It’s been 15 Years! Conversations from 2007

Dear New School Friends,

Fifteen years ago, in February of 2007, Michael Lerner hosted a conversation with Ted Schettler, MD, on the Implications of Ecological Health. The conversation took place by phone, Ken Adams (who is still with us!) produced the recording and posted it online, and The New School was launched.

With generous funding from both the Kalliopeia Foundation and The Whitman Institute, Founding Program Coordinator Cynthia Loebig and Michael hosted more than 30 conversations that year, with luminaries such as Ram Das, Rachel Naomi Remen, Parker Palmer, Jacob Needleman, Krista Tippett, and Carl Anthony. This was before we were doing video, of course.

“I had been sitting with the idea for The New School for several years before we launched,” Michael remembers. “I named it after The New School for Social Research in New York, where my father, Max Lerner, lectured for many years. Up until then, Commonweal hosted many wonderful specialized projects in cancer, juvenile justice, the environment, and much more. But we had no project that really spoke to the much wider community that I believed would resonate with Commonweal’s values and intentions.

“Our tagline, ‘Nature, Culture, and Inner Life,’ spoke to those values and intentions. I had no idea that 15 years later The New School would continue to draw a global community of friends. The New School work is the most purely joyful work I do at Commonweal. I can talk with anyone who interests me about anything that interests them.”

You can take a walk down memory lane with us by listening to any of the 2007 recordings on our website. We are curious to know what your favorite conversations are from our archives.

So much water has passed under the bridge these 15 years. More than 350 conversations: books published, lives changed, the world itself changing. By now, our podcasts have been listened to hundreds of thousands of times, our videos have been watched more than a million times, and we have thousands of people following us on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, Amazon Podcast, and YouTube, and Vimeo.

I came to The New School as coordinator in 2010, after Cynthia Loebig, and then Jacquie Mallegni, moved on to other endeavors. I remember training with Jacquie, learning about the fascinating people coming through Commonweal as part of the New School: thought leaders and change makers who were a part of the Commonweal community, and whose ideas were adding to the collective reflections of the New School community and beyond.

I remember setting up chairs, greeting people as they came in, and watching Michael work his magic as the well-researched and insightful interviewer he is. Through the years, others—like Steve Heilig, Eric Karpeles, and Irwin Keller—joined The New School to host conversations in addition to Michael.

One year we launched a new website. Another year we bought a new stage and better chairs. Another year we started working with video, as well as audio, recordings. Another year brought a new sound board for larger events in our gallery space at Commonweal. Theme songs changed and evolved. Of course, in 2020, we moved to online webinars, watching as more and more people joined us from around the country and the world. None of our work would have been possible without the support of our community, people like you offering small and large contributions over the years.

Fifteen years goes by in a blink of an eye.

Maybe ceremony and ritual are things that help us mark time, and, in that way, slow it down.

You can help us mark these 15 years of collective learning through in-depth and heartfelt conversation by making a donation, by listening to our recordings, and by joining us for future conversations. Later this year, we’ll have more celebrations to mark our anniversary, and we hope you will join us there, too.

But, for now, join us in taking a deep breath, and remembering the richness of these 15 years and all they held.

With warm reflections,
Kyra Epstein | Program Coordinator

2007 New School Conversations

Ted Schettler, MD
February 5, 2007
This conversation with host Michael Lerner and Ted Schettler explores how Ted’s exploration of the effects of chemical contaminants on environmental health have led him into a comprehensive perspective on the interaction of genes, gene expression, nutrition, stress, income disparities, chemicals, and many other factors in human health.

Ram Dass and Rachel Naomi Remen, MD
February 6, 2007
Now living on Maui, Ram Dass talked with Rachel Naomi Remen and host Michael Lerner about what his 1997 stroke taught him, and how he

Peter Warshall
February 22, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with ecologist, activist, and essayist Peter Warshall, editor of Whole Earth Review, and teacher at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute.

Fredi Kronenberg, PhD
February 22, 2007
Join host Michael Lerner in conversation with Dr. Fredi Kronenberg, founding director of the The Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at Columbia University. Dr. Kronenberg has done research on herbal treatment of menopause and other women’s health issues using ethnobotany, Chinese medicine, nutrition, and integrative medicine approaches.

