On Shifting Ground

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