On Shifting Ground

The human rights movement has made enormous progress, with a proliferation of groups around the world addressing a growing range of rights abuses—from classic repression to economic and social rights. There are new tools, such as the International Criminal Court or the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, but also new challenges, as power diffuses away from the classic Western supporters of human rights, traditional press outlets for the dissemination of rights information diminish and the world grapples with how to address such persistent problems as the atrocities in Syria, the revived authoritarianism in Russia and Egypt and the resort to arguments of culture to repress women or LGBT people. How has the human rights movement changed to address this new environment? What have we learned from past human rights challenges and how can we apply these lessons going forward? To mark International Human Rights Day, Kenneth Roth, who has led Human Rights Watch for over 25 years, will reflect on the progress of the global human rights movement and share his insights on the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Speaker Kenneth Roth is the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch.

For more information about this event, please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/29#.Up-JkmRDvhs

Direct download: 12_10_13_Human_Rights.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

The media is not merely an observer reporting on events. In the digital age, media is a primary actor in global affairs with the power to influence elections, drive revolutions, save lives in a disaster and even trigger deadly conflict. For years, the power to harness the media's influence lay in the hands of a select few, but today thanks to the free flow of information the power of the media to intervene in global affairs is in the hands of anyone with access to an internet connection. Emmy Award winner David Hoffman will discuss the media's historic impact and examine the question; where is the power of the media going from here?

Direct download: 12_9_13_Independent_Media.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

The top secret raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan pretty much summed up the relationship between the US and Pakistan, one of mutual distrust and minimal cooperation. Both nations have made mistakes with this tragic and often tormented relationship, but for better or worse argues Daniel Markey, the US must continue to invest time and resources into this geostrategic partner. Markey has delved deep into the historical aspects of the US-Pakistan connection and will analyze US policy in Pakistan since 9/11 and regional dynamics such as the rise of China to explain how Washington can prepare for the worst, aim for the best and avoid past mistakes.

Daniel Markey is the Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1209#.Up0UK2RDvhs

Direct download: 12_5_13_Pakistan_Foothold.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:30pm PST

The 2013 Awards Dinner of the World Affairs Council and the Global Philanthropy Forum honors Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, Inc.

This year we recognize Dick Costolo for helping to achieve positive social change through private enterprise, and for his leadership of Twitter, which is making a transformational impact on societies, economies and polities here and around the globe.

Please check back soon for the full video.

Direct download: 11_21_13_Costolo_Awards_Dinner.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:47am PST

Lester Brown, founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute, has lived his life on the forefront of speaking truth to environmental issues worldwide. In 1963 while at the US Department of Agriculture, Brown produced the first global food supply and demand projections to the end of the century and on a brief assignment in India in 1965 he sounded the alarm on an impending famine there, setting in motion the largest food rescue effort in history that helped save millions of lives. Brown helped pioneer the concept of environmentally sustainable development and focuses his research on food, population, water, climate change and renewable energy. Brown will speak about his life’s work and the continuation of the Earth Policy Institute’s vision to achieve an environmentally sustainable economy.

For more information about this event, please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/a-pioneer-for-environmental-sustainability.html

Direct download: 11_13_13_Lester_Brown.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

In the media realm, Rupert Murdoch stands alone. He is seen as the most influential media tycoon the English-speaking world has ever known. Murdoch's company, News Corp., which started with just one newspaper in Adelaide, Australia controlled hundreds of news outlets including newspapers, film, television, broadcasting, cable networks, publishing houses and more at its height. It was a company that had no rival. Then in 2011, a series of scandals (starting with the News of the World wire tapping) threatened to bring Murdoch's entire empire crumbling down, but it somehow survived. Media correspondent for NPR News, David Folkenflik will delve into the scandals that almost ended Rupert Murdoch's media empire to explain why a man with such influence was almost brought down and examine the true cost of Murdoch's survival.

David Folkenflik is a Media Correspondent for National Public Radio.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/murdoch.html

Direct download: 11_12_13_Murdoch_Empire.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

Some call the 65 year-old relationship between Pakistan and the US a strategic alliance. For Pakistan, the US has been a source of much needed aid and military supply. For the US, Pakistan has been a stabilizing force in a largely unstable region. Today, Pakistan is seen in the US as a hotbed of terrorist activity and the US is seen in Pakistan as a constant source of humiliation. Former Pakistani ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, blames these deteriorating views on a relationship between these two countries that has always been based on mutual incomprehension and the belief that one can play the other. Drawing on his experience with his homeland and his time in the US as an ambassador and a professor, Haqqani will lay out his views on the US-Pakistani relationship and why the two just can't seem to understand each other.

Husain Haqqani is the Director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/pakistan-and-the-us.html

Direct download: 11_7_13_Pakistan_US_Alliance.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

Recently, international attention has been focused on the impact of the Syrian civil war, which has driven over 2 million individuals out of the country, turning them into refugees overnight. This vast relocation puts a strain on the resources of neighboring countries and threatens to spread instability throughout a region that has been dealing with refugee crises for decades. In addition to those who have fled to other countries, hundreds of thousands of civilians are also displaced within Syria.

While the situation in Syria has grabbed headlines, a longer term refugee crisis continues. For over 60 years, Palestinian refugees have lived across the region, receiving services including education, health care, relief and social services, food assistance and other forms of emergency assistance from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Many of these individuals were seeking refuge in Syria and have now been forced to move once again.

What is the impact of the Syria crisis on the situation of Palestine Refugees and their unresolved status? Are there lessons to be learned from the ongoing plight of Palestinian refugees in the international community's response to the Syrian crisis? Filippo Grandi will discuss UNRWA's efforts in the region, the displacement caused by the Syrian civil war and long-term issues and instability in the region.

Filippo Grandi is the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/seeking-refuge.html

Direct download: 11_4_13_Palestinian_Refuge.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:12pm PST

The meaning of North American energy independence and how to achieve it has been a hot topic of debate for years.  The oil crisis of 1973 brought into focus the stark reality that the US was reliant on other nations for access to oil. Determined to prevent similar incidents, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was created in 1975 and today the US has the capacity to hold up to 727 million barrels of emergency fuel. Though it sounds like an immense amount of oil, it equates only to an estimated 36 days of use. So the search for an alternative, safe, clean and affordable domestic source of energy has continued. Scientists had known for years about natural gas trapped in a dense layer of sedimentary rock—known as shale—buried a mile or more underground all over the country. The problem with shale gas was it was too difficult to access; a problem solved by 'hydrofracking', commonly referred to as, 'fracking'.  A little over a decade ago scientists created a process to inject water under high pressure into shale, breaking it and releasing trapped gas and oil. This simple idea of injecting water into the ground effectively lit the fuse that has caused an American energy explosion. Shale gas is cleaner than coal and oil. Fracking has created jobs, lowered emissions, kick-started industry and for the first time in decades created an energy surplus in the US.  However, fracking comes with its own environmental costs.

