throughout Congress and brings together leading scholars and public figures who present forward-thinking research, ideas and solutions to the critical questions and issues of our time. The series is open to all Congress registered attendees and to members of the general public registering with a community pass.

Big Thinking schedule (to be confirmed)

  • May 31, 2021 - 12:15 to 13:15 (MT)
  • June 1, 2021 - 12:00 to 13:00 (MT)
  • June 2, 2021 - 12:00 to 13:00 (MT) 
  • June 3, 2021 - 12:00 to 13:00 (MT) 

Meet this year's speakers: 

Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Sheila Watt-Cloutier 

Everything is connected: Environment, economy, foreign policy, sustainability, human rights and leadership in the 21st century

June 3, 2021 | 12:00 to 13:00 MT

An environmental, cultural, and human rights advocate, Watt-Cloutier offers a new model for 21st century leadership by approaching urgent issues such as the environment, the economy, foreign policy, global health, and sustainability not as separate concerns, but as a deeply interconnected whole. 

About Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Sheila Watt-Cloutier is an environmental, cultural and human rights advocate. Her work demonstrates that the pressing issues of today – the environment, the economy, foreign policy, global health – are deeply interconnected. Watt-Cloutier is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee (2007) for her advocacy work in showing the impact of global climate change, especially in the Arctic, on human rights. She is also an Officer of the Order of Canada, and the recipient of the Aboriginal Achievement Award, the UN Champion of the Earth Award, the Norwegian Sophie Prize, the Jack P. Blaney award for Dialogue, and the Right Livelihood Award. She was Canadian President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council from 1995-2002, and International Chair of the ICC from 2002-6. Her memoir, The Right to Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet, was shortlisted for Canada Reads in 2017.

Ibram X. Kendi image

Ibram X. Kendi  

How To Be An Antiracist

May 31, 2021 | 12:15 to 13:15 MT

With opened minds, people are actively trying to understand racism. In this deeply personal and empowering conversation, Kendi will shift the discussion from how not to be racist to how to be an antiracist. He will also share his own racist ideas and how he overcame them.


About Ibram X. Kendi 

Ibram X. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. He is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News racial justice contributor. Kendi is the 2020-2021 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

He is the author of many books including Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, making him the youngest ever winner of that award. He also authored three #1 New York Times bestsellers, How to Be an Antiracist; Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, co-authored with Jason Reynolds; and Antiracist Baby, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky. His newest books are Be Antiracist: A Journal for Awareness, Reflection, and Action; and Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, co-edited with Keisha Blain, which will be out in February. In 2020, Time magazine named Kendi one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

For more information on Ibram X. Kendi, please visit


The Big Thinking series is sponsored by:

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