Intellectual debates: all wrapped up

A mentally stimulating Christmas present for the politically engaged

Intelligence Squared membership card gift box, £200
Intelligence Squared membership card gift box, £200

Anyone interested in current affairs and intellectual debate will knowthat, stimulating though these subjects are, it’speople with product-orientated hobbies such as fishing and cookery who always getthe best Christmas gifts. This year, however, the clever folk behind IntelligenceSquared are bucking the trend.

Founded in 2002 by John Gordon, former chief executive of global mediaintelligence company Xtreme Information, and Jeremy O’Grady, editor in chief ofThe Week, Intelligence Squared is an international debate and discussion forumthat brings together some of the most exciting orators and sharpestminds to discuss the issues that define our times. The list of former speakersreads like an A-Z of the intellectual elite (think Alain de Botton to GoreVidal via Germaine Greer and Richard Dawkins), while recent subjects haveranged from “Jesus would have voted Democrat” and “London should love its bankers” to “The democratisation of manufacturing, design and technology”.

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Past debates are available to view online, but anyone seeking the fullIntelligence Squared experience must be there in person – which is where the Christmas gift comes in. For the sum of £200, Open to Debate memberships canbe redeemed in any combination, from one seat at six debates to six seats at onedebate. As well as front-of-house tickets to the entire spring 2013 Londonprogramme (a thought-provoking collection, including “Israel is destroyingitself with its settlement policy” on Tuesday January 15, “Karl Marx was right” on Tuesday April 9 and “Putin has been good for Russia” on Thursday May 23), membership entitles the recipient to join the Intelligence Squared Round Table and help todecide the debates for the autumn season.

As presents go, this trumps other annual subscriptions – especially as themembership card comes packed in a chic, numbered black and red gift box (pictured). But dohurry: these cards come in a limited edition of 250.

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