Introducing Second Opinion

The Secretary of the Smithsonian hosts a new roundtable series on some of the big issues facing America

David J. Skorton image

“I think we can and should take a more prominent role in convening discussions important to people, even when these reveal differences. Exchanging ideas among ourselves and with other experts in open conversations will enrich the exhibitions, research, education, and programs we produce.”
— Smithsonian Institution Secretary David J. Skorton, M.D., from his essay "Proud To Be Your Colleague"

With its breadth and depth of expertise in science, the arts, history, technology, and education, the Smithsonian Institution is uniquely poised to be a catalyst for convening a national conversation about the critical issues of the day.

Second Opinion is an Institution-wide partnership to create a digital platform for thought leaders to explore challenges facing the nation and the world at large, from climate change to education to technology to the arts. Our goal is not to advocate but to educate: The more we understand the different opinions that can arise from the same suite of facts, the better we can work together towards a common solution.

Four times a year, the Institution will convene a panel of experts representing a spectrum of thought for a roundtable discussion on an issue facing the nation. A video and transcript of the discussion, along with articles, educational resources, and other content elements will be posted as well.

We welcome your feedback -- and invite you to host a conversation on this topic in your own community and send us the results of your interactions: See the Vox Populi area for a set of questions and instructions for sharing.  

What does it mean to be an American today?  image
Current Topic

What does it mean to be an American today?

Secretary Skorton leads a vibrant conversation about the role immigrants play in our nation's economy, politics, and culture

Do you have reason to be optimistic about Earth's future? image
Previous Topic

Do you have reason to be optimistic about Earth's future?

Secretary Skorton joins some of the world’s leading thinkers in a spirited discussion about our ever changing planet