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‘Conversations with Tyler’: Mason Professor Discusses Future of Innovation, Economy with High-Profile Guests

February 27, 2015

By Buzz McClain

Tyler Cowen, chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center, speaks at the Fairfax campus. Photo by Alexis Glenn.

Tyler Cowen, chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center, speaks at the Fairfax campus. Photo by Alexis Glenn.

Tyler Cowen is bringing thought leaders to George Mason University to engage in deep dialogues and expose the public to new ideas.

Cowen, Holbert L. Harris Chair in Economics and general director of the Mercatus Center at Mason, will host a series of discussions with economists, entrepreneurs, authors and innovators in a program called “Conversations with Tyler.” He and his guests will discuss some of the largest challenges the world faces as well as the future of the global economy.

“These will not be ‘So tell me about your latest book’ sorts of dialogues, but rather the kind of give and take that might happen at a dinner table at a conference, after a talk or between co-authors,” says Cowen. “The idea of the series is to bring high-quality conversations, the sort which usually happen only in private, to a broader public audience.”

While the conversations will be diverse, the guests have much in common, including “extreme smarts, articulateness, openness to dialogue and a willingness to engage with public issues of import,” Cowen says.

Cowen’s first conversation is with venture capitalist and entrepreneur Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal, on Tuesday, March 31, at 2 p.m. The two New York Times best-selling authors will discuss “The Future of Innovation.”

Jeffrey Sachs, economist, author and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, is the guest on Tuesday, April 7, at 3:30 p.m. The talk is entitled “The Future of Economic Development.”

Just announced, Luigi Zingales will visit with Cowen on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at a time to be announced. Zingales is a professor of entrepreneurship and finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and author of “Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists.”

Each 90-minute conversation takes place at the Founders Hall Auditorium on Mason’s Arlington Campus. Admission is free, but online registration is required. For the Peter Thiel event, register here. For the Jeffrey Sachs event, register here. A registration site for the Zingales talk will be posted later.

For more information, contact events associate Bethany Stalter at