On Shifting Ground

The election is finally over, so we can put all the posturing and heated campaign rhetoric behind us. What's ahead for foreign policy now that the presidency has been settled? What did we forget to talk about in the course of an election year that will now roar back onto the front pages, from China's new leadership to the advent of the cyberwar era?

We often look to Foreign Policy for the answers and the magazine's editor, Susan Glasser, will discuss what she expects will be on the foreign policy agenda in 2013.

Speaker: Susan Glasser, Editor in Chief, Foreign Policy Magazine


Direct download: 12_13_12_Susan_Glasser.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

The last four years, in comparison to the previous fifty, have seen considerable change in Cuba. In 2008, Fidel Castro stepped aside to allow his brother Raul to lead. At the same time, after a period of tight travel restrictions, the United States has made it easier for Cuban Americans to visit family and for Americans to travel legally to Cuba on cultural exchanges. This fall, President Raul Castro announced an impending end to much reviled exit visas Cubans must obtain in order to leave their own country legally for travel or work. These changes, along with experimental encouragement of private enterprise within Cuba, have renewed interest in the country and its relationship with the United States. Cynthia Gorney, a contributing writer for National Geographic Magazine, visited the island earlier this year and will share her insights into the current situation inside Cuba.

Direct download: 12_04_12_Cynthia_Gorney.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

Asia’s rapid growth is leaving millions behind, causing a widening gap between rich and poor that threatens to undermine the region’s stability. Developing Asia’s growth story masks underlying, complex challenges that need to be urgently tackled by policy and decision makers.

Rajat M. Nag, Managing Director General of the Asian Development Bank, in conversation with Asia Foundation President David Arnold, will discuss the economic and governance challenges across the region.

Direct download: 11_29_12_Rajat_Nag.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

There are still places on the planet of staggering beauty and biological diversity that defy the imagination. Countless species have yet to be described by scientists. These very places are being gradually carved up, cleared and converted to suit economic needs, with serious environmental consequences on a local and global scale. A growing recognition of the centrality of economics to the fate of the forest and other natural areas has spurred international conservation organizations to place new emphasis on understanding and changing the economics. Can an economically informed approach make a difference?

John Reid and Marcos Amend draw on over three decades of combined experience to address that question in a session that will look at the economic fundamentals of forest conservation. Their talk will focus on Brazil, looking at the country as both a regional powerhouse and home to some of the last Indigenous, forest-based cultures. Reid and Amend will show how Brazil's economy is driving development in the Amazon Basin, shared by nine countries, with important implications for biodiversity and demanding economically smart solutions. They will also provide a glimpse into economics at a local scale, where Indigenous people are trying to plan realistic businesses that maintain a role for standing forest.

Direct download: 11_27_12_John_Reid__Marcos_Amand.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

The past few years have shown that America is facing hard times with complex challenges still ahead. The unemployment rate hovers around 8%, the income inequality gap continues to widen and American students are not receiving the best education possible. To add to this, the country is in the midst of political gridlock. To surmount these difficulties, Gus Speth asserts that transformative change is essential in the American political economy.

Speth will discuss his ideas for the specific adjustments that would be needed to move toward a new system, such as the “theory of change” that explains how system change can occur in America. In presenting his vision for American political, social and economic life, Speth envisions a future that will be worth fighting for and argues that Americans are capable of using their freedom and democracy in powerful ways to create a renewed America.

Direct download: 11_26_12_Gus_Speth.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

From the outside the conflict in Afghanistan has been painted as a war between pro-democracy forces and Islamist fanaticism. It is, however only one small part of the larger and much older conflict—between Kabul and rural Afghanistan, between the attraction of the modern world on the one hand and traditional Afghanistan on the other. Drawing on his Afghan and Muslim roots, Tamim Ansary reveals a centuries-old internal Afghan struggle the world has never fully understood. Ansary sheds light on a country desperately trying to find its identity, while undermined by its own demons, plagued by a 40-60 year cycle of invasion by outside forces and constantly at the center of an ill-informed international political debate. This event is in partnership with the Asia Society and Mechanics' Institute.

Direct download: 11_14_12_Tamim_Ansary.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

For more than 25 years the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has terrorized large swaths of Central Africa, roaming between at least four African nations with impunity. While multinational efforts have been made to stop the group and its infamous leader Joseph Kony, the communities of the Eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are left to deal with the effects.

