WorldAffairs

Full event details: worldaffairs.org/wa2014

A keynote conversation with Ray Suarez, the new host of Inside Story, Al Jazeera America's daily program. Suarez was with PBS' NewsHour from 1999 to 2013, most recently as its chief national correspondent. He hosted National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation for six years before joining PBS. Suarez also spent seven years reporting for Chicago's NBC-owned station WMAQ-TV. Suarez began his career as a Los Angeles correspondent for CNN, a producer for the ABC Radio Network in New York and a reporter for CBS Radio in Rome.In 2010 Suarez was inducted into the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Hall of Fame. He is a co-recipient of two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards for NPR's on-site coverage of the first multi-racial elections in South Africa and of the first 100 days of the 104th Congress. Suarez is the author of the critically acclaimed "Latino Americans," the companion book to the PBS documentary series of the same name that was published in 2013.

Speakers
Ray Suarez, Host, Inside Story, Al Jazeera America
Jane M. Wales (moderator), President & Chief Executive Officer, World Affairs Council

Direct download: 3_15_14-WA14_Ray-Suarez.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:47pm PST

Full event details: worldaffairs.org/wa2014

The Obama administration has long sought to reposition itself in the international arena - hoping to turn back the last decade's "tide of war," reduce American vulnerabilities in the Middle East, "rebalance" toward Asia and emphasize "nation-building" here at home. This is an ambitious agenda, but not an unfamiliar one. Retrenchment presidents of the past - those who charted a new path after major wars - give us a framework for evaluating the current administration's efforts. What can we learn from their experience? What are the pre-requisites for successful retrenchment? What are the pitfalls? And how well is the Obama administration meeting the challenge?

Speaker
Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor for the Practice of International Diplomacy, Columbia University

Direct download: 3_15_14-WA14_US_Role.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:44pm PST

Full event details: worldaffairs.org/wa2014

Four years after civil unrest and protests sparked transformations across the Arab world, we sit down with two prominent Arab scholars for a frank discussion of this deeply misunderstood region. What are the roots and the future of Arab politics and the unrest in the region? How will democracy evolve in such a diverse landscape? What is the future of political Islam? Is there a positive role for the West to play in the reconstruction and state-building of the new Arab world?

Speakers
Shadi Hamid, Director of Research at the Brookings Doha Center and a fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution
Marwan Muasher, former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Vice President of Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Janine Zacharia (moderator), Carlos Kelly McClatchy Visiting Lecturer, Department of Communications, Stanford University

Direct download: 3_15_14_WA14_Arab_Awakening.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:41pm PST

Full event details: worldaffairs.org/wa2014

A keynote conversation with Thomas L. Friedman. Friedman is an internationally renowned author, reporter, and columnist—the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes and the author of six bestselling books, among them "From Beirut to Jerusalem" and "The World Is Flat".

Speakers
Thomas Friedman, Foreign Affairs Columnist
Jane M. Wales (moderator), President & Chief Executive Officer, World Affairs Council

Direct download: 3_14_14-WA14_Tom_Friedman.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:39pm PST

Full event details: worldaffairs.org/wa2014

Comprehensive immigration reform is at the top of the policy agenda in 2014. While the debate may be no less contentious than it has been in the past, there is growing consensus that a solution can be found, not only for those already here but for those who would like to come. Perspectives vary regarding immigrants in the United States with both positive and negative viewpoints, but many agree that workers are needed across the spectrum—high-tech, low-tech or no-tech. From the food that we eat to the high-tech start ups, large portions of the US economy are dependent upon foreign-born workers. Who are these people and how can immigration policy best be shaped to help fuel America's innovation economy? What is the status of this debate?