Inspired by his previous book, "The Ripple Effect: the Fate of Freshwater in the Twenty-First Century", author and journalist Alex Prud'homme began researching the impact fracking has on the quantity and quality of fresh drinking water. The result is a guide that weighs the evidence both for and against fracking. Prud'homme will give an unbiased presentation of the present state of hydrofracking to bring clarity to a debate that, in his words, "has been exacerbated by an absence of hard data and an excess of hyperbole on both sides".

Speaker Alex Prud'homme is a journalist and he is the author of "Hydrofracking: What Everyone Needs to Know".

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/hydrofracking.html

Direct download: 10_29_13_Hydrofracking-1.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

The World Affairs Council and Bloomberg present "mInnovation: What's on the Horizon?"

Tomorrow's smartphones will be equipped with capabilities almost unimaginable today. Engineers are working on ways to make portable devices faster, smarter, wearable and more secure. These powerful mini-computers will boast bendable screens, liquid-cooling systems and sensors that follow touch-free commands. We'll use wireless phones to project holograms, combat disease, chart climate change, track migration patterns, and enable an array of innovative and contextual products and services.

At the same time, outfitting handheld machines for an ever widening range of tasks and ensuring that these benefits are enjoyed equitably remains a challenge.

This engaging discussion about disruptive innovations in mobile technology features Mike Abbott, Guy Bar-Nahum, and Timothy Morey. Pui-Wing Tam moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/audio-video/minnovation-whats-on-the.html

Direct download: 10_29_13_mInnovation_Bloomberg.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

Six years beyond the world financial crisis, the European Union may be recovering from its struggles with fiscal policy. However, judging from recent cases such as Greece, Portugal and Spain, the political divide between northern and southern Europe persists, creating potential road blocks for the continent's expected turn around.

Olli Rehn, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, will discuss the difficulties the EU has faced over the past few years and how it can forge a path to a strong recovery.

Speaker Olli Rehn is the Vice President of the European Commission.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/european-recovery-and-revival.html

Direct download: 10_28_13_European_Recovery-1.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

The nature of warfare is changing. Over the past decade we have seen a dramatic increase in the use of Special Operations Forces (SOF) not just in short targeted missions, but in long-term missions meant to train and build local security forces around the world. These forces are highly skilled small teams that are more cost-effective, are able to keep a lower profile and can be deployed more strategically than traditional forces. The importance of military Special Operations was highlighted in President Obama's 2008 campaign when he promised to increase funding and further build these forces. This promise has largely been kept. According to Politifact via the Pentagon, from fiscal year 2009 to fiscal year 2012 the SOF personnel increased from 55,890 to 63,779 and the SOF budget increased from $8.9 billion to $10.5 billion over the same period.

Drawing on her experience on multiple tours in Afghanistan, RAND senior international policy analyst, Linda Robinson will share her experiences on the ground with America's 'new' military; a small group of strategically thinking forces who rely more on persuasion, bonding and negotiation instead of firepower to gain local trust and ensure the population's security.  

Speaker Linda Robinson is a Senior International Policy Analyst at the RAND Corporation.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/special-operations-forces.html

Direct download: 10_24_13_Special_Ops.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:30pm PST

Five years ago, the world's urban population surpassed the rural population for the first time in history, and the number of city dwellers is expected to double in the next century. This dramatic change has created new challenges in urban living that require innovative new solutions. Cities have long made use of information technology to streamline city planning and daily life, from power grids to phone lines to wireless networks. As cities continue to grow, new technologies will arise to manage energy use, crime, traffic patterns and other urban issues and turn cities into finely tuned machines.

Anthony Townsend, an urbanist and technology expert, will explore the conflict between top-down and bottom-up approaches to implementing new technologies, as well as the promises and risks of building tomorrow's smart cities.

Speaker Anthony Townsend is the Research Director at the Institute for the Future.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/building-smart-cities.html

Direct download: 10_22_13_Smart_Cities.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

Agreed on as the most authoritative survey available on the question of energy security, "Energy and Security: Strategies for a World in Transition" assesses how the United States can integrate its energy and national security interests.  On the 40th anniversary of the Arab oil embargo, we revisit the perennial question of energy security with a panel of distinguished experts in the energy field,  including co-editors Jan Kalicki and David Goldwyn and contributing author Amy Jaffe, to discuss the North American energy renaissance, new energy frontiers, energy poverty and climate security in the current political environment.

The panel will be moderated by Peter Robertson, Chairman of the World Affairs Council Board of Trustees. The speakers include David Goldwyn, President and Founder of Goldwyn Global Strategies, Amy Myers Jaffe, Executive Director of Energy and Sustainability at the Graduate School of Management and the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, and Jan Kalicki, Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/40-years-after-the-arab-oil-embargo.html

Direct download: 10_16_13_Oil_Embargo.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:30pm PST

Research demonstrates that investing in girls is key to increasing economic growth, improving health outcomes and promoting global development. In honor of International Day of the Girl, this dynamic panel will feature renowned leaders working to advance girls' health, education and well-being around the world. Panelists will draw from examples of successful strategies to demonstrate the power and promise of investing in girls, from increasing girls' access to education through girl-led advocacy in Guatemala, to ending child marriage by engaging village chiefs in southern Malawi, to combating violence against girls through national policy advocacy in Liberia.

The panelists will also present a new interactive media platform launched at the Social Good Summit showcasing how girls are leading change for their communities, countries and the world.

Claire Brindis is the Director of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco. Denise Dunning is the Executive Director of the Adolescent Girls' Advocacy & Leadership Initiative at the Public Health Institute. Elizabeth Gore is Resident Entrepreneur at the United Nations Foundation. Riya Singh is the Co-Chair of the Teen Advisory Board at Girl Up.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/let-girls-lead.html

Direct download: 10_9_13_Girls_Lead.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

There was a time when civility and compromise lay at the heart of politics in Washington; when political and ideological rivals could serve together to forge compromises for the benefit of the country. Today it's hard to believe that this was ever the case, and it begs the question: will civility and compromise ever return to American politics? Having served as the Chief of Staff for Tip O'Neill, Chris Matthews offers a unique perspective on a time when the Speaker of the House and the President, Ronald Reagan, were able to "temper their philosophical divide with a public, and sometimes personal, cordiality." Chris Matthews sits down with the World Affairs Council to discuss a political heroism that once was and the lessons it offers for today's political climate.

Speaker Chris Matthews is Host of Hardball on MSNBC.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/will-politics-in-washington.html

Direct download: 10_8_13_Chris_Matthews-new.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

Is it possible to manipulate our environment or are we victims of forces beyond our control? Lawrence Freedman, a professor of war studies at King's College London and former foreign policy advisor to Tony Blair, will discuss how strategy has come to pervade every aspect of our lives. He provides examples ranging from Achilles and Odysseus to the military innovations of Carl von Clausewitz to today’s corporate strategy, in order to create a picture of strategy which is fluid and requires continual reappraisal.

