WorldAffairs (News & Politics)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speakers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Veteran NewsHour correspondent Margaret Warner will discuss how international events – and their coverage –- are being transformed by the internet and social networks, and explore the challenges and opportunities of reporting in an era of unlimited information. Her remarks will draw from some of her recent reporting trips abroad, including two to Egypt in this year of turmoil. Her reporting has also taken her to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Korea, China, Kenya , Brazil, Russia and multiple countries in Western Europe. Ms. Warner is one of five senior correspondents on PBS's nightly news program reporting on, and interviewing, leading figures who make and analyze today’s news. She is also lead correspondent for the PBS NewsHour’s Overseas Reporting Unit. Her coverage abroad has won many awards, including a coveted Emmy in 2008.

Direct download: 12_5_11_Margaret_Warner.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:24am PDT

Will the next Steve Jobs be made in China? It's a distinct possibility. The past decade has seen enormous growth in entrepreneurial enterprises in China, but it is still a society and economy beset by censorship, piracy, corruption and state controls. Rebecca Fannin, Founder of Silicon Asia, and Edith Yeung, a Partner at RightVentures, will discuss the hurdles Chinese entrepreneurs encounter, the challenges both local and foreign investors face, and some of the strategies companies employ to make a splash in the Chinese consumer market and compete with global companies.

Direct download: 12_1_11_China_Biz.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:34am PDT

Conventional wisdom holds that weak and failing states are extremely attractive to transnational terrorist groups because they have unmonitored borders and provide places where terrorists can plan attacks. If this is the case, why are only a minority of these states home to terrorist groups? In fact, mainstream beliefs about the threats posed by failing states are based on anecdotal arguments, not on a systematic analysis of the connections between state failure and transnational security threats. A country's institutional weakness is not the only appeal to terrorist groups; it is a state's ambivalent relationship with, or direct support for, these groups that attracts them. Join Stewart Patrick as he shows that while some global threats do emerge in fragile states, most of their weaknesses create misery only for their own citizenry and the real global threats originate farther up the chain in government.

Direct download: 11_29_11_Stewart_Patrick.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:37am PDT

There is a growing consensus among economists and world leaders that girls' education is the single most effective tool for fighting poverty in developing countries. While not a panacea, education yields enormous benefits for girls, their families, and society, including increased future income, lower risk of HIV/AIDS, and improved health outcomes. Yet not all approaches to educating girls are equally effective. Join Ann Cotton, Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, and Joel Samoff as they discuss the benefits and the challenges of educating girls in Africa, and share lessons learned from years of experience working in the sector.

Direct download: 11_21_11_Girls_Education.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:39am PDT

Representing the aerospace center of California during nine terms in Congress, Jane Harman served on all the major security committees: six years on Armed Services, eight years on Intelligence and four on Homeland Security. She has made numerous Congressional fact-finding missions to hotspots around the world including North Korea, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Guantanamo Bay to assess threats against the U.S. Most recently, in her new role, she was in Tunisia and Egypt as an election monitor. The Honorable Jane Harman is a former member of Congress, and current President and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. This luncheon format offers an opportunity to hear remarks from Ms. Harman on issues of national security, followed by a conversation including your questions and comments.

Direct download: 11_18_11_Jane_Harman.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:45am PDT

Lebanese-born Nada Prouty was a respected agent for the FBI and CIA who was assigned to high-level terrorism cases, working in Yemen, Pakistan and Iraq. In the months following the 9/11 attacks, she was accused of selling information Hezbollah and stripped of her American citizenship. She was ultimately exonerated, but almost a decade later, she has not regained her citizenship. Prouty will discuss her story, and how anti-Arab sentiment and a rush to judgment may have cost her her livelihood and her American identity.

Direct download: 11_17_11_Nada_Prouty.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:47am PDT

Global total military expenditures is estimated to account for about 2.7% of global GDP. If the sheer size of the business was not enough to influence politics, then the fact that the majority of arms contracts are awarded by governments to supply militaries makes them of incredible political importance. Sometimes these contract negotiations take place publicly but often there is no bidding or competition at all. Join Andrew Feinstein as he draws back the curtain on a world of legitimate multi-billion dollar government contracts, the illicit arms trade and the frequent links between the two. He will reveal the impact this trade has, not only on less stable countries around the world but also the democratic institutions of the United States and the United Kingdom.

Direct download: 11_10_11_Andrew_Feinstein.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:48am PDT

For the second installment of the three-part series “China: Reshaping the East” the Council is pleased to welcome Dr. Bates Gill, Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute to discuss his recently completed a study on China-North Korea relations. In his analysis Dr. Gill will put a particular focus on the new and emerging actors in China that are seeing to a deepening of relations between Beijing and Pyongyang, and the implications of those relations for US policy in East Asia.

