WorldAffairs (News & Politics)

The World Affairs Council is pleased to co-sponsor a Marines’ Memorial event with journalist Nicholas Schmidle to discuss the most recent and turbulent period of Pakistan’s history. In February 2006 Schmidle traveled to Pakistan hoping to learn more about the place dubbed “the most dangerous country in the world.” After spending two years covering Pakistan and being deported twice by the Pakistani authorities for his reporting, his observations provide a contemporary history of this country at a time when President Pervez Musharraf’s power was waning and the Taliban’s was growing, and when Americans began to realize that Pakistan’s fate is inextricably linked with our own. A fellow at the New America Foundation, Schmidle writes for The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, and Smithsonian, and received the Kurt Schork Award for freelance journalism in 2008.

Direct download: 09-15-09_Nicholas_Schmidle.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:55pm PDT

General Anthony Zinni is a retired four-star general in the United States Marine Corps who served from 1997 to 2000 as Commander of US Central Command. In 2002, he was selected as special envoy for the United States to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. General Zinni joins the Marines’ Memorial Association and the World Affairs Council to examine the trends that have reshaped our world and the ways in which visionary leaders and organizations can effectively respond. In his new book, Leading the Charge,, General Zinni argues that the old systems, organizations, and ways of operating no longer work in our dynamic, complex and increasingly unstable new environment. Out of this chaos and confusion, a new and different leader must emerge. Tomorrow’s successful leaders—in all fields, including the military, academia, politics, and business—must know how to create, operate, and thrive in very fluid, flattened, and integrated structures that are remarkably different from the traditional organizations we are used to seeing.

Direct download: 8-18-09_gen_anthony_zinni.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:04pm PDT

The global financial crisis has put those living in poverty in an even more precarious position and left many of the institutions that would normally come to their aid unable to help. What is the best way for each of us to reach out to those most in need? Many point to small acts of philanthropy, such as micro-lending and grant-making. Innovative organizations that facilitate such person-to-person giving are thriving in the current economic climate, demonstrating that small, seemingly insignificant actions can lead to meaningful change. Flannery and Taylor—pioneers of online giving markets—will discuss their two models and how we can help individuals pull themselves out of the cycle of poverty both at home and world-wide.

Direct download: 08-13-09_Taylor__Flannery.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:22pm PDT

With its roots in the early 20th century, how has rational market theory survived as its very foundation is challenged by the financial crisis now gripping the global markets? What role did the belief that the stock market is both random and perfectly rational play in the current crisis and how did it influence new ideas about corporate governance? How did it help to spawn new financial instruments such as index funds, credit default swaps, and collateralized debt obligations? TIME magazine’s Justin Fox joins the Council to tell the story behind the premise that financial markets are rational, reliable and capable of regulating themselves. He also introduces the economists who have challenged the new rational market orthodoxy, among them Robert Shiller, Joseph Stiglitz, and the current top economic adviser in the Obama White House, Lawrence Summers.

Direct download: 08-12-09_Justin_Fox.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:22pm PDT

For more than thirty years, humankind has known how to grow enough food to end chronic hunger worldwide. Yet more than 9 million people die each year of hunger, malnutrition, and related diseases—most of them in Africa and most of them children. Roger Thurow joins the Council for a look at the geopolitics that allow some countries to prosper while others starve. Looking at Africa, he examines how subsidies and food aid are going awry, and how many well-intentioned strategies contribute to keeping the poor hungry and unable to feed themselves. Thurow has been a foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal for twenty years and has reported from more than sixty countries.

Direct download: 08-11-09_Roger_Thurow.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:22pm PDT

Russia’s enormous energy resources have generated a large profit as well as a bargaining chip in its relationship with Europe. Europe gets roughly 40 percent of its natural gas and over one-third of its oil from Russia. Journalist, author and longtime Russia-watcher Steve LeVine joins the Council to discuss Russia’s energy policies and how Europe and the West plan to respond to their reliance on Russian energy. How did the Russia-Ukraine natural gas disputes in 2005-2006 and 2009 impact European security and cohesion? How do the fluctuating energy prices affect the Russian economy and stability? Is Russia using its position as energy supplier as a way to send political messages and extract concessions from its allies and opponents?

