World Affairs

Digital currency platforms have the potential to disrupt the global financial infrastructure and change the way that people and institutions exchange value. With the ability to transfer funds instantly to anywhere in the world by anyone, digital currencies hold the promise of providing financial inclusion to those underserved or unserved by the traditional financial institutions, and transforming the global financial ecosystem. Please join us for a discussion of the future of digital currencies, and the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Speakers Brian Armstrong, Founder and CEO, Coinbase, Joyce Kim, Executive Director, Stellar.org, and Elizabeth Stark, Founder, StartBitcoin.org, participate in the panel discussion.

Cory Johnson, Anchor and Editor-At-Large, Bloomberg Television, moderates the conversation.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1442

Direct download: 03_25_15_Digital_Currencies.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:34pm PDT

Throughout Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, the United States employs private military contractors to carry out its objectives. While US firms dominate the market, warlords and militias have restyled themselves as private security companies in places like Afghanistan and Somalia. These private entities have become an integral part of the United States' defense strategy — the US can no longer go to war without contractors.

How does military contracting actually operate? What does the proliferation of private forces suggest about the future of war and international relations? Sean McFate, a former paratrooper in the US Army and previous employee of a military contractor, will discuss these questions and share his unique perspective on this growing industry.

This event is presented in partnership with the Marines' Memorial Association.

Speaker Sean McFate is Assistant Professor at the National Defense University, and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.

The conversation will be moderated by Christopher Starling, Director of Military and Veteran Affairs, Marines’ Memorial Club.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1425

Direct download: 03_24_15_Sean_McFate.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:07am PDT

Climate change has long been a topic that inspires concern, but little action. While signs of its impact have slowly increased, it seems not to pose an imminent enough threat to initiate a global attempt to slow its progress. However, if we wait for the threat to become imminent, it may be too late to respond.

According to Gernot Wagner, lead senior economist at the Environmental Defense Fund, we should begin thinking about responding to climate change in the same way we think about our health or car insurance - as a way of managing potential risk. Wagner will share his insights on the political and economic barriers to preemptive action, the economic consequences of a hotter planet and the extreme responses, such as geoengineering, that will likely come from waiting too long to act.

Speaker Gernot Wagner is a Lead Senior Economist at the Environmental Defense Fund.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1424

Direct download: 03_17_15_Gernot_Wagner.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:22pm PDT

The Middle East faces many and diverse challenges. Nuclear talks with Iran move slowly, with deadlines repeatedly pushed back. The Islamic State retains its hold on large swaths of Iraq and Syria and the rise of extremism threatens regional and international stability. Oil prices have fallen, impacting economies across the region and the world. The recent succession in Saudi Arabia raises questions about the outlook for this key US ally. With all of these factors in play, the outlook for 2015 is indeed uncertain.

Vali Nasr, Middle East expert and former senior advisor to the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, will discuss these challenges and how they could impact international stability and security.

This event is presented in partnership with the Marines' Memorial Association.

Speaker Vali R. Nasr is the Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

The discussion will be moderated by Anja Lucia Manuel, Partner at RiceHadleyGates LLC.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1427

Direct download: 03_16_15_Vali_Nasr.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:12pm PDT

Around the world, nearly 800 million people are illiterate. That means one out of every 10 people would have a hard time reading this sentence. While global literacy rates improved over the last 25 years, progress has since stalled, especially for women and girls. And this isn’t only a developing world problem – 32 million Americans can’t read and write.

Today, literacy is as complex as it is powerful. What it means to be literate in different contexts is changing rapidly as digital skills become increasingly important and technology grows more sophisticated and more available. These advances create new and exciting opportunities to tackle basic literacy challenges, and produce new literacy challenges in their own right.

Educators and organizations all over the world are working hard in their communities to understand and address these issues. Literacy organizations such as Room to Read and Reading Partners are facing these challenges head-on whether in India, South Africa or right here in San Francisco. And Project Literacy, a major new campaign convened by Pearson in partnership with GOOD Magazine and others, seeks to make significant and sustainable advances in literacy over the next five years so that by 2030, no child will be born at risk of poor literacy.

Join us for this panel discussion to learn more about the scale of global illiteracy, the dimensions of the crisis as it breaks down along gender and class lines and the opportunities for intervention.

Speakers Erin Ganju, CEO and Co-Founder, Room to Read, Kate James, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Pearson, and Michael Lombardo, CEO, Reading Partners, will be in discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1433

Direct download: 03_12_15_Global_Illteracy.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:36am PDT

Pakistan faces many security challenges, both within and along its borders. The Taliban maintains a stronghold along the border with Afghanistan; the conflict with India over control of Kashmir has worsened in recent months; and in December Pakistan suffered the deadliest terrorist attack in its history when Pakistani Taliban attacked a school in Peshawar, killing over 100 students.

However, some positive signs of change have emerged. The Pakistani army has ramped up efforts to combat the Taliban and other militants. Relations with Afghanistan have improved since Ashraf Ghani was elected president, promising greater security cooperation along the border. And US Secretary of State John Kerry is working to help India and Pakistan mend relations. Will these efforts be enough to ensure future stability? Pakistan expert Christine Fair will discuss Pakistan’s security concerns and the outlook for this complex region.

Speaker Christine Fair is Assistant Professor of Security Studies Program for the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1422

Direct download: 03_04_15_Christine_Fair.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:37am PDT

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