On Shifting Ground

Veteran NewsHour correspondent Margaret Warner will discuss how international events – and their coverage –- are being transformed by the internet and social networks, and explore the challenges and opportunities of reporting in an era of unlimited information. Her remarks will draw from some of her recent reporting trips abroad, including two to Egypt in this year of turmoil. Her reporting has also taken her to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Korea, China, Kenya , Brazil, Russia and multiple countries in Western Europe. Ms. Warner is one of five senior correspondents on PBS's nightly news program reporting on, and interviewing, leading figures who make and analyze today’s news. She is also lead correspondent for the PBS NewsHour’s Overseas Reporting Unit. Her coverage abroad has won many awards, including a coveted Emmy in 2008.

Direct download: 12_5_11_Margaret_Warner.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:24am PST

Will the next Steve Jobs be made in China? It's a distinct possibility. The past decade has seen enormous growth in entrepreneurial enterprises in China, but it is still a society and economy beset by censorship, piracy, corruption and state controls. Rebecca Fannin, Founder of Silicon Asia, and Edith Yeung, a Partner at RightVentures, will discuss the hurdles Chinese entrepreneurs encounter, the challenges both local and foreign investors face, and some of the strategies companies employ to make a splash in the Chinese consumer market and compete with global companies.

Direct download: 12_1_11_China_Biz.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:34am PST

Conventional wisdom holds that weak and failing states are extremely attractive to transnational terrorist groups because they have unmonitored borders and provide places where terrorists can plan attacks. If this is the case, why are only a minority of these states home to terrorist groups? In fact, mainstream beliefs about the threats posed by failing states are based on anecdotal arguments, not on a systematic analysis of the connections between state failure and transnational security threats. A country's institutional weakness is not the only appeal to terrorist groups; it is a state's ambivalent relationship with, or direct support for, these groups that attracts them. Join Stewart Patrick as he shows that while some global threats do emerge in fragile states, most of their weaknesses create misery only for their own citizenry and the real global threats originate farther up the chain in government.

Direct download: 11_29_11_Stewart_Patrick.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:37am PST

There is a growing consensus among economists and world leaders that girls' education is the single most effective tool for fighting poverty in developing countries. While not a panacea, education yields enormous benefits for girls, their families, and society, including increased future income, lower risk of HIV/AIDS, and improved health outcomes. Yet not all approaches to educating girls are equally effective. Join Ann Cotton, Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, and Joel Samoff as they discuss the benefits and the challenges of educating girls in Africa, and share lessons learned from years of experience working in the sector.

Direct download: 11_21_11_Girls_Education.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:39am PST

Representing the aerospace center of California during nine terms in Congress, Jane Harman served on all the major security committees: six years on Armed Services, eight years on Intelligence and four on Homeland Security. She has made numerous Congressional fact-finding missions to hotspots around the world including North Korea, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Guantanamo Bay to assess threats against the U.S. Most recently, in her new role, she was in Tunisia and Egypt as an election monitor. The Honorable Jane Harman is a former member of Congress, and current President and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. This luncheon format offers an opportunity to hear remarks from Ms. Harman on issues of national security, followed by a conversation including your questions and comments.

Direct download: 11_18_11_Jane_Harman.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:45am PST

Lebanese-born Nada Prouty was a respected agent for the FBI and CIA who was assigned to high-level terrorism cases, working in Yemen, Pakistan and Iraq. In the months following the 9/11 attacks, she was accused of selling information Hezbollah and stripped of her American citizenship. She was ultimately exonerated, but almost a decade later, she has not regained her citizenship. Prouty will discuss her story, and how anti-Arab sentiment and a rush to judgment may have cost her her livelihood and her American identity.

Direct download: 11_17_11_Nada_Prouty.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:47am PST

Global total military expenditures is estimated to account for about 2.7% of global GDP. If the sheer size of the business was not enough to influence politics, then the fact that the majority of arms contracts are awarded by governments to supply militaries makes them of incredible political importance. Sometimes these contract negotiations take place publicly but often there is no bidding or competition at all. Join Andrew Feinstein as he draws back the curtain on a world of legitimate multi-billion dollar government contracts, the illicit arms trade and the frequent links between the two. He will reveal the impact this trade has, not only on less stable countries around the world but also the democratic institutions of the United States and the United Kingdom.

Direct download: 11_10_11_Andrew_Feinstein.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:48am PST

For the second installment of the three-part series “China: Reshaping the East” the Council is pleased to welcome Dr. Bates Gill, Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute to discuss his recently completed a study on China-North Korea relations. In his analysis Dr. Gill will put a particular focus on the new and emerging actors in China that are seeing to a deepening of relations between Beijing and Pyongyang, and the implications of those relations for US policy in East Asia.