As head of the Catholic Church’s Peace and Justice Commission in northern Congo, Abbé Benoît Kinalegu helped to create an early warning network in which local activists report LRA attacks and movements, as well as set up a rehabilitation center to help children who have escaped the LRA. Kinalegu will be joined by Human Rights Watch Africa Researcher Ida Sawyer for a conversation about the challenges of working in the Eastern Congo, and how NGOs and local communities are working to stop human rights abuses and heal a traumatized region.

Direct download: 11_13_12_Human_Rights_Central_Africa.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:30pm PST

Helen Clark will consider the impact of growing inequality and environmental degradation and introduce poverty, inequity and environmental sustainability as inter-linked global challenges.

She will also examine how countries and communities are employing innovative, integrated approaches to simultaneously address these challenges, linking this to the outcome of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.

Direct download: 11_7_12_Helen_Clark.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

The revolutions that have swept over the Middle East have captivated the world and changed the lives of millions in ways that have yet to be fully understood. What started in Tunisia and quickly spread across the Arab world, while relatively peaceful in some cases, quickly led to violent conflict in others—Libya in particular.

Drawing on extensive experience in the Middle East and Libya, and interviews with loyalists, rebels and senior US, EU and Libyan officials, Ethan Chorin will break down the Libyan revolution from the Gaddafi regime’s “rehabilitation” and acceptance by the West to the regime’s fall and possibilities for the future.

Direct download: 10_25_12_Ethan_Chorin_Full.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

One year ago the grassroots “Occupy” movement spread strongly and quickly throughout American streets, media and consciousness. The movement has waned from the public eye, but the underlying ideas are still being voiced. Many are worried about inequality, poverty and the great role that money now plays in political elections.

Amy Goodman argues that these issues are a threat to American democracy. She will explore the causes of this sentiment and also touch upon a variety of other issues ranging from foreign wars to climate change and capital punishment to voting rights.

Direct download: 10_24_12_Amy_Goodman.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

The first program in the Global Energy Series will focus on game changing technologies that will impact the global energy landscape well into the 21st century. Technology and energy are inextricably linked, with technological innovation playing a defining role in the production systems of energy sources, energy transmission and delivery systems and how the end user manages and consumes energy.

On the supply side, technologies applied to shale and offshore oil and gas extraction are transforming the industry and global energy markets. Alongside fossil fuel developments are breakthroughs in alternative energy technologies that are critical to meeting global energy demands sustainably. For distribution and transmission, smart grid technology is revolutionizing electricity networks, providing significant improvements to grid efficiency and opportunities for increased integration of renewables. For the end-user, technology’s role in how consumers manage and use energy in their homes and businesses offers significant opportunities for energy efficiency gains, the low hanging fruit of clean energy.

Join us for a panel discussion that will feature representatives from industry and academia to provide multiple perspectives on technology’s defining role in the energy landscape.

Direct download: 10_23_12_Game_Changing_Technologies.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

What matters more in the lead up to a US presidential election, a candidate’s platform and convictions or the broader economic and demographic trends over which they have little or no control? Neither, according to Samuel Popkin, author of The Candidate: What it Takes to Win - and Hold - the White House. Instead, he argues that a candidate’s ability to delegate authority, manage time and respond effectively to the rapidly shifting demands of the campaign trail are the key factors.

Looking at three recent campaigns - George H.W. Bush’s 1992 reelection campaign, Al Gore’s 2000 run for the presidency and Hillary Clinton’s effort to win the 2008 nomination - Popkin will examine the intricacies of a presidential campaign. What makes one succeed while another fails?

Direct download: 10_15_12_Sam_Popkin.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

This election season has been focused primarily on the economy and job creation, but one topic that will surely be debated in the run up to Election Day is the security challenges facing the US and how the next president will handle them. Nothing highlights the importance of this debate like recent attacks on US missions abroad and continued unrest around the world.

Drawing on decades of experience within the US government, 20th US Secretary of Defense Cohen will provide his insights into these challenges facing the next administration.

Direct download: 10_8_12_William_Cohen.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:30pm PST

Ambassador Richard Schmierer, US Department of State's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy, will provide remarks regarding US policy, engagement with the Syrian opposition and efforts to reintegrate Syria into the international community. While the focus remains on removing the Assad regime, stopping the violence, and easing the refugee situation the State Department is also looking at what comes next for the Syrian people. Ambassador Schmierer will also provide updates on the State Department's response to recent events in Libya.

