For immediate release September 10, 2018

The Phi Beta Kappa Society Launches Podcast "Key Conversations with Phi Beta Kappa"

WASHINGTON, DC – The Phi Beta Kappa Society today debuted Key Conversations with Phi Beta Kappa, a compelling podcast that features intelligent conversations with Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholars who are experts in the fields of international law, Shakespeare, microbiology, economics of science, early modern European art history, and astronautics, among others.

Hosted by Frederick M. Lawrence, Secretary/CEO of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, new episodes will be released every six weeks, giving listeners a seat at the table as these fascinating scholars reveal how their backgrounds, motivations, research, and life paths have led them to where they are in their respective fields today.

Key Conversations is the Society’s newest podcast, joining the weekly podcast from The American Scholar magazine, Smarty Pants, which features interviews with authors and other lively voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs.

The first episode of Key Conversations with Phi Beta Kappa features Fred Lawrence chatting with his longtime friend, Professor Harold Hongju Koh of Yale Law School. Koh is Sterling Professor of International Law at Yale Law School and one of the country’s leading experts in public and private international law, national security law, and human rights. He is also the author of “The Trump Administration and International Law,” which will be released on September 17 from Oxford University Press. Their intimate and revealing conversation covers Koh’s expansive knowledge of foreign affairs, his views on the state of our nation, and the lasting influence of an immigrant father whose curiosity and capacious mind still inspire him. Subsequent episodes feature Professor Ayanna Thompson, a specialist in Renaissance drama and issues of race in performance, and Professor Amy Cheng Vollmer, a microbiologist whose research centers on how bacteria react to different types of stress.

“Hosting the podcast is a joy for me,” Lawrence said. “It’s like getting together for coffee with extraordinary women and men to discuss their life stories, their writings, and the sources of their ideas. I hope our listeners join us at the next table and enjoy the conversations as much as I do.”

“Imagine feeling so intellectually full after listening that you turn to your best friend and utter, ‘You HAVE to listen to this.’ That’s pretty much how I feel after editing each of these episodes,” says Juleyka Lantigua-Williams, the show’s editor. “Key Conversations will earn its place among the elite interview-style shows we love because they bring us into intimate dialogue with great thinkers who see the world in fascinating ways.”

Episodes of Key Conversations with Phi Beta Kappa can be found at conversations, followed on the Radio Public app, and found on most podcast platforms. The episodes are edited and produced by Lantigua Williams & Co.


About Frederick M. Lawrence

Fred Lawrence is the 10th Secretary and CEO of The Phi Beta Kappa Society. An accomplished scholar, teacher and attorney, he is one of thenation’s leading experts on civil rights, free expression, and bias crimes.Lawrence is a Distinguished Lecturer at the Georgetown Law Center, and has previously served as president of Brandeis University, Dean of the George Washington University Law School, and Visiting Professor and Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2018 and the American Law Institute in 1999.


About The Phi Beta Kappa Society

Founded on Dec. 5, 1776, The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation's most prestigious academic honor society. It has chapters at 286 colleges and universities in the United States, 50 alumni associations, and more than half a million members worldwide. Noteworthy members include 17 U.S. Presidents, 40 U.S. Supreme Court Justices and more than 140 Nobel Laureates. The mission of The Phi Beta Kappa Society is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, foster freedom of thought, and recognize academic excellence. For more information, visit


About The Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program

Since 1956, Phi Beta Kappa has contributed to the intellectual life of college campuses across the nation by fostering opportunities for the exchange of ideas between students and Visiting Scholars, who are drawn from among America’s most distinguished thinkers.


About Lantigua Williams & Co

Lantigua Williams & Co., Inc. is a digital production studio founded in 2017 with the mission of supporting storytellers working in audio and film. With its creative and business partners, the company produces podcasts, documentaries, films, and other types of original narrative-driven works. Visit or @LanWilCo to learn more.