Direct download: 11_8_11_Bates_Gill.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

General Carter F. Ham became commander of U.S. Africa Command headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany on March 9, 2011. U.S. Africa Command is one of six unified geographic commands within the Department of Defense unified command structure. General Carter F. Ham served as an enlisted Infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division before attending John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. He was commissioned in the Infantry as a Distinguished Military Graduate in 1976. His military service has included assignments in Kentucky, Ohio, California, Georgia, Italy and Germany to name a few. He has also served in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Macedonia, and Iraq. He has held a variety of positions to include Recruiting Area Commander; Battalion Executive Officer at the National Training Center; Advisor to the Saudi Arabian National Guard Brigade; Commander, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry; Chief of Staff, 1st Infantry Division; Commander, 29th Infantry Regiment; commander, Multi-National Brigade, Mosul, Iraq; Commander, 1st Infantry Division; Director for Operations, J-3, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC.

Direct download: 11_08_11_Gen_Carter_Ham.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:52am PST

Advances in mobile technology and digital tools are radically changing the landscape of human rights reporting and adjudication. They are also allowing development agencies and governments access to parts of the world that were previously unreachable, due to lack of infrastructure. The Council will host three panelists to discuss the role of technology in this growing field. Whether it’s mobile banking in the South Pacific, malaria education in Mali, or human rights reporting in the DRC, technology is playing an increasingly vital role.

Direct download: 11_2_11_Going_Digital.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

From the outside, Mexico's drug war looks like any other civil war, with assassinations of police chiefs, mass graves, car bombs, beheadings and paramilitary death-squads. Despite the military aid and billions of dollars thrown at the problem south of the Rio Grande by the US, there have been over 30,000 murders since 2006 and seemingly no decrease in the violence. Journalist Ioan Grillo has spent over ten years reporting from the front line of the drug war in Mexico. He has interviewed cartel insiders as well as government and security officials in the hopes of finding who these mysterious figures are who are tearing Mexico apart. Join the World Affairs Council in welcoming Ioan Grillo as he gives a portrait of Mexico's drug cartels, how they have transformed in the last decade and how deep US involvement really goes.

Direct download: 10_26_11_Ioan_Grillo.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

The founders of economic theory have taught us that an unfettered market system will produce optimal results. But what if competing market forces do more social harm than good? Robert Frank argues that our economic system has more to learn from Charles Darwin's theory of evolution than Adam Smith's invisible hand. Frank will discuss his theory of evolutionary economics, and propose changes in US economic policies that would benefit the rich, poor and middle class alike.

Direct download: 10_08_11_Robert_Frank.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:37am PST

Long before the attacks of September 11, 2001 the rights and civil liberties guaranteed by the US Constitution have been challenged by legal compromises made in the name of national security. The result is a system that undermines the criminal justice system’s fairness, enhances the executive branch’s power over citizens and immigrants, and impairs the debate and protest essential in a constitutional democracy. Join the Council in welcoming Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist David Shipler who will discuss how our rights to privacy and justice have been undermined and what we have lost in the process. He will also examine the historical expansion and contraction of fundamental liberties in America, the places where the civil liberties we take for granted have eroded and how much we stand to regain by protesting the recent departures from the Bill of Rights.

Direct download: 3_7_12_David_Shipler.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:29am PST

Exploring the Internal Implications of U.S. Debt

Direct download: 10_13_11_Michael_Boskin.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Every year half a billion people are infected with malaria and millions die from this easily treatable disease. TIME magazine’s Africa Bureau Chief Alex Perry spent two years on the front line of the campaign to eradicate the disease that has devastated human populations for thousands of years. From the office of the UN Special Envoy for Malaria and the White House to the most malaria ravaged towns on Earth, Perry will give a portrait of modern Africa and tell of how the fight against malaria is revolutionizing foreign aid and development.

Direct download: 10_12_11_Alex_Perry.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Thanks to the internet, we now live in public. With more than 750 million people (and half of all Americans) on Facebook, and over 100 million Tweets echoing daily from Tahrir Square to the Mall of America, our personal lives are now shared globally; but is this new openness a positive change? Jeff Jarvis, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at New York’s City University, will examine the tension between privacy and openness and how it is transforming our communities, identities, businesses and the way we live. Should we embrace technological advancements for creating a more efficient and connected world, or fear that our increasing dependence on this invisible network may be to our detriment?