Direct download: 8-6-2009_steve_levine.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:27am PDT

A leading political figure in Polish, European and transatlantic affairs, Radoslaw Sikorski’s involvement with politics began with the Solidarity social movement of the early 1980s. Following the events of 1981, he sought political refuge in Great Britain, and later went on to work as a journalist covering the wars in Afghanistan and Angola. After the demise of communism, Minister Sikorski returned to Poland in 1992 to help build a new democratic and free state. Still in his twenties, he served as the nation’s Deputy Minister of National Defense and was closely involved with Poland’s accession to NATO. Subsequent to serving in both of Poland’s legislative bodies and numerous senior posts in the government, he assumed the Office of Foreign Minister in 2007. Join us for an evening with Minister Sikorski as he discusses Poland’s new place in Europe and the international community.

Direct download: 8-5-2009_radoslaw_sikorski.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:21am PDT

In November 2007, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change declared with more than 90 percent certainty that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are responsible for a significant portion of the increase in the Earth’s average temperature since the mid 20th century. As a result, the debate over climate change has largely subsided; however, a new debate has emerged. What is the best climate change policy moving forward? More importantly, what is the most efficient and cost-effective policy? How will the cap and trade bill currently debated in Congress affect climate change policy? Join the Council and a panel of economic and policy experts for a discussion on the economic costs and barriers to implementing a successful climate change policy. What are the foreseeable costs to individuals, businesses and government? The panel will also compare climate change policies across developing and developed economies—specifically, taking a comparative look at China and California.

Direct download: 07-27-09_Plante_Williams_Lin.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:31pm PDT

In recent years a number of Muslim movements have started transitioning from taking up arms to partaking in politics. David Phillips joins the Council for an analysis of non-state Muslim organizations abandoning violence at different stages and pursuing their goals through a political process. Some have successfully made the transition while others are in mid-stream. Some have tried but backtracked, splintered, or simply abandoned the political process and reverted back to violence. Phillips considers six case studies: Hezbollah, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Kurdistan Workers Party, Free Aceh Movement, and the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front. Phillips will discuss the origin, ideology, structure and leadership of each organization and assess each group’s commitment to elections and its acceptance of the responsibility that comes with governance. Looking at past mistakes by the US government, particularly following 9/11, Phillips offers a strategic global template aimed at transforming groups from violence to politics, from bullets to ballots.

Direct download: 07-23-09_David_Phillips.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:52am PDT

Having received a warm welcome from European counterparts during his recent visits to the continent, President Obama appears to be rebuilding America’s ties with its traditional allies. How will this new thrust of diplomatic engagement affect the dynamics of US-European relations? How are perceptions of the US changing within Europe? Could Obama’s trip to Moscow signal a new beginning for ties with Russia? Anne Applebaum joins the Council to discuss the development of America’s relationship with Russia and Europe under the Obama administration. Applebaum is a journalist, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and expert on Central and Eastern European affairs.

Direct download: 07-22-09_Anne_Applebaum.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:50am PDT

With no colonial past, China has been bringing investment and needed infrastructure to the continent at a rapid rate. However, are Chinese investors and their projects yielding mutually beneficial results that stand to change Africa’s position on the global stage? Or, will China follow in the footsteps of earlier colonial powers? Award-winning photojournalist, Paolo Woods joins the Council to show his photos which document the story behind China’s business ventures in Africa. Traveling from Beijing to Khartoum, Algiers to Brazzaville, Woods’ work provides a visual account of the involvement of the individual Chinese working in Africa, as well as helps us to understand the impact that they potentially stand to make on geopolitics.

