World Affairs

Asia’s rapid growth is leaving millions behind, causing a widening gap between rich and poor that threatens to undermine the region’s stability. Developing Asia’s growth story masks underlying, complex challenges that need to be urgently tackled by policy and decision makers.

Rajat M. Nag, Managing Director General of the Asian Development Bank, in conversation with Asia Foundation President David Arnold, will discuss the economic and governance challenges across the region.

Direct download: 11_29_12_Rajat_Nag.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

There are still places on the planet of staggering beauty and biological diversity that defy the imagination. Countless species have yet to be described by scientists. These very places are being gradually carved up, cleared and converted to suit economic needs, with serious environmental consequences on a local and global scale. A growing recognition of the centrality of economics to the fate of the forest and other natural areas has spurred international conservation organizations to place new emphasis on understanding and changing the economics. Can an economically informed approach make a difference?

John Reid and Marcos Amend draw on over three decades of combined experience to address that question in a session that will look at the economic fundamentals of forest conservation. Their talk will focus on Brazil, looking at the country as both a regional powerhouse and home to some of the last Indigenous, forest-based cultures. Reid and Amend will show how Brazil's economy is driving development in the Amazon Basin, shared by nine countries, with important implications for biodiversity and demanding economically smart solutions. They will also provide a glimpse into economics at a local scale, where Indigenous people are trying to plan realistic businesses that maintain a role for standing forest.

Direct download: 11_27_12_John_Reid__Marcos_Amand.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

The past few years have shown that America is facing hard times with complex challenges still ahead. The unemployment rate hovers around 8%, the income inequality gap continues to widen and American students are not receiving the best education possible. To add to this, the country is in the midst of political gridlock. To surmount these difficulties, Gus Speth asserts that transformative change is essential in the American political economy.

Speth will discuss his ideas for the specific adjustments that would be needed to move toward a new system, such as the “theory of change” that explains how system change can occur in America. In presenting his vision for American political, social and economic life, Speth envisions a future that will be worth fighting for and argues that Americans are capable of using their freedom and democracy in powerful ways to create a renewed America.

Direct download: 11_26_12_Gus_Speth.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

From the outside the conflict in Afghanistan has been painted as a war between pro-democracy forces and Islamist fanaticism. It is, however only one small part of the larger and much older conflict—between Kabul and rural Afghanistan, between the attraction of the modern world on the one hand and traditional Afghanistan on the other. Drawing on his Afghan and Muslim roots, Tamim Ansary reveals a centuries-old internal Afghan struggle the world has never fully understood. Ansary sheds light on a country desperately trying to find its identity, while undermined by its own demons, plagued by a 40-60 year cycle of invasion by outside forces and constantly at the center of an ill-informed international political debate. This event is in partnership with the Asia Society and Mechanics' Institute.

Direct download: 11_14_12_Tamim_Ansary.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

For more than 25 years the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has terrorized large swaths of Central Africa, roaming between at least four African nations with impunity. While multinational efforts have been made to stop the group and its infamous leader Joseph Kony, the communities of the Eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are left to deal with the effects.

As head of the Catholic Church’s Peace and Justice Commission in northern Congo, Abbé Benoît Kinalegu helped to create an early warning network in which local activists report LRA attacks and movements, as well as set up a rehabilitation center to help children who have escaped the LRA. Kinalegu will be joined by Human Rights Watch Africa Researcher Ida Sawyer for a conversation about the challenges of working in the Eastern Congo, and how NGOs and local communities are working to stop human rights abuses and heal a traumatized region.

Direct download: 11_13_12_Human_Rights_Central_Africa.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:30pm PDT

Helen Clark will consider the impact of growing inequality and environmental degradation and introduce poverty, inequity and environmental sustainability as inter-linked global challenges.

She will also examine how countries and communities are employing innovative, integrated approaches to simultaneously address these challenges, linking this to the outcome of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.

Direct download: 11_7_12_Helen_Clark.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

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