WorldAffairs

Since his boyhood in Libya, Neil MacFarquhar has developed a counterintuitive sense that the Middle East, despite all the bloodshed in its recent history, is a place of warmth, humanity, and generous eccentricity. In total, he has spent more than 25 years in the region, including five years based in Cairo as the Bureau Chief for lt;igt;The New York Timeslt;/igt;, preceded by seven years as a correspondent for The Associated Press during which he lived in Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Cyprus. Seeing the violent news from the region creating a large gap between the outside image and the internal reality, MacFarquhar joins the Council to share the stories of a men and women across the Middle East who are pioneering political and social change from the most unexpected places.

Direct download: 06-29-09_Neil_MacFarquhar.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:35pm PST

Following President Obama’s historic speech in Cairo and as events are unfolding in Iran and throughout the Middle East, the Council is pleased and honored to host His Excellency Sameh Shoukry, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the United States. A career diplomat, Ambassador Shoukry has previously served as Egypt Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, as well as in Egyptian embassies in London, Buenos Aires and the Permanent Mission of Egypt in New York. A specialist in disarmament and non-proliferation issues, he has formally held senior posts in the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has served as Secretary for Information and Follow-Up for President Hosni Mubarak. Ambassador Shoukry joins the Council to discuss US-Egyptian relations and recent developments in the Middle East.

Direct download: 06-24-09_Ambassador_Sameh_Shoukry.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:11am PST

Bank bailouts, fiscal stimulus and bankruptcy counseling. Amidst the solutions proposed to fix the current global economic crisis, why do so few of the pundits and policymakers discuss the role of women? Join the World Affairs Council in conversation with Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking, and Monica Morse, Board Member of Astia, as they discuss the global impact of women on economic development—from microfinance to leaders of multimillion dollar companies. The speakers will explore the work of their organizations, which respectively recruit, train and support women running both small ventures as well as high growth, high capital outfits. They will discuss how investing in women as a business strategy creates a sound social and financial approach to alleviating the current crisis and preventing others.

Direct download: 06-18-09_Women_Entrepreneurs.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:50am PST

Michael Pollan believes that “real food”—the kind of food your great-grandmother would recognize as food—is being undermined across the globe by science on one side and the food industry on the other. As the modern Western or “American” diet has been linked to an epidemic of chronic diseases, from obesity and type 2 diabetes, what can governments and their citizens do to put the focus back on the health of the soil, plants, and animals that make up the food chain? Pollan joins the Council to explore what the industrialization of food and agriculture has meant for the world’s health and happiness, how it has shaped cultures, and looks at the growing movement to renovate the food system.

Direct download: 6-16-2009_Michael_Pollan.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:55pm PST

The Obama administration has been in office for roughly 20 weeks and has inherited myriad problems. In foreign affairs, how have they done so far? Have there been any serious errors? What is the Obama doctrine? What are the most critical international challenges that await the new president? Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Sanger joins the Council for an analysis of the most sensitive national security issues facing President Obama and will provide an assessment of how well the new administration has fared. Sanger is the author of the most recent book, The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power, in which he argues that the huge costs of distraction and lost opportunities in the last years of the Bush presidency have put the United States in a vulnerable position and that as a result the new Obama administration has an unusually large number of critical foreign policy issues to deal with.

Direct download: 06-11-09_David_Sanger.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:27am PST

Jeff Rubin forecasts that despite the current recessionary dip, oil prices will once again soar once the economy recovers. With the disappearance of the world’s oil reserves, the amount of food and other goods we get from abroad will be curtailed and long distance travel will be rare. Globalization as we know it will reverse. Alongside these predictions, Rubin prescribes priorities for the Obama administration and other leaders: from imposing carbon tariffs and investing in mass transit to forging green alliances between labor and management that will be good for both business and the climate. Rubin is a Canadian economist and energy expert, and among the first to predict the dramatic oil price increases back in 2000.

Direct download: 06-09-09_Jeff_Rubin.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:04am PST

Are our current international institutions effectively equipped to address today’s most pressing global security challenges, ranging from climate change and nuclear proliferation to civil strife and terrorism? How can President Obama and key allies revitalize international cooperation and rejuvenate international institutions not only to protect their own citizens, but also to cooperate across borders to safeguard common resources and tackle common threats? Stephen Stedman joins the Council to present ideas for the new US administration and other global powers to promote what they cannot produce apart—peace and stability. A leading expert on civil wars and conflict management, Stedman was formerly the research director of the United Nations High- Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change from 2003-2004, and Assistant Secretary General and Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations, in 2005.

Direct download: 05-29-09_Stephen_Stedman.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:00am PST

Charles Duelfer was one of the most senior intelligence officers with on-the-ground experience to have worked in Iraq before, during, and after the Gulf War. While serving as the leader of the CIA’s Iraq Survey Group, his 2004 report is widely renowned as the most authoritative account on the relationship of the Saddam regime to weapons of mass destruction, as well as how the world was led to believe that Iraq possessed WMDs. But until now, Duelfer has never publicly shared his expertise on just how the US-Iraq relationship spiraled into a second war, and the lessons that can be applied to the challenges ahead in Iran and North Korea.

Direct download: 06-02-09_Charles_Duelfer.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:03am PST

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