Direct download: 11_8_11_Bates_Gill.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

General Carter F. Ham became commander of U.S. Africa Command headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany on March 9, 2011. U.S. Africa Command is one of six unified geographic commands within the Department of Defense unified command structure. General Carter F. Ham served as an enlisted Infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division before attending John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. He was commissioned in the Infantry as a Distinguished Military Graduate in 1976. His military service has included assignments in Kentucky, Ohio, California, Georgia, Italy and Germany to name a few. He has also served in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Macedonia, and Iraq. He has held a variety of positions to include Recruiting Area Commander; Battalion Executive Officer at the National Training Center; Advisor to the Saudi Arabian National Guard Brigade; Commander, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry; Chief of Staff, 1st Infantry Division; Commander, 29th Infantry Regiment; commander, Multi-National Brigade, Mosul, Iraq; Commander, 1st Infantry Division; Director for Operations, J-3, The Joint Staff, Washington, DC.

Direct download: 11_08_11_Gen_Carter_Ham.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:52am PDT

Advances in mobile technology and digital tools are radically changing the landscape of human rights reporting and adjudication. They are also allowing development agencies and governments access to parts of the world that were previously unreachable, due to lack of infrastructure. The Council will host three panelists to discuss the role of technology in this growing field. Whether it’s mobile banking in the South Pacific, malaria education in Mali, or human rights reporting in the DRC, technology is playing an increasingly vital role.

Direct download: 11_2_11_Going_Digital.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

From the outside, Mexico's drug war looks like any other civil war, with assassinations of police chiefs, mass graves, car bombs, beheadings and paramilitary death-squads. Despite the military aid and billions of dollars thrown at the problem south of the Rio Grande by the US, there have been over 30,000 murders since 2006 and seemingly no decrease in the violence. Journalist Ioan Grillo has spent over ten years reporting from the front line of the drug war in Mexico. He has interviewed cartel insiders as well as government and security officials in the hopes of finding who these mysterious figures are who are tearing Mexico apart. Join the World Affairs Council in welcoming Ioan Grillo as he gives a portrait of Mexico's drug cartels, how they have transformed in the last decade and how deep US involvement really goes.

Direct download: 10_26_11_Ioan_Grillo.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

The founders of economic theory have taught us that an unfettered market system will produce optimal results. But what if competing market forces do more social harm than good? Robert Frank argues that our economic system has more to learn from Charles Darwin's theory of evolution than Adam Smith's invisible hand. Frank will discuss his theory of evolutionary economics, and propose changes in US economic policies that would benefit the rich, poor and middle class alike.

Direct download: 10_08_11_Robert_Frank.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:37am PDT

Long before the attacks of September 11, 2001 the rights and civil liberties guaranteed by the US Constitution have been challenged by legal compromises made in the name of national security. The result is a system that undermines the criminal justice system’s fairness, enhances the executive branch’s power over citizens and immigrants, and impairs the debate and protest essential in a constitutional democracy. Join the Council in welcoming Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist David Shipler who will discuss how our rights to privacy and justice have been undermined and what we have lost in the process. He will also examine the historical expansion and contraction of fundamental liberties in America, the places where the civil liberties we take for granted have eroded and how much we stand to regain by protesting the recent departures from the Bill of Rights.

Direct download: 3_7_12_David_Shipler.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:29am PDT

Exploring the Internal Implications of U.S. Debt

Direct download: 10_13_11_Michael_Boskin.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

Every year half a billion people are infected with malaria and millions die from this easily treatable disease. TIME magazine’s Africa Bureau Chief Alex Perry spent two years on the front line of the campaign to eradicate the disease that has devastated human populations for thousands of years. From the office of the UN Special Envoy for Malaria and the White House to the most malaria ravaged towns on Earth, Perry will give a portrait of modern Africa and tell of how the fight against malaria is revolutionizing foreign aid and development.

Direct download: 10_12_11_Alex_Perry.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

Thanks to the internet, we now live in public. With more than 750 million people (and half of all Americans) on Facebook, and over 100 million Tweets echoing daily from Tahrir Square to the Mall of America, our personal lives are now shared globally; but is this new openness a positive change? Jeff Jarvis, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at New York’s City University, will examine the tension between privacy and openness and how it is transforming our communities, identities, businesses and the way we live. Should we embrace technological advancements for creating a more efficient and connected world, or fear that our increasing dependence on this invisible network may be to our detriment?