This event is presented in partnership with the King's College Alumni Association and the Marines' Memorial Association.

For more information about this event, please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/strategy.html

Direct download: 10_3_13_Freedman_Strategy.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

Sixty-eight years after the Holocaust, governments continue to struggle with preventing genocide and mass atrocities. In 2005, United Nations member states agreed that nations share a responsibility to protect their citizens from genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing. Join Mike Abramowitz, Director of the Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Richard S. Williamson, former presidential special envoy to Sudan, for a discussion about how the responsibility to protect has been applied in recent crises such as Libya and Syria.

This event is co-presented by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, with promotional partner Lehrhaus Judaica.

Mike Abramowitz is the Director for the Center for the Prevention of Genocide of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Richard S. Williamson is the Former Presidential Special Envoy to Sudan.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/preventing-genocide.html

Direct download: 9_30_13_Genocide_Prevention.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

Once a quiet region mostly governed by authoritarian leaders, the Arab world since 2010 has seen profound changes, and has become a top talking point for pundits, political leaders and at dinner tables the world over. The changes brought about by the Arab Spring have forced many to reevaluate their understanding of the region and its people. For some the uprisings seemed sudden, but to Professor Shibley Telhami the Arab peoples' present-day grievances, priorities and desires have been fomenting for decades.  

Based on 20 years of public polling data from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon and the UAE, Professor Telhami argues the uprisings were not just in reaction to corrupt leaders and decades of perceived humiliations at the hands of the West, but fueled by a desire for respect by the outside world and for political systems similar to the West. Professor Telhami will discuss differences in Arab polling, notions of Arab identity, how no government in the Arab world is immune from revolt and how Arab public opinion will reshape the Arab world.

Speaker Shibley Telhami is the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, College Park.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/the-world-an-arab.html

Direct download: 9_25_13_Arab_Perspective.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

With the election of a new, moderate president, questions remain over the future of Iran's foreign policy and the country's nuclear intentions. While President Rohani campaigned on a reformist platform, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Kahmenei has directed national security and foreign policy decisions in the past and there is no indication this might change. Whoever holds the reigns, the relationship between Iran and the US is complicated, with questions centering on how the US should respond to Iran's nuclear program. Are the current sanctions effective? Should the US consider a military option?

Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA analyst, will explore Iran's nuclear capabilities, the complex US-Iranian relationship and potential options for US policymakers. This event is presented in partnership with the Marines' Memorial Association.

Speaker Kenneth Pollack is a Senior Fellow with the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/responding-to-a-new-iranian.html

Direct download: 9_23_13_Iranian_Leader.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:31pm PST

In recent years we have seen diseases spread around the globe at an alarming rate, from West Nile virus to SARS to swine flu. Globalization has magnified the potential reach of these diseases, increasing the speed with which they spread and the size of the population that can be affected. Rapid transmission over a large area, rather than the severity of the disease itself, is what transforms an illness into a pandemic.

Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty emphasizes that pandemics can be fought effectively, both through simple health practices and new research. Drawing on his extensive experience in the fields of pathology and immunology, Dr. Doherty will discuss pandemics, how they spread and what we can do to prevent them.

Speaker Peter Doherty is the Michael F. Tamer Chair of Biomedical Research at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/disease-in-a-borderless-world.html

Direct download: 9_17_13_Borderless_Disease.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

The world is awash in change. What can be done to re-create the relative stability which emerged from the creative efforts of statesmen after the end of World War II?

"Issues on My Mind" contains some of George Shultz's most compelling analyses on relevent topics. In this how-to guide, Shultz charts a path to a better future for the United States and the rest of the world, including how to govern more effectively, get our economy back on track, take advantage of new opportunities in the field of energy, combat the use of addictive drugs, apply a strategic overview to diplomacy and identify necessary steps to achieve a world without nuclear weapons.

Moderator Jane Wales, President and CEO, World Affairs Council, speaks with George Shultz, Former Secretary of State.

For more information about this event, visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/issues-on-my-mind.html

Direct download: 9_12_13-George_Shultz.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

The 'Arab Spring' has brought both the promise of reforms around women's rights and the potential for setbacks in the movement. Human Rights Watch has documented the violations associated with the old regimes and the uprisings and has sought to make recommendations to new governments that will strengthen and protect women's rights. As political reforms take place in these transitional countries, will the status of women progress as well? And how can organizations like Human Rights Watch positively influence this progress in the region?

Liesl Gerntholtz, the executive director of the women's rights division at Human Rights Watch, and Hillary Margolis, the women's rights division's researcher on women's rights in Syria, will explore the impact of political transitions on the position of women, drawing on examples from Libya, Yemen, Egypt and Syria.

For more information about this event, please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/womens-rights-in-transition.html

Direct download: 9_11_13_Women_in_Transition.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

The World Affairs Council is honored to host the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United States of America, his excellency Ahn Ho-young. Ambassador Ahn is a graduate of the Department of International Relations at Seoul National University and Georgetown University. Ambassador Ahn joined the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1978. During his career he has lead Korean Delegations to the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization. He has held numerous ministry-level positions within Korea, including the Director-General of the Multilateral Trade Bureau and Deputy Minister for Trade. Prior to his appointment in the US, Ahn was Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and the Korean Mission to the European Union.

Direct download: 8_21_13_Ahn_Ho-young.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 5:00pm PST

In the past few decades, China has experienced remarkable growth. It is a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the G-20. It has the world's largest standing army, the world's second largest economy and has reduced national poverty by more than half. How did China emerge from the decline and unrest of the 19th century to become the global power that we see today?

According to John Delury and Orville Schell, the country's past provides an understanding of the forces that molded modern China. Many influential figures in China's history were driven by their pursuit of wealth and power, and a desire for the restoration of national greatness, ambitions that have come to define the modern Chinese character. Delury and Schell will offer insights into how China's past shaped its present, and what we might expect in the future.
Speakers: Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director, Center on US-China Relations, Asia Society

John Delury, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies, Yonsei University

Moderator: Thomas Gold, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley

Learn more: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/modern-china.html

Direct download: 7_31_13_Schell_Delury.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:30pm PST

Following the burst of the housing bubble in 2008 and the subsequent worldwide financial crisis, governments began looking for ways to tighten their purse strings. Austerity (the sequester in the US) is one of the main policy options to deal with heavy public debt. Sometimes a painful process and not without controversy, austerity generates substantial cuts to many public services. According to Dr. Basu, when approached incorrectly austerity can also have deadly consequences. Drawing on case studies starting during the Great Depression up to the present day Basu has found that certain austerity measures have led to large public health problems such as HIV and malaria outbreaks, medicine shortages, increased heart attacks and even a recent outbreak of West Nile virus in California. However, it doesn’t have to be this way, according to Basu. Several countries such as Iceland and Japan have actually improved their public health situations in tough economic times. Which direction will the sequester take the US and California? Join the conversation with Dr. Sanjay Basu to find out.

