World Affairs

The internet, GPS, voice recognition programs like Siri – many of the technologies that we use today were developed with national security in mind. These inventions and many others began as projects of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Defense Department’s secretive military research agency. For more than fifty years, DARPA has held to a singular and enduring mission: to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security. The genesis of that mission and of DARPA itself dates to the Cold War and the launch of Sputnik in 1957, and a commitment by the United States that it would be the initiator and not the victim of strategic technological surprises. Working with innovators inside and outside of government, DARPA has repeatedly delivered on that mission, transforming revolutionary concepts and even seeming impossibilities into practical capabilities. The ultimate results have included not only game-changing military capabilities such as precision weapons and stealth technology, but also major innovations in modern civilian society.

How do they do it? What makes this military organization such fertile ground for invention? What technologies with useful daily applications have failed to enter into civilian use? Can Silicon Valley learn from DARPA, or vice versa? Drawing on extensive interviews, declassified memos and inside sources, investigative journalist Annie Jacobsen will share insights into this top-secret organization.

Speaker Annie Jacobsen is an Investigative Journalist and Author.

The conversation is moderated by Andrew Becker, Reporter, The Center for Investigative Reporting.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1386

Direct download: 09_29_15_Annie_Jacobsen.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

This week’s episode focuses on Technology and Innovation and comes in two parts. In the first half hour, we will highlight the future and where the next great innovations are likely to come from, in a conversation with Eric Schmidt of Alphabet and Tom Kalil of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In the second half of this episode, we will look to the past and what has made the great innovators of Silicon Valley. This is an excerpt from a conversation between Walter Isaacson of the Aspen Institute and Jane Wales of the World Affairs Council.

Speakers: Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet

Tom Kalil, Deputy Director of Technology and Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute

Jane Wales, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council

Direct download: 12_14_15_Schmidt_Isaacson_Technology_Innovation.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:08am PDT

Israel is one of the most diverse societies in the world, often described as a mosaic. While Israelis and Arabs struggle to find lasting peace, social divides are only widening following last summer’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza. One of the largest obstacles to protecting vulnerable populations affected in both Israel and the Occupied Territories is clear policy that will expand and secure human rights. How can Israelis and Palestinians foster a culture of human rights and bring about real change in Israel across all sectors of society? The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) is Israel’s largest and oldest human rights organization, dealing with the entire spectrum of rights and civil liberties issues in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Through precedent-setting legal work, human rights education, public outreach and international advocacy, ACRI has contributed significantly to the protection and enforcement of human rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories. As Executive Director of ACRI, Sharon Abraham-Weiss takes head on some of Israel’s most challenging issues.

The conversation is moderated by Chimène Keitner, Professor of Law at the UC Hastings College of the Law.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1517

Direct download: 10_22_15_Sharon_Abraham-Weiss.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:42pm PDT

As sea levels rise, winters become harsher and crop patterns are disturbed. All eyes look towards Paris and the UN climate change conference to see if the international community can make meaningful progress towards curbing emissions. While the role of states in negotiating a treaty can be expected, what roles do philanthropy and the private sector play in creating state agendas and implementing change? This discussion will focus on the current state of the environment, what we can expect from upcoming negotiations and how we can work across sectors to implement solutions.

Speakers Guillermo Castilleja, Chief Program Officer, Environmental Conservation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, David G. Victor, Professor of International Relations, School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego, and Sissel Waage, Director, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, BSR, are in discussion.

Alicia Seiger, Deputy Director, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, Stanford University, moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1547

Direct download: 10_16_15_WA15_Combat_Climate_Change.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:49pm PDT

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