World Affairs

The human rights movement has made enormous progress, with a proliferation of groups around the world addressing a growing range of rights abuses—from classic repression to economic and social rights. There are new tools, such as the International Criminal Court or the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, but also new challenges, as power diffuses away from the classic Western supporters of human rights, traditional press outlets for the dissemination of rights information diminish and the world grapples with how to address such persistent problems as the atrocities in Syria, the revived authoritarianism in Russia and Egypt and the resort to arguments of culture to repress women or LGBT people. How has the human rights movement changed to address this new environment? What have we learned from past human rights challenges and how can we apply these lessons going forward? To mark International Human Rights Day, Kenneth Roth, who has led Human Rights Watch for over 25 years, will reflect on the progress of the global human rights movement and share his insights on the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Speaker Kenneth Roth is the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch.

For more information about this event, please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/29#.Up-JkmRDvhs

Direct download: 12_10_13_Human_Rights.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

The media is not merely an observer reporting on events. In the digital age, media is a primary actor in global affairs with the power to influence elections, drive revolutions, save lives in a disaster and even trigger deadly conflict. For years, the power to harness the media's influence lay in the hands of a select few, but today thanks to the free flow of information the power of the media to intervene in global affairs is in the hands of anyone with access to an internet connection. Emmy Award winner David Hoffman will discuss the media's historic impact and examine the question; where is the power of the media going from here?

Direct download: 12_9_13_Independent_Media.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

The top secret raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan pretty much summed up the relationship between the US and Pakistan, one of mutual distrust and minimal cooperation. Both nations have made mistakes with this tragic and often tormented relationship, but for better or worse argues Daniel Markey, the US must continue to invest time and resources into this geostrategic partner. Markey has delved deep into the historical aspects of the US-Pakistan connection and will analyze US policy in Pakistan since 9/11 and regional dynamics such as the rise of China to explain how Washington can prepare for the worst, aim for the best and avoid past mistakes.

Daniel Markey is the Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1209#.Up0UK2RDvhs

Direct download: 12_5_13_Pakistan_Foothold.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:30pm PDT

The 2013 Awards Dinner of the World Affairs Council and the Global Philanthropy Forum honors Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, Inc.

This year we recognize Dick Costolo for helping to achieve positive social change through private enterprise, and for his leadership of Twitter, which is making a transformational impact on societies, economies and polities here and around the globe.

Please check back soon for the full video.

Direct download: 11_21_13_Costolo_Awards_Dinner.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:47am PDT

Lester Brown, founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute, has lived his life on the forefront of speaking truth to environmental issues worldwide. In 1963 while at the US Department of Agriculture, Brown produced the first global food supply and demand projections to the end of the century and on a brief assignment in India in 1965 he sounded the alarm on an impending famine there, setting in motion the largest food rescue effort in history that helped save millions of lives. Brown helped pioneer the concept of environmentally sustainable development and focuses his research on food, population, water, climate change and renewable energy. Brown will speak about his life’s work and the continuation of the Earth Policy Institute’s vision to achieve an environmentally sustainable economy.

For more information about this event, please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/a-pioneer-for-environmental-sustainability.html

Direct download: 11_13_13_Lester_Brown.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

In the media realm, Rupert Murdoch stands alone. He is seen as the most influential media tycoon the English-speaking world has ever known. Murdoch's company, News Corp., which started with just one newspaper in Adelaide, Australia controlled hundreds of news outlets including newspapers, film, television, broadcasting, cable networks, publishing houses and more at its height. It was a company that had no rival. Then in 2011, a series of scandals (starting with the News of the World wire tapping) threatened to bring Murdoch's entire empire crumbling down, but it somehow survived. Media correspondent for NPR News, David Folkenflik will delve into the scandals that almost ended Rupert Murdoch's media empire to explain why a man with such influence was almost brought down and examine the true cost of Murdoch's survival.

David Folkenflik is a Media Correspondent for National Public Radio.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/murdoch.html

Direct download: 11_12_13_Murdoch_Empire.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

Some call the 65 year-old relationship between Pakistan and the US a strategic alliance. For Pakistan, the US has been a source of much needed aid and military supply. For the US, Pakistan has been a stabilizing force in a largely unstable region. Today, Pakistan is seen in the US as a hotbed of terrorist activity and the US is seen in Pakistan as a constant source of humiliation. Former Pakistani ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, blames these deteriorating views on a relationship between these two countries that has always been based on mutual incomprehension and the belief that one can play the other. Drawing on his experience with his homeland and his time in the US as an ambassador and a professor, Haqqani will lay out his views on the US-Pakistani relationship and why the two just can't seem to understand each other.