Direct download: 10_11_11_Jeff_Jarvis.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

The growing European sovereign debt crisis has many looking to Germany, the largest economy in the euro area and the fifth largest in the world, for a solution. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has affirmed that it is Germany’s duty to contribute to securing the euro’s future, but how far is Germany willing to go to defend the common currency? Is the European Union on the brink of implosion or will the debt crisis and other challenges of the globalized world deepen European integration? Join the World Affairs Council and the American Council on Germany for a talk with German Deputy Foreign Secretary Werner Hoyer, who will discuss the outlook for economic growth within the euro zone, Germany’s perspective on what is needed to achieve positive results and why the transatlantic partnership is indispensable for Europe, Germany and the West in an increasingly globalized world.

Direct download: 10-06-11_Werner_Hoyer.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Throughout history the battlefield upon which wars are fought has evolved with the weaponry and the spoils sought. Join Dr. Joel Brenner, former head of counterintelligence for the National Security Agency as he describes the next generation of war: battles waged on our databases with serious repercussions not just for governments and corporations but for individuals as well. Today electronic attacks and information theft are easier than ever, as events such as the WikiLeaks release of State Department files have demonstrated, but it is unclear how dangerous the situation has really become. Drawing on his years of experience at the top of the US Counterintelligence system, Dr. Brenner will discuss how our government and corporations are not equipped to stop wholesale theft of the secret information on which our national and economic security is based and how to effectively secure our virtual borders against these new threats

Direct download: 10_05_11_Joel_Brenner.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

What will the world look like when we finally burn the last drop of petroleum and shovel-full of coal? Will we be at a standstill or will we devise a way to continue living in the way our energy and fuel thirsty societies have become accustom? Join Nobel Laureate Robert Laughlin as he takes us several centuries in the future, not to a desolate future-scape but to a world that very much resembles our own: a world where there are still shopping malls and soccer moms, where people still ride in cars and airplanes, but without any of today’s conventional energy sources. Dr. Laughlin will show how solving the energy crisis is just a matter of clever engineering, and that while the world may be a bit warmer in the future, life will go on and the price of electricity will actually be less than it is today.

Direct download: 10_03_11_Robert_Laughlin.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

The United States has been embroiled in a protracted war on terror for a decade. Images from the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq bombard us on television and in print, but so much more is involved in the war on terror that we do not see. Innovative and creative counterterrorism strategies, adopted under President George W. Bush and expanded under President Barack Obama, have been implemented unbeknownst to most Americans. Join Eric Schmitt as he discusses his work with co-author Thom Shanker in their recently released book Counterstrike. In this account Schmitt and Shanker offer details of how the Pentagon, spy agencies and law enforcement have adapted Cold War methods to expand the field of battle and disrupt jihadist networks.

Direct download: 09-20-11_Eric_Schmidtt.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Ten years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the US is still at war with al-Qaeda. Yet with the recent killing of Osama bin Laden, what kind of threat does this network of terrorists really pose? Fawaz Gerges, a professor of Middle East Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics, will discuss the current state of al-Qaeda, arguing that since the 9/11 attacks the movement has splintered into feuding factions, neutralizing itself more effectively than any amount of counter-terrorism operations ever could. He will also discuss the democratic revolutions that swept the Middle East in the Spring of 2011 and what they mean for al-Qaeda and its influence on the politics of the region.

Direct download: 9_19_11_Fawaz_Gerges.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

With diverse and abundant energy resources, including the world's third largest oil reserves, Canada is the United States' top energy trading partner. Growth of Canada's energy resources is of crucial importance to the US. Join the Honorable Joe Oliver, Canadian Minister of Natural Resources, for a discussion on Canada's energy resources, including the oil sands, natural gas and hydroelectricity, and the importance of the US-Canada energy relationship.

Direct download: 9_14_11_Joe_Oliver.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Judge Joan E. Donoghue is wrapping up her first year as the US judge on the fifteen-member International Court of Justice (also known as the World Court) in The Hague. The docket of the World Court, which is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, includes cases between countries over topics ranging from environmental and human rights claims to border disputes, the use of military force and the establishment of new countries. Before joining the court, where she is the first female US judge and only the third female judge in the court’s history, Judge Donoghue had a long and distinguished career as an international lawyer, primarily in the U.S. Department of State, but also with stints in the Treasury Department, the private sector and academe. She will share her insights on the role of the World Court, other international tribunals and international law generally in addressing today’s global challenges.