Direct download: 9_19_12_Richard_Schmierer.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

BRAC is a global development organization dedicated to alleviating poverty by empowering the poor to bring about change in their own lives. What started out in 1972 as a limited relief operation called the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, BRAC has turned into the largest development organization in the world. The work of BRAC reaches an estimated 126 million people in eleven countries throughout Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Among many other issues, BRAC’s diverse program portfolio focuses on income generation, health care, education and agriculture. Sir Fazle will draw from his notable career to speak about success stories in development and what some countries in Africa and Asia can learn from these examples.

Direct download: 9_10_12_Fazle_Hasan_Abed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

After the news broke in 2002 of Iran’s clandestine uranium enrichment and plutonium production facilities Ambassador Mousavian was tapped to become the spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiations team in the European Union. A former Iranian Ambassador to Germany and head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Mousavian was no stranger to high stakes international politics. Now a research scholar at Princeton University, he is telling his story: from the internal struggles in Tehran’s leadership, to dealings with the International Atomic Energy Agency, to life after the negotiations and his eventual arrest for espionage.

The personal experiences of this diplomat within Iran and the international community offer a unique perspective on the debate surrounding Iran’s nuclear program and the potential resolution of the crisis once and for all.

Direct download: 9_6_12_Seyed_Mousavian.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

Burma is back in the international spotlight. After more than twenty years under house arrest, pro-democracy opposition leader and 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has been released and allowed to stand for election to parliament. Her release is just the latest in a series of important events and reforms that began in 2007.  The so-called "Saffron revolution” which involved wide-spread protests by Buddhist monks, along with international pressure, have prompted the ruling military junta to loosen its grip on power by initiating government reforms and holding elections. A nation at the crossroads between India and China, Burma is composed of a mix of fractious ethnicities and has been ruled by military regimes for nearly fifty years. Many hope that Burma is finally on the cusp of true democratic change after the reforms, despite being plagued by poverty, sectarian violence and accusations of human rights abuses.

Three experienced panelists will discuss a range of issues regarding Burma. What do the current reforms mean and what impact will they have across the region? What do long-time activists foresee for the future of Burma? How will the work of NGOs be affected after changes in policy and will there be an increased focus on human rights and education? Join us for this thought provoking conversation regarding the current state of affairs in Burma.

Direct download: 8_28_12_Sze_Than_Zin.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:30pm PST

General Raymond T. Odierno assumed duty as the Chief of Staff of the United States Army in September of 2011. Most recently General Odierno commanded the United States Joint Forces Command, and prior to that he served as the Commanding General of US Forces in Iraq. While serving as the Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2004-2006, General Odierno was the primary military advisor to Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. During more than 35 years of distinguished service, he has commanded units at every echelon and has had duty in five different countries.

Join the World Affairs Council and the Marines’ Memorial Club in welcoming General Odierno for his remarks about "America's Army: The Strength of the Nation."

Our partner organization for this event is Association of the United States Army (AUSA): San Francisco Chapter.

Direct download: 8_24_12_Raymond_Odierno.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

The way out of Iraq, and now Afghanistan, are both issues that have plagued the Obama administration since 2008, and the exit strategy for Afghanistan will surely be hotly debated in the upcoming election in 2012. Should the US continue to pour its resources into the region, having fought two wars, both of which are seemingly intractable? Or, does pulling out of Iraq and then Afghanistan in short order signal the decline of American power and influence in the region that will fuel anti-American sentiments?

According to Professor Mark Katz withdrawing troops may, in the short term seem to signal a decline of American power and influence in the region and thus be a victory for America’s enemies. Katz however argues that it would in fact put the US in a better position in the long run to overcome extremist groups in the region. Join Professor Katz for a discussion of exit strategies for the US in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Direct download: 8_16_12_Mark_Katz.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

It is often said that “America is the greatest nation on Earth,” but is it true? In an election year, this sentiment will be expressed even more frequently by the presidential candidates, but how well does the US stack up on key quality of life issues when compared to other nations? While complete objective comparison may not be possible, there are certain areas where quantitative analysis allows for direct comparison.

Join United Nations statistician and health economist Howard Friedman for an analysis of five key measures of quality of life—health, safety, education, democracy and equality. How well does the US compare to thirteen other countries around the world? There are valuable lessons to be learned from the experiences and solutions found in other leading countries.