Direct download: 10_11_11_Jeff_Jarvis.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

The growing European sovereign debt crisis has many looking to Germany, the largest economy in the euro area and the fifth largest in the world, for a solution. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has affirmed that it is Germany’s duty to contribute to securing the euro’s future, but how far is Germany willing to go to defend the common currency? Is the European Union on the brink of implosion or will the debt crisis and other challenges of the globalized world deepen European integration? Join the World Affairs Council and the American Council on Germany for a talk with German Deputy Foreign Secretary Werner Hoyer, who will discuss the outlook for economic growth within the euro zone, Germany’s perspective on what is needed to achieve positive results and why the transatlantic partnership is indispensable for Europe, Germany and the West in an increasingly globalized world.

Direct download: 10-06-11_Werner_Hoyer.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

Throughout history the battlefield upon which wars are fought has evolved with the weaponry and the spoils sought. Join Dr. Joel Brenner, former head of counterintelligence for the National Security Agency as he describes the next generation of war: battles waged on our databases with serious repercussions not just for governments and corporations but for individuals as well. Today electronic attacks and information theft are easier than ever, as events such as the WikiLeaks release of State Department files have demonstrated, but it is unclear how dangerous the situation has really become. Drawing on his years of experience at the top of the US Counterintelligence system, Dr. Brenner will discuss how our government and corporations are not equipped to stop wholesale theft of the secret information on which our national and economic security is based and how to effectively secure our virtual borders against these new threats

Direct download: 10_05_11_Joel_Brenner.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

What will the world look like when we finally burn the last drop of petroleum and shovel-full of coal? Will we be at a standstill or will we devise a way to continue living in the way our energy and fuel thirsty societies have become accustom? Join Nobel Laureate Robert Laughlin as he takes us several centuries in the future, not to a desolate future-scape but to a world that very much resembles our own: a world where there are still shopping malls and soccer moms, where people still ride in cars and airplanes, but without any of today’s conventional energy sources. Dr. Laughlin will show how solving the energy crisis is just a matter of clever engineering, and that while the world may be a bit warmer in the future, life will go on and the price of electricity will actually be less than it is today.

Direct download: 10_03_11_Robert_Laughlin.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

The United States has been embroiled in a protracted war on terror for a decade. Images from the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq bombard us on television and in print, but so much more is involved in the war on terror that we do not see. Innovative and creative counterterrorism strategies, adopted under President George W. Bush and expanded under President Barack Obama, have been implemented unbeknownst to most Americans. Join Eric Schmitt as he discusses his work with co-author Thom Shanker in their recently released book Counterstrike. In this account Schmitt and Shanker offer details of how the Pentagon, spy agencies and law enforcement have adapted Cold War methods to expand the field of battle and disrupt jihadist networks.

Direct download: 09-20-11_Eric_Schmidtt.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

Ten years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the US is still at war with al-Qaeda. Yet with the recent killing of Osama bin Laden, what kind of threat does this network of terrorists really pose? Fawaz Gerges, a professor of Middle East Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics, will discuss the current state of al-Qaeda, arguing that since the 9/11 attacks the movement has splintered into feuding factions, neutralizing itself more effectively than any amount of counter-terrorism operations ever could. He will also discuss the democratic revolutions that swept the Middle East in the Spring of 2011 and what they mean for al-Qaeda and its influence on the politics of the region.

Direct download: 9_19_11_Fawaz_Gerges.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

With diverse and abundant energy resources, including the world's third largest oil reserves, Canada is the United States' top energy trading partner. Growth of Canada's energy resources is of crucial importance to the US. Join the Honorable Joe Oliver, Canadian Minister of Natural Resources, for a discussion on Canada's energy resources, including the oil sands, natural gas and hydroelectricity, and the importance of the US-Canada energy relationship.

Direct download: 9_14_11_Joe_Oliver.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

Judge Joan E. Donoghue is wrapping up her first year as the US judge on the fifteen-member International Court of Justice (also known as the World Court) in The Hague. The docket of the World Court, which is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, includes cases between countries over topics ranging from environmental and human rights claims to border disputes, the use of military force and the establishment of new countries. Before joining the court, where she is the first female US judge and only the third female judge in the court’s history, Judge Donoghue had a long and distinguished career as an international lawyer, primarily in the U.S. Department of State, but also with stints in the Treasury Department, the private sector and academe. She will share her insights on the role of the World Court, other international tribunals and international law generally in addressing today’s global challenges.

