WorldAffairs (News & Politics)

The plight of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees has long drawn international concern. Aid organizations rally to support displaced populations and governments debate policies for dealing with those who arrive on their borders. In the last year, the global refugee crisis reached endemic proportions. The civil war in Syria continues to force people from their homes, as does instability elsewhere in the Middle East, and in Africa and Latin America. The number of forcibly displaced people has reached its highest levels since World War II, and as the root causes of this displacement continue we’ll likely see the numbers continue to rise.

At World Affairs, we have convened many voices on this topic in the past few years. Here, we share insights from seven individuals who have joined us to discuss the global crisis of refugees. In this episode, you’ll hear from Filippo Grandi, the newly appointed United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee; Vali Nasr, Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations; Yves Daccord, Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross; Elisa Massimino, president and CEO of Human Rights First; and Nancy Lindborg, president of the United States Institute of Peace.

Direct download: Five_Years_In-Syrian_Refugees.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:19pm PDT

Globalization has shrunk our world dramatically, allowing people, products and ideas to connect at speeds and on a scale previously unimaginable. These connections have provided new economic opportunities for many individuals and businesses, as international trade has increased and jobs have reached new markets. However, the opportunities have not reached all people equally. Some of the jobs that have emerged in the developing world are the result of outsourcing, tipping opportunity from one community to another instead of creating new opportunities for all. Globalization has also put certain vulnerable populations at greater risk, as we see with underpaid and under-protected employees and individuals trafficked into forced labor. What can be done to bring the benefits of globalization to these individuals? What hurdles do we face in the process, and how can the political, private and philanthropic sectors work together to overcome them?

 

SPEAKERS

Arvind Ganesan

Director, Business and Human Rights, Human Rights Watch

 

Paula Goldman

Senior Director, Global Lead for Impact Investing, Omidyar Network

 

Paul Rice

President and CEO, Fair Trade USA

 

MODERATOR:

Matthew Bishop

Globalisation Editor, The Economist

Direct download: 10_16_15_WA15_Globalization_Risks_Rewards.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:58pm PDT

Over a billion people live in India – roughly one in every five on earth inhabiting two percent of the world’s landmass. This massive population has taken a toll, pushing the country’s environment and its infrastructure to the brink. Rivers are polluted beyond use and groundwater reserves are fast diminishing. Farmers struggle to fill the plates of their families and countrymen. Millions live in poverty, with the gap between the rich and poor growing more and more acute. These challenges that India faces today may soon become the reality for other parts of the world as well, as the global population continues to rise and a changing climate places strains on global agriculture, infrastructure, governance and other systems.

How are individuals and communities working to combat these challenges? What can the rest of the world learn from India’s current predicament, and could these lessons help lead the planet to a more sustainable and prosperous future? Journalist Meera Subramanian travelled the country and spoke with individuals determined to revive India’s natural world. She will share these stories and offer insights into the present and future of India’s environment.

Speaker Meera Subramanian is a Journalist and Author.

Linda Calhoun, Executive Producer at Career Girls, moderates the conversation.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1527

Direct download: 11_05_15_Meera_Subramanian.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

In today’s digital world, more and more of our lives are moving online, raising concerns about the privacy of the vast quantities of information that now exist in cyberspace. In recent years, much debate has emerged about the tradeoff between individual privacy and national security, and the US and EU provide an interesting comparison of how governments have balanced these aims. In the European Union, privacy is protected as a fundamental right, contributing to much stricter regulations on data collection than seen in the US. Last spring, the European Court of Justice ruled that EU citizens have the ‘right to be forgotten’ online, a regulation that would quickly run up against first amendment arguments in the United States. The US lacks similar overarching laws for data protection, as has become very apparent as vast government surveillance has been brought to light. How do policies differ in America and Europe, and what can the two countries learn from each other? How can individuals better understand their rights and limit the amount of personal data being collected? And how much privacy are we willing to give up in exchange for national security?

Giovanni Buttarelli, European Data Protection Supervisor, and Cindy Cohn, Executive Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation, are in discussion.

The conversation is moderated by Paul Schwartz, Jefferson E. Peyser Professor, UC Berkeley School of Law; Senior Advisor, Paul Hastings LLP.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1506

Direct download: 09_17_15_US_EU_Online.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

As we trace the ongoing impact of 2015's emergent global issues in 2016, many stories jump out from speakers featured at World Affairs. In this episode of our podcast, you'll hear reflections from 22 world-class experts (including Ban Ki-moon, Thomas Friedman and Christine Fair). Join us in 2016 for more conversations that matter at worldaffairs.org.

The retrospective features:

General Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander, United States Central Command
Cindy Cohn, Executive Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Yves Daccord, Director-General, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Christine Fair, Assistant Professor, Security Studies Program, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
Nazila Fathi, journalist, translator and commentator
Dr. Jonathan Foley, Executive Director and William R. and Gretchen B. Kimball Chair, California Academy of Sciences
Thomas Friedman, author and journalist, The New York Times
Jason Furman, Chairman, White House Council of Economic Advisers
Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder, LinkedIn; Partner, Greylock Partners
Walter Isaacson, President and CEO, The Aspen Institute
Annie Jacobsen, investigative journalist and author
Joseph Kim, North Korean Defector; author
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations
Nancy Lindborg, President, United States Institute of Peace (USIP)
Abbas Milani, Hamid and Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies, Stanford University
Dr. Vali Nasr, Dean, The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
Ilya Ponomarev, Member, Russian State Duma
Congressman Adam Schiff, California's 28th Congressional District
Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Alphabet
Chris Woods, investigative journalist and author
Janine Zacharia, former Jerusalem bureau chief, The Washington Post; visiting lecturer, Stanford

Direct download: World_Affairs-Best_of_2015.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

The Islamic State is one of the most lethal and successful jihadist groups in modern history, surpassing even al-Qaeda. Thousands of its followers have marched across Syria and Iraq, subjugating millions, enslaving women, beheading captives and daring anyone to stop them. Thousands more have spread terror beyond the Middle East under the Islamic State's black flag.

How did the Islamic State attract so many followers and conquer so much land? By being more ruthless, more apocalyptic and more devoted to state-building than its competitors. The shrewd leaders of the Islamic State combined two of the most powerful yet contradictory ideas in Islam - the return of the Islamic Empire and the end of the world - into a mission and a message that shapes its strategy and inspires its army of zealous fighters. They have defied conventional thinking about how to wage wars and win recruits. Even if the Islamic State is defeated, jihadist terrorism will never be the same.

William McCants discusses how religious fervor, strategic calculation and doomsday prophecy shaped the Islamic State's past and foreshadow its future.

Speaker William McCants is Fellow for the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1555

Direct download: 12_10_15_William_McCants.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:07am PDT

The United States and China must play a central role in any meaningful global effort to address climate change. While both countries have recently revamped their commitments to jointly reduce carbon emissions and invest in a cleaner energy future, the challenge of catalyzing these commitments into concrete actions remains daunting. With this year’s landmark UN climate summit in Paris seeking to create an effective new climate regime, are the commitments made by the United States and China enough to strengthen the global push to confront the climate change challenge?

Join the Asia Society, in partnership with the World Affairs Council of Northern California, as we host The Honorable Kevin Rudd, President of the Asia Society Policy Institute, for a dialogue that looks critically at the current state of climate change collaboration between the United States and China. Days after returning from the UN climate summit, Mr. Rudd will reflect on his experience while attending the deliberations in Paris and share his insights into the future of the US-China partnership on climate change. Joining Rudd in the conversation will be Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of Asia Society’s Center on US-China Relations, who will likewise have just returned from Paris with new impressions about the trajectory of global climate change responses, and the role of the US and China within them.

Speakers Kevin Rudd, President, Asia Society Policy Institute; Former Prime Minister of Australia, and Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director, Center on US-China Relations, Asia Society, are in conversation with N. Bruce Pickering, Vice President, Global Programs and Executive Director, Northern California.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1556

Direct download: 12_18_15_US_China_Climate.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:47pm PDT

Affordability is one of the key barriers in expanding broadband and mobile around the world, with both the cost of connected devices and of digital services being prohibitively high for many of the unconnected. Nearly 4.2 billion people, many of whom represent the poor around the world, are being left behind in the technology revolution and cut off from the potential economic, social and civic benefits of the internet.

This program on mobile and wireless affordability will discuss how existing internet supply chain and infrastructure can be harnessed for greater affordability and what projects have proven successful in lowering broadband costs and how these can be scaled.

We'd like to thank our sponsoring partner: Vodafone Americas Foundation.

SPEAKERS

Sonia Jorge
Executive Director, Alliance for Affordable Internet

Mark Summer
Co-founder and CEO, EveryLayer

Amy Tucker
Co-founder and Chief Impact Officer, Sparrow

Ryan Wallace
Senior Manager, Connectivity Deployments Team, Facebook

MODERATOR:

Patrick Ryan
Strategy and Operations Principal, Google

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1531

Direct download: 11_18_15_Mobile_Affordability.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:42am PDT

As populations gravitate to large cities throughout the world and are absorbed into the middle class, there are corresponding significant shifts in lifestyle; one of these is diet. While access to new food sources can certainly lead to a healthier lifestyle, it just as easily can cause serious health issues. Many of these communities and nations are ill-equipped to handle the exponential rise of certain illnesses traceable in part to diet and nutrition. Take for example the rate of Type II diabetes worldwide; it has almost doubled in the past decade. Much of this increase occurred in the Middle East, where affluence is directly correlated with changes in diet. Similar epidemics of obesity and hypertension, previously unheard of in certain parts of the world, are also on the rise. This discussion will focus not only on the causes of these illnesses in unexpected places, but also on prevention.

Speakers:

Jason Beaubien, Global Health and Development Correspondent, NPR

Gitanjali SinghResearch Assistant Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University

Christopher GardnerDirector of Nutrition Studies, Stanford Prevention Research Center; Professor of Medicine, Stanford University

Bruce Y. Lee, Director, Global Obesity Prevention Center, Johns Hopkins; Bloomberg School of Public Health

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1546

Direct download: 10_16_15_WA15_Changing_Diet.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:40am PDT

The internet, GPS, voice recognition programs like Siri – many of the technologies that we use today were developed with national security in mind. These inventions and many others began as projects of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Defense Department’s secretive military research agency. For more than fifty years, DARPA has held to a singular and enduring mission: to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security. The genesis of that mission and of DARPA itself dates to the Cold War and the launch of Sputnik in 1957, and a commitment by the United States that it would be the initiator and not the victim of strategic technological surprises. Working with innovators inside and outside of government, DARPA has repeatedly delivered on that mission, transforming revolutionary concepts and even seeming impossibilities into practical capabilities. The ultimate results have included not only game-changing military capabilities such as precision weapons and stealth technology, but also major innovations in modern civilian society.