Direct download: 8_13_12_Howard_Friedman.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

In West Africa’s Sahel region, the zone skirting the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, a combination of soaring temperatures, declining rainfall and a booming population is putting the squeeze on the area’s dwindling resources. What began last year as a bad growing season is morphing into a large scale drought and humanitarian crisis. Studies show that this huge swath of land across the African continent, once fertile farming land, is increasingly incapable of feeding the growing population. Abby Maxman, the Vice President of International Programs and Operations of CARE, has firsthand experience responding to large scale humanitarian crises across the continent. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who represents California’s 9th Congressional district, has played a critical role in the raising awareness and US Government support for humanitarian disasters, such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the 2011 famine in the Horn of Africa. They will explore the challenges of working across the Sahel in communities with little or no infrastructure, how humanitarian organizations and the US government are responding to food security issues, and how lessons from past droughts are being used to prevent future crises.
Moderator:Cheryl Jennings, Anchor, ABC7 Evening News
Speaker(s):Barbara Lee, Congresswoman, 9th District of California
  • Abby Maxman, Vice President of International Programs and Operations, CARE
Direct download: 8_6_12_Sahel_Crisis.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

“Economic sanctions” are frequently employed as a tactic in international negotiations, but is this strategy always effective? How have economic sanctions evolved to address the wide range of foreign policy challenges we face?

Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Jose W. Fernandez will discuss economic sanctions using case studies of on-going sanctions regimes in cases such as Libya, Iran, Syria, and Burma. He will review the evolution of U.S. policy on economic sanctions and current actions, as well as lessons learned in recent years.

Direct download: 7_25_12_Jose_Fernandez.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

Join Dr. Stephen Haber, specialist in Mexican politics and Professor of Political Science at Stanford University, for a post-election review and discussion about the implications of the outcome during this interesting political season in Mexico.

Direct download: 7_23_12_Stephen_Haber.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

As the world’s most populous democracy, an emerging economic leader, and an increasingly influential global actor, India has become a critical partner in building America’s presence in Asia. However, a relationship of this size and scope can be a complex one that offers as many potential pitfalls as opportunities. Recently skeptics have questioned whether the importance of the bilateral partnership has been “oversold.” India’s ambassador to the United States has rebutted these suggestions, arguing that  such claims are more myth than fact.

Join Ambassador Karl Inderfurth, assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs from 1997 to 2001, to explore both the perceptions and misperceptions surrounding US-India ties. He will discuss the next steps both nations can take to overcome current obstacles and build, as President Obama put it, one of “the defining partnerships of the 21st Century.” Ambassador Inderfurth will share his views based on his extensive knowledge of the US-India relationship drawn from his distinguished career in public service.

Direct download: 7_18_12_Karl_Inderfurth.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

The rogue nation of North Korea is known for its many secrets, from its nuclear program to the living conditions of the majority of its population. One of the most closely guarded secrets is that of its ill-fated labor camps. Until recently, the conditions of those living in these labor camps, often referred to as forms of modern day slavery, have scarcely been documented.

Blaine Harden, author and former East Asia bureau chief for The Washington Post, will discuss one person’s experience in a North Korean labor camp and what it tells us about living within the North Korean regime. In his new work, Escape From Camp 14, Harden documents two years of interviews with Shin Dong-hyuk in which he describes Shin’s experiences and his determination to adjust to a new life of freedom in the West. Shin is the only person born and raised in one of North Korea’s camps known to have escaped, and his story is one of intense hardship and survival. Shin’s account provides a unique perspective on the desperate conditions in these labor camps where up to 200,000 prisoners are estimated to live, and which the regime claims do not exist.

Direct download: 7_11_12_Blaine_Harden.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

The idea of a “hungry farmer” should be an oxymoron. However among smallholder farmers in Africa for whom agricultural practices have not changed since the 1930’s, most do not produce enough to feed their families. Consequently every year they face what in Kenya is known as the wanjala—the hunger season—between when food from the previous harvest has run out and the next one is ready.

Join Roger Thurow for an exploration of the year he spent following four farming families in Western Kenya as they tried to dramatically change their farming techniques in an attempt to increase their harvest, and the challenges facing individual farmers striving to increase food production, as well as the macro-problems facing our global food supply chain.