Speakers
Tara Magner, Program Officer, Policy Research, US Programs, MacArthur Foundation
Simon Rosenberg, President and Founder, NDN
Jose Antonio Vargas, Founder, Define American

Direct download: 3_14_14-WA14_Immigration.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:36pm PST

Russia is back in the news and not just for the Olympics in Sochi in February. President Vladimir Putin is grabbing attention and headlines on the international stage as well as at home. From US-Russian relations to the Middle East and the Syrian crisis to domestic human rights debates, these policy initiatives raise many questions about Mr. Putin’s intentions and Russia’s role in the world. What is happening in Russia today and what might we expect in the near future?
Confirmed Speakers
  • Corey Flintoff, International Correspondent, Moscow, Russia, NPR News
  • Masha Gessen, Author and Journalist
  • Olga Oliker, Associate Director, International Security & Defense Policy Center, RAND Corporation
  • Carla Thorson*, Vice President of Public Programs, World Affairs Council
Direct download: 3_15_14_WA14_New_Face_Russia.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:16am PST

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates the civil war in Syria has displaced up to 10.25 million people, with 3.45 million of those refugees living in nearby countries. Neighboring Lebanon has accepted nearly one million Syrian refugees, approximately 22% of its population. Jordan's third largest "city" is now the Zaatari refugee camp which holds over 120,000 people. Other nations in the region are experiencing the wave of immigration, and all are struggling to support the massive influx of refugees with inadequate public services and infrastructure that barely met the needs of existing populations. What short and long term impacts will this refugee crisis have on the region, and what is the likelihood, if any, of these displaced persons returning home?
Confirmed Speakers
  • Jana Mason, Senior Advisor for External Relations and Government Affairs, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Maureen White, Visiting Scholar, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
  • Mona Yacoubian, Senior Advisor, Middle East and Project Director, Pathways to Progress, Stimson Center
  • Aaron Schachter*, Assignment Editor, The World, Public Radio International
Direct download: 3_15_14_WA14_Syrian_Refugees.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:14am PST

When asked about the US strategy in the War on Drugs, American drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said “In the grand scheme, it has not been successful,” and "forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified.” In 2011 the Global Commission on Drugs issued its top recommendation: reclassify drug use as a public health issue instead of a criminal issue. In 2013 President Obama announced a plan to expand drug education efforts, increase access to treatment for drug users and restructure the use of mandatory minimum sentences for drug offences. Some European countries have already begun to implement these policies with interesting results. What do Obama’s new initiatives mean for the country? What does it mean to reclassify drug use as a public health issue? What lessons can be learned from Europe? Can the United States effectively reduce the harmful effects of drugs at home and abroad while also reducing the enormous fiscal burden of the War on Drugs?
Confirmed Speakers
  • Beau Kilmer, Co-Director, RAND Drug Policy Research Center; Senior Policy Researcher, RAND Corporation; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
  • Ethan Nadelmann, Founder & Executive Director, Drug Policy Alliance
  • Robert MacCoun*, Professor of Public Policy, Goldman School of Public Policy; Professor of Law, School of Law, University of California Berkeley
Direct download: 3_15_14_WA14_War_Drugs.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:11am PST

After over a decade of war, US troops are scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of this year. Will Afghan forces be able to maintain peace and continue to build a stable, democratic government or will American troops stay on longer? Will we see a renewed civil war as happened following the Soviet withdrawal in the 1980s? Many believe that stability in Afghanistan depends on Pakistan, and vice versa, and Pakistan is seen as a key player in coordinating peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. What does the future hold for these neighboring nations?
Confirmed Speakers
  • Marc Grossman, Vice Chairman, The Cohen Group; former US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • Cameron Phelps Munter, Professor of International Relations, Pomona College; former US Ambassador to Pakistan
  • Neil Joeck*, Visiting Scholar, Institute for International Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Direct download: 3_15_14_WA14_Afghanistan_Pakistan.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:09am PST

Cybersecurity in both the public and private sectors is of increasing importance and growing concern, yet it is largely misunderstood. For many it is synonymous with identity thieves and hackers trying to gain access to government secrets or personal files; however these concerns do not take into account offensive cyber operations taken by governments, the susceptibility of electric grids or financial systems, and potential threats to future networks i.e. for driverless cars. Recent revelations about the scope of the National Security Agency’s worldwide cyber-surveillance operations led Microsoft’s general counsel to write that “government snooping potentially now constitutes an advanced persistent threat, alongside sophisticated malware and cyber attacks.” What is the scope of the threat to our security in cyberspace? How transparent should actors (states or companies) have to be about their cyber practices, both offensive and defensive? How can we protect our vital infrastructure? What are cyber "best practices"? Which policies should guide behavior of the US government in cyberspace? And, what might the future of cybersecurity look like?
Confirmed Speakers
  • Jennifer Granick, Director of Civil Liberties, Center for Internet and Society, Stanford Law School
  • Herb Lin, Chief Scientist, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, The National Academies
  • Andrew Woods*, Cybersecurity Fellow, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Freeman Spogli Insitute for International Studies at Stanford University
Direct download: 3_14_14_WA14_Cybersecurity.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:06am PST