Direct download: 08_29_11_Judge_Joan_Donoghue.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

As an ambassador and special envoy to Afghanistan, Peter Tomsen developed close relationships with Afghan leaders, dealt with senior Taliban, warlords, and religious leaders involved in the region’s conflicts over the last two decades. Drawing on his experiences and thousands of previously classified documents Tomsen sheds new light on the American involvement in the long and ongoing war in Afghanistan. With President Obama’s pledge to begin pulling troops out of Afghanistan in July 2011 looming, Tomsen argues American policy makers still do not understand the Afghan tribal environment or how US actions facilitated the ISI-supported Taliban comeback. Despite all the challenges ahead, Tomsen proposes solutions on how the coalition forces can assist Afghanistan and the region to return to peace and stability.

Direct download: 8_24_11_Peter_Tomsen.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

Emotions run high when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the role of the United States in helping to resolve it. Jeremy Ben-Ami’s new book seeks to dispel some of the common myths about the national politics and Jewish communal dynamics around Israel. These include the notion that being pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian are mutually exclusive; that leaders of established Jewish organizations speak for all American Jews on Israel; and that talking peace demonstrates weakness. Ben-Ami will lay out a new direction for both American policy and a new rulebook for conducting the conversation on Israel in the American Jewish community

Direct download: 08_10_11_Jeremy_Ben-Ami.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

As the Arab spring turns to summer, tensions are growing at home and abroad about the aims and viability of the NATO operations in Libya, particularly during a time of economic uncertainty. The Honorable Gene Cretz, US Ambassador to Libya, will discuss current and past US relations with Libya, the ongoing NATO operations and international diplomatic efforts and what we can expect in the coming months and years. Ambassador Cretz is a career Foreign Service Officer, having served since 1981 in Syria, Israel, China, and Egypt, among other locations. On January 9, 2009, he became the first US Ambassador to Libya since 1972, after serving for two years as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Near East Affairs.

Direct download: 08-18-11_Gene_Getz.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

Drawing upon three decades of immersion in Central America’s remote and dangerous landscapes, Mary Jo McConahay paints a picture of the people, politics, archaeology and species in the cradle of the Mayan civilization. Through cultural anecdotes and eye-opening tales from the people she has encountered, McConahay brings to life the allure of the jungle and the culture of the Lacandon people while recognizing the bittersweet changes brought by tourism and the unfortunate effects that drug-trafficking and violence have had on the region.

Direct download: 08_04_11_Mary_Jo_McConahay.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

Lisa Anderson was appointed president of the American University in Cairo in January 2011, just one month before the popular protests began in Egypt. Prior to joining AUC, Anderson served as Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs and Director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University. A specialist on politics in the Middle East and North Africa, she will offer analysis and commentary on the events from her perspective both as a university president with a campus in the heart of Tahrir Square, and as a political scientist with particular expertise in the government and politics of the region.

Direct download: 7-21-11_Lisa_Anderson.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

The world’s second largest Muslim country, with 180 million people, Pakistan faces multiple challenges: a growing militancy, struggling economy, lack of effective governance, and an exploding population. Internal episodes, such as the Taliban attack on Karachi’s naval air base and the killing of journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad, coupled with external strains, like the killing of bin Laden, have brought Pakistan to a critical juncture. Anja Manuel, a Principal at the RiceHadley Group, will discuss what these events mean for the future of this South Asian power, and how US foreign policy in the region can adapt.

Direct download: 7_18_2011_Anja_Manuel.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

On March 11, 2011 a catastrophic earthquake struck off the coast of Japan triggering a massive tidal wave laying waste to the countryside of the northeast coast of Honshu. The true scale of the devastation won’t be known for some time, but the effects and consequences are under close examination by experts from many different fields. What is happening in Japan three months on? What are the effects this disaster will have on the region and the world? Dr. Steven Vogel, Dr. Barnett Baron and Dr. Tsuneo Akaha discuss the political, economic and humanitarian implications of the disaster in Japan and what we can expect looking forward.

Direct download: 06_29_11_Japan_Looking_Ahead.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

For years there has been a preference for having male offspring in many parts of the world. Consequently today there are over 160 million women and girls missing from Asia’s population and an unknown number missing from other continents thanks to selective sex abortion. This staggering gender gap is beginning to transform entire nations, leading to everything from a spike in bride-buying to an increase in crime. Join the Council in welcoming Mara Hvistendahl as she addresses the issues surrounding gender selection around the world and how the West bears responsibility for the world’s “missing women.”

Direct download: 6_23_11_Mara_Hvistendahl.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

Senator Boxer will join the Council to discuss the need for a new course in Afghanistan in a speech entitled, “Ending America’s Longest War.” Senator Boxer is a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and author of a Senate bill that would require the Obama administration to give Congress a plan for the safe redeployment of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. She is the co-chair of the Senate Military Family Caucus and chairs the first Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee to focus on global women's issues.