Direct download: 6_26_12_Roger_Thurow.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

Internationally acclaimed journalist and former member of the Brookings Task Force on US Relations with the Islamic World, Mr. Rami Khouri will analyze the complexities in Syria due to the convergence of three conflicts: the domestic battle for power between several government oppositions groups; the regional cold war spearheaded by Iran and Saudi Arabia; and the revived global struggle for influence in the region between the USA, Russia and China. Syria has become the main proxy battleground for these three conflicts. Events unfolding there also help shed light on the nature of the other citizen uprisings around the region, as they enter the middle of their second year in June.

Direct download: 6_20_12_Rami_Khouri.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

In order to ensure its economic development and survival, every country strives to secure and stockpile natural resources. Few countries are as aggressive with their resource campaigns as China. Join Dr. Dambisa Moyo, New York Times bestselling author of Dead Aid and How the West was Lost, for an in depth look at China’s unprecedented rush for resources and what it means for the rest of the world.

Direct download: 6_15_12_Dambisa_Moyo.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:00pm PST

When President Obama came to office he was confronted with a world in turmoil. With two long standing wars, an economy on the brink of collapse, and unprecedented political polarization, Obama faced a set of challenges unique to American history. In his complex three and a half years as president, he has approached external threats with new technological tools and shifting global trends with alternative forms of American soft power.

Join Pulitzer Prize winner David Sanger for a discussion of his new book, Confront and Conceal, and an inside analysis of Obama’s idealism-turned-frustration, hopes for the Arab Awakening, pivot towards the Pacific, and efforts to retain America’s influence on the global stage.

Direct download: 6_14_12_David_Sanger.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

Lindsey Hilsum arrived in Libya when the fighting began and was there when Gaddafi was killed. During this time, she found Libyans of all ages opening up to her with stories of their lives that they were previously unable to share for fear of reprisal from the government. These were stories of torture, execution, loss, and of Libya’s slow decline under the Gaddafi regime from a country rich in oil and human resources to a political pariah on the world stage.

Direct download: 6_13_12_Lindsey_Hilsum.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

The top one percent of Americans controls 40 percent of the nation's wealth, and while those at the top enjoy the best health care, education, and benefits, Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz argues they fail to realize that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live.

Drawing on his distinguished career in economics, Stiglitz will address America’s growing inequality and why, in his view, it is not inevitable. In an increasingly divided society, finding nuanced solutions to the most pressing global issues has become seemingly impossible; Stiglitz will examine this phenomenon and explore its implications for democracy, for monetary and budgetary policy, and for globalization.

Direct download: 6_11_12_Joseph_Stiglitz.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

In the age of nuclear nonproliferation policy, rogue nations seeking to develop their own nuclear technology, and an epic disaster in Japan, nuclear energy is a hot topic that many people are now familiar with. What many are unaware of is the story of what nuclear power could have been at the dawn of the atomic age. Join Richard Martin, Editorial Director at Pike Research and Contributing Editor for Wired magazine, for a thought provoking discussion about the history and future of thorium power.

Direct download: 6_6_12_Rick_Martin.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

In late 2010, no one would have predicted the changes that lay ahead in 2011 around the Middle East. What began in Tunisia started a chain reaction and 2011 became the year of revolt and revolution across the region. Some think the Arab awakening has petered out, but according to Marc Lynch, the biggest transformations of what has been labeled the “Arab Spring” are yet to come. Join Professor Marc Lynch, an American Policy and Arab public insider, and author ofForeign Policy Magazine’s Abu Aardvark Middle East blog, for an in-depth discussion about what still lies ahead for the Middle East and what further transformations we may expect.

Direct download: 5_24_12_Marc_Lynch.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

In the US, Fair Trade USA has been at the forefront of this movement, catalyzing the growth of a market that gives citizens the opportunity to voice their choice for a fair economic system. Yet as the market has expanded, debate has grown over the limitations and scalability of the model. Paul Rice, President and CEO of Fair Trade USA, will discuss the successes and challenges of fair trade and his organization’s growth plan for the future.

Direct download: 5_16_12_Paul_Rice.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

What will the overall results mean for Europe’s second largest economy, and how do we explain them? Given France’s own economic woes, what are the economic challenges the next president will face? What does the strong first round showing from the far-right National Front party indicate for France, and what effect will this constituency have on the second round? After the elections, will France have a different role to play in the European Union negotiations? 

Join Dr. Jonah Levy, specialist in French Politics and Vice Chair of UC Berkeley’s Political Science Department, for a post-election review and a discussion about the implications of the outcome during this interesting time for France.