Speaker: Sanjay Basu, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University


Direct download: 7_24_13_Sanjay_Basu.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

Turkey has been enmeshed in a wave of nationwide anti-government protests in recent months. The unrest began in late May when police used harsh tactics against campaigners opposed to plans to redevelop a central Istanbul park. The police reaction ignited broader demonstrations against Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government. The unprecedented expansion of the demonstrations and riots suggests that the outburst of anger and opposition was fueled by more than a simple determination to save a green space in central Istanbul. For many Turks, the unrest appears to have been a reaction to the perceived autocratic leanings of the prime minister and resistance to the direction of Turkish democracy, freedom of expression and the role of religion in society.

The crisis comes at a delicate time for Prime Minster Erdogan, who is in the midst of a fragile peace initiative with the Kurdish minority, dealing with an escalating war next door in Syria, and trying to convince parliament to strengthen the office of the president, which he is expected to run for as his final term as prime minister winds down.

Former White House Director for Turkish Affairs Jeffrey Collins, prominent Turkish political commentator Mustafa Akyol and Turkish academic and activist Tuğba Tanyeri-Erdemir will discuss the underlying causes of the recent protests, and assess their likely impact on Turkey’s domestic and foreign policy.


Mustafa Akyol, Turkish political commentator and author
Jeffrey Collins, Senior Counsel for International Policy Affairs, Chevron Corporation
Tuğba Tanyeri-Erdemir, Lecturer, Graduate Program of Middle Eastern Studies, Middle East Technical University
Nancy Jarvis, Trustee, World Affairs Council
Direct download: 7_17_13_Edited_Understanding_Unrest_in_Turkey.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:30am PST

Hurricane Sandy, record wildfires and intensified cycles of drought and flood have awakened the American public to the climate crisis at hand. What few know is that, in large part because of successful environmental activism, including the retirement of dirty coal plants, the United States has become a global leader in the fight to reduce carbon pollution, while innovations in wind, solar and other renewables are generating more power, more jobs and a healthier quality of life every day.

As  the leader of America's largest and most effective grassroots environmental organization, Michael Brune will discuss how averting the potential global catastrophe caused by climate disruption is also a historic chance to create a better world, powered by clean energy prosperity.

Speaker: Michael Brune Executive Director, Sierra Club

Moderator: Maureen Blanc, Trustee, World Affairs Council

Learn more: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/climate-crisis.html

Direct download: 7_2_13_Michael_Brune.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:30pm PST

Iran's presidential elections take place on June 14, and it is certain that a new leader will replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who is constitutionally barred from running for a third term. Of the 700 hopeful candidates who have registered, only a few will be allowed to run by the Guardian Council -- a group of twelve men mostly appointed by the Supreme Leader. What remains uncertain is which candidates will run and how contested this election might be.

In 2009, Iran's previous elections were controversial, sparking a Green Revolution and weeks of violent protests. This year, regardless of who is ultimately chosen, Iran's next president will undoubtedly inherit many challenges, ranging from the country's relations with the Syrian regime to its nuclear program to the need to bolster an economy that suffers from 30% inflation and crippling international sanctions.

Iran expert Abbas Milani will discuss the election's outcome and what the change in leadership means for the region, the US and the world.

Speaker: Abbas Milani, Hamid and Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies, Stanford University

Moderator: Charles Frankel, Honorary Consul, Republic of Botswana

Learn more: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/iranian-presidential-elections.html

Direct download: 6_27_13_Abbas_Milani.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:30pm PST

Remarkable advances in existing technologies, from hydraulic fracturing to horizontal and deepwater drilling to renewables such as solar and wind, have brought America to a new level of energy production. However, as America's energy demands continue to grow, the debate over where this energy should come from intensifies, with some arguing in favor of fossil fuels and others championing renewable power.

Believing that this head to head clash of old versus new is unproductive, Michael Levi argues that neither side presents a perfect solution and that both emerging movements in American energy offer great opportunities for the US to strengthen its economy, bolster its security and protect the environment. Levi will discuss the future of American energy and offer a new strategy that blends the best of both sides.

Speaker: Michael Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations

Moderator: Michael Levi, Senior Adviser, TPG Capital
Learn more: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/americas-energy-opportunity.html

Direct download: 6_20_13_Michael_Levi.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:30pm PST

In conjunction with our summer exhibition The Last Iceberg, this program is an opportunity to go in-depth behind Camille Seaman's journey of documenting the polar regions of our planet. For the last decade, she has traveled repeatedly to the Arctic and Antarctic to take portraits of polar ice, witnessing the beauty and loss of a part of Earth most of us will never see.

An award-winning photographer and Ted Fellow, Camille will elaborate on the concepts behind her portraits of icebergs and discuss her knowledge of what is happening in these fragile areas.

Speaker: Camille Seaman, Photographer

Moderator: Craig Miller, Science Editor, KQED

Learn more: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/20...

Direct download: 6_19_13_Camille_Seaman.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:30pm PST

Subnational conflict is the most widespread, enduring and deadly form of violent conflict in Asia. These conflicts are among the world's longest running armed struggles; more than half of the countries in South and Southeast Asia are affected by subnational conflicts; and millions of people in Asia are living in areas of protracted conflict. The international community has provided nearly $6 billion in official development assistance to subnational conflict areas in Asia over the past 10 years. The Asia Foundation's major new study, "Contested Corners of Asia: Subnational Conflict and International Development Assistance," assesses the impact - or lack thereof - of international assistance to these areas. The research team includes leading experts on conflict and foreign aid in Asia who use in-depth case studies, based upon extensive mixed-method research, including village-level ethnographic field work, perception surveys and interviews with key informants ranging from international donors to insurgents. The report presents case studies of conflicts in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. This event is presented in partnership with The Asia Foundation and the Asia Society.


Nils Gilman, Director of Research, Monitor 360

Ben Oppenheim, Simpson Fellow, Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

Thomas Parks, Regional Director for Conflict and Governance, The Asia Foundation


Alastair Gee, Correspondent, Monocle

Learn more: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/2013/subnational-conflicts-in-asia.html

Direct download: 6_17_13_Subnational_Conflicts_Asia.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

The opening of the Arctic is the most significant physical event to occur on our planet since the end of the last ice age. The changing Arctic, and the increased activity that will take place there, present challenges and opportunities in energy and mineral development, environmental stewardship, the welfare of indigenous people and national security.

What does this mean for the United States and what are the key economic and policy considerations facing the United States in the coming years?

This event is presented in partnership with the Marines' Memorial Association.

Speaker: Gary Roughead, Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution

Moderator: Maj Gen Mike Myatt, USMC (Ret.)
President and CEO, Marines' Memorial Association

Learn more: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/20...