Direct download: 08_29_11_Judge_Joan_Donoghue.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

As an ambassador and special envoy to Afghanistan, Peter Tomsen developed close relationships with Afghan leaders, dealt with senior Taliban, warlords, and religious leaders involved in the region’s conflicts over the last two decades. Drawing on his experiences and thousands of previously classified documents Tomsen sheds new light on the American involvement in the long and ongoing war in Afghanistan. With President Obama’s pledge to begin pulling troops out of Afghanistan in July 2011 looming, Tomsen argues American policy makers still do not understand the Afghan tribal environment or how US actions facilitated the ISI-supported Taliban comeback. Despite all the challenges ahead, Tomsen proposes solutions on how the coalition forces can assist Afghanistan and the region to return to peace and stability.

Direct download: 8_24_11_Peter_Tomsen.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Emotions run high when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the role of the United States in helping to resolve it. Jeremy Ben-Ami’s new book seeks to dispel some of the common myths about the national politics and Jewish communal dynamics around Israel. These include the notion that being pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian are mutually exclusive; that leaders of established Jewish organizations speak for all American Jews on Israel; and that talking peace demonstrates weakness. Ben-Ami will lay out a new direction for both American policy and a new rulebook for conducting the conversation on Israel in the American Jewish community

Direct download: 08_10_11_Jeremy_Ben-Ami.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

As the Arab spring turns to summer, tensions are growing at home and abroad about the aims and viability of the NATO operations in Libya, particularly during a time of economic uncertainty. The Honorable Gene Cretz, US Ambassador to Libya, will discuss current and past US relations with Libya, the ongoing NATO operations and international diplomatic efforts and what we can expect in the coming months and years. Ambassador Cretz is a career Foreign Service Officer, having served since 1981 in Syria, Israel, China, and Egypt, among other locations. On January 9, 2009, he became the first US Ambassador to Libya since 1972, after serving for two years as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Near East Affairs.

Direct download: 08-18-11_Gene_Getz.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Drawing upon three decades of immersion in Central America’s remote and dangerous landscapes, Mary Jo McConahay paints a picture of the people, politics, archaeology and species in the cradle of the Mayan civilization. Through cultural anecdotes and eye-opening tales from the people she has encountered, McConahay brings to life the allure of the jungle and the culture of the Lacandon people while recognizing the bittersweet changes brought by tourism and the unfortunate effects that drug-trafficking and violence have had on the region.

Direct download: 08_04_11_Mary_Jo_McConahay.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Lisa Anderson was appointed president of the American University in Cairo in January 2011, just one month before the popular protests began in Egypt. Prior to joining AUC, Anderson served as Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs and Director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University. A specialist on politics in the Middle East and North Africa, she will offer analysis and commentary on the events from her perspective both as a university president with a campus in the heart of Tahrir Square, and as a political scientist with particular expertise in the government and politics of the region.

Direct download: 7-21-11_Lisa_Anderson.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

The world’s second largest Muslim country, with 180 million people, Pakistan faces multiple challenges: a growing militancy, struggling economy, lack of effective governance, and an exploding population. Internal episodes, such as the Taliban attack on Karachi’s naval air base and the killing of journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad, coupled with external strains, like the killing of bin Laden, have brought Pakistan to a critical juncture. Anja Manuel, a Principal at the RiceHadley Group, will discuss what these events mean for the future of this South Asian power, and how US foreign policy in the region can adapt.

Direct download: 7_18_2011_Anja_Manuel.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

On March 11, 2011 a catastrophic earthquake struck off the coast of Japan triggering a massive tidal wave laying waste to the countryside of the northeast coast of Honshu. The true scale of the devastation won’t be known for some time, but the effects and consequences are under close examination by experts from many different fields. What is happening in Japan three months on? What are the effects this disaster will have on the region and the world? Dr. Steven Vogel, Dr. Barnett Baron and Dr. Tsuneo Akaha discuss the political, economic and humanitarian implications of the disaster in Japan and what we can expect looking forward.

Direct download: 06_29_11_Japan_Looking_Ahead.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

For years there has been a preference for having male offspring in many parts of the world. Consequently today there are over 160 million women and girls missing from Asia’s population and an unknown number missing from other continents thanks to selective sex abortion. This staggering gender gap is beginning to transform entire nations, leading to everything from a spike in bride-buying to an increase in crime. Join the Council in welcoming Mara Hvistendahl as she addresses the issues surrounding gender selection around the world and how the West bears responsibility for the world’s “missing women.”