Direct download: 5_15_12_Jonah_Levy.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

The World Affairs Council is pleased to welcome the Honorable Stephen Rapp, Ambassador-at-Large for the Department of State’s Office of Global Criminal Justice, to discuss how the US can further accountability for mass atrocities and crimes against humanity at a time when important tribunals and special courts are coming to a close and when the International Criminal Court has limited reach and capacity.

The Office of Global Criminal Justice advises Secretary of State Clinton and formulates US policy on prevention and accountability for mass atrocities that occur throughout the world. It also coordinates US government support for international and hybrid courts that are currently conducting trials for war crimes, genocide, and other atrocities.

Ambassador Rapp was previously the head prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and has held his current post since 2009. With ongoing wars and conflicts around the world that inevitably create tragic crimes against humanity, the work of the Office of Global Criminal Justice is ever more relevant.

Direct download: 5_14_12_Stephen_Rapp.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

What does war look like through the eyes of a 'child soldier'? This question has been investigated by journalists, yet it is rare to find a first-person account from someone who endured the atrocities and survived.

Ishmael Beah, author of A Long Way Gone and UNICEF Advocate for Children Affected by War, will discuss his story of abduction and war in Sierra Leone.

In a country ravaged by war, Beah spent several years with armed militia forces before finally being rescued and rehabilitated. Tens of thousands of children are recruited and used in various capacities by armed forces or armed groups in over 15 countries around the world. Beah will discuss the use children as a tool of war and how we can help stop it.

Direct download: 5_10_12_Ishmael_Beah.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

This election year two of the most hotly debated topics are the state of the US economy and the size of the national debt. As it stands there is more than $30,000 of debt for every person in the US, Congress is entrenched in a bitter fight over deficits, the government has been brought to the brink of shutdown multiple times, and, as a result, government approval is at an all time low.

Many politicians are calling for drastic cuts in essential public programs such as Social Security and Medicare in hopes of lowering the deficit, but will these cuts do anything other than worsen the quality of life for thousands of low-income and elderly Americans?

Join Simon Johnson, former Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund, as he unravels the conundrum of the national debt, tracks the rise of the US dollar, examines the roots of the current dysfunctional and impotent Congress, and posits a solution to our debt crisis that will result in a strengthened economy without slashing social support programs.

Direct download: 4_17_12_Simon_Johnson.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

The road to economic recovery is long and difficult. Despite positive change and an unemployment rate at a three-year low, the ratings agencies are considering yet another downgrade of US credit and the world is beginning to consider the real consequences of an ongoing US economic downturn.

Long gone are the days of seemingly unending American prosperity and unquestioned US leadership against clear and identifiable enemies. Today the US and the nations that rely on its support need to make a major shift if they are to meet the economic, political and diplomatic challenges that lie ahead.

Michael Moran, one of the world’s leading geopolitical and economic forecasters and the director and editor-in-chief of Renaissance Insight, will talk about how America and its allies can successfully navigate this transition and avoid the pitfalls of clinging to the power structure of the 20th century.

Direct download: 4_12_12_Michael_Moran.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

With the killing of Osama bin Laden, President Obama closed one chapter of US history; unfortunately, the next is looming large.

As years of sanctions and careful diplomatic negotiations with Iran deteriorate into an increasingly fragile state of affairs, President Obama is left with few choices: attempt to restart what many consider failed negotiations or seriously consider a preventative strike.

Trita Parsi is the President of the National Iranian American Council and the author of the new book, A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran. He contends that diplomacy with Iran did not fail—it was abandoned. Real diplomacy has barely been tried, he argues, and it remains the only promising option for achieving America’s goals with regard to Iran.

Parsi will examine the Obama administration's early diplomatic gestures towards Iran and discuss the best ways to move toward more positive relations between the two discordant states.

Direct download: 4_10_12_Trita_Parsi_2.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 6:00pm PST

Recorded at WorldAffairs 2012, the World Affairs Council’s annual conference designed for global citizens seeking deeper insight, understanding and context surrounding critical issues of our day.

Direct download: 3_31_12_Bolden_Thiel.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 5:30pm PST

Recorded at WorldAffairs 2012, the World Affairs Council’s annual conference designed for global citizens seeking deeper insight, understanding and context surrounding critical issues of our day.