Husain Haqqani is the Director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/pakistan-and-the-us.html

Direct download: 11_7_13_Pakistan_US_Alliance.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

Recently, international attention has been focused on the impact of the Syrian civil war, which has driven over 2 million individuals out of the country, turning them into refugees overnight. This vast relocation puts a strain on the resources of neighboring countries and threatens to spread instability throughout a region that has been dealing with refugee crises for decades. In addition to those who have fled to other countries, hundreds of thousands of civilians are also displaced within Syria.

While the situation in Syria has grabbed headlines, a longer term refugee crisis continues. For over 60 years, Palestinian refugees have lived across the region, receiving services including education, health care, relief and social services, food assistance and other forms of emergency assistance from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Many of these individuals were seeking refuge in Syria and have now been forced to move once again.

What is the impact of the Syria crisis on the situation of Palestine Refugees and their unresolved status? Are there lessons to be learned from the ongoing plight of Palestinian refugees in the international community's response to the Syrian crisis? Filippo Grandi will discuss UNRWA's efforts in the region, the displacement caused by the Syrian civil war and long-term issues and instability in the region.

Filippo Grandi is the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/seeking-refuge.html

Direct download: 11_4_13_Palestinian_Refuge.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:12pm PDT

The meaning of North American energy independence and how to achieve it has been a hot topic of debate for years.  The oil crisis of 1973 brought into focus the stark reality that the US was reliant on other nations for access to oil. Determined to prevent similar incidents, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was created in 1975 and today the US has the capacity to hold up to 727 million barrels of emergency fuel. Though it sounds like an immense amount of oil, it equates only to an estimated 36 days of use. So the search for an alternative, safe, clean and affordable domestic source of energy has continued. Scientists had known for years about natural gas trapped in a dense layer of sedimentary rock—known as shale—buried a mile or more underground all over the country. The problem with shale gas was it was too difficult to access; a problem solved by 'hydrofracking', commonly referred to as, 'fracking'.  A little over a decade ago scientists created a process to inject water under high pressure into shale, breaking it and releasing trapped gas and oil. This simple idea of injecting water into the ground effectively lit the fuse that has caused an American energy explosion. Shale gas is cleaner than coal and oil. Fracking has created jobs, lowered emissions, kick-started industry and for the first time in decades created an energy surplus in the US.  However, fracking comes with its own environmental costs.

Inspired by his previous book, "The Ripple Effect: the Fate of Freshwater in the Twenty-First Century", author and journalist Alex Prud'homme began researching the impact fracking has on the quantity and quality of fresh drinking water. The result is a guide that weighs the evidence both for and against fracking. Prud'homme will give an unbiased presentation of the present state of hydrofracking to bring clarity to a debate that, in his words, "has been exacerbated by an absence of hard data and an excess of hyperbole on both sides".

Speaker Alex Prud'homme is a journalist and he is the author of "Hydrofracking: What Everyone Needs to Know".

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/hydrofracking.html

Direct download: 10_29_13_Hydrofracking-1.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

The World Affairs Council and Bloomberg present "mInnovation: What's on the Horizon?"

Tomorrow's smartphones will be equipped with capabilities almost unimaginable today. Engineers are working on ways to make portable devices faster, smarter, wearable and more secure. These powerful mini-computers will boast bendable screens, liquid-cooling systems and sensors that follow touch-free commands. We'll use wireless phones to project holograms, combat disease, chart climate change, track migration patterns, and enable an array of innovative and contextual products and services.

At the same time, outfitting handheld machines for an ever widening range of tasks and ensuring that these benefits are enjoyed equitably remains a challenge.

This engaging discussion about disruptive innovations in mobile technology features Mike Abbott, Guy Bar-Nahum, and Timothy Morey. Pui-Wing Tam moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/audio-video/minnovation-whats-on-the.html

Direct download: 10_29_13_mInnovation_Bloomberg.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

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