Direct download: 6_23_11_Mara_Hvistendahl.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Senator Boxer will join the Council to discuss the need for a new course in Afghanistan in a speech entitled, “Ending America’s Longest War.” Senator Boxer is a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and author of a Senate bill that would require the Obama administration to give Congress a plan for the safe redeployment of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. She is the co-chair of the Senate Military Family Caucus and chairs the first Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee to focus on global women's issues.

Direct download: 6_17_11_Barbara_Boxer1.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

The 8.9 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011 set in motion one of the largest nuclear disasters in almost three decades. It also renewed the debate over the future of nuclear energy in the US and abroad. With 104 nuclear power plants across the country, generating about 20 percent of America's energy, there is no doubt that we are currently dependent on nuclear energy, yet the debate over this highly contentious technology is far from resolved. The three panelists will discuss what this disaster means for the future of US energy. How will the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant shape future energy policies and public opinion, and are there existing renewable technologies capable of fulfilling the world’s energy needs? Will nuclear energy be the fuel of the 21st century, or a relic of the past?

Direct download: 6_14_11_Nuclear_Energy1.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Since its beginnings in the 1970s with the founding of the Grameen Bank, microcredit has been praised as a powerful tool for reducing global poverty. By putting small loans into the hands of the poor, microcredit has allowed entrepreneurs world-wide to establish and expand their businesses, delivering sustainable income to those who need it most. The last decade brought an explosion in the number of micro-lenders and borrowers around the world. The number of customers served by microfinance institutions now surpasses 100 million, most of them women. This growth has helped scores of impoverished communities, but the recent commercialization of several large lenders, and the scarcity of quantitative analysis on the lasting impacts of microcredit has drawn scrutiny. Please join Dr. Dean Karlan, Yale University behavioral economist and co-author of the new book More Than Good Intentions (with Jacob Appel) for a review of what recent research has shown about the effectiveness of microcredit and other financial services for the poor. Dr. Karlan will be joined by Christopher Dunford and Sean Foote for a dialogue on the state of the microfinance world today and what it might mean for the future of poverty alleviation.

Direct download: 6_7_11_Microfinance.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Since President Obama’s assumption of office, he and Secretary Clinton have signaled their interest in strengthening economic and political relations throughout Asia. The US has important interests in Southeast Asia, and the Administration has expanded U.S. ties with multilateral organizations in the region, particularly the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). ASEAN member states are important partners for U.S. diplomatic and security efforts in the region, America’s 4th largest export market. What role does the U.S. diplomatic corps have in expanding political and economic partnerships in this critical region? What policies can be advanced to strengthen US relations with individual countries and the relationship with the ASEAN community as a whole? Please join a panel of U.S. Ambassadors to the region as they address these questions.

Direct download: 06_06_11_Friendships_in_SE_Asia.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Approximately two million Cambodians were killed under the Khmer Rouge. The tyrannical leadership of Pol Pot and a decade of civil war took a severe toll on the nation’s population and wealth. In 1993, under the UN’s wing, Cambodia held successful democratic elections, with 90% of the electorate voting. Cambodia, it seemed, was ready to shed the past and move forward. Joel Brinkley won the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the 1979 fall of the Khmer Rouge regime at the New York Times. In 2008-2009, he returned to Cambodia to investigate the condition of this troubled nation. He found a political system crippled by corruption and dependence on aid, and a culture haunted by the genocide of the last generation. Mr. Brinkley will discuss his findings and what they mean for the future of Cambodia.

Direct download: 5_26_11_Joel_Brinkley.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

In 2007 Tim Harford established himself as the Undercover Economist, with a book of the same name. Now he’s back with a new book, Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure, suggesting that in a multi-polar and interconnected world, we cannot tackle challenges with ready-made solutions and expert opinions. Instead, we must adapt. Harford argues for the importance of adaptive trial and error in tackling issues such as climate change, poverty and financial crises, as well as in fostering innovation and creativity in our business and personal lives.

Direct download: 5_25_11_Tim_Harford.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

While the advanced countries are still reeling from a near economic crash and a challenging economic depression, developing nations are seeing unprecedented economic growth that is reshaping the world. These growth rates present new challenges in governance, international coordination and environmental sustainability that are little understood. Nobel Laureate Michael Spence will ask what implications these challenges hold for advanced countries, and will look ahead to the post crises period to how the global economy will develop over the next fifty years.

