Meet the Palisadian Executive Director of Zócalo Public Square

By LILY TINOCO | Reporter

Palisadian Moira Shourie has been appointed as interim executive director of Zócalo Public Square, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization founded in 2003.

Zócalo works to connect “people to ideas and to each other by examining essential questions in an accessible, broad-minded, and democratic spirit,” according to its website.

The organization partners with educational, cultural and philanthropic institutions, and strives to offer a space to engage in intellectual conversation. The organization has partnered with the Getty, UCLA and the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

Shourie boasts ample experience in leadership and serving on nonprofit boards: She spent 12 years as an executive at MTV Networks International, launching the network throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia, and has been on Zócalo’s Board of Trustees since 2017.

As Zócalo’s executive director, Shourie is responsible for all editorial, strategic and organizational responsibilities. Shourie shared that Zócalo’s events are always free and open to everyone.

“We provide complex, intellectual questions made available to the public for free and there are no barriers to entry,” Shourie said to the Palisadian-Post. “You don’t have to have a PhD in history to come to one of our events and learn about Native American culture … we’re open to everyone and all ideas are welcome.”

Zócalo covers a range of topics, from civic life and race relations to politics and democracy. In December 2019, Zócalo hosted an event discussing marijuana and its regulatory challenges in relation to California legislation.

Occasionally, Shourie hosts private Zócalo events in her Palisades home. This month she shared that she is excited to host Harvard professor Philip J. Deloria, who is the university’s first professor of Native American history. Deloria will be interviewed by Patty Limerick, from the University of Colorado’s Center for the American West.

“Los Angeles doesn’t have a gathering space, it doesn’t have a Times Square or National Mall,” Shourie said. “So what we are attempting to do is bring Angelenos together around ideas and our events.”

On Thursday, February 27, at 7:30 p.m., Zócalo will host a public event at Cross Campus in Downtown LA discussing Native American futurism with Deloria, visual and performance artist “Kite,” and writer Aja Couchois Duncan to explore the future through a reflection of the present. All events are followed by a complimentary reception.

For more information about Zócalo Public Square and upcoming events, visit zocalopublicsquare.org.