Direct download: 6_12_13_Gary_Roughead.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

"I have come to learn that the power of personal stories is that they can touch people deeply, with the potential to evoke great passion, dedication and commitment to a cause. I never cease to be inspired and encouraged by such reactions to my story, and this gives me further strength to continue sharing my painful past. Sharing can bring about human connection, understanding, acceptance and motivation for change. As an activist, to be able to foster love and positive action for those in need is a dream come true. I often say that 'life is love,' a meaningful life must contain love, and in order to love we must share our lives, our stories, our hearts."

These are the words of Somaly Mam, a Cambodian human rights activist and human trafficking survivor. She has been honored as one of Fast Company's 2012 League of Extraordinary Women, one of Fortune Magazine's Most Powerful Women in 2011, one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2009, a CNN Hero and Glamour Magazine's 2006 Woman of the Year. In addition she is also the recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation and The World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child (WCPRC) Award, among others.

Don't miss the opportunity to sit down for a discussion with Somaly Mam.

This event is presented in paternship with the International Museum of Women and Vital Voices.

Speaker: Somaly Mam, Founder and President, Somaly Mam Foundation

Moderator: Jane Wales, President and CEO, World Affairs Council

Learn more: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/20...

Direct download: 6_11_13_Somaly_Mam.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

The ongoing nuclear proliferation issues with Iran and North Korea have put nuclear arms high up on the American foreign policy agenda. These media grabbing developments can sometimes overshadow traditional nuclear arms reduction talks and stockpile maintenance. With that said, President Obama made reducing existing nuclear weapons a foreign policy priority during his first term. Now that Obama has begun his second term with the New START Treaty between the US and Russia signed and in force, should the US consider other nuclear arms control steps to enhance American security? Can there be another major US-Russia treaty and, if so, can the tactical and surplus strategic nuclear warheads that have so far escaped control be brought into such a framework? Ambassador Steven Pifer will discuss the differences between Washington and Moscow over missile defense, the proposal to ban further production of fissile materials and the challenges facing the Obama administration in pursuing this agenda.


Steven Pifer, Director, Arms Control Initiative, Brookings Institution

Direct download: 5_30_13_Steven_Pifer.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:00am PST

Armed conflict, weak states and transitional societies are a central security challenge for the United States; the State Department’s new Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) works to break these cycles of violent conflict by mitigating crises in priority countries. They engage in conflict prevention, crisis response and stabilization, aiming to address the underlying causes of destabilizing violence.

Speaker: Rick Barton, Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations, Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, US Department of State

Direct download: 5_28_13_Rick_Barton.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:00am PST

About 40 children under the age of five die every three minutes, 40% of whom are less than a month old. In the same time frame two women die in child birth. These are startling statistics, but in fact, they have fallen by 35% over the past 20 years. Over the same period malaria deaths have dropped by 50% in eight African countries. And many more could be saved by simple things such as providing prenatal and postnatal care, educating mothers on the importance of clean drinking water and through vaccinations. If these solutions are so simple why are they not being implemented? Dr. Eric Bing has a solution: scale down the healthcare system to help more people. By encouraging people's natural entrepreneurial spirit and training them to open micro-clinics and micro-pharmacies in the hard to reach and most affected areas, these important health education services, medications and treatments can be made available to the most vulnerable at a fraction of the cost of current aid packages. With new technology and a scaled-down bottom-up healthcare strategy, Bing argues we can make these startling statistics a thing of the past.

Speaker: Eric Bing, Senior Fellow and Director of Global Health, George W. Bush Institute

Moderator: Stephen Kahn, President, Abundance Foundation

Direct download: 5_20_13_Eric_Bing.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:00pm PST

American foreign policy can —and needs to—begin at home, according to Richard Haass. A rising China and a nuclear Iran, along with a turbulent Middle East and a reckless North Korea are just a few of the serious global challenges currently facing America. However serious those may be, Haass argues that the biggest threats to US security and prosperity come not from abroad but from within. America's burgeoning deficit and debt, crumbling infrastructure, second-class schools and outdated immigration system all contribute to decreased competitiveness and increased vulnerability. America needs to adapt quickly to a changing global landscape, one in which power is widely diffused as a result of globalization and revolutionary technologies. Returning the United States to a leadership role in the world will require a new foreign policy doctrine of Restoration, in which the United States limits its engagement in foreign wars and humanitarian interventions and instead focuses on restoring the economic foundations of its power.

Speaker: Richard Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations

Moderator: Michael Nacht, Professor of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley

Direct download: 5_16_13_Richard_Haas.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:00am PST

It is often assumed that the advancement of technology will give rise to solutions for all of humankind's problems. With the rise of smart phones and wearable technology we are now able to track everything about ourselves, from our health and biological functions to our work, exercise, sleep and eating habits. Soon technology will go even further in its integration in every facet of our lives. Everything about us will be recorded, saved and made available to us anywhere at any time. Long gone will be the days of waiting in line to vote, instead selections will be made instantly on your phone or computer. Crime prevention will not need people, but will be left to complex algorithms that predict who, where and when crime will occur. Newspapers will be fully customized to each individual reader's views and preferences. Some say this is the way of the future and the path to an efficient, transparent and perfect society. One of today's most respected cyber-philosophers, Evgeny Morozov, takes a different view. While technology can improve our lives, it is not a panacea for all our problems, and the blind acceptance of the technological elimination of the frictions, opacity, ambiguity and imperfection inherent in human life poses a serious threat to society and the democracy we cherish.

Speaker: Evgeny Morozov, Contributing Editor, The New Republic

Moderator: Andrew Woods, Cybersecurity Fellow, CISC, Stanford University

Direct download: 5_15_13_Evgeny_Morozov.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:00am PST

The civil war and humanitarian crisis in Syria has produced more than 1 million refugees, and within this staggering statistic is a more troublesome number: 51% of those refugees are children. Other recent disasters, from the earthquake in Haiti to flooding in the Philippines, have produced similar situations. As UNICEF’s Chief of Child Protection, Susan Bissell has seen firsthand how children in disasters and humanitarian crises become easy targets for human trafficking, recruitment by armed forces, and child labor. Working across 170 countries, Bissell guides UNICEF’s programs which work to prevent and respond to children affected by armed conflicts and humanitarian disasters.

Speaker: Susan Bissell, Chief of Child Protection, UNICEF

Direct download: 5_9_13_Susan_Bissell_v2.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 6:00pm PST

On March 5 Hugo Chávez passed away after succumbing to a long battle with cancer, leaving behind a complex legacy, a political movement often referred to as 'Chavismo.' Many around the world mourned the loss of the leader, while others looked ahead to a new future for Venezuela. Indeed his rise to fame and eventual occupation of Venezuela's most powerful position was nothing short of legendary. Democratically elected by wide margins, Chávez was president for fourteen years. During this time he pulled thousands of citizens out of poverty with his '21st Century Socialism' mandate that provided, among other things, healthcare to the poor and massive gas subsidies. Throughout this time he also consolidated government authority under the presidency, jailed and excommunicated political opponents, and courted world leaders such as Ahmadinejad, Gadhafi and Castro. Even though the country sat atop vast oil wealth, Chávez presided over a crumbling infrastructure, a significant rise in crime rates and food shortages. His successor will have huge shoes to fill, and will face the challenging task of rebuilding the country. Rory Carroll, the former Latin America Bureau Chief for The Guardian, is well positioned to speak about the future of Venezuela after Chávez.