The African continent is often viewed monolithically and through the negative lenses of drought, corruption and violence. Although many difficult obstacles remain, Africa is in the midst of a transformational moment, led by record economic growth, unprecedented foreign investment and rapid modernization. These 55 nations are, in reality, vibrant and diverse regions brimming with ingenuity, entrepreneurship and talent. Today, Africans are looking inward; utilizing the vast penetration of mobile networks and their own creativity to find inventive solutions to problems ranging from lack of banking services to rural electrification. With Africa’s outdated infrastructure grid offering $1 trillion in investment opportunities and financial services expected to grow by 40%, who will the likely players be? Where are the high and low-tech innovations taking place, and what role will they play in youth development, social activism and entrepreneurship? How does the African diaspora factor into the expansion of homegrown businesses in Africa? Do the significant challenges that stakeholders face outweigh the benefits of investing in the continent? How could African nations reposition the continent globally, based on the current economic leap?
Confirmed Speakers
Direct download: 3_14_14_WA14_Innovation_Africa.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:04am PST

Over the last century, global poverty has largely been viewed as a technical problem that merely requires the right "expert" solutions. Yet all too often, experts recommend solutions that fix immediate problems without addressing the systemic political factors which created them in the first place. Further, these recommendations may produce an accidental collusion with "benevolent autocrats," leaving dictators with yet more power to violate the rights of the poor. The true solution to the problem of global poverty, argues Professor William Easterly, is freedom. Easterly presents a new economic development model focused on individual rights and limiting the power of the state in order to finally end poverty.

Speaker William Easterly is Professor of Economics and Co-director, Development Research Institute, New York University.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1240

Direct download: 3_27_14_Freedom_Poverty.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:58am PST

The relationship between the United States and Russia has long been an unstable one. Both Presidents Clinton and Bush sought inroads with Russia and staked much on their personal ties to Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin -- only to leave office with relations at a low point -- and Barack Obama managed to restore ties only temporarily. The Obama administration fostered a positive relationship with former President Dmitry Medvedev, but that 'reset' fell apart after Vladimir Putin's return to the post. While cooperation continues in certain areas, most recently with Syria, broader collaboration is lacking. Professor Stent argues that the same contentious issues -- terrorism, missile defense, Iran, nuclear proliferation, Afghanistan, the former Soviet space, the greater Middle East -- have faced every US president, Democrat and Republican alike, since the collapse of the USSR. What are the prospects for improving relations in the future? Is the effort doomed to fail again and again?

Speaker Angela Stent is the Director, Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies, Georgetown University.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1236

Direct download: 3_10_14_US_Russian_Relations-1.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:58am PST

In the past 30 years, China has been transformed from an impoverished country where peasants comprised the largest portion of the populace to an economic power with an expanding middle class and more megacities than anywhere else on earth. This remarkable transformation has required, and will continue to demand, massive quantities of resources. Like every other major power in modern history, China is looking outward to find them. Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael Levi will explore the unrivaled expansion of the Chinese economy and the global effects of its meteoric growth. China is now engaged in a far-flung quest, hunting around the world for fuel, ores, water and land for farming, and deploying whatever it needs in the economic, political and military spheres to secure the resources it requires. Chinese traders and investors buy commodities, with consequences for economies, people and the environment around the world. Meanwhile the Chinese military aspires to secure sea lanes, and Chinese diplomats struggle to protect the country's interests abroad. And just as surely as China's pursuit of natural resources is changing the world—restructuring markets, pushing up commodity prices, transforming resource-rich economies through investment and trade—it is also changing China itself. As Chinese corporations increasingly venture abroad, they must navigate various political regimes, participate in international markets and adopt foreign standards and practices, which can lead to wide-reaching social and political ramifications at home.

The speakers are Elizabeth Economy, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, and Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment; Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1235

Direct download: 3_5_14_China_Resources.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:02am PST

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