Direct download: 5_23_11_Michael_Spence.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

2011 has brought with it many challenges to the global community, namely weather extremes pushing up record food prices, and political instability spiking oil prices. Until now our economy has been based on consumption and waste, where we lived beyond our means and the resources of the planet’s ecosystems. According to Paul Gilding we have come to the end of economic growth as we know it and now it is time for Economic Growth 2.0. Gilding paints a picture of the coming decades as ones filled with loss, suffering, conflict, geopolitical instability, food shortages and massive economic change. However, he believes all of this will bring out humanity’s best qualities; compassion, innovation and adaptability will carry us through these coming crises and make us a stronger and more advanced civilization.

Direct download: 05_03_11_Paul_Gilding.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

After his controversial 2008 re-election campaign, Robert Mugabe began a brutal terror campaign against his people which would later become known simply as, “The Fear.” Peter Godwin will tell of his secret trip to Zimbabwe where foreign journalists had been banned, the battle waged by Mugabe to stay in power and the courage and resilience of the Zimbabwean people.

Direct download: 4_28_11_Peter_Godwin.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

From the glitz of Hollywood to the energy and innovation of Silicon Valley, from the weather to the wine, California is envied around the globe. Yet despite the state’s immense advantages, its finances are in deep trouble. Andreas Kluth will explain how it got into its current fiscal mess-—and also how, by introducing the right reforms, it can get out of it again.

Direct download: 4_27_11_Andreas_Kluth1.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

With nearly 150 million people, close to 50 billion dollars in annual oil revenue and a central location on the continent, Nigeria has all the criteria to be a leader in Africa’s increasing economic growth. However, with a recent vacuum in government authority, escalating violence in the oil-producing delta and ethnic and religious tensions in the North, is the continent’s most populous country closer to failure than take-off? John Campbell, author of Nigeria: Dancing on the Brink, will explore Nigeria’s post-colonial history and offer an explanation of the events and conditions that have carried this complex, dynamic and troubled giant to the edge. Can Nigerians push back against corruption and use the nation’s oil wealth to stoke economic investment and growth, or will Nigeria continue to be a place of a wealthy minority and impoverished majority?

Direct download: 4_25_11_John_Campbell.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Author Daniel Alarcón joins the Council to discuss his novel Lost City Radio, which examines the effect that war and emigration have on families and communities. The title refers to a radio program that read the names of missing persons on the air in order to reunite families, which existed in Peru as well as other post-conflict states. Alarcón was recently listed on the "20 Under 40 Writers to Watch” list by The New Yorker, and is the associate editor of Etiqueta Negra, an award-winning monthly magazine published in his native Lima, Peru. Join the International Forum for this discussion, which is part of the Voices of the World author series.

Direct download: 4_21_11_Daniel_Alarcon.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Virtually all human societies were once tribal. Why have some gone on to create stable liberal democracies, while others have failed to form legitimate and accountable institutions? Francis Fukuyama traced the origins of political history back to primates in search of the answer for his new book, which has been described as a “magnum opus.” Join him for his insights on the development of political order, the nature of government, and what it might mean for modern man.

Direct download: 4_20_11_Francis_Fukuyama.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

As the recent uprisings across the Middle East have shown, information technology facilitates political change, but for that very reason, authoritarian regimes are intensifying their controls over the internet. Freedom House is now issuing its report in levels of freedom on the internet around the world, which rates internet access, censorship, and user rights in 37 countries and assesses key trends in freedom of digital media. The presentation of report findings will be followed by a panel discussion with internet freedom experts. Brought to you by the Yahoo! Series on Business and Human Rights.

Direct download: 4_18_11_Freedom_on_the_Net.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

The nature of international power is evolving. From 16th century colonies to 20th century nuclear stockpiles, power has meant different things at different times in history. What constitutes power in the 21st century information age, and what will power look like in the future? With the rise of China and India, and the growing importance of non-state actors, how will the US continue to influence the global political and economic landscape? Joseph Nye will discuss how the US can utilize soft and smart power to resolve the most complex issues of today—and the future.

Direct download: 3_24_11_Joseph_Nye.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Germany and the United States face enormous challenges in 2011, including the aftermath of the global financial crisis, regional conflicts, climate change, terrorism and nuclear nonproliferation. Tackling such complex problems requires reliable and strong partnerships. Ambassador Scharioth will discuss the shared values and interests between the US and Germany, and how we can build on them to solve global problems.

Direct download: 3_8_11_Klaus_Scharioth.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

The Obama administration has embraced a broad counterinsurgency policy, pairing combat operations with a strategy of winning hearts and minds of the local civilian population. Will it work in Afghanistan? Bing West, a former Assistant Secretary of Defense and Marine, will assess the prospects for success in Afghanistan and discuss his provocative plan for a way out: putting Afghans in charge of their own war.Hosted by the World Affairs Council of Northern California in partnership with the Marine's Memorial Association.