Speaker: Rory Carroll, US West Coast Bureau Chief, The Guardian

Moderator: Terry Vogt, Trustee, World Affairs Council of Northern California

Direct download: 5_6_13_Rory_Carroll.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:30am PST

Saudi Arabia is the world's largest exporter of oil, a key US ally and one of the last absolute monarchies. It is a country of extremes; while it is controlled by a small group of ruling princes with an average age of 81, 60% of its population is under 20. Healthcare and education are free, gasoline is cheaper than water, there are no taxes and everyone receives subsidized energy. It is considered key to stability in the Middle East, yet it is known for producing terrorists, most notoriously Osama Bin Laden. Only recently were women granted the right to get photo identification and start a business, but they are still not allowed to drive or take on most jobs. Despite all of this Karen Elliot House argues that the majority of Saudis do not want democracy per se, but more transparency and a government based on law instead of royal fiat. House will discuss her assessment of Saudi Arabia's future and the choices facing the next generation of Saudi ruling princes.

Speaker: Karen House, Adjunct Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Direct download: 5_2_13_Karen_House.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:00pm PST

Reviewing the past few decades of Burmese history, 2012 might come to pass as one of its most significant years. What started with a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton quickly evolved into a historic visit by President Barack Obama this past November, and as political prisoners have been released and US sanctions eased Burma has shown signs of improved respect for democratic values, but continued ethnic conflict and military resistance to civilian authority still threaten progress. Tom Malinowski will discuss his recent trip to Burma and what the US can do to encourage a full transition to democracy.

Speaker: Tom Malinowski, Washington Director, Human Rights Watc

Direct download: 4_30_13_Tom_Malinowski.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:30am PST

Eighty five percent of the world’s population has access to mobile networks, with emerging economies representing the fastest growing markets. China and India alone account for 30 percent of the global subscribers, and there were more mobile connections than people on Earth at the end of 2012. The rapid spread of wireless technology across the planet has the potential to foster economic development in myriad ways, opening students to new avenues of learning, giving entrepreneurs unprecedented access to capital and market data and helping grassroots organizations more effectively agitate for change and transparency. Carriers, developers, electronics makers and equipment manufacturers are harnessing this expansion and adapting their services to reach billions of users, many of them new. Yet barriers remain - be they government restrictions on the wireless Web, a dearth of locally relevant mobile applications or a pervasive mobile gender gap that limits women’s access to mobile technology in some regions.

Speakers: Nelson Mattos, Head of Emerging Markets, Google Katie Jacobs Stanton, Head of International Strategy, Twitter Rodger Voorhies, Director of Financial Services for the Poor Initiative, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Moderator: Tom Giles, U.S. Technology Editor, Bloomberg News

Introduction by: Former Ambassador Terry Kramer, U.S. Head of Delegation for the World Conference on International Telecommunications 2012; Trustee of the World Affairs Council of Northern California

Direct download: 4_23_13_Bloomberg_Event.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:30am PST

In the aftermath of the 2007 financial crisis, many argued for stronger banking regulations and more fiscal oversight; yet as the recession carried on some worried that new regulations would hamper an economic recovery and dissuade banks from lending. Are fiscal oversight and a strong banking system mutually exclusive?

Anat Admati suggests that a safer and healthier economic system will not require a sacrifice of our current institutions and can come at no cost to society. She will explore how weak regulations and ineffective enforcement led to a buildup of risks that unleashed the financial crisis, as well as what lessons we have, and have not, learned.

Speaker: Anat Admati, George Parker Professor of Finance and Economics, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Moderator: Sedge Dienst, Trustee, World Affairs Council of Northern California

Direct download: 4_23_13_Anat_Admati.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:00am PST

Climate change presents the global community with one of its greatest challenges and one of its greatest opportunities. The choices we make today will determine the future state of the environment, for good or ill.

Christiana Figueres will discuss her unique perspective on what changes will transform the world of tomorrow and how we can make a positive impact.


Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Direct download: 4_18_13_Christiana_Figueres.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:00pm PST

Power was once concentrated in the hands of a few dominant players, the political, business and social elite who held significant amounts of control within their respective circles. In the modern day, however, power is shifting to a smaller level, wielded by start-ups, revolutionaries and activists, who have less control and influence than the larger players they are supplanting. Moises Naim argues that these "micropowers" have the ability to disrupt the establishment, as seen in the success of the Arab Spring uprisings or in successful Silicon Valley start-ups, but they can also pose a threat to order and political stability.

What is the future of power? What players will we see gaining control and what impact will these changes have? Naím will discuss the new opportunities as well as the potential threats posed by this power shift.

Speaker: Moisés Naím, Senior Associate, International Economics Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Moderator: David de Wilde, Trustee, World Affairs Council of Northern California

Direct download: 4_10_13_Moises_Naim.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:30am PST

There is no doubt that the Arab Spring was a fascinating period on the historical record, with unprecedented changes taking place throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Dictators were toppled, fair elections were administered and political freedoms returned. It appears now, however, that further democratization has slowed and initial expectations may have been too high. The political situation in Egypt remains uncertain with riots and protests continuing, Syria continues to spiral out of control and Islamist rebels with ties to Al Qaeda have wreaked havoc in Mali, Algeria and Libya. What are the implications from the Arab Spring in these regions? Will Al Qaeda, damaged but certainly not dead, regroup in North Africa and what influence will it continue to have?

Seth Jones, Associate Director, International Security and Defense Policy Center, RAND Corporation

Direct download: 4_9_13_Seth_Jones.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:00pm PST

The energy mix is evolving and so is the world in which energy is supplied and consumed. Major progress is being made in developing oil, gas, renewable and other clean energy resources, but the increase in population coupled with the industrialization of developing countries will cause energy demand to more than double by mid-century. The international community is grappling with the trade-offs between development and the environment and climate change has fundamentally shifted the nature and urgency of the debate. Historically, it requires decades to explore and produce existing energy resources and to develop new ones. What is a realistic view of the energy mix over the next thirty years and what are the roles for fossil fuels, renewables and nuclear? Join us for a panel discussion of the outlook for the global energy mix over the next 30 years.

Amy Myers Jaffe, Executive Director of Energy and Sustainability, Graduate School of Management and the Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis

Daniel Kammen, Director, Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley

Matt Rogers, Director, McKinsey & Company

Direct download: 4_1_13_Jaffe_Kammen_Rogers.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:30pm PST

In 2004, the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (formerly the ‘alternative’) was established under the leadership of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Several countries from Latin America and the Caribbean signed on, including Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua. This seemed to have ushered in the era of a left-leaning Latin America that is a greater challenge for US policy in the region. How have these leftist governments in Latin America fared, and how has US policy toward the region adapted?

