On Shifting Ground

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