Direct download: 6_17_11_Barbara_Boxer1.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

The 8.9 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011 set in motion one of the largest nuclear disasters in almost three decades. It also renewed the debate over the future of nuclear energy in the US and abroad. With 104 nuclear power plants across the country, generating about 20 percent of America's energy, there is no doubt that we are currently dependent on nuclear energy, yet the debate over this highly contentious technology is far from resolved. The three panelists will discuss what this disaster means for the future of US energy. How will the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant shape future energy policies and public opinion, and are there existing renewable technologies capable of fulfilling the world’s energy needs? Will nuclear energy be the fuel of the 21st century, or a relic of the past?

Direct download: 6_14_11_Nuclear_Energy1.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

Since its beginnings in the 1970s with the founding of the Grameen Bank, microcredit has been praised as a powerful tool for reducing global poverty. By putting small loans into the hands of the poor, microcredit has allowed entrepreneurs world-wide to establish and expand their businesses, delivering sustainable income to those who need it most. The last decade brought an explosion in the number of micro-lenders and borrowers around the world. The number of customers served by microfinance institutions now surpasses 100 million, most of them women. This growth has helped scores of impoverished communities, but the recent commercialization of several large lenders, and the scarcity of quantitative analysis on the lasting impacts of microcredit has drawn scrutiny. Please join Dr. Dean Karlan, Yale University behavioral economist and co-author of the new book More Than Good Intentions (with Jacob Appel) for a review of what recent research has shown about the effectiveness of microcredit and other financial services for the poor. Dr. Karlan will be joined by Christopher Dunford and Sean Foote for a dialogue on the state of the microfinance world today and what it might mean for the future of poverty alleviation.

Direct download: 6_7_11_Microfinance.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

Since President Obama’s assumption of office, he and Secretary Clinton have signaled their interest in strengthening economic and political relations throughout Asia. The US has important interests in Southeast Asia, and the Administration has expanded U.S. ties with multilateral organizations in the region, particularly the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). ASEAN member states are important partners for U.S. diplomatic and security efforts in the region, America’s 4th largest export market. What role does the U.S. diplomatic corps have in expanding political and economic partnerships in this critical region? What policies can be advanced to strengthen US relations with individual countries and the relationship with the ASEAN community as a whole? Please join a panel of U.S. Ambassadors to the region as they address these questions.

Direct download: 06_06_11_Friendships_in_SE_Asia.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

Approximately two million Cambodians were killed under the Khmer Rouge. The tyrannical leadership of Pol Pot and a decade of civil war took a severe toll on the nation’s population and wealth. In 1993, under the UN’s wing, Cambodia held successful democratic elections, with 90% of the electorate voting. Cambodia, it seemed, was ready to shed the past and move forward. Joel Brinkley won the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the 1979 fall of the Khmer Rouge regime at the New York Times. In 2008-2009, he returned to Cambodia to investigate the condition of this troubled nation. He found a political system crippled by corruption and dependence on aid, and a culture haunted by the genocide of the last generation. Mr. Brinkley will discuss his findings and what they mean for the future of Cambodia.

Direct download: 5_26_11_Joel_Brinkley.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

In 2007 Tim Harford established himself as the Undercover Economist, with a book of the same name. Now he’s back with a new book, Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure, suggesting that in a multi-polar and interconnected world, we cannot tackle challenges with ready-made solutions and expert opinions. Instead, we must adapt. Harford argues for the importance of adaptive trial and error in tackling issues such as climate change, poverty and financial crises, as well as in fostering innovation and creativity in our business and personal lives.

Direct download: 5_25_11_Tim_Harford.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

While the advanced countries are still reeling from a near economic crash and a challenging economic depression, developing nations are seeing unprecedented economic growth that is reshaping the world. These growth rates present new challenges in governance, international coordination and environmental sustainability that are little understood. Nobel Laureate Michael Spence will ask what implications these challenges hold for advanced countries, and will look ahead to the post crises period to how the global economy will develop over the next fifty years.

Direct download: 5_23_11_Michael_Spence.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

2011 has brought with it many challenges to the global community, namely weather extremes pushing up record food prices, and political instability spiking oil prices. Until now our economy has been based on consumption and waste, where we lived beyond our means and the resources of the planet’s ecosystems. According to Paul Gilding we have come to the end of economic growth as we know it and now it is time for Economic Growth 2.0. Gilding paints a picture of the coming decades as ones filled with loss, suffering, conflict, geopolitical instability, food shortages and massive economic change. However, he believes all of this will bring out humanity’s best qualities; compassion, innovation and adaptability will carry us through these coming crises and make us a stronger and more advanced civilization.

Direct download: 05_03_11_Paul_Gilding.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

After his controversial 2008 re-election campaign, Robert Mugabe began a brutal terror campaign against his people which would later become known simply as, “The Fear.” Peter Godwin will tell of his secret trip to Zimbabwe where foreign journalists had been banned, the battle waged by Mugabe to stay in power and the courage and resilience of the Zimbabwean people.

Direct download: 4_28_11_Peter_Godwin.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

From the glitz of Hollywood to the energy and innovation of Silicon Valley, from the weather to the wine, California is envied around the globe. Yet despite the state’s immense advantages, its finances are in deep trouble. Andreas Kluth will explain how it got into its current fiscal mess-—and also how, by introducing the right reforms, it can get out of it again.

Direct download: 4_27_11_Andreas_Kluth1.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

With nearly 150 million people, close to 50 billion dollars in annual oil revenue and a central location on the continent, Nigeria has all the criteria to be a leader in Africa’s increasing economic growth. However, with a recent vacuum in government authority, escalating violence in the oil-producing delta and ethnic and religious tensions in the North, is the continent’s most populous country closer to failure than take-off? John Campbell, author of Nigeria: Dancing on the Brink, will explore Nigeria’s post-colonial history and offer an explanation of the events and conditions that have carried this complex, dynamic and troubled giant to the edge. Can Nigerians push back against corruption and use the nation’s oil wealth to stoke economic investment and growth, or will Nigeria continue to be a place of a wealthy minority and impoverished majority?

Direct download: 4_25_11_John_Campbell.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

Author Daniel Alarcón joins the Council to discuss his novel Lost City Radio, which examines the effect that war and emigration have on families and communities. The title refers to a radio program that read the names of missing persons on the air in order to reunite families, which existed in Peru as well as other post-conflict states. Alarcón was recently listed on the "20 Under 40 Writers to Watch” list by The New Yorker, and is the associate editor of Etiqueta Negra, an award-winning monthly magazine published in his native Lima, Peru. Join the International Forum for this discussion, which is part of the Voices of the World author series.

Direct download: 4_21_11_Daniel_Alarcon.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

Virtually all human societies were once tribal. Why have some gone on to create stable liberal democracies, while others have failed to form legitimate and accountable institutions? Francis Fukuyama traced the origins of political history back to primates in search of the answer for his new book, which has been described as a “magnum opus.” Join him for his insights on the development of political order, the nature of government, and what it might mean for modern man.

Direct download: 4_20_11_Francis_Fukuyama.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

A 20-year veteran of the CIA and first chief of the Osama bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer has a depth of knowledge about Osama bin Laden that goes far beyond “9/11 mastermind.” Scheuer argues that the United States has underestimated bin Laden’s bravery, strategic thinking and patience, playing into his master plan. Please join Michael Scheuer for an in-depth portrait of Osama bin Laden and his continuing significance and power.

Direct download: 2_23_11_Michael_Scheuer.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:30am PDT

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is an expert of game theory—the idea that people compete and that they always do what they think is in their own best interest. Bueno de Mesquita uses game theory and its insights into human behavior to predict events and his forecasts have a 90 percent accuracy rate. He boldly predicts that President Obama is unlikely to quash the terrorist influence in Pakistan, that Iran will not develop nuclear weapons, and that global warming will prove immune to government prescriptions. In his new book, The Predictioneer’s Game, Bueno de Mesquita uses his mathematical model to predict outcomes in business, national security, and people’s day-to-day lives based on the self-interest of decision makers. He joins the Council to detail his system of calculation that allows him to predict the outcomes of North Korean disarmament talks, the Middle East peace process, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Iran-Iraq relations following American troop withdrawals, and many other vexing national security challenges. Since the early 1980s, CIA officials have hired Bueno de Mesquita to perform more than a thousand predictions and a study by the CIA, now declassified, found that his predictions “hit the bull’s-eye” twice as often as its own analysts did.

Direct download: 10-26-09_Bruce_Bueno_de_Mesquita.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:19am PDT

In the wake of the global financial crisis, the unique relationship between China and the US has become the fulcrum of the world economy. As our largest creditor, China’s lending to the US has buoyed American companies and even allowed them to reinvent themselves, selling to Chinese consumers. Author and economic trend analyst Zachary Karabell argues that our two economies have become so interconnected that they’ve become one system: Chimerica. Karabell traces the initial forging of Chimerica that began after the suppression of the protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989 to the present. With a look at current affairs and the changing global economy, he urges that we accept China as the predominant economic partner of the future, or find ourselves left behind.

Direct download: 10-21-09_Zachar_Karabell.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:05am PDT

Despite widespread media coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, global terrorism and events in the Middle East, little is truly known about what a majority of the world Muslims really think and feel. What do Muslims have to say about violence and terrorist attacks? What do they have to say about democracy, women, and relations with the West? What are their values, goals, and religious beliefs? To help put to rest misunderstandings and present the often-silenced voice of the Muslim world, Dalia Mogahed joins the Council to discuss Gallup largest study of Muslim populations. Based on six years of research and more than 50,000 interviews representing 1.3 billion Muslims who reside in more than 35 nations, this poll is the largest, most comprehensive study which challenges conventional wisdom and sheds greater light on what motivates Muslims worldwide. Mogahed has recently been appointed to President Obama Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Direct download: 10-21-09_Dalia_Mogahed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:01am PDT

What is petroleum’s role in our economy, and what will be the benefits of further developing domestic resources? How have assessments of our country’s domestic petroleum resources been affected by public opinion and the debate in Congress? What role will alternative and renewable sources play in the future, and what will be the environmental impact of technological advancements in energy production? Rayola Dougher, American Petroleum Institute’s senior economic advisor joins the Council to discuss industry perspectives and the benefits that responsible policy in the energy sector can provide Northern California and the world

Direct download: 10-15-09_Rayola_Dougher.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:08am PDT

The International Museum of Women in partnership with the World Affairs Council presents a conversation with Nicholas Kristof on his latest work, Half the Sky. A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Kristof has written widely on global health, poverty and gender issues in the developing world, with particular attention in recent years to issues in Darfur, Sudan. This discussion will focus on the imperative for global action on the empowerment of women, exploring the connections between economic progress and unleashing women potential. Half the Sky is described as a call to arms against our era most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women in the developing world.”

Direct download: 10-14-09_Nicholas_Kristof.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:07am PDT

From Iraq and Saudi Arabia to Equatorial Guinea and Ecuador, what has been the impact of oil on the countries that produce it? To what extent has petroleum production helped or hurt nations develop not just economically, but also politically and socially? And, how have campaigns like that of Hugo Chávez’s to redistribute oil wealth in Venezuela created new economic and political crises? With a focus on the rebels, royalty, environmentalists, indigenous activists, dictators and CEOs associated with the petroleum industry, Peter Maass examines the world that oil has created. A contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine, Maass has reported from the Balkans, Middle East, Asia, South America and Africa for The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, and Slate.

Direct download: 10-08-09_Peter_Maass.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:06am PDT

From the Berlin Airlift to the Iraq War, the UN Security Council has stood at the heart of post-war global politics. Sometimes seen as part public theater, part smoke-filled backroom, the Security Council has enjoyed notable successes and suffered ignominious failures, but it has always provided a space for the five permanent powers to sit down together. Despite its many failures and shortcomings, the Security Council has still served an invaluable purpose above all: to prevent conflict between the Great Powers. A former senior editor at Foreign Policy, Professor David Bosco joins the Council to examine the role of the Security Council, diverging interests of its five permanent members, and to discuss why this is the one place where we should be working to resolve the world major problems of peace and security.

Direct download: 10-07-09_David_Bosco.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:22pm PDT

After the coup in Honduras, the US and Colombian governments’ provisional defense cooperation agreement, and President Obama’s address at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, what is the current state of US-Venezuela relations? How has the region changed in recent years, and what will be the impact of new realities and dynamics on the relationship the Obama administration develops with Latin America? Venezuela’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Bernardo Alvarez Herrera joins the Council to discuss bilateral relations between these two states, as well as to present a regional viewpoint of the role of the United States in Latin America. Before serving as Venezuela’s top diplomat in Washington, Ambassador Alvarez held various public positions such as Vice Minister of Hydrocarbons at the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Deputy to the National Congress, Vice Chairman of the Armed Forces Committee and Chairman of the Energy and Mines Committee, and Chief of the Research and Development Division at the Venezuelan Institute of Foreign Trade. In the international arena he has held positions as Representative of Venezuela and Member of the Executive Committee to the U.S. Energy Council, Principal Coordinator for Venezuela in the Cooperation Agreement on Energy with the United States, and Head of the Venezuelan Delegation to the Ministerial Conferences of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Ambassador Alvarez has also taught at the Universidad Central de Venezuela and Superior School of the Venezuelan Air Force, as well as Academic Advisor at the Institute of Higher Studies on National Defense.

Direct download: 10-06-09_Ambassador_Alvarez.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:20pm PDT

What are the prospects for democratic reform in China? Some experts believe that thirty years of successful economic reforms, bringing unprecedented prosperity and giving rise to a new middle class, will inevitably lead to a political opening for democracy to gain traction. Others argue that this very success has made the ruling Communist Party’s hold on power stronger than ever. Still, there are others who claim that growing social and economic tensions and instability may lead to China’s fragmentation or even collapse. Join this distinguished panel of experts for a discussion of China’s remarkable transformation and political future.