Michael Shifter, President, Inter-American Dialogue

Julia Sweig, Director of Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Direct download: WA2013_Breakout_03_07_13_Left_Leaning_Latin_America.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

With the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan and other insurgencies, the tactics of guerrilla war are again at the forefront of modern military strategy, but this is not a new development. From the time of Alexander the Great to the post-9/11 battlefields of today, guerrilla uprisings have had a large impact on warfare. Max Boot assesses this impact through an in-depth look at nontraditional fighting throughout world history. Drawing from aspects of the Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire, the French-Indochina war and the revolution in Cuba, Boot will provide a new perspective on unconventional warfare and present new ways of thinking about the threats of the future.

Speaker:Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies, Council on Foreign Relations


Direct download: 2_27_13_Max_Boot_KQED.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

Since December 2010 societies across the Middle East and North Africa have experienced social and governmental upheaval ranging from protests, change in governance, civil war, and the complete toppling of government. Among myriad changes taking place, many hope that this is also the beginning of a new era for human rights, governance, and freedom of expression in the region. These transitions have undoubtedly affected millions of people’s lives, but specifically how have the lives of women changed? Are women in the Middle East and North Africa better off than before, has there been no real change, or has life become more difficult for women in the region?

Shirin Tahir-Kheli, Chairman, BLUSA INC., Consulting

Zeina Zaatari, Independent Scholar and Activist; Lecturer, University of California, Davis

Direct download: WA2013_Breakout_03_08_13_Women_in_the_Islamic_World.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

With the world’s largest economy, arguably the best universities, and the birthplace of the modern internet-based lifestyle, one can see why the United States is often referred to as “the greatest nation on Earth.” Known for innovation in many sectors—especially technology—the US has long attracted the best and the brightest from around the world to study, invest, and live the “American Dream,” but is the US losing its edge? If experts are correct the US economy will fall behind that of China in 5 years, followed by India by 2050. What is causing the US to slide from the number one position it has held for over 100 years? This session will examine key development factors and government policies to answer the questions: is the US being out-innovated? And if so, what can be done to help the US regain its competitive edge?

Sarah Burd-Sharps, Co-director, Measure of America, Social Science Research Council

Titus Galama, Economist, RAND Corporation; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School

Linda Padon, General Manager, Corporate Public Policy, Chevron Corporation

Direct download: WA2013_Breakout_03_08_13_Competitive_Edge.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

A long-term activist on poverty and justice, Shetty leads Amnesty's effort to end human rights violations. Previously, he was Director of the UN Millennium Campaign and played a pivotal role in building the global advocacy campaign for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Shetty will discuss his work with Amnesty International and the organization's current campaigns around the world.

Speaker: Salil Shetty, Secretary General, Amnesty International

Moderator: Hon. Rebecca Westerfield, Trustee, World Affairs Council of Northern California

Direct download: 3_26_13_Salil_Shetty.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:00pm PST

The US and the other large economies of the world have been on a fragile interconnected path to recovery for over four years and the stakes are higher than ever to sustain growth. According to economist Peter Blair Henry, answers to sustained growth and fiscal prosperity can be found in the fiscal policies of former Third World nations over the last twenty years.

By analyzing income disparities in the Caribbean, "catch-up" economics from China and the wrangling of inflation in Latin America the answer comes down to developing fiscal policies that reflect prudence and self-control. Backed up by objective market analysis, Henry will discuss the prospects for long term prosperity in the First World thanks to the lessons of fiscal discipline from the Third World.

Speaker: Peter Blair Henry, Dean, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University

Moderator: James Manyika, Trustee, World Affairs Council

Direct download: 3_20_13_Peter_Blair_Henry.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:30am PST

The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to defy UN Security Council resolutions calling for an end to its uranium enrichment program. Is Iran trying to develop nuclear weapons, as many fear, or does it just want to produce nuclear energy, as the Tehran government claims? What would be the likely consequences if Iran does get the bomb? What diplomatic and military options are available to address this serious crisis? Four expert panelists will discuss this issue.

Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer, Assistant Professor, Norwegian Defence University College

Abbas Milani, Research Fellow and Co-Director, Iran Democracy Project, Hoover Institution

Abraham Sofaer, George P. Shultz Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy and National Security Affairs, Hoover Institution

Moderator: Scott Sagan, Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University

Direct download: 3_14_13_Hegghammer_Milani_Sofaer.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:30am PST

In honor of International Women's Day, a bright light will shine on one of the many women taking the lead to change the world. Dr. Fouzia Saeed is well known in the activist circles of Pakistan's social movement, having worked for decades on women's issues especially those linked to violence against women, prostitution, women in the entertainment business, women's mobility and sexual harassment. Her work on violence against women spans over 20 years and includes founding the first women's crisis center in Pakistan in 1991. She is currently a fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy where she continues to work tirelessly to bring the issues facing women in Pakistan and neighboring countries to the forefront.

Speaker: Fouzia Saeed, Director, Mehergarh; Fellow, National Endowment for Democracy

Moderator: David Arnold, President, The Asia Foundation

Direct download: WA2013_Keynote_Fouzia_Saeed_Women.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

Many are looking to the United States for its known potential to reinvent, reinvigorate and revitalize economic and political reality. How will the US harness innovation and regain its competitive edge? Chris Anderson will focus on innovation in terms of the new technology driven industrial revolution. Today's entrepreneurs, using open source design and 3-D printing, are bringing manufacturing to the desktop. This DIY movement coupled with social networking is creating a new world of crowd-sourced design and production. Do It Yourself!: What are the implications of the worldwide Maker revolution?

Speaker: Chris Anderson, Co-founder, 3D Robotics; Former Editor, Wired magazine

Moderator: Adam Lashinsky, Senior Editor-at-Large, FORTUNE

Direct download: WA2013_Keynote_Chris_Anderson_The_Maker_Revolution.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 4:30pm PST

Economic challenges continue to dominate the political environment in the United States and are likely to do so for the foreseeable future. The slow pace of economic recovery and the political stalemate in Washington on fiscal and budgetary policies impact not only the US economy, but also the global economy. What are the prospects for the US economy in 2013, and how might the ripple effects of US policy impact the global marketplace. Are there other debt crises looming elsewhere in the world which may threaten the US recovery?

Speakers: Gillian Tett, Assistant Editor and Columnist, Financial Times
Laura D'Andrea Tyson, S.K. and Angela Chan Professor of Global Management, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley

Moderator: Robert Rosenthal, Executive Director, Center for Investigative Reporting

Direct download: WA2013_Keynote_Tett_Tyson_The_Global_Economy.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 4:30pm PST

Recent weather-related phenomena contribute to a growing sense of the world as more unstable, or at least unpredictable. Unforeseen environmental disasters like hurricane Sandy are causing major disruptions in people's daily lives, with broad economic and political implications. As the frequency of these local events increases, the debate over whether global warming is real or what are its causes may now take a back seat to the mounting evidence that the climate is indeed changing. What are the strategic implications of climate change? What are the threats which face human societies as a result, both now and in the future? Can anything be done to mitigate or adapt to these threats?