Direct download: 2_28_11_Bing_West.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

A 20-year veteran of the CIA and first chief of the Osama bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer has a depth of knowledge about Osama bin Laden that goes far beyond “9/11 mastermind.” Scheuer argues that the United States has underestimated bin Laden’s bravery, strategic thinking and patience, playing into his master plan. Please join Michael Scheuer for an in-depth portrait of Osama bin Laden and his continuing significance and power.

Direct download: 2_23_11_Michael_Scheuer.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:30am PST

As the financial crisis of 2008-2009 began to take shape, the business press took a beating from both sides of the political spectrum for leniency in their coverage of the financial giants. How could the press have missed the story of the century? Was the ideal of the fourth estate a failure? Veteran journalist Anya Schiffrin will discuss the role of the business press leading up to the crisis and how the press may have contributed to the crash itself.

Direct download: 2_22_11_Anya_Schiffrin.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Each year the world sees between 30 and 50 major natural disasters that take countless lives and cause billions of dollars in damage, and many of these natural disasters spiral into humanitarian crises. NGOs and aid agencies are often the most visible face of the international community’s response to such crises, but are they best suited to respond to emergencies of such magnitude? Charles MacCormack, the president of Save the Children, will address these questions and suggest that while NGOs can be simple in motive, it is their dedication to narrow goals that allows them to address issues often over looked by governments or larger organizations. Though “success” is a relative term during periods of disaster and can be hard to measure, MacCormack argues that significant improvements can be seen in the survival rates when there is good communication between organizations as well as long-term recovery goals. In the wake of such natural disasters as the earthquake in Haiti and the floods in Pakistan, can NGOs help to mitigate the causes and consequences of future humanitarian crises?

Direct download: 2_15_11_Charles_MacCormack.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

After Twitter was used as an organizing tool in the protests following the disputed 2009 reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran, the Internet was widely praised as a game-changer for democratic movements. But Evgeny Morozov argues that authoritarian regimes are as strong as ever, and use the Internet to their advantage by restricting speech, spying on dissidents, and publishing propaganda. Mr. Morozov will discuss how the spread of new media around the world should not necessarily be seen as a force for democracy, and how Western hopes for digital revolution could, in fact, backfire.

Direct download: 2_10_11_Evgeny_Morozov.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Climate change is well underway, and although we should continue to work to stop its momentum, we should also prepare to live with it. Mark Hertsgaard traveled the world to learn more about the efforts of other countries to adapt to the new, hot future, and came to some surprising conclusions. Join him to discuss what we can expect over the next fifty years on earth, and how we can face the collective challenges brought about by climate change.

Direct download: 2_9_11_Mark_Hertsgaard.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

In March 2010, Google shut down its China-based search engine, and moved all traffic to its uncensored Hong Kong website, further enflaming the battle of censorship between the world’s largest search engine and the world’s most populous country. New media in China takes a variety of forms, from websites and blogs, to forums and online bulletin boards; this new form of communication has become a vital and popular tool for the average Chinese internet user to distribute and collect information on political, social, religious and business issues. Meanwhile, the Chinese Government is striving to reach a delicate balance on the role of new media—encouraging internet growth to have a more networked economy while exercising controls over people's access to regulated information. Kevin Fong, a special advisor to GSR Ventures, and Duncan Clark, the Chairman of BDA China, will discuss the policies and practices of new media in China. In an increasingly connected world, can China sustain its robust economic growth, while stifling internet freedom at home? And how should business leaders and investors adapt to work in an environment of economic opportunities and state regulations?

Direct download: 2_8_11_China_New_Media.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

The International Museum of Women in partnership with the World Affairs Council presents a conversation with author and journalist Aminatta Forna. From human rights in Africa, to the importance of education for girls and boys, Forna will discuss her newest novel, The Memory of Love. Set in post-colonial Sierra Leone a few years after the civil war, The Memory of Love offers a view of modern Africa through the eyes of both insiders and outsiders who struggle to cope with the aftermath of a war waged against and among civilians. Forna’s novel depicts a deeply hopeful and universal story about love and human resilience. Raised in Sierra Leone as the daughter of a former Sierra Leonean cabinet minister and dissident, Forna’s writing has been dominated by the tortuous events of her country’s history. She is the author of a previous novel, Ancestor Stones, and a memoir, The Devil that Danced on the Water. In 2003, Forna helped build a primary school in her family's village of Rogbonko, where she is also working to establish a cashew plantation named Kholifa Estates after the fictional plantation in Ancestor Stones.