How do they do it? What makes this military organization such fertile ground for invention? What technologies with useful daily applications have failed to enter into civilian use? Can Silicon Valley learn from DARPA, or vice versa? Drawing on extensive interviews, declassified memos and inside sources, investigative journalist Annie Jacobsen will share insights into this top-secret organization.

Speaker Annie Jacobsen is an Investigative Journalist and Author.

The conversation is moderated by Andrew Becker, Reporter, The Center for Investigative Reporting.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1386

Direct download: 09_29_15_Annie_Jacobsen.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

This week’s episode focuses on Technology and Innovation and comes in two parts. In the first half hour, we will highlight the future and where the next great innovations are likely to come from, in a conversation with Eric Schmidt of Alphabet and Tom Kalil of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In the second half of this episode, we will look to the past and what has made the great innovators of Silicon Valley. This is an excerpt from a conversation between Walter Isaacson of the Aspen Institute and Jane Wales of the World Affairs Council.

Speakers: Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet

Tom Kalil, Deputy Director of Technology and Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute

Jane Wales, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council

Direct download: 12_14_15_Schmidt_Isaacson_Technology_Innovation.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:08am PDT

Israel is one of the most diverse societies in the world, often described as a mosaic. While Israelis and Arabs struggle to find lasting peace, social divides are only widening following last summer’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza. One of the largest obstacles to protecting vulnerable populations affected in both Israel and the Occupied Territories is clear policy that will expand and secure human rights. How can Israelis and Palestinians foster a culture of human rights and bring about real change in Israel across all sectors of society? The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) is Israel’s largest and oldest human rights organization, dealing with the entire spectrum of rights and civil liberties issues in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Through precedent-setting legal work, human rights education, public outreach and international advocacy, ACRI has contributed significantly to the protection and enforcement of human rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories. As Executive Director of ACRI, Sharon Abraham-Weiss takes head on some of Israel’s most challenging issues.

The conversation is moderated by Chimène Keitner, Professor of Law at the UC Hastings College of the Law.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1517

Direct download: 10_22_15_Sharon_Abraham-Weiss.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:42pm PDT

As sea levels rise, winters become harsher and crop patterns are disturbed. All eyes look towards Paris and the UN climate change conference to see if the international community can make meaningful progress towards curbing emissions. While the role of states in negotiating a treaty can be expected, what roles do philanthropy and the private sector play in creating state agendas and implementing change? This discussion will focus on the current state of the environment, what we can expect from upcoming negotiations and how we can work across sectors to implement solutions.

Speakers Guillermo Castilleja, Chief Program Officer, Environmental Conservation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, David G. Victor, Professor of International Relations, School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego, and Sissel Waage, Director, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, BSR, are in discussion.

Alicia Seiger, Deputy Director, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, Stanford University, moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1547

Direct download: 10_16_15_WA15_Combat_Climate_Change.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:49pm PDT

We are facing a unique and interesting time with the confluence of fundamental disruptive trends that are shaping our world. The dramatic transition witnessed since the beginning of the 21st century has been brought about by the convergence of the following: the shifting locus of economic activity and dynamism to emerging markets like China; the acceleration in the scope, scale, and economic impact of technology; changing world demographics; and global connectivity through trade and cross border flows in capital, people and information. Virtually every market in every sector has been or will be affected by the growing impacts of these trends whose multiplier effects stand to radically change long-standing expectations. In the midst of this era of disruption is opportunity. Those who are agile, forward thinking and optimistic will harness the power of disruption and thrive. Join us for a conversation about the four global forces breaking all the trends.

Speaker Thomas Friedman is a Foreign Affairs Columnist at The New York Times.

He is in conversation with James M. Manyika, Senior Partner and Director of McKinsey & Company, and Director of the McKinsey Global Institute.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1523

Direct download: 10_28_15_Tom_Friedman.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:38am PDT

Recently appointed President of the United States Institute of Peace, Nancy Lindborg, will discuss the global challenge of fragility and conflict, including a vision for the way forward. Ms. Lindborg’s talk comes on the heels of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, and Ms. Lindborg’s travel to USIP projects on the ground. Ms. Lindborg’s remarks will reflect these recent events and a lifetime of working in the world’s most fragile regions at a time when the global humanitarian system is at a breaking point, with record numbers of people forcibly displaced globally.

The United States Institute of Peace was established by Congress in 1984 as an independent, nonpartisan institution to increase the nation’s capacity to manage international conflict without violence. USIP staff and partners work in some of the world’s most fragile regions including Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East and North Africa.

Speaker Nancy Lindborg is President of the United States Institute of Peace.

Janes Wales, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council, moderates the conversation.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1514

Direct download: 10_08_15_Nancy_Lindborg.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:47pm PDT

Whether it be the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the historic nuclear deal with Iran, or the upcoming climate negotiations in Paris, the European Union and the United States are increasingly called upon to demonstrate global leadership. As EU Ambassador to the United States, David O’Sullivan plays a key role in transatlantic relations, working with all 28 EU member states in Washington, DC to coordinate and present the EU position in the United States.

Ambassador O’Sullivan will discuss policy priorities and major challenges facing the EU and the United States in 2015, including ensuring a sustainable economic recovery, dealing with emerging threats, and working to promote democracy, human rights and good governance around the world.

Jane Wales, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council, moderates the discussion.

This is a program of the World Affairs Councils of America in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to the United States.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1521

Direct download: 10_13_15_David_O_Sullivan.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:01pm PDT

Energy efficiency is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to curb carbon emissions, not to mention beneficial for businesses and consumers alike in terms of cost reduction. But behaviors are hard to change. Leveraging the internet and connected smart devices may be the key to incorporating energy efficient technologies and practices into everyday life, and significantly curbing carbon emissions. In developing countries, where the biggest opportunities to elevate energy productivity exist, energy efficient technologies are poised to make huge inroads. What does the future hold for the internet of things and its impact on energy usage and ultimately reducing carbon emissions?

Speaker Dora Hsu, Chief Platform Officer, SmartThings, is in discussion with Michael Soucie, Head of Consumer Product Partnerships, Nest Labs.

Adam Satariano, Technology Reporter, Bloomberg News, moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1541

Direct download: 10_16_15_WA15_Impacting_Climate_Change.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:56pm PDT

Upward mobility and the resulting growth of the middle class have long been the promise of the American dream, inspiring many to come to our shores. But technology-driven globalization, while creating great wealth and lifting many from poverty, has also left many behind. High growth economies like China, India and Nigeria are experiencing disparities that have implications for stability. And, in the US, inequality in income is the highest it has been since 1928. How can technology innovation be matched by social innovation? What will be the future of work in high and low growth economies? And how can the current and future workforce prepare for the jobs that await? These are the questions that are on the minds of some of our country’s leading technologists, including LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. The World Affairs Council has invited Hoffman and fellow innovators to explore these questions and report out to those gathering here at WorldAffairs 2015.

Speakers

Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn and Greylock Partners
James Manyika, McKinsey Global Institute
Byron Auguste, Co-founder, Opportunity@Work
Zoe Baird, President, Markle Foundation
Moderator: Jane Wales, CEO, World Affairs Council and Global Philanthropy Forum; Vice President, The Aspen Institute

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1540

 

Direct download: 10_16_15_WA15_On_My_Mind_Inequality.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:52pm PDT

Experts say the next epidemic will not be a question of 'if' it will happen, but rather 'when.' With that in mind and looking at the recent catastrophic Ebola outbreak in West Africa, what are the lessons learned from this tragedy and what needs to be done to ensure it does not happen again? Governments in the affected countries played key roles in both stopping the spread of Ebola and failing to respond properly. How can troubled governments best react to epidemics? What role do the business and philanthropic communities have in the prevention of – or reaction to – an outbreak?

Julie Gerberding, Executive Vice President, Population Health, Merck & Co., Inc., is in discussion with Joia Mukherjee, Chief Medical Officer, Partners in Health.

The conversation is moderated by Eva Harris, Faculty Director, Center for Global Public Health; Professor of Infectious Disease, University of California, Berkeley.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1538

Direct download: 10_16_15_WA15_Combat_Future_Epidemics.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:45pm PDT

The world is growing smaller in more ways than one – while the global population increases, covering more and more of the planet, the amount of livable, arable land diminishes in the face of a changing climate. How can we meet the needs of nine billion people while protecting the natural resources necessary for growth and prosperity? We will focus on this delicate balance and discuss ways to ensure a sustainable future, starting with our own backyard, in California.

Speaker Jonathan Foley is Executive Director and William R. and Gretchen B. Kimball Chair of the California Academy of Sciences.

Scott Shafer, Host and Reporter, The California Report; Senior Correspondent, KQED NEWSROOM, KQED, moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1537

Direct download: 10_16_15_WA15_Jonathan_Foley.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:40pm PDT

This week’s episode focuses on US foreign policy and national security.

The United States is currently facing many foreign policy and national security challenges: ISIS continues to threaten security and regional stability, the Syrian civil war looks no closer to resolution and is now creating a refugee crisis that extends well into the European Union; and the United States’ nascent nuclear deal with Iran still faces many hurdles. Amidst all of this, the candidates are gearing up for the US presidential election next year.

World Affairs' CEO Jane Wales sat down with former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to get his take on this complex situation. After speaking with Secretary Gates, she continued the discussion of US foreign policy and national security with Michele Flournoy, co-founder and CEO of the Center for a New American Security.

Direct download: 10_12_15_Robert_Gates-Michele_Flournoy.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:36pm PDT

Whether it be drawing down from two foreign wars, the advancement of ISIS in the Middle East or the recent nuclear deal with Iran, the United States is facing numerous foreign policy challenges. As a Congressman representing California for eight terms, Adam Schiff has worked closely on many of the top security issues facing the United States. He has been a leader on national security and foreign policy efforts in Congress while serving as the ranking member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and as a member of the Benghazi Select Committee. Schiff will discuss his work in Congress to strengthen American diplomacy and reform intelligence efforts along with his thoughts on the Iran deal and what the United States needs to do to meet future foreign policy objectives.

 

Speaker Adam Schiff is the Representative of the 28th Congressional District of California of the United States House of Representatives.

 

Anja Manuel, Partner at RiceHadleyGates LLC, will moderate the discussion.

 

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1505

Direct download: 09_03_15_Adam_Schiff.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:24pm PDT

Many see China’s economic rise and growing middle class as precursors to democratization, as was the case for its neighbors in South Korea and Taiwan. This transition has not yet materialized, and some would argue that it won’t – and shouldn’t.