Dean Radin, PhD
March 5, 2007
In this conversation with host Michael Lerner, Radin describes the surprising reach of the substantial scientific literature on psi phenomena, and wonders whether psi phenomena are not ultimately an example of the universe talking to itself.

Chet Tchozewsi
March 19, 2007
In this conversation with Michael Lerner, Chet Tchozewski describes the critical role intuition plays if you want to distribute small grants to thousands of grassroots organizations in over one hundred countries.

Sushmita Ghosh
March 22, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Ashoka social entrepreneur Sushmita Ghosh.

Christina L Desser
March 29, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Chris Desser—environmental lawyer and community activist.

Idelisse Malave and Gihan Perera
April 3, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Tides Foundation’s Idelisse Malave and union organizer and activist Gihan Perera.

Nipun Mehta
April 17, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Nipun Mehta—ex-dot-com whiz kid and founder of—in conversation about impermanence, service, and co-creating a better world.

Rick Ingrasci, MD, MPH
April 19, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with healer and activist Rick Ingrasci, MD, about joy, social intelligence, and the ethical imagination.

Pete Myers, PhD
May 7, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with environmental scientist and author Pete Myers.

Sandra Steingraber, PhD
May 14, 2007
Join Michel Lerner in conversation with Sandra Steingraber, a mother, an American biologist, cancer survivor, poet, and author in the tradition of Rachel Carson.

Parker Palmer, PhD
June 4, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Dr. Parker Palmer—an author, educator, and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality, and social change

Jacob Needleman
June 7, 2007 Join this conversation between author and philosophy professor Jacob Needleman and Steve Heilig, the director of Public Health and Education for The San Francisco Medical Society and a research

Geoff Lawton
June 14, 2007
Join permaculture teacher, designer, and speaker Penny Livingston-Stark as she hosts this New School conversation with Geoff Lawton, Australian permaculture teacher and advocate.

Peter Kingsley
June 21, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with author, researcher, and professor Peter Kingsley about spirituality, culture, and philosophy.

Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim
July 12, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Yale scholars and historians of religion Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim about the interface between religion and the

Thomas Yeomans, PhD
July 16, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Thomas Yeomans, author of writings on psychosynthesis and spiritual psychology as well as three volumes of poetry and a children’s book.

Ariska Razak, RN, and Carol Densmore, CNM
July 20, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with nurse midwives Ariska Razak, RN, and Carol Densmore, CNM, talking about birth and the healing wisdom of earth-based traditions.

Teddy Cruz
July 26, 2007
Join host Chris Desser in a conversation with urban planner Teddy Cruz about local architectural and urban planning solutions for global political and social problems.

Rachel Kyte
August 30, 2007
Join Michael Lerner for this conversation with Rachel Kyte, director of the Environment and Social Development Department at the International Finance Corporation.

Richard Tarnas, PhD
September 6, 2007
Join Michael Lerner for a conversation with Richard Tarnas about his book, Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, which received the Book of the Year Prize from the Scientific and Medical Network.

David Bonbright
September 20, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in a conversation with international grantmaker David Bonbright about the project he calls Keystone Accountability, creating a better way for foundations, non-governmental organizations, philanthropists and other civil society actors to evaluate the actual effectiveness of third-sector projects.

Paul Gorman
October 5, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in this two-part conversation with Paul Gorman, founder and executive director of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment since 1993. Listen to Part

Krista Tippett
October 11, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Krista about her work and her conversations about faith, meaning, and religion.

Virginia Veach, PhD
November 2, 2007
In this conversation with Michael Lerner, physical therapist and psychotherapist Virginia Veach describes how she works with cancer and other patients.

Nancy E Adler, PhD
November 2, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in a conversation with Nancy Adler, professor of psychology at the University of California, vice-chair of the Department of Psychiatry, and director of the Center for Health and Community.

Carl Anthony
December 13, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Carl Anthony, one of the preeminent thought leaders in environmental justice in the United States.

Paul J. Growald
December 14, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with investor, venture philanthropist, and beekeeper Paul J. Growald.

Gary Cohen
December 14, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Gary Cohen, executive director of the Environmental Health Fund in Boston and co-director of Health Care Without Harm—a global partnership for environmentally responsible healthcare.

Ursula Goodenough, PhD
December 21, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with professor and author Ursula Goodenough about her work and book, The Sacred Depths of Nature.

Dr Martha Herbert
December 21, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Dr. Herbert about the new paradigm of autism research and treatments.

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