Direct download: 1_26_11_Aminatta_Forna.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), set up as a temporary organization to help resolve displacement issues after World War II, has turned 60 years old. As global displacement continues, UNHCR Regional Representative Vincent Cochetel will examine the role his organization plays, along with the international community, in protecting and assisting over 43 million forcibly displaced refugees and others in similar situations worldwide. The event coincides with the opening of photographer Zalmaï Ahad's exhibit on urban refugees. What with nearly half of the world’s refugees now living in urban areas, the exhibit is a reflection of the changing nature and complexity of displacement.

Direct download: 1_23_11_UNHCR.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Has the world entered a new dark age? What are our chances for recovery? Parag Khanna joins us to discuss his unique view of the current state of global affairs and how a new, non-traditional coalition of business executives, philanthropists, technocrats and others can bring about a modern Renaissance. Mr. Khanna will discuss how this “mega-diplomacy” has the power to improve education, protect the environment, rebuild failed states, battle terrorism, and make the global economy more just.

Direct download: 1_19_11_Parag_Khanna.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

On January 12, 2010 one of the worst natural disasters in recent history struck the island nation of Haiti. With an estimated 220,000 people killed and many more left stranded and homeless, the 7.0 earthquake brought this long-troubled country to center stage in the global arena. As nations and NGOs scrambled to deliver aid and supplies in the weeks following the disaster, they also made plans to rebuild Haiti and create a government of peace and stability. Looking back on what unfolded in 2010, three panelists will discuss how the international community and Haitian people responded to the devastating natural disaster. They will highlight how Haiti’s health infrastructure reacted to the initial dire conditions and recent Cholera outbreaks, what role NGOs and the international community can play in fostering long-term peace and recovery and how Haitian culture and political history makes this effort challengingly unique. Thomas Tighe, president of Direct Relief International, Claudine Michel, Professor of Black Studies at UC Santa Barbara and Rick Loomis, a Pulitzer-prize winning photojournalist for the LA Times, will offer their perspectives into how Haiti has fared in the 12 months since the earthquake.

Direct download: 1_18_11_Haiti_Panel.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

America’s former drug czar for five years, General Barry R. McCaffrey joins the Council to discuss the challenging international environment facing the United States and our allies – and the diplomatic, economic and military tools required to secure our future. General McCaffrey’s extensive experience integrates national security, business strategies, risk assessment and narco-terrorism with the troubled regions of the Middle East, Russia, Asia and Latin America. He continues to travel extensively to Iraq, Pakistan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan both testifying to Congress and briefing the White House National Security Council staff, the Pentagon, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and senior leaders in the Department of Health and Human Services. At his retirement from active duty, McCaffrey was the most highly decorated four-star general in the U.S. Army, having served four combat tours and having received three Purple Heart medals for wounds suffered in battle. He current serves as a security analyst for NBC News, an adjunct professor of international affairs at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and president of his own consulting firm.

Direct download: 1_13_11_Barry_McCaffrey.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Facing a new round of diplomatic negotiations in January and recent claims by Tehran that it can now mine its own uranium, the United States is weighing its options towards the Iranian government. Joe Cirincione, the president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, will explore the status and prospects of Iran’s nuclear program as well as the debate in Washington about how to deal with it. Will political engagement and economic sanctions prove fruitful, or should the US consider the possibility of military intervention? While no option is without risk, American leaders face increasing pressure to make a decision within the next two years.

Direct download: Joe_Cirincione_1_12_11.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

James D. Wolfensohn joins us to discuss his remarkable life story, reflect on his time at the World Bank and share his thoughts of the future of global poverty. During his ten years as President of the World Bank, James D. Wolfensohn traveled the globe, advancing the causes of education, basic health care, environment and stability. Born in Australia, Mr. Wolfensohn served as an officer in the Australian Air Force and was a member of the 1956 Australian Olympic Fencing Team before becoming a prominent investment banker. He served as President of the World Bank from 1995-2005, overseeing the Bank’s efforts to eradicate poverty with passion and personality. Mr. Wolfensohn is currently the head of Wolfensohn & Company, LLC, a private investment firm that provides strategic advice to governments and corporations doing business in emerging market economies. He also founded The Wolfensohn Center for Development at the Brookings Institution, which examines and evaluates development initiatives. He is the author of new autobiography titled A Global Life: My Journey among Rich and Poor, from Sydney to Wall Street to the World Bank.

Direct download: 1_11_11_Jim_Wolfensohn.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:00pm PST