Speaker: John Steinbruner, Director, Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland, University of Maryland; Professor of Public Policy, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland

Moderator: Mark Hertsgaard, Author and Journalist

Direct download: WA2013_Keynote_John_Steinbruner_Climate_Change.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 4:00pm PST

With the ten warmest years since 1880 all having occurred since 1998 it is clear that climate change is very real. A warming planet doesn't just mean melting ice caps, rising waters and other environmental problems, according to Professor Guzman. It also means the potential for never-before-seen migration, famine, war and disease. This is not a phenomenon that we have to wait for as it is already happening.

Prolonged droughts, massive flooding and food shortages have already become the norm in certain parts of the developing world. Join the Council for a discussion on the social and political implications of climate change.

Speaker: Andrew Guzman, Professor of Law and Associate Dean for International and Executive Education, University of California, Berkeley
Professor of Law and Associate Dean for International and Executive Education, University of California, Berkeley

Moderator: Maureen Blanc, Trustee, World Affairs Council of Northern California

Direct download: 2_25_13_Andrew_Guzman.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

As the head of United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and the National Security Agency/Central Security Service, General Keith Alexander is at the front lines of many aspects of American national security. While online life has improved many aspects of public life, it has also opened up a entirely new realm of possibilities for those wishing to do the US harm.

Drawing on his prestigious education and military career, General Alexander will discuss cybersecurity challenges facing the US in the modern era.

Speaker: Keith Alexander, Commander, US Cyber Command 


Moderator: Anja Manuel, Principal, The RiceHadley Group, LLC


Direct download: 2_19_13_Keith_Alexander.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Former Secretary of Labor, professor, author and one of Time Magazine’s ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century will sit down for a discussion on the issues at the forefront of the political debate in the US: the state of the economy, inequality in the US and expectations for Obama’s second term.

Speaker: Robert Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy, Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley 


Moderator: Peter Robertson, Chairman, Board of Trustees, World Affairs Council of Northern California


Direct download: 2_13_13_Robert_Reich.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:00pm PST

Access to energy plays a critical role in the development of every country from the least developed to the most industrialized. The rapid development of one country in particular, China - the world's largest energy user - is predicted to have the greatest impact on global energy markets as hundreds of millions of Chinese are elevated to the middle class and China's domestic markets evolve. China is building domestic capacity and developing clean energy technologies while simultaneously looking outside its borders to invest in and secure energy sources around the world. From oil fields in Sudan, to hydroelectric power in Burma, to natural gas fields in south Texas, Canada and Australia, China is going abroad to invest in energy and bolster their reserve capacity. 

In its quest for energy, China is increasingly engaging in public-private partnerships between its state-owned companies and energy producers worldwide, creating opportunities for international cooperation and coordination. However, China's going abroad strategy has not been without problems due to political and social instability in regions of investment, or backlash due to resource nationalism or other concerns regarding resource exploitation. China is also looking to attract private investment and technological assistance in unlocking its unconventional gas and oil supplies which could be a move toward reducing China's energy dependence.

Please join us for an in-depth conversation about the opportunities and challenges ahead for China in meeting their growing energy needs and the implications for global energy markets.

This series is presented by Chevron.

Speakers: Mikkal Herberg, Research Director on Asian Energy Security, The National Bureau of Asian Research


Seth Kleinman, Head of Energy Strategy, Citigroup Global Markets, Ltd.


Direct download: 2_12_13_Energy_Series_Herberg_Kleinman.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:30pm PST

In an era of increased security threats, the US faces difficult and complex challenges. Senator Feingold, who became well versed in these challenges during his time on the Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees, believes that due to institutional failures the US has not responded to them properly. Feingold argues that a variety of factors contributed to this failure, from the oversimplification of complex problems to the way the war on terror has been portrayed in public; from our understanding of the nature of Islam to views of American exceptionalism. More than ten years after the greatest 'wake-up call' in US history, he suggests the nation needs to move from complacency to a renewed commitment to engage with the rest of the world in a more thoughtful way.

Senator Feingold will draw from his distinguished career in public service to address what steps must be taken to address the threats America faces.

Speaker: Russell Feingold, Former US Senator for Wisconsin


Direct download: 2_5_13_Russell_Feingold.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:30pm PST

For three decades, the United States and Iran have engaged in a secret war. It began with the Iranian revolution in 1979 and simmers today in Iraq and the Persian Gulf. The fighting takes place in the shadows, between the CIA and its network of spies and Iran's intelligence agency, and at sea, with Iranians in small speedboats attacking Western oil tankers. This conflict has frustrated five American presidents, divided administrations and repeatedly threatened to bring the two nations into open warfare.

A senior historian for the federal government, David Crist spent more than ten years researching and writing The Twilight War. He will discuss a number of important stories of military and intelligence operations by both sides, successes and failures and their unexpected consequences.

This event is co-organized with Marines' Memorial.

Speaker: David Crist, US Government Historian and Adviser to the United States Central Command


Direct download: 12_10_12_David_Crist.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:00am PST

From Haiti's revolutionary history, to its totalitarian dynasty that ruled for decades, to the 2010 earthquake, this island nation has become synonymous with poverty and dysfunction. Yet through it all shines a people's creative culture and resilience.

During her three decades covering the country, journalist and Haitian expert Amy Wilentz has seen Haitians overcome all kinds of hardship. Still struggling to rebuild from the 2010 earthquake, Haiti now finds itself awash with well-meaning, and sometimes misguided, characters: movie stars turned aid workers, musicians running for president and a former US president working as a house builder. Wilentz will explore the evolution of Haiti's vibrant culture and dysfunctional government.

Speaker: Amy Wilentz, Author, Farewell, Fred Voodoo

Direct download: 1_25_13_Amy_Wilentz.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:00pm PST

Energy plays a vital role in all aspects of modern economies from transportation to communication, from health care to national defense systems. The reliance on energy to fuel the operations of the modern world creates vulnerabilities and competition over its supply and plays an important role in the national security of every country.

Join us for a conversation about the key drivers affecting the global energy landscape and their implications for international security. Energy security is a national as well as global priority that requires a coordinated foreign and domestic policy as well as international response. A critical question to be explored is: How will the global community collectively achieve a peaceful transition to a sustainable energy future?

This series is presented by Chevron.

Direct download: 1_15_13_Michael_Levi.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

Twenty months after the Assad regime began its brutal assault on its own people, the humanitarian situation is dire. Some 2.5 to 4 million people in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance, approximately 1.2 to 2.5 million people are internally displaced and over half a million people have fled to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and North Africa.

In this program, Mark Bartolini discusses the current humanitarian crisis in Syria, the US government's humanitarian response efforts and the challenges of providing aid in the midst of ongoing violent conflict.

Direct download: 1_7_13_Mark_Bartolini.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PST