Direct download: 3_30_12_Luce_Rothkopf.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:00pm PST

In this Keynote Conversation from the WorldAffairs 2012 conference, we
examine how innovation will help us find solutions to the energy
challenges we face today and expect to face going forward to 2050.  Our
energy needs are still rising in the US and are rising much faster in
many parts of the world. Many forecasters predict that global energy
demands will rise by 40% between now and 2050. Looking forward, it seems
clear that we will continue to rely heavily on conventional resources
such as oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy. But, will innovation
and breakthroughs in technology allow us to capture significant amounts
of affordable energy from other sources with important environmental
benefits, and allow us to become much more efficient in our use of
energy globally?

Direct download: 3_31_12_Vaitheeswaran_Zygocki.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:00am PST

Recorded at WorldAffairs 2012, the World Affairs Council’s annual conference designed for global citizens seeking deeper insight, understanding and context surrounding critical issues of our day.

Direct download: 3_31_12_After_bin_Laden_Nacht_Sude.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:00am PST

Recorded at WorldAffairs 2012, the World Affairs Council’s annual conference designed for global citizens seeking deeper insight, understanding and context surrounding critical issues of our day. In recognition of Earth Day, April 22. Some predict it is likely that our need for water will overcome our resources and parts of the world may soon be unfit to sustain people and food production. Imagining the world in 2050, we ask: how will we meet our rising food and water needs? Will our cities and farms look like those of today? How will we innovate and adapt to maintain the resources to sustain life on an ever more crowded planet? Two distinguished speakers will discuss these topics: Gawain Kripke, Director of Policy and Research at Oxfam America; and Peter Lochery, the Director of the Water Team at CARE.

Direct download: 3_31_12_Food_and_Water_Kripke_Lochery.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:30am PST

Recorded at WorldAffairs 2012, the World Affairs Council’s annual conference designed for global citizens seeking deeper insight, understanding and context surrounding critical issues of our day.

Direct download: 3_31_12_From_Longitudes_to_Latitudes_Dadush_Devarajan.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:00am PST

Recorded at WorldAffairs 2012, the World Affairs Council’s annual conference designed for global citizens seeking deeper insight, understanding and context surrounding critical issues of our day.


Karl Eikenberry, Distinguished Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University; Former US Ambassador to Afghanistan & Retired US Army Lt. General

Michael O'Hanlon, Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy, The Brookings Institution

Direct download: 3_30_12_Eikenberry_OHanlon.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:30pm PST

Recorded at WorldAffairs 2012, the World Affairs Council’s annual conference designed for global citizens seeking deeper insight, understanding and context surrounding critical issues of our day. Some of the questions addressed in this session include: What has been the effect of the current austerity measures in stabilizing the European economies? What impact will the debt crisis have on European cohesion? What are the implications of a large-scale recession in Europe for the global economic landscape? Two distinguished speakers will address these issues: Megan Greene, Head of European Economics at Roubini Global Economics; and Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, Senior Research Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Direct download: 3_30_12_From_Bailouts_to_Brussels_Greene_Kirkegaard.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:30am PST

Recorded at WorldAffairs 2012, the World Affairs Council’s annual conference designed for global citizens seeking deeper insight, understanding and context surrounding critical issues of our day. In 2011, three dictators were overthrown as massive popular protests gripped the Middle East. A year after these movements began, what has changed inside Tunisia, Egypt and Libya? Have these unique opportunities for reform been successful? What have these changes done to affect the greater balance of power in the Middle East? And what challenges and opportunities will President Obama or his challenger face when formulating US policy toward the region? Ellen Laipson, President and CEO of the Stimson Center and Robin Wright, Senior Fellow at the US Institute of Peace, and a Distinguished Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, will discuss these topics.

Direct download: 3_30_12_After_the_Arab_SpringLaipson_Wright.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:00am PST

The World Affairs Council is pleased to welcome Ambassador Irina Bokova—Director-General of UNESCO since 2009—for a discussion spanning UNESCO’s efforts around the world today, and in particular UNESCO’s programs to sustain the democratic spirit of the Arab Spring, promote peace and nation-building in South Sudan, and support democratic reforms in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Direct download: 3_21_12_Irina_Bokova.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

From regime change in North Korea to Iran’s announcement of a new uranium enrichment plant, 2012 began with unsettling news of nuclear proliferation. While these two nations pose what many consider the most serious threat to US national security, efforts to stop their nuclear programs have yielded little progress. Between 2003 and 2009, US officials saw both diplomatic and military threats ignored as North Korea increased its stockpiles of nuclear material from one or two bombs worth to as much as eleven. Similarly, negotiations with Iran have stalled as the US and European nations call for further sanctions. What, if any, of these tactics will finally yield progress? Philip Yun and Joe Cirincione will discuss the US and the international community’s successes and failures in pacifying these threats, and compare the track records of the two groups. They will also explore the broader lessons that can be applied to future nuclear threats.