Is Chinese democracy inevitable? Professor Daniel Bell believes it is not, and supports many aspects of the Chinese political system, in which top leaders are selected based on merit and electoral democracy functions at the local level. While a transition to full democracy may not be necessary, many problems remain, including corruption, lack of transparency and repression of freedoms of speech and the press. Can these issues be addressed within China’s current political structure? How can reforms be instituted in certain areas without the system collapsing entirely? And what can other nations learn from the strengths of Chinese political meritocracy?

Speaker Daniel A. Bell is the Chair Professor of the Schwarzman Scholars Program at Tsinghua University.

The discussion will be moderated by Dale R. Walker,
Member of the Board of Directors for Beneficial State Bank, and Trustee of the World Affairs Council.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1501

Direct download: 09_02_15_Daniel_Bell.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:36pm PDT

Around the world, the Internet is a tool that enables economic development, government accountability and personal freedoms; the free flow of information is at the Internet’s core. But despite its rapid growth, approximately five billion people lack access to the internet, and the protections when it comes to surveillance and privacy are inadequate. As the great connecting infrastructure of the day, the Internet is also vulnerable to exploitation and the undermining of the very positive advancements it makes possible.

This special episode features "Leveraging the Disruptive Power of the Internet", a plenary discussion from the Global Philanthropy Forum Conference 2015. The conversation explores issues of equity, of access, of safety and security when it comes to the Internet and information and communication technology more broadly.

We also bring you an exclusive interview with Catherine Novelli, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment at the US Department of State. Under Secretary Novelli discusses cybersecurity, trade, Internet governance and freedom and data privacy.

Direct download: 08_24_15_Internet_Novelli.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:36am PDT

Access to water has been declared an international human right, but it may be increasingly difficult to enforce. This episode explores how countries around the world are coping with the growing demand and greater environmental challenges that impact water supply. What happens when systems put into place to protect the environment obstruct our ability to access a basic human necessity? What does it mean when you have to choose between drinking, planting, or washing?

Direct download: 08_04_15_Water_Access.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:36am PDT

Innovation and entrepreneurship often conjure images of Silicon Valley and startups growing out of garages. But this sort of creativity is found all over the world, with innovators operating in black markets and informal economies and developing original solutions to many and diverse challenges.

What does innovation look like at the margins of business and society? What lessons can we learn from the practices of hackers, pirates, gang members and dissidents, and how can we apply these ideas to formal markets? Alexa Clay will share stories of the underground innovators that make up what she calls the Misfit Economy.

Speaker Alexa Clay is Co-founder of the League of Intrapreneurs.

Jason Rissman, Managing Director of OpenIDEO, moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1486

Direct download: 07_29_15_Alexa_Clay.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:29am PDT

In September, UN member states will vote on the Sustainable Development Goals, which, if approved, will come into effect in January 2016. The second of these 17 goals calls for ending hunger and achieving food security. This is an ambitious target to hit by 2030 — in the world today, about one in nine people do not have enough to eat.

As the global population continues its rapid growth, this problem seems likely to grow as well. By 2050, the world will have 2 billion more mouths to feed, many of whom will be born in rice-producing and -consuming countries. Today, about two-thirds of the world’s hungry live in Asia, where water-intensive rice is a staple crop, raising questions about the role of climate change and water scarcity in the food security equation. How can we increase production while protecting the environment and its limited resources? To what extent will genetic engineering or a change in diets be necessary to achieve this goal? How can we ensure food security for a planet of nine billion?

Speaker Josette Lewis, Associate Director of the World Food Center at UC Davis, and Robert Stewart Zeigler, Director General of the International Rice Research Institute, will be in discussion.

Andrew Donohue, Senior Editor at Reveal, moderates the conversation.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1491

Direct download: 07_28_15_Feeding_Billion.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:19am PDT

What if you could combine the adaptability, agility and cohesion of a small team with the power and resources of a giant organization?

When General Stanley McChrystal took command of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in 2003, he quickly realized that conventional military leadership approaches were failing. Al Qaeda in Iraq was a decentralized network that could move quickly, strike ruthlessly and seemingly vanish into the local population. The allied forces had a huge advantage in numbers, equipment and training—but none of that seemed to matter.

To defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq, McChrystal and his colleagues discarded a century of conventional wisdom and remade the task force, in the midst of a grueling war, into something new: a network that combined transparent communication with decentralized decision-making authority. The walls between silos were torn down. Leaders looked at the best practices of the smallest units and found ways to extend them to thousands of people on three continents, using technology to establish a oneness that would have been impossible even a decade or two earlier. The task force became a “team of teams”—faster, flatter, more flexible—and beat back Al Qaeda.

McChrystal will discuss the challenges he and his team faced in Iraq and how they have be relevant to businesses, nonprofits and other organizations. He argues that the team of teams' strategy has worked everywhere from hospital emergency rooms to NASA and has the potential to transform organizations large and small.

Speaker Stanley McChrystal, US Army General (Ret.) and Co-founder and Partner, McChrystal Group, is in conversation with Joseph H. Felter, US Army Colonel (Ret.) and Board Member of the Marines' Memorial Association.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1487

Direct download: 07_15_15_General_McChrystal.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:18am PDT

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement being negotiated among 12 countries, including the US, has sparked a heated debate about trade agreements with many proponents and detractors speaking out about the potential economic impact of the TPP on the US economy. Some key areas in the agreement include: intellectual property rights, telecommunications, state-owned enterprises, investment, labor and environmental standards. Attention has also been focused on the negotiating process and the role of Congress in setting negotiating objectives and interacting with the executive branch in the implementation of those objectives.

Join us for a discussion about the projected near and longer-term economic and other benefits of the TPP, and why the TPP has become the centerpiece of President Obama’s global trade agenda.

Speaker Timothy Reif is General Counsel of Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Lionel C. Johnson, President of the Pacific Pension Institute, moderates the discussion.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1490

Direct download: 07_20_15_Timothy_Reif.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:14am PDT

In 2010, the UN passed a resolution recognizing access to water as a basic human right. The realization of this right is becoming increasingly difficult, as climate change disrupts rainfall and the growing global population places greater demands on this limited resource.

In the face of the current drought, California is seeking ways to cut back on water usage and find alternate sources to meet domestic, agricultural and other demands. And this isn't an isolated incident – countries around the world are facing similar challenges and looking for solutions of their own. In Brazil, a country that has one-eighth of the world’s fresh water, Sao Paolo is facing a critical water shortage, with water reserves dropping below 10 percent. India is struggling to meet the needs of its rapidly growing population and address pollution that makes much of the available water unsafe for use. Israel has built five desalinization plants since 2005, which provide about 80 percent of the country’s water for domestic use – but some worry about the environmental consequences of this solution. Australia, the driest inhabited continent on earth, has turned to desalination plants as well, with mixed results.

How can countries adapt, and what solutions are already being implemented successfully? What role should governments, businesses and individuals play in addressing this challenge? As water scarcity becomes more common, how can we ensure that the right to water is met?

Speaker Peter Gleick is the President and Co-Founder of the Pacific Institute.

Craig Miller, Science Editor at KQED, moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1485

Direct download: 07_15_15_Peter_Gleick.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:23am PDT

People around the world will interact with Africa very differently over the coming decades. They will be more likely to trade stocks in Ghana, work for companies doing business on the continent and learn the names of African tech moguls and billionaires. The old narrative of an Africa disconnected from the global economy and mired in conflict is rapidly fading as the continent transforms itself into a global powerhouse. Pushing this transformation is a wave of modernization, technological innovations and a growing pool of talented Africans changing their countries not only from within but also from abroad. What impact will Silicon Valley have on the tech boom in Africa? How should policy makers and business leaders view these changes throughout the continent? 

This panel discussion will feature expert researchers and entrepreneurs with deep connections to Africa and its business community. Jake Bright and Aubrey Hruby will offer a nuanced and data-rich analysis to a complex continent while reconciling its challenges with rapid progress. Entrepreneur Chris Folayan will discuss his work developing new platforms to bring e-commerce to Nigeria and other nations.

The conversation is moderated by Quentin Hardy, Deputy Technology Editor at The New York Times.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1488

Direct download: 07_08_15_Next_Africa.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:35am PDT

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s visit highlights the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN, part of a larger trip to the Bay Area to commemorate the San Francisco Conference, where the charter establishing the UN was signed in 1945.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1481

 

Direct download: 06_26_15_Ban_Ki-moon.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:07am PDT

The rise of China has put many countries around the world on notice. Some may see it as an exciting shift in the world order, and others may approach it with caution. However, no country feels China's rise more deeply than Japan. Dr. Sheila Smith, an expert on Japanese and regional politics, will discuss how Japan’s relationship with a rising China influences Japanese domestic and foreign policy. Whether it be conflicts in the East China Sea, managing a volatile North Korea or strategies of island defense, Smith will explore the policy issues testing the Japanese government as it tries to navigate this storied and often complex relationship.

Speaker Sheila Smith is Senior Fellow for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The discussion is moderated by Jeffrey Bleich, former United States Ambassador to Australia.

For more information about this visit please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1479

Direct download: 06_25_15_Sheila_Smith.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:38am PDT

In the face of armed conflicts and natural disasters, civilians must cope not only with the immediate violence and destruction but also with displacement, disrupted economic and political systems and the disintegration of public services. As with the ongoing conflict in Syria or the devastating earthquake in Nepal, many of those effected by crises depend on the support of international agencies to meet basic needs.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has been providing these critical services for over 150 years. Today, they are working to reconnect family members separated by the earthquake in Nepal, provide urgent medical care in Yemen and distribute food and water in Syria, among many other efforts. How does this assistance vary to meet the needs of crises around the world? What are the most pressing needs, and the greatest obstacles in providing them? How has the ICRC evolved to address the myriad challenges facing the world today, and what is the outlook for the future?

Speaker Yves Daccord is the Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Moderator Nancy A. Jarvis is an Attorney at Farrand Cooper, P.C.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1473

Direct download: 06_23_15_Yves_Daccord.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:09am PDT

When famine struck North Korea in the 1990s, Joseph Kim was five years old. In the years that followed, the Great Famine killed millions, including Joseph’s father. His mother and sister disappeared, seeking to escape to China, and Joseph was left to survive alone and homeless. After years living on the streets and, for a time, in a detention center and labor camp, Joseph fled to China as well. Through the kindness of strangers, he eventually found his way to the United States.

Joseph will share his story of suffering and survival – his experiences in North Korea, his long and difficult journey to the United States and his life here today as a student, an author and a refugee.