Direct download: 10-05-09_The_Future_of_Democarcy_in_China.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:16pm PDT

Kjell Magne Bondevik is the former Prime Minister of Norway, a position he held twice from 1997-2000 and from 2001-2005. Following his life in politics, Mr. Bondevik became president of The Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights. In early 2006, then United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed him as the new Special Humanitarian Envoy for the Horn of Africa, an area that includes the troubled regions of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia. As an ordained minister and president of The Oslo Center, Mr. Bondevik is deeply involved in promoting international human rights and interfaith dialogue. He argues that instead of aggravating conflicts, religions—by focusing on common values—can join forces and make constructive contributions to conflict resolution. Mr. Bondevik joins the Council to discuss his organization’s work in bringing together influential politicians, religious leaders and academics into a much needed dialogue on religion, tolerance, diversity, women’s rights and democracy. He will discuss his recent partnership with the former President of Iran, Mohammad Khatami, and how the two have been working together to increase understanding, reduce tensions, counter stereotypes, and promote peaceful dialogue between the Islamic world and the West.

Direct download: 09-30-09_Kjell_Mange_Bondevik.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:51am PDT

Abraham Verghese is Professor and Senior Associate Chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Born to Indian parents in Ethiopia, he grew up near Addis Ababa where he began his medical training. Today he is a practicing physician turned award-winning writer. His first book was named Best Book of the Year by Time magazine and was later made into a movie. His latest work, Cutting for Stone, is the story of Marion and Shiva Stone—twin brothers orphaned by their mother’s death in childbirth and their father’s disappearance. The twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution yet it is their passion for the same woman that will tear them apart and force Marion to flee his homeland. When the past catches up, Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him. The story is as much about the coming of age of Marion as it is that of Ethiopia, a geography and tumultuous political landscape familiar to Verghese.

Direct download: 09-29-09_Abraham_Verghese.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:51am PDT

As the United States takes the lead on international efforts toward a world free of nuclear weapons, Charles Ferguson, Director of the Council on Foreign Relations-sponsored Independent Task Force, and Task Force member Scott Sagan will discuss key recommendations on ways to reduce the world’s nuclear arsenal. The Task Force, co-chaired by former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry and former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, states that while “the geopolitical conditions that would permit the global elimination of nuclear weapons do not currently exist,” steps can be taken now to diminish the danger of nuclear proliferation and nuclear use. The report also evaluates the best way to contain the threat of proliferation posed by Iran, North Korea and other potential nuclear threats.

Direct download: 09-28-09_Ferguson_Sagan.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:51am PDT

Experience shows that physical reconstruction alone is not sufficient for the sustained, long-term politi cal and socio-economic development of societies emerging from conflict. Attention must be paid to the institutions that underlie function ing economic and political systems. John Sullivan, Executive Director of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), joins the Council to offer new perspectives on the critical juncture between democratic governance, market institutions, and a functioning private sector. Traditionally, in dealing with post-conflict reform and peace-building issues, reformers have focused on security operations and humanitarian assistance as a key to moving countries out of conflict. Although important in their own right, such efforts must be complemented by institutional reforms, such as good governance, anti-corruption, the rule of law, and the strengthening of civil society. Citing examples of CIPE’s work in fragile states such as Pakistan and in post-conflict states such as Afghanistan and Iraq, Dr. Sullivan will address the role of private enterprise in promoting a strong, well-functioning society and the particular challenges faced in these vastly different environments.

Direct download: 09-24-09_John_Sullivan.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:50am PDT

Opposition leader, pro-democracy campaigner, social worker, and women’s rights advocate Mu Sochua joins the Council to discuss her efforts to oppose sex trafficking, domestic violence, land grabs and corruption in Cambodia. A member of the opposition party in the Cambodian parliament, Ms. Sochua recently attempted to sue Prime Minister Hun Sen for defamation but the court dismissed her suit and instead upheld the prime minister’s counter-defamation lawsuit in August. Sochua was fined and had her parliamentary immunity stripped in a court case that attracted the attention of the UN High Commission on Human Rights. She and other human rights groups argue that the Cambodian government is using the courts to silence political opponents, journalists and human rights activists. Mu Sochua originally served as a member of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet but left the position after witnessing government corruption and is now a senior member of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party. A former minister of women’s affairs, in 2005 she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to stop the trafficking of women in the Cambodian and Thai sex trade.

Direct download: 09-17-09_Mu_Sochua.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:57pm PDT