Direct download: 3_1_12_Cirincione_Yun.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

By the late 1990’s many African nations held multiparty elections, and civic and media freedoms steadily grew. In 2012, Africa is, in many ways, not recognizable from that of the latter twentieth century. Join Ted Miguel as he examines Africa today and tackles some tough questions such as: How are the economies in Africa doing in 2012 and which countries are in the rising tide of south-south trade? What geo-political effects will the rise of south-south cooperation have on the global economic landscape?

Direct download: 2_29_12_Edward_Miguel.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

National security has been a hotly-debated topic throughout the last decade. Much has been done to ensure the US remains safe, from the formation of new federal agencies to increased funding of protective programs, but have these measures had the intended effect? David C. Unger, a foreign affairs editorial writer for the New York Times, will discuss the hidden costs of the US’s pursuit for absolute national security. Have the broad war-making powers assumed by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and the trillions of dollars diverted from domestic needs to the Pentagon truly made the US safer?

Direct download: 2_27_12_David_Unger.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Immigration is often called a drain on the US economy and in a presidential election year immigration will be debated intensely. Join The Economist Business Editor Robert Guest for an examination of the effects that international migration has on the global economy and why keeping the US borders open can help the US retain power despite the current economic climate.

Direct download: 2_24_12_Robert_Guest.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

From the streets of Tunisia to Zuccotti Park, 2011 was a year of protests, revolutions and uprisings. The economic crisis and the ever-widening gap between the haves and the have-nots have given rise to a social crisis and a call for new ways of thinking about politics, elite rule and global poverty. Paul Mason will explore the changes in society, technology and human behavior that led to the democratic revolts and social revolutions that have characterized 2011 and will discuss the consequences of this great unrest.

Direct download: 2_23_12_Paul_Mason.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

The Internet has become an indispensable tool, bringing unprecedented access to information and the ability to express oneself to billions of people worldwide. Many believe access to the Internet should be included in the Declaration of Human Rights, but the debate of over Internet freedom continues and it is fierce. As is evident with the Arab Awakening, online tools can be a platform to turn social unrest into real political movements and even revolutions, but internet censorship can also be a key to modern oppression. What does this convergence of unchecked government actions and unaccountable company practices mean for the future of democracy and human rights around the world? What are the advantages and limitations of online dialogue as a platform for social change? Join Rebecca MacKinnon and Jillian York, two internet theorists on the forefront of this debate, for a discussion the complex power dynamics amongst governments, corporations and citizens in cyberspace.

Direct download: 2_14_12_Rebecca_MacKinnon_Jillian_York.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Following the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 and the parliamentary elections this past November, Cairo’s Tahrir Square continues to draw large crowds demanding genuine change in the military-led regime. Steven Cook, author of The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square, will explore Egypt’s history, why the revolution occurred and where the country might be headed next.

Direct download: 1_30_12_Steven_Cook.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama called China’s rise a new ‘Sputnik moment.’ China appears to be on the same trajectory as the US, with exponential improvements in wages, working conditions and global influence. Today China is the second largest economy in the world and many believe it will overtake the US by 2020. What is the next move for the US? Join NYU professor Ann Lee to discuss a new way of looking at US-China relations. The US cannot ignore China’s shortcomings, but must realize that learning is a two-way street; what can we learn from China so that the US may remain strong throughout the century?

Direct download: 1_19_12_Ann_Lee.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Gang War USA examines the long-standing policy of deporting gang members as a strategy to curb threats posed by transnational gangs like the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13. Marc Shaffer gained access to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers and interviewed gang members, justice department representatives and Salvadoran government officials to explore the treatment of transnational gangs in the United States. Could the cornerstone immigration policy of deporting gang members be making them stronger and US citizens less safe? Join us for a screening of Gang War USA, followed by a discussion with filmmaker Marc Shaffer.

Direct download: 1_11_12_Marc_Shaffer.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST