On Shifting Ground

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