This program is presented in partnership with the Asia Society of Northern California.

Speaker Joseph Kim is a North Korean Defector; Author, "Under the Same Sky"

The discussion is moderated by Daniel Sneider, Associate Director for Research of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1467

Direct download: 06_16_15_Joseph_Kim.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:43am PDT

America has long been seen as a land of opportunity where, through hard work and perseverance, an individual can achieve prosperity and success. This is the American dream. Today, however, this ideal seems harder to realize, as income inequality grows and social mobility appears to have slowed.

In addition to income inequality, Professor Robert Putnam suggests that there is also a growing inequality of opportunity. For many children in lower income families, systemic obstacles – economic, social and political – become insurmountable and prevent social mobility and the realization of the American dream. What has caused this trend away from equal opportunity in the US? How can we address the crisis of inequality and shorten the opportunity gap? Professor Putnam will delve into this complex problem and its multifaceted solution, which he says begins with a commitment to invest in other people’s children.

Speaker Robert D. Putnam is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University.

The discussion will be moderated by Larry Kramer, President, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1476

Direct download: 06_10_15_Robert_Putnam.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:35am PDT

In recent months, a resurgence of extremist, ultranationalist and antisemitic violence has shaken many cities in Europe. Coupled with the growth of right-wing political parties, this outbreak of violence - and the environment that enables it - threatens to corrode the fundamental values of the European Union from within. Discrimination against Jews, Roma, immigrant populations and the LGBT community has emerged not only among the civilian population, but in the political sphere as well. A year ago in the European Parliament elections, voters in half of the European Union’s 28 countries elected representatives from far-right parties whose leaders have expressed antisemitic, xenophobic, racist, homophobic, anti-Muslim or anti-Roma sentiments.

Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino will discuss how the rise of extremism in Europe is threatening liberal democracy and the human rights and security of minority communities, endangering the transatlantic trade agreement and making it more difficult for Europe to address the growing migration crisis.

Speaker Elisa Massimino is the President and CEO of Human Rights First.

Katerina Linos, Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit:
http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1470

Direct download: 06_03_15_Elisa_Massimino.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:26am PDT

Last year, Russia surprised the world by seizing control of Crimea. When the Russian parliament voted on this military action, there was only one dissenting voice – Ilya Ponomarev. Now, living in the United States, barred from returning home, Ponomarev has continued his political participation in absentia.

In Putin’s Russia, acting in opposition to the government can be a risky choice. In 2012, two members of a punk band called Pussy Riot were arrested for their performance in a Moscow cathedral. Anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny was placed under house arrest in 2013. And in March, opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was fatally shot just outside the walls of the Kremlin. How long can this government maintain control by silencing these voices of opposition? Can military action in Eastern Ukraine and elsewhere succeed in drawing attention away from mounting economic and political challenges? With elections scheduled for next year, what is the future of Putin’s government? And what is the future of relations between Russia and the United States?

Speaker Ilya Ponomarev is a member of the Russian State Duma.

The conversation will be moderated by Edward W. Walker, Executive Director, Program in Eurasian and East European Studies, University of California, Berkeley.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1460

Direct download: 05_20_15_Ilya_Ponomarev.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:52pm PDT

Last month, a massive earthquake hit Nepal. While this event had been predicted for years, it still caught many unaware and unprepared. Thousands lost their lives, and many thousands more lost homes, loved ones and livelihoods. With the quake and its aftershocks behind us, attention has now turned to the challenges of rebuilding.

How are NGOs and other organizations addressing both the physical reconstruction and the provision of necessary services such as clean water, sanitation and healthcare? How did the Nepalese government prepare for and respond to this long-predicted disaster, and where did they fall short? How does this earthquake and the international response compare to similar events, such as Haiti’s 2010 crisis? And what can we lessons can we take away to help limit the losses next time?

Speakers Elizabeth Hausler, Founder and CEO of Build Change, Birger Stamperdahl, President and CEO of Give2Asia, and Norbu Tenzing, Vice President of the American Himalayan Foundation, will hold a panel discussion.

David D. Arnold, President of the Asia Foundation, will moderate the conversation.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1471

Direct download: 05_13_15_Rebuilding_Nepal.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:51am PDT

In this pilot episode of the World Affairs podcast we are looking at diseases: how they are spread, how they are contained, how they are cured. We reached out to learn more about how recent disease outbreaks have affected those in our community and what health professionals are doing to prevent the next deadly pandemic on local and global scales. In this episode you'll hear from Alex Karolyi, a Bay Area dad who had a trip planned to Disneyland that coincided with a recent measles outbreak; Adam Crawley, an epidemiologist and research associate at the Skoll Global Threats Fund; Peter Robertson, former Vice Chairman at Chevron, and now an Independent Energy Advisor with Deloitte; and Larry Brilliant, who took part in the World Health Organization's smallpox eradication program, and is now Senior Advisor for the Skoll Global Threats Fund.

Direct download: 03_02_15_Global_Epidemics-podcast.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:22am PDT

Drones have become a regular, if controversial, part of US military operations. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, in Libya and against ISIS, these unmanned crafts are frequently put to use against specific targets, while keeping US soldiers out of the line of fire.

However, the strikes that hit the headlines are only one part of the story. According to investigative journalist Chris Woods, a secret war has been underway for years, with drones in the air over Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen and others, searching for militant and terrorist targets. How have armed drones changed the face of modern warfare? What are the implications for US foreign policy decisions? And how does the drone program affect America’s reputation abroad?

Speaker Chris Woods is an investigative journalist. He will be in conversation with Andrew Becker, reporter at The Center for Investigative Reporting.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1456

Direct download: 05_06_15_Chris_Woods.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:31pm PDT

The war in Syria, now in its fifth year, has created a refugee crisis. Almost 4 million Syrians have fled the country, and another 7.6 million have been displaced within Syria. In total, this conflict has forced half of the country’s population from their homes.

In this episode of WorldAffairs, we’re sharing two perspectives—the analytic and the personal—on this complex issue. First, we’ll hear from three experts who either observe or make policy: Filippo Grandi of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees, David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee, and Vali Nasr, Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. In the second half of the program, we’ll hear stories from those who see and feel the human dimension of this crisis: among them are Anisa Abeytia, from the NorCal Syrian American Council, Feras Alhlou, a volunteer and advocate and Christine Lemonda, from the International Rescue Committee.

For more information about our new podcast programs please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/podcast

Direct download: 04_16_15_Syrian_Refugees-podcast.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 5:35pm PDT

How can we understand the intricate web of agendas and interests between the US, Israel and Iran? Nuclear negotiations between Iran and the US are ongoing, as Israel continues to voice its concerns over the possibility of a nuclear armed neighbor. In Israel’s March 17 election, Prime Minister Netanyahu was re-elected to a fourth term in office, and his party now faces the delicate task of forming a coalition government. Add to the mix Netanyahu’s controversial appearance before US Congress and Republican senators’ recent letter to Tehran, and the questions are only magnified.

How might Netanyahu’s re-election, and the composition of the new government, impact Israel’s domestic and foreign policy decisions? Can the US come to an agreement with Iran without harming its longstanding friendship with Israel? What might an agreement mean for Iran politically and economically? In light of the overall instability in the Middle East, how do Israel on the one hand, and Iran on the other, think about their regional positions? Finally, what does the future look like for the complex ties between these three nations?

Speakers Abbas M. Milani, Research Fellow and Co-Director, Iran Democracy Project, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and Janine Zacharia, Carlos Kelly McClatchy Visiting Lecturer, Department of Communications, Stanford University, will be in discussion.

Jane Wales, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council, will moderate the conversation.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1450

Direct download: 04_01_15_Israel_Iran_US.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:09am PDT

Poverty is often thought of as an economic issue, to be addressed through loans and other financial services. However, this is only one piece of the larger puzzle. Poor health can keep an individual from work or a natural disaster may destroy homes, crops and other resources. Lack of education limits opportunities for employment and higher wages. In order for the poor to escape poverty, they require the tools to fight it across all fronts. BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee), a development organization focused on alleviating poverty, therefore works with communities on a wide range of initiatives, from agriculture and food security to education and gender equality, in order to provide all the necessary tools for growth.

How does promoting gender equality, education and human rights aid in the fight to end poverty? BRAC’s founder, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, will share his insights on poverty alleviation and the power of education, as well as BRAC’s growth and evolution over the past 40 years.

Sir Fazle has received several national and international awards for his achievements in leading BRAC, including the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award (2008), Inaugural Clinton Global Citizen Award (2007) and Gates Award for Global Health (2004). The British crown knighted him in recognition of his services to reducing poverty in Bangladesh and internationally.

Speaker Fazle Hasan Abed is the Founder and Chairperson of BRAC.

Catherine Muther, President of the Three Guineas Fund, moderates the discussion.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1438

Direct download: 03_31_15_Fazle_Hasan_Abed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:57am PDT

Digital currency platforms have the potential to disrupt the global financial infrastructure and change the way that people and institutions exchange value. With the ability to transfer funds instantly to anywhere in the world by anyone, digital currencies hold the promise of providing financial inclusion to those underserved or unserved by the traditional financial institutions, and transforming the global financial ecosystem. Please join us for a discussion of the future of digital currencies, and the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Speakers Brian Armstrong, Founder and CEO, Coinbase, Joyce Kim, Executive Director, Stellar.org, and Elizabeth Stark, Founder, StartBitcoin.org, participate in the panel discussion.

Cory Johnson, Anchor and Editor-At-Large, Bloomberg Television, moderates the conversation.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1442

Direct download: 03_25_15_Digital_Currencies.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:34pm PDT

Throughout Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, the United States employs private military contractors to carry out its objectives. While US firms dominate the market, warlords and militias have restyled themselves as private security companies in places like Afghanistan and Somalia. These private entities have become an integral part of the United States' defense strategy — the US can no longer go to war without contractors.

How does military contracting actually operate? What does the proliferation of private forces suggest about the future of war and international relations? Sean McFate, a former paratrooper in the US Army and previous employee of a military contractor, will discuss these questions and share his unique perspective on this growing industry.

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

Speaker Sean McFate is Assistant Professor at the National Defense University, and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.

The conversation will be moderated by Christopher Starling, Director of Military and Veteran Affairs, Marines’ Memorial Club.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1425

Direct download: 03_24_15_Sean_McFate.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:07am PDT

Climate change has long been a topic that inspires concern, but little action. While signs of its impact have slowly increased, it seems not to pose an imminent enough threat to initiate a global attempt to slow its progress. However, if we wait for the threat to become imminent, it may be too late to respond.