Direct download: 07-21-09_Paolo_Woods.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:47am PDT

When elected to the presidency of Mexico in 2000, Vicente Fox broke the reign that the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party had held on the State for seven decades. Described as a charismatic reformer, President Fox is credited with playing a vital role in Mexico’s democratization and strengthening the country’s economy. During his tenure, he succeeded in controlling inflation and interest rates, and in achieving the lowest unemployment rate in all of Latin America. Join us for an evening with President Fox as he discusses the challenges faced by Mexico and the greater hemisphere.

Direct download: 7-16-2009_Vincente_Fox.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:25pm PDT

The World Affairs Council is pleased to co-sponsor the Marines’ Memorial Association George P. Shultz Lecture Series event with General David Petraeus. Responsible for US military operations across the Middle East, as well as in Afghanistan and Central Asia, General Petraeus serves as the 10th and current Commander of US Central Command. He previously served as the Commanding General of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, where his name became linked with the Bush administration’s “surge” strategy that was widely credited with helping reduce violence in Iraq. While overseeing all coalition forces in Iraq, he was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential leaders of the year and one of four runners-up for Time Person of the Year, as well as by Esquire magazine as one of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century.

Direct download: 7-9-09_Gen_David_Petraeus.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:52pm PDT

It is a time of great difficulty and change in Pakistan. The country is dealing with an insurgency that is putting significant pressure on the military, police, government, and citizens. Terrorist threats and attacks are on the increase. People are being displaced in significant numbers. The country faces profound economic challenges. As Pakistan military steps up an offensive against the Taliban, what is the true state of affairs within Pakistan? In tribal regions, how does the development of civil society, the judicial system, and local governance differ from the rest of the country? And, how has recent fighting in the Northwest Frontier Province and the tribal belt near the Afghan border impacted the region’s inhabitants? Dr. Jon Summers, an Asia Foundation expert based in Islamabad until last month, and in Kabul, prior to that, joins the Council to discuss the current situation in Pakistan.

Direct download: 07-08-09_Jon_Summers.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:44pm PDT

Since his boyhood in Libya, Neil MacFarquhar has developed a counterintuitive sense that the Middle East, despite all the bloodshed in its recent history, is a place of warmth, humanity, and generous eccentricity. In total, he has spent more than 25 years in the region, including five years based in Cairo as the Bureau Chief for lt;igt;The New York Timeslt;/igt;, preceded by seven years as a correspondent for The Associated Press during which he lived in Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Cyprus. Seeing the violent news from the region creating a large gap between the outside image and the internal reality, MacFarquhar joins the Council to share the stories of a men and women across the Middle East who are pioneering political and social change from the most unexpected places.

Direct download: 06-29-09_Neil_MacFarquhar.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:35pm PDT

Following President Obama’s historic speech in Cairo and as events are unfolding in Iran and throughout the Middle East, the Council is pleased and honored to host His Excellency Sameh Shoukry, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the United States. A career diplomat, Ambassador Shoukry has previously served as Egypt Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, as well as in Egyptian embassies in London, Buenos Aires and the Permanent Mission of Egypt in New York. A specialist in disarmament and non-proliferation issues, he has formally held senior posts in the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has served as Secretary for Information and Follow-Up for President Hosni Mubarak. Ambassador Shoukry joins the Council to discuss US-Egyptian relations and recent developments in the Middle East.

Direct download: 06-24-09_Ambassador_Sameh_Shoukry.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:11am PDT

Bank bailouts, fiscal stimulus and bankruptcy counseling. Amidst the solutions proposed to fix the current global economic crisis, why do so few of the pundits and policymakers discuss the role of women? Join the World Affairs Council in conversation with Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking, and Monica Morse, Board Member of Astia, as they discuss the global impact of women on economic development—from microfinance to leaders of multimillion dollar companies. The speakers will explore the work of their organizations, which respectively recruit, train and support women running both small ventures as well as high growth, high capital outfits. They will discuss how investing in women as a business strategy creates a sound social and financial approach to alleviating the current crisis and preventing others.

Direct download: 06-18-09_Women_Entrepreneurs.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:50am PDT

Michael Pollan believes that “real food”—the kind of food your great-grandmother would recognize as food—is being undermined across the globe by science on one side and the food industry on the other. As the modern Western or “American” diet has been linked to an epidemic of chronic diseases, from obesity and type 2 diabetes, what can governments and their citizens do to put the focus back on the health of the soil, plants, and animals that make up the food chain? Pollan joins the Council to explore what the industrialization of food and agriculture has meant for the world’s health and happiness, how it has shaped cultures, and looks at the growing movement to renovate the food system.

Direct download: 6-16-2009_Michael_Pollan.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:55pm PDT

The Obama administration has been in office for roughly 20 weeks and has inherited myriad problems. In foreign affairs, how have they done so far? Have there been any serious errors? What is the Obama doctrine? What are the most critical international challenges that await the new president? Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Sanger joins the Council for an analysis of the most sensitive national security issues facing President Obama and will provide an assessment of how well the new administration has fared. Sanger is the author of the most recent book, The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power, in which he argues that the huge costs of distraction and lost opportunities in the last years of the Bush presidency have put the United States in a vulnerable position and that as a result the new Obama administration has an unusually large number of critical foreign policy issues to deal with.

Direct download: 06-11-09_David_Sanger.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:27am PDT

Jeff Rubin forecasts that despite the current recessionary dip, oil prices will once again soar once the economy recovers. With the disappearance of the world’s oil reserves, the amount of food and other goods we get from abroad will be curtailed and long distance travel will be rare. Globalization as we know it will reverse. Alongside these predictions, Rubin prescribes priorities for the Obama administration and other leaders: from imposing carbon tariffs and investing in mass transit to forging green alliances between labor and management that will be good for both business and the climate. Rubin is a Canadian economist and energy expert, and among the first to predict the dramatic oil price increases back in 2000.

Direct download: 06-09-09_Jeff_Rubin.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:04am PDT

Are our current international institutions effectively equipped to address today’s most pressing global security challenges, ranging from climate change and nuclear proliferation to civil strife and terrorism? How can President Obama and key allies revitalize international cooperation and rejuvenate international institutions not only to protect their own citizens, but also to cooperate across borders to safeguard common resources and tackle common threats? Stephen Stedman joins the Council to present ideas for the new US administration and other global powers to promote what they cannot produce apart—peace and stability. A leading expert on civil wars and conflict management, Stedman was formerly the research director of the United Nations High- Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change from 2003-2004, and Assistant Secretary General and Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations, in 2005.

Direct download: 05-29-09_Stephen_Stedman.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:00am PDT

Charles Duelfer was one of the most senior intelligence officers with on-the-ground experience to have worked in Iraq before, during, and after the Gulf War. While serving as the leader of the CIA’s Iraq Survey Group, his 2004 report is widely renowned as the most authoritative account on the relationship of the Saddam regime to weapons of mass destruction, as well as how the world was led to believe that Iraq possessed WMDs. But until now, Duelfer has never publicly shared his expertise on just how the US-Iraq relationship spiraled into a second war, and the lessons that can be applied to the challenges ahead in Iran and North Korea.

Direct download: 06-02-09_Charles_Duelfer.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:03am PDT

When should the United States go to war? It is arguably the most important foreign policy question facing any president. The Council is pleased to welcome Richard Haass for an examination of the US policy decisions that led to the two Iraq wars. Haass, who served as senior Middle East advisor on the National Security Council staff for the first President Bush and director of policy planning in the State Department for the second, is in a unique position to discuss the 1991 and 2003 conflicts. At first glance, these conflicts appear similar. Both involved a