February 11, 2007
by Geraldine Fabrikant
SERIOUS TALK He made a fortune in private equity, but Robert Rosenkranz’s passion is public policy. That passion has led Mr. Rosenkranz, chief executive of the Delphi Financial Group, to organize a series of public policy debates under the rubric Intelligence Squared US.
On Thursday, the Asia Society’s New York headquarters, on Park Avenue at 70th Street, was packed with people paying $40 to hear six speakers kick around the question of whether religion plays too big a role in American life. Other programs on the schedule are scarcely less combustible: global warming, domestic surveillance and China. All the programs are already sold out.
Mr. Rosenkranz, who underwrites much of the cost for the evenings, said he wants to provoke serious discussion on important issues, something he believes is missing from the public discourse.
“I think people are tired of the crudeness that passes for debate,” said Mr. Rosenkranz, who modeled his group on a British debating society. “There is a hunger for discourse on this level.”