According to Gernot Wagner, lead senior economist at the Environmental Defense Fund, we should begin thinking about responding to climate change in the same way we think about our health or car insurance - as a way of managing potential risk. Wagner will share his insights on the political and economic barriers to preemptive action, the economic consequences of a hotter planet and the extreme responses, such as geoengineering, that will likely come from waiting too long to act.

Speaker Gernot Wagner is a Lead Senior Economist at the Environmental Defense Fund.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1424

Direct download: 03_17_15_Gernot_Wagner.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:22pm PDT

The Middle East faces many and diverse challenges. Nuclear talks with Iran move slowly, with deadlines repeatedly pushed back. The Islamic State retains its hold on large swaths of Iraq and Syria and the rise of extremism threatens regional and international stability. Oil prices have fallen, impacting economies across the region and the world. The recent succession in Saudi Arabia raises questions about the outlook for this key US ally. With all of these factors in play, the outlook for 2015 is indeed uncertain.

Vali Nasr, Middle East expert and former senior advisor to the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, will discuss these challenges and how they could impact international stability and security.

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

Speaker Vali R. Nasr is the Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

The discussion will be moderated by Anja Lucia Manuel, Partner at RiceHadleyGates LLC.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1427

Direct download: 03_16_15_Vali_Nasr.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:12pm PDT

Around the world, nearly 800 million people are illiterate. That means one out of every 10 people would have a hard time reading this sentence. While global literacy rates improved over the last 25 years, progress has since stalled, especially for women and girls. And this isn’t only a developing world problem – 32 million Americans can’t read and write.

Today, literacy is as complex as it is powerful. What it means to be literate in different contexts is changing rapidly as digital skills become increasingly important and technology grows more sophisticated and more available. These advances create new and exciting opportunities to tackle basic literacy challenges, and produce new literacy challenges in their own right.

Educators and organizations all over the world are working hard in their communities to understand and address these issues. Literacy organizations such as Room to Read and Reading Partners are facing these challenges head-on whether in India, South Africa or right here in San Francisco. And Project Literacy, a major new campaign convened by Pearson in partnership with GOOD Magazine and others, seeks to make significant and sustainable advances in literacy over the next five years so that by 2030, no child will be born at risk of poor literacy.

Join us for this panel discussion to learn more about the scale of global illiteracy, the dimensions of the crisis as it breaks down along gender and class lines and the opportunities for intervention.

Speakers Erin Ganju, CEO and Co-Founder, Room to Read, Kate James, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Pearson, and Michael Lombardo, CEO, Reading Partners, will be in discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1433

Direct download: 03_12_15_Global_Illteracy.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:36am PDT

Pakistan faces many security challenges, both within and along its borders. The Taliban maintains a stronghold along the border with Afghanistan; the conflict with India over control of Kashmir has worsened in recent months; and in December Pakistan suffered the deadliest terrorist attack in its history when Pakistani Taliban attacked a school in Peshawar, killing over 100 students.

However, some positive signs of change have emerged. The Pakistani army has ramped up efforts to combat the Taliban and other militants. Relations with Afghanistan have improved since Ashraf Ghani was elected president, promising greater security cooperation along the border. And US Secretary of State John Kerry is working to help India and Pakistan mend relations. Will these efforts be enough to ensure future stability? Pakistan expert Christine Fair will discuss Pakistan’s security concerns and the outlook for this complex region.

Speaker Christine Fair is Assistant Professor of Security Studies Program for the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1422

Direct download: 03_04_15_Christine_Fair.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:37am PDT

Jason Furman has served as the chairman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers since August of 2013. In this role, he is charged with offering the president objective economic advice on the formulation of both domestic and international economic policy. Furman will discuss trends shaping the US economy, opportunities for future economic growth and public policy considerations to ensure that growth is sustainable and shared.

Speaker Jason Furman is the Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

The conversation is moderated by James M. Manyika, Senior Partner and Director, McKinsey & Company; Director, McKinsey Global Institute.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1398

Direct download: 02_25_15_Jason_Furman.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:19am PDT

Nearly a century has passed since the Armenian Genocide, but the repercussions of the event still shape relations between Armenia and Turkey, as well as US policy in the region.

The most recent round of discussions on normalizing Armenian-Turkish relations broke down in 2010. The two nations have not established diplomatic relations, their border remains closed and Armenians still seek formal recognition of the genocide from the Turkish government. On the international stage, the US seeks a stronger ally in Armenia to help advance its policies in the region. Neighboring both Turkey and Iran, and with close ties to Russia, Armenia has great geostrategic significance for the US. Improved relations between Armenia and Turkey would also advance US interests, as it could lead to greater stability in the region as a whole.

Thomas de Waal, an expert on the politics and conflicts of the South Caucasus, will discuss how the Armenian Genocide has shaped contemporary politics both within the region and beyond.

Speaker Thomas de Waal is a Senior Associate for the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Keith David Watenpaugh, Director, Human Rights Initiative, University of California, Davis, will moderate the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1396

Direct download: 02_19_15_Thomas_de_Waal.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 6:56am PDT

Cuba and the US are rekindling relations, after more than 50 years of Cold War inspired isolation. Obama announced in December that the US would reestablish diplomatic ties, open an embassy in Havana and lift further restrictions on travel, commerce and communications. While the embargo will remain in effect without action by Congress, and concerns remain about prospects for human rights and democracy in Cuba, Obama's executive order marks a historic change in US-Cuban relations.

These developments came after months of secret negotiations, facilitated by the Canadian government. The former Canadian Ambassador to Cuba, Mark Entwistle, will share his perspective on the negotiations, their outcome and what to expect going forward.

Speaker Mark Entwistle is the Former Ambassador of Canada to Cuba, and Founding Partner of Acasta Capital.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1415

Direct download: 02_05_15_Mark_Entwistle.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:08pm PDT

Following the 1979 Revolution, many Iranians hoped to see democracy emerge in their country. Instead, theocracy filled the political vacuum, stifling political discourse and restricting the freedom of Iranian citizens. Much has changed in the intervening years - the middle class is growing, more women are attending college and a moderate president has taken office. However, broader political change still seems distant. The Supreme Leader remains the highest authority and internet censorship and restrictions on freedom of the press continue. Iran appears to be on the path towards reform, but it may a long journey.

Born in Iran shortly before the 1979 Revolution, Nazila Fathi spent two decades as an Iranian correspondent for the New York Times. She fled the country in 2009, fearing for the safety of her family after defying a ban on media coverage of the Green Revolution. Fathi will share her firsthand experiences of Iran's transformation and her thoughts on where the country is headed.

Nazila Fathi, Journalist, Translator and Commentator, will speak.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1395

Direct download: 01_29_15_Nazila_Fathi.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:43am PDT

In today’s shifting global economy countries must often make rapid transitions to meet the increased demands of globalization. In the midst of this, it is easy for everyday citizens to ignore or forget what these transitions involve, where they take place and who is most affected by them.

Chad Broughton will examine these global effects and specifically the US – Mexico relationship through the lens of industrial manufacturing in two North American towns. As thousands of jobs have migrated from the United States to Mexico, Broughton argues that what truly matters in debating the consequences of the shift is not just politics or policy implications, but also who is affected and where these changes take place. Broughton will share the voices of those who have borne the heaviest burdens of recent economic upheavals by putting a human face to the constant cycle of global manufacturing and looking at the true cost of globalization.

Chad Broughton, Senior Lecturer, Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago, will be in conversation.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1397

Direct download: 01_20_15_Chad_Broughton.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:06am PDT

The Middle East is a complex strategic question for the United States due to its evolving and unpredictable nature. What is the plan for Syria and Iraq? How much of a threat to our national security is ISIS? What about Iran? What will happen in Afghanistan as the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) reduces its footprint?

General Lloyd J. Austin, Commander of the US Central Command, will share his insights on US military operations in the Middle East and future security concerns for the region.

Speaker Lloyd J Austin is the Commander of the United States Central Command.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1402

Direct download: 01_09_15_CENTCOM.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:41am PDT

The vast majority of the world's poor lack access to formal financial services. Faced with small incomes and little or no support from banks or other financial institutions, individuals struggle to save enough money to have a significant impact on their lives.

For more than four decades, the microfinance sector has provided small loans to help support the self-help efforts of micro-entrepreneurs. While these loans are powerful tools, when taken alone, they are not nearly enough to help the poor climb out of poverty.

Microfinance clients need other services, such as a safe place to save money, access to health services, financial education and other tools to help them make meaningful and sustainable progress out of poverty. As the digital and mobile landscapes continue to evolve, the microfinance sector is poised to innovate and serve more clients with a wider range of tools and services than ever before.

How are microfinance organizations serving their clients with an appropriate mix of services that help them escape poverty for good? How can disruptive technologies like mobile banking assist in this mission? What advances have we seen in this field and what challenges lie on the horizon?

The panel of speakers includes Alex Counts, President and CEO, Grameen Foundation, Steve Hollingworth, President, Freedom from Hunger, and Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO, Women's World Banking.

Maya Chorengel, Co-Founder, Elevar Equity, will moderate the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1392

Direct download: 01_07_14_Microfinancing.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:49am PDT

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa, with more than 13,000 reported cases and nearly 5,000 deaths so far, has laid bare the world’s inability to mount a rapid response to an infectious disease crisis. Emerging in a part of the world with weak governments and collapsing health systems, the disease has unleashed a massive humanitarian and economic crisis. In recent weeks, good news has begun to emerge: the World Health Organization declared Nigeria and Senegal Ebola-free last month and recently announced a decline in new cases in Liberia. Panic over cases in the United States has begun to subside.

Now, as the media wave of Ebola coverage begins to crest and the international aid machine at last grinds toward a response, it’s time to turn to the larger message of the outbreaks. Is Ebola a litmus test for poor health systems, demographic change and environmental degradation? What does this crisis tell us about culture, security and governance in a globalized world? Are we able, and willing, to respond to an epidemic of this scale?

This panel discussion includes two veterans from the front lines of fighting infectious disease in Africa. Dr. Alex Coutinho, director of Uganda’s Infectious Diseases Institute from 2007-2014, has led first response efforts again Ebola outbreaks. Jane Coyne, on the board of Médecins Sans Frontières USA, managed many on the ground emergency relief efforts in Africa for more than a decade. They will be joined by an Ebola survivor who will share his unique perspective on the outbreak.

Speakers Alex Coutinho, Chair, Board of Directors, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative; former Executive Director, Infectious Diseases Institute, Jane Coyne, Director of Operations, We Care Solar; Member, Board of Directors, Médecins Sans Frontières USA, and Ebola survior and Infectious Diseases Specialist Ian Crozier will be in discussion.

The discussion will be moderated by Gavin Yamey, Lead, Evidence to Policy Initiative, UCSF Global Health Group.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/28

Direct download: 12_08_14_Ebola.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:12am PDT

Walter Isaacson discusses the personalities who created the computer and the Internet. What were the talents that allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail? Isaacson shares stories about the innovators who helped contribute to the current digital revolution and how they fostered innovation, creativity and teamwork to succeed.

Walter Isaacson is President and CEO of the Aspen Institute. He is in conversation with Jane Wales, President and Chief Executive Officer, World Affairs Council.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1389

Direct download: 11_03_14_Walter_Isaacson.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:45am PDT

Is it time to update US policy towards Cuba? Peter Kornbluh, Director, Cuba and Chile Documentation Projects, National Security Archive will share insights on negotiation attempts and the importance of mending relations between the two countries.

Speaker Peter Kornbluh is the Director of Cuba and Chile Documentation Projects at the National Security Archive.

Elizabeth Farnsworth, Special Correspondent, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, will moderate the conversation.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1375

Direct download: 11_13_14_Peter_Kornbluh.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:01am PDT

Despite countless international treaties, why has the world failed to address human rights violations? International law expert Eric Posner will discuss some of the reasons and what can be done to change it.

Speaker Eric Posner is the Kirkland and Ellis Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago.

The discussion is moderated by John Wilson, Partner, Shearman & Sterling.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1373

Direct download: 11_06_14_Eric_Posner.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:02am PDT

The American public has grown wary of foreign involvement and uncertain about the United States' place in the world today. This uncertainty has arisen from disillusionment with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the financial crisis, dysfunction in Washington and other real or perceived threats to the US's global dominance. How should the US adapt to the rapidly changing world? How involved should the US be in foreign conflicts and what can be done to address problems at home? How does America’s leadership ultimately impact these decisions? Rothkopf argues that, while the US has shown remarkable resilience, progress is often impeded by the human flaws of our leaders, the mismanagement of our system and an unwillingness to learn from the past. He will discuss how the country arrived in its current situation and what can be done to restore American leadership in the future.

Speaker David Rothkopf is the CEO and Editor of FP Group.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1376

Direct download: 11_04_14_David_Rothkopf.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:17am PDT

In this age of globalization, it is clear that America's prosperity and security depends on that of our political and economic partners. Yet, today we see mounting evidence that our partners' stability is threatened by global environmental change. Increasing pressure on limited resources is disrupting global supply chains, causing social instability, destabilizing regional relations and expanding illegal trade. Join this group of top policy leaders, security experts and change makers who will discuss why environmental sustainability must become a central tenet of US foreign policy in order to protect our national security and promote global prosperity.

Speakers Richard L. Engel, Director, Environment and Natural Resources Program, Strategic Futures Group, National Intelligence Council, David Reed, Senior Vice President of Policy, World Wildlife Fund, and Amy Luers, Director of Climate Change, Skoll Global Threats Fund, are in conversation with Jane Wales, President and Chief Executive Officer, World Affairs Council.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1360

Direct download: 10_29_14_Prosperity_Pursuit.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:55am PDT

To mark a century of The New Republic, editor Franklin Foer will join us for a discussion on the pivotal issues of modern America. Highlighting seminal contributions to the magazine, Foer’s Insurrections of the Mind is an exploration of such topics as America’s role in the world, the rise and fall of communism, the economy, terrorism, and technology, not to mention race, civil rights and the women’s movement. As political discussions increase in the lead up to the midterm elections, these issues remain just as important today as they were throughout the past century. Insurrections of the Mind, an anthology of the magazine's most seminal articles, celebrates a cultural, political and intellectual institution that has stood the test of time. Select contributors include Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, Philip Roth, Michael Lewis, Zadie Smith, William Faulkner, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, John Updike and Margaret Talbot.

Speaker Franklin Foer is the Editor of The New Republic.

The discussion will be moderated by William Drummond, Professor, Graduate School of Journalism, University of California, Berkeley.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1363

Direct download: 10_27_14_Franklin_Foer.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:48am PDT

The World Affairs Council and its Global Philanthropy Forum recognizes eBay and PayPal CEO John Donahoe and the company he leads for its commitment to creating economic opportunity and fostering an inclusive global economy, including its pioneering role in creating the peer-to-peer economy. The evening celebrates and gathers entrepreneurs and innovators who are further advancing this movement worldwide.

eBay and Paypal are global commerce platforms whose success is tied to their purpose – connecting more people with more opportunity while making a positive social impact. A Bay Area innovation with global reach, eBay and PayPal helped spark a movement. Today the continuously evolving peer-to-peer economy enables individuals to participate in local and global economies, without the requirements of start-up capital or proximity to physical markets. A new entrepreneurial class is being built. Where there was a will, there is now a way.

Speaker John Donahoe is the President and CEO of eBay, Inc.

The conversation is moderated by Jane Wales, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1365

Direct download: 10_23_14_John_Donahoe.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:41am PDT

US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson will discuss the US-Pakistan relationship as it is, and what it could become. Weathering setbacks over the years, the relationship has proven itself resilient. Ambassador Olson will explain why it is in our national interest to continue to engage with Pakistan and why this will require more than a transactional or single-issue relationship with Pakistan.

Speaker Richard Olson is the US Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Embassy of the United States of America.

The conversation will be moderated by Anja Lucia Manuel, Partner, RiceHadleyGates LLC.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1358

Direct download: 10_15_14_Richard_Olson.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:44pm PDT

Even now, in the twenty-first century, intractable problems remain: poor early-childhood education, sex trafficking, inner-city violence, poverty and malnutrition, homelessness and many others. What can be done in the face of such enormous challenges? Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof suggests that new, innovative approaches to philanthropy could offer answers, allowing individuals and organizations to make a difference in the world. At the end of the day what matters most is the impact on the ground.

Kristof has lived on four continents, reported on six and traveled to 150 countries, reporting on global health, poverty, education, gender inequality and much more. He will share stories from his experiences on the ground and discuss the art and science of giving.

Speaker Nicholas Kristof is a columnist at The New York Times.

The discussion will be moderated by Jane Wales, President and Chief Executive Officer, World Affairs Council.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1351

Direct download: 10_7_14_Nicholas_Kristof.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:47am PDT

Access to online education has the potential to democratize education and skill advancement around the world. In what ways and for whom has online education been most successful so far? What are the platform's limitations and where are the gaps? Please join us for a discussion of online education’s potential role in preparing a global labor force for the knowledge economy of the 21st century.

The discussion features Nicholas B. Dirks, Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, and Sebastian Thrun, Co-Founder and CEO of Udacity.

Quentin Hardy, Deputy Technology Editor of The New York Times, moderates the conversation.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1328

Direct download: 10_02_14_Online_Education.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:42pm PDT

A nuclear blast -- are we at risk? Eric Schlosser, investigative journalist and author of Fast Food Nation, has now taken an in-depth look at America’s nuclear arsenal and the multitude of mistakes associated with the management and protection of this powerful and important asset. With the Cold War declared over for nearly 25 years, talk of nuclear weapons is generally relegated to the halls of policy think tanks and academic institutions. Schlosser would like to see this change, arguing that the nuclear threat is still very real – exacerbated by mismanagement and aging infrastructure of the US arsenal – and most Americans are either unaware or dismiss the possibility of any potential danger. Over six years Schlosser investigated the state of the nuclear arsenal and he reveals how the combination of human fallibility and technological complexity still poses a grave threat to mankind.

Speaker Eric Schlosser is Author of Fast Food Nation and Command and Control.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1343

Direct download: 09_29_14_Eric_Schlosser.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:48am PDT

Geopolitical, economic and technological changes are transforming our world. In 15 years, the global landscape will likely look very different than it does today. While we cannot with certainty predict the future, hypotheses abound. The National Intelligence Council lays out several such hypotheses in their new report, “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds.” The report suggests four major trends that will shape the world over the coming decades: individual empowerment, diffusion of power among nations, demographic shifts and natural resource challenges. The question that remains is: where will these trends lead?

Mathew Burrows, the principal author of “Global Trends 2030,” will discuss the factors that are transforming the world, predictions of potential outcomes and how we can influence the course of events.

Speaker Mathew J. Burrows is the Director of Strategic Foresight Initiative at the Atlantic Council.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1330

Direct download: 09_24_14_Mathew_Burrows.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:43am PDT

Next-generation genomics can be described as the combination of sequencing technologies and big data analytics. The potential impact of this disruptive technology in health care will be primarily realized through extending and enhancing lives through faster disease detection, more precise diagnoses, new drugs, and more tailored disease treatments. The technical challenges inherent in genetic engineering technology are great but may be less formidable than the social, ethical, and regulatory concerns it may generate. Please join us for a discussion of the possibilities and the challenges of next-generation genomics and implications for health care worldwide.

The panel of speakers include Timothy Behrens, Senior Director, Human Genetics, Genentech, Francis deSouza, President, Illumina Corporation, Robert L. Nussbaum, Chief, Department of Medicine & UCSF Institute for Human Genetics, UCSF.

The discussion is moderated by Michael Chui, Partner, McKinsey Global Institute.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1298

Direct download: 09_16_14_Big_Data_Genomics.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:00am PDT

Governments that impose repressive policies on their populations often must contend with citizens that are intent on doing exactly what is not allowed. In Tehran, the largest city in Iran, the situation is no different. Ramita Navai witnessed this first hand as an undercover journalist reporting the stories of city dwellers attempting to conduct their personal lives under a watchful government eye. What is revealed is a Tehran so riddled with social, political, sexual and religious contradictions that in order to survive in the city, many must learn to lie. Navai will discuss the startling realities of living behind a veil of necessary falsehoods while giving a backstreet glimpse of modern Tehran.

Speaker Ramita Navai is a journalist and author.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1338

Direct download: 09_17_14_Ramita_Navai.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:31am PDT

After four decades of military service and countless experiences with military intervention, retired four-star General Tony Zinni is well aware that wars are not always decided on the battlefield. Political decisions, intelligence estimates, strategies (or the lack thereof) and many other non-battlefield components have crucial significance in the outcome of war. Few Americans realize how many essential pieces have to fall in to place to execute a successful campaign. What triggers lead the US to use military force and how may these triggers be changing due to emerging global issues? How can the US learn from past successes and failures to achieve greater success in the future? General Zinni will analyze past military experiences and discuss what must be done to make the process of going to war more clear-eyed, and ultimately, successful. This program is presented in partnership with the Marines' Memorial Association.

Speaker Anthony Zinni is the Former Commander of US Central Command.

The discussion will be led by Jane Wales, President and Chief Executive Officer, World Affairs Council.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1325

Direct download: 09_15_14_Anthony_Zinni.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:34pm PDT

The 2014 Human Development Report highlights the need for both promoting people's choices and protecting human development achievements. Although almost everyone is likely to feel vulnerable at some point in life, some individuals and groups are systematically worse off. Longer life spans and demographic transitions are having wide ranging effects on economies, societies and living arrangements. According to the report, vulnerability remains a major obstacle to human development and unless it is systematically addressed by changing policies and social norms, progress will be neither equitable nor sustainable.

The Human Development Reports have been commissioned and published by UNDP since 1990 as an intellectually independent, empirically grounded analysis of development issues, trends, progress and policies. The report's ultimate goal is to help advance human development, therefore it places as much emphasis on health, education, gender equity and the expansion human freedoms and abilities as on economic growth.

Khalid Malik, director of the UN Human Development Report, will share key findings of the new report, as well as discuss why a human development approach is incomplete unless it incorporates vulnerability and resilience into the analysis.

This program is presented in partnership with the Global Philanthropy Forum.

Speaker Khalid Malik is the Director of the Human Development Report Office at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The discussion will be moderated by William H. Draper, General Partner, Draper Richards.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1327

Direct download: 08_19_14_Khalid_Malik.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:38pm PDT

After a period of relative quiet, Israel and Hamas found themselves in a summer rocket war that put the global spotlight once again on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Thousands of rockets and missiles were fired. The Israeli military destroyed an underground tunnel network built by Hamas. Gaza is in shambles. More than 1,800 Palestinians and 60 Israelis are dead. The United States leveled some of its toughest criticism at Israel ever for the killing of Palestinian civilians. What happens now? With decades of troubled history on both sides and a rising death toll, the possibility of a long-term peace agreement seems even further out of reach. Janine Zacharia, former Jerusalem bureau chief of The Washington Post, now a visiting lecturer at Stanford, will share her insights on why this conflict erupted now, explore what the sides hoped to gain (and what they did or didn’t achieve) and what it all means for the future of peace negotiations and the alliance between Israel and the United States.

Speaker Janine Zacharia is the Carlos Kelly McClatchy Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Communications at Stanford University.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1337

Direct download: 08_14_14_Janine_Zacharia.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:35pm PDT

Just as China has experienced a remarkable economic ascent, Chinese Americans too are modern exemplars of the “American Dream,” going from servitude to success in 150 years. While this achievement is impressive for so many Chinese immigrant families, not all are living that dream. Despite the tales of success, some still feel left behind, others feel anxiety with China’s economic rise, while still others continue to struggle with the idea of what it means to be an American.

As the founder and CEO of Citizen University, Eric Liu explores the complexities of American identity and seeks to revitalize the idea of citizenship in the United States. Liu will touch upon what it means to be a Chinese American in this grand moment for China and the United States and how each generation throughout America’s kaleidoscope of migration and acculturation has changed this country.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1315

Direct download: 07_29_14_Eric_Liu.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:33am PDT

In May, India completed the largest democratic election the world has ever seen. Over the course of five weeks, more than 800 million people turned out to cast their votes. The election of Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came as a surprise to many, especially since the incumbent Congress Party has held power for the majority of India's democratic history.

The overwhelming support for the BJP may be a sign of changing priorities among voters. Rather than voting along religious, caste and other identity lines as has historically been the case, Indians voted for Modi's promise of economic reform and growth. However, religion remains a strong influence in Indian politics. Only 9% of Muslims voted for the BJP, which may reflect lingering concerns over the 2002 ethnic riots that took place in Gujarat while Modi was chief minister of the state.

What does India's new leadership mean for the country's economic and foreign policy outlook? What are the implications of lingering religious and ethnic tensions in this vast democracy?

The panel of speakers include: Pradeep Chhibber, Professor and Indo-American Community Chair in India Studies, University of California, Berkeley, Thomas Blom Hansen, Reliance-Dhirubhai Ambani Professor of South Asian Studies, Professor of Anthropology and Director, Center for South Asia, Stanford University, and Sunder Ramaswamy, President and Frederick C. Dirks Professor of International Economics, Monterey Institute of International Studies.

The panel discussion will be moderated by David Arnold, President, Asia Foundation.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1314

Direct download: 07_23_14_Modi_India.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:15am PDT

On the boundary between East and West, Turkey's democracy has thrived by balancing its Islamic heritage with a modern secular state. However, recent protests and increasing authoritarian actions taken by Prime Minister Erdogan's government have observers questioning Turkey's current political leadership. The loss of over 300 miners in the country's biggest industrial disaster and the recent corruption allegations leveled against Erdogan adds fuel to existing tensions between the government and Turkey's citizens. Turkish political commentator and author Mustafa Akyol will discuss recent developments in Turkey and explain what they mean for the broader Muslim world.

Speaker Mustafa Akyol is a Turkish political commentator and author.

The conversation will be moderated by Jeffrey Scott Collins, Senior Counsel, International Policy, Chevron.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1316

Direct download: 07_16_14_Mustafa_Akyol.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:41am PDT

Successful international development requires the integration of many different elements, from improving education and healthcare to addressing inequality and increasing government accountability. Each of these elements presents unique challenges and requires multi-faceted solutions. Looking at the example of poverty, as President Obama said in his State of the Union address last year, eradication will come from "connecting more people to the global economy and empowering women; giving our young and brightest minds new opportunities to serve; helping communities to feed, power and educate themselves; saving the world's children from preventable deaths; and realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation." In the face of such complex problems, what more can be done to address global development challenges? Modern technologies like crowd sourcing, datapaloozas and hack-a-thons may prove to be useful tools. Ambassador Steinberg, former deputy administrator at USAID, will discuss the shifting landscape and the implications of these changes for the way we approach global education and development.

Speaker Donald Steinberg is President and CEO of World Learning.

The conversation will be moderated by Ruth Levine, Director, Global Development and Population Program, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1318

Direct download: 07_15_14_Donald_Steinberg.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 6:53am PDT

Political, economic and security ties have long united Europe and the United States, with NATO as an essential element of that relationship. Beyond the Euro-Atlantic area, NATO is working with partners across the globe, including in the Asia-Pacific, to build our common security and support the stable, rules-based international order on which we have come to rely. The stability of our international system cannot be taken for granted; with its recent aggression against Ukraine, Russia has demonstrated blatant disregard for the international rule book. NATO's Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, will set out how the US and Europe, working through an outward-looking NATO, can continue to lead by example and safeguard the order on which our security and prosperity depend.

This program is presented in partnership with the Commonwealth Club of California and the Marines' Memorial Association.

Speaker Anders Fogh Rasmussen is Secretary General of NATO.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1320

Direct download: 07_09_14_Anders_Rasmussen.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:58pm PDT

California is changing and the University of California is changing along with it. As president of a world class institution with a public mandate and a global mission, Janet Napolitano has launched initiatives to ensure that the university will thrive in the 21st century and to make public education in California affordable and accessible. She will discuss strategies to enhance community college transfers; boost the transfer of UC's cutting-edge research to market; improve services for student veterans; and leverage the University's capabilities to address food-related challenges in California, the nation and around the world.

She will also discuss efforts she has launched which are focused on environmental sustainability and her project to achieve carbon neutrality across the UC system by 2025.

Speaker Janet Napolitano is President of the University of California.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1303

Direct download: 7_9_14_Janet_Napolitano.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:55am PDT

As the new president of the International Rescue Committee, David Miliband has taken on the challenge of the largest refugee crisis in recent history. Having previously served as UK Foreign Secretary, he is well versed on the international policy issues affecting refugees around the world.

Miliband addresses the range of issues for refugees around the world, including immediate concerns in Syria, Iraq and South Sudan.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1322

Direct download: 07_01_14_David_Miliband.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:01am PDT

The release of the most recent assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has refocused the international climate debate. The report states that the human influence on the earth's climate is clear and that change weather patterns are already having an impact on countries and oceans around the world. From the causes and effects of climate change to options for adaptation and mitigation, this publication has given the international community a lot to think about. How will a changing climate impact ecosystems, food security, human health and water supplies? To what extent can we mitigate further change and how can we adapt to the effects that have already occurred? This panel of experts, including contributing authors to the IPCC report, will discuss the findings of the report and its global implications.

Speaker Ken Caldeira is Senior Scientist, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science.

He is joined by Noah Diffenbaugh, Associate Professor of Environmental Earth System Science and Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University.

The discussion is moderated by Amy Luers, Director of Climate Change, Skoll Global Threats Fund.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1305

Direct download: 06_17_14_Changing_Climate.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:22am PDT

On May 8 Costa Rica inaugurated its 47th President into office, the Honorable Luis Guillermo Solís. Solís will address how his country has evolved into a high technology leader in Latin America, and will touch upon the priorities that his administration will undertake to continue to provide and enable the right business climate in Costa Rica while fostering foreign direct investment. The title of his talk will be "A Competitive Hub for High-Tech Manufacturing and Services in Latin America."

Speaker Luis Guillermo Solís is President of the Republic of Costa Rica.

The conversation will be moderated by Akiko Yamazaki, President, Board of Directors, Asian Art Museum; Co-Founder, Wildlife Conservation Network.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1308

Direct download: 06_09_14_Costa-Rica_President.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:02am PDT

In panel 2 of a two-part discussion, human rights and humanitarian aid experts and international security specialists take a new look at the challenges posed by North Korea and consider what the international community can do.

For more information about this event please visit: http://asiasociety.org/northern-california/events/north-korea-what-can-international-community-do

For more information about our partner, the Asia Society, please visit: http://asiasociety.org/

Direct download: 6_3_14_North_Korea-Elusive_Peace.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:53pm PDT

In panel 1 of a two-part discussion, defectors, human rights and humanitarian aid experts, and international security specialists delve into the realities of life within the secret society of North Korea.

For more information about this event please visit: http://asiasociety.org/northern-california/events/north-korea-what-can-international-community-do

For more information about our partner, the Asia Society, please visit: http://asiasociety.org/

Direct download: 6_3_14_North_Korea-Secret_Society-1.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:03pm PDT

China has undergone profound economic change in recent years. Through international trade and development of new energy resources, the country has increased its involvement abroad, and at home economic growth has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. However, progress has not been made across the board -- political and social advances have been slower to emerge. The Communist Party still seeks to maintain control over its citizens, limiting freedom of expression and restricting access to information.

As China continues to progress, change will need to come to these areas as well and the country will need to solve the underlying conflict between communism and capitalism. Individuals are finding ways around restrictions and exploring the potential of newfound prosperity and global connectivity. Evan Osnos, China correspondent for The New Yorker, will share stories of ordinary citizens remaking their lives in this shifting landscape.

Speaker Evan Osnos is Correspondent for The New Yorker.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1257

Direct download: 5_29_14_New_China.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:54am PDT

In the coming years, the United States will experience drastic social, racial and economic shifts. By 2050, the US population will be majority non-white and the median age will rise above 40. A significant generational gap is emerging in social and political values as well as religious, racial and ethnic identities. There is also a disparity in economic well-being. For the first time in American history, a new generation may have a lower standard of living than their parents. What do these changes mean for America's social, political and economic future? How will they affect our national identity and perceptions of our role in the world? Paul Taylor will draw on Pew Research Center's polls and data to discuss the implications of America's rapidly changing demographics.

Speaker Paul Taylor is Executive Vice President of Special Projects at the Pew Research Center.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1289

Direct download: 5_12_14_America_2050.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:55am PDT

More than nine billion devices around the world are currently connected to the Internet, including computers and smartphones. That number is expected to increase dramatically within the next decade, with estimates ranging from quintupling to 50 billion devices to reaching one trillion. Please join us for a discussion of how the Internet of Things will impact the way we live, the way business is done and how resources are consumed. Important to the discussion will be the challenges ahead when merging the physical and digital worlds and the implications for privacy and security around the world.

Speakers include:

Katherine Butler, General Counsel, GE Software | @GEsoftware

Guido Jouret, VP and General Manager, Internet of Things Group, Cisco | @gjouret @Cisco_IoT

Stephen Pattison, VP of Public Affairs, ARM | @SPattison_ARM @ARMCommunity

Steve Yankovich, VP of Innovation and New Ventures, eBay, Inc. | @SteveYankovich @ebayinc

The panel discussion is moderated by Aleecia McDonald, Director of Privacy, Center for Internet and Society, Stanford Law School | @StanfordCIS

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/internet-of-things

Direct download: 5_7_14_Internet_Things.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:29pm PDT

North Korea is once again in the headlines, thanks to a sequence of aggressive, yet carefully calculated actions: another missile test; a nuclear weapons test in January of last year followed by a declaration that Pyongyang was exiting the 60-year-old Korean armistice; the sudden execution of the leader's uncle; and a constant, continuing stream of vituperative denunciations of South Korea and the United States. What does the North hope to accomplish with these acts? And how should the United States and its allies respond? Also, as North Korea's lifeline, how should China respond? Philip Yun, executive director and COO of the Ploughshares Fund, is well-equipped to answer these questions. Yun is a former high-level diplomat who has worked extensively in academia, business, nonprofits and government. Prior to joining Ploughshares Fund, he was a Pantech Scholar in Korean Studies at Stanford University. He met Kim Jong Il in October, 2000 as a part of the delegation that travelled to North Korea with Secretary of State Madeline Albright and was a member of a working group that managed US policy toward North Korea under President Clinton. Yun was as a senior advisor to the first US Coordinator for North Korea Policy, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry.

Speaker Philip W. Yun is Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of Ploughshares Fund.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1262

Direct download: 3_26_14_SAC_North_Korea.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:38pm PDT

For more than 50 years, CARE has been serving individuals and families in the world's poorest communities. Today, they work in 84 countries around the world, empowering women in Peru, promoting democratic governance in Mali and fostering education and healthcare projects in Cambodia, among hundreds of other projects. Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE USA, will discuss her experiences in the fields of public health and international development.

Speaker Helene Gayle is President and CEO of CARE.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1267

Direct download: 4_30_14_Helene_Gayle.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:56pm PDT

More than one billion people today live on just one dollar per day. Those who live at this level of poverty often work extremely hard at jobs few in the West would even entertain. They lack basic services such as healthcare and education, a deficit that all too often keeps them and their families stuck in a continuous poverty cycle, often for generations. Professor Thomas Nazario, founder of The Forgotten International, will discuss what he calls 'the forgotten people of the world'. Often they are those who live in abject poverty, often they are women and children and often they have absolutely no access to any kind of real power or influence. How can one bring more attention to these issues? And what, if anything, can be done to solve global poverty? This event will be followed by Last Call.

Speaker Tom Nazario is Founder and President of The Forgotten International.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1266

Direct download: 4_29_14_Global_Poverty.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:52pm PDT



On the occasion of Earth Day 2014, the World Affairs Council and the Commonwealth Club are delighted to host the President of Iceland. As a member of the Arctic Council, Iceland is at the forefront of those nations in the North feeling the environmental effects brought on by climate change. While the melting polar ice cap has potential broad negative consequences for the world's oceans, sea levels and climate, at the same time it increases the potential for commercial and economic activity in the Arctic region. President Grímsson will address both the challenges and opportunities that will arise from these important global changes in his talk "People and Ice: The New Significance of the Arctic and the Himalayas." His Excellency Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson has been Iceland's president since 1996 and is currently serving his fifth elected term in office. He has served a long and illustrious career in public service, first as a professor of political science at the University of Iceland and later holding numerous positions within the Icelandic government. Among many international awards he has received is the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize which he received on behalf of the international organization Parliamentarians for Global Action, of which he was chairman and later president from 1984 - 1990.

Speaker Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson is President of the Republic of Iceland.

For more information about event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1286

Direct download: 4_22_14_Iceland_President-1.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:15am PDT

The war in Syria, revolutions and counter-revolutions in Egypt, counterterrorism operations in Northern Africa, attacks in Kenya, Nigeria and Russia—the news of today suggests the threat of terrorism is far from over. The post-Arab Spring security vacuum and the rise of social media has changed realities and transformed the terrorism landscape. Where the center of gravity of Bin Laden terrorism was once limited to Afghanistan, Al Qaeda has now adapted and incorporated loosely connected groups, ceding operational control in exchange for a more global reach. Ali Soufan, author of "The Black Banners", CEO of The Soufan Group and former FBI Special Agent, will discuss the spread of Al Qaeda's violent narratives and outline the current threat landscape.

Speaker Ali Soufan is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Soufan Group.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1258

Direct download: 4_7_14_Al_Qaeda.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:56am PDT

Full event details: worldaffairs.org/wa2014

A keynote conversation with Ray Suarez, the new host of Inside Story, Al Jazeera America's daily program. Suarez was with PBS' NewsHour from 1999 to 2013, most recently as its chief national correspondent. He hosted National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation for six years before joining PBS. Suarez also spent seven years reporting for Chicago's NBC-owned station WMAQ-TV. Suarez began his career as a Los Angeles correspondent for CNN, a producer for the ABC Radio Network in New York and a reporter for CBS Radio in Rome.In 2010 Suarez was inducted into the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Hall of Fame. He is a co-recipient of two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards for NPR's on-site coverage of the first multi-racial elections in South Africa and of the first 100 days of the 104th Congress. Suarez is the author of the critically acclaimed "Latino Americans," the companion book to the PBS documentary series of the same name that was published in 2013.

Speakers
Ray Suarez, Host, Inside Story, Al Jazeera America
Jane M. Wales (moderator), President & Chief Executive Officer, World Affairs Council

Direct download: 3_15_14-WA14_Ray-Suarez.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:47pm PDT

Full event details: worldaffairs.org/wa2014

The Obama administration has long sought to reposition itself in the international arena - hoping to turn back the last decade's "tide of war," reduce American vulnerabilities in the Middle East, "rebalance" toward Asia and emphasize "nation-building" here at home. This is an ambitious agenda, but not an unfamiliar one. Retrenchment presidents of the past - those who charted a new path after major wars - give us a framework for evaluating the current administration's efforts. What can we learn from their experience? What are the pre-requisites for successful retrenchment? What are the pitfalls? And how well is the Obama administration meeting the challenge?

Speaker
Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor for the Practice of International Diplomacy, Columbia University

Direct download: 3_15_14-WA14_US_Role.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:44pm PDT

Full event details: worldaffairs.org/wa2014

Four years after civil unrest and protests sparked transformations across the Arab world, we sit down with two prominent Arab scholars for a frank discussion of this deeply misunderstood region. What are the roots and the future of Arab politics and the unrest in the region? How will democracy evolve in such a diverse landscape? What is the future of political Islam? Is there a positive role for the West to play in the reconstruction and state-building of the new Arab world?

Speakers
Shadi Hamid, Director of Research at the Brookings Doha Center and a fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution
Marwan Muasher, former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Vice President of Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Janine Zacharia (moderator), Carlos Kelly McClatchy Visiting Lecturer, Department of Communications, Stanford University

Direct download: 3_15_14_WA14_Arab_Awakening.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:41pm PDT

Full event details: worldaffairs.org/wa2014

A keynote conversation with Thomas L. Friedman. Friedman is an internationally renowned author, reporter, and columnist—the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes and the author of six bestselling books, among them "From Beirut to Jerusalem" and "The World Is Flat".

Speakers
Thomas Friedman, Foreign Affairs Columnist
Jane M. Wales (moderator), President & Chief Executive Officer, World Affairs Council

Direct download: 3_14_14-WA14_Tom_Friedman.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:39pm PDT

Full event details: worldaffairs.org/wa2014

Comprehensive immigration reform is at the top of the policy agenda in 2014. While the debate may be no less contentious than it has been in the past, there is growing consensus that a solution can be found, not only for those already here but for those who would like to come. Perspectives vary regarding immigrants in the United States with both positive and negative viewpoints, but many agree that workers are needed across the spectrum—high-tech, low-tech or no-tech. From the food that we eat to the high-tech start ups, large portions of the US economy are dependent upon foreign-born workers. Who are these people and how can immigration policy best be shaped to help fuel America's innovation economy? What is the status of this debate?

Speakers
Tara Magner, Program Officer, Policy Research, US Programs, MacArthur Foundation
Simon Rosenberg, President and Founder, NDN
Jose Antonio Vargas, Founder, Define American

Direct download: 3_14_14-WA14_Immigration.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:36pm PDT

Russia is back in the news and not just for the Olympics in Sochi in February. President Vladimir Putin is grabbing attention and headlines on the international stage as well as at home. From US-Russian relations to the Middle East and the Syrian crisis to domestic human rights debates, these policy initiatives raise many questions about Mr. Putin’s intentions and Russia’s role in the world. What is happening in Russia today and what might we expect in the near future?
Confirmed Speakers
  • Corey Flintoff, International Correspondent, Moscow, Russia, NPR News
  • Masha Gessen, Author and Journalist
  • Olga Oliker, Associate Director, International Security & Defense Policy Center, RAND Corporation
  • Carla Thorson*, Vice President of Public Programs, World Affairs Council
Direct download: 3_15_14_WA14_New_Face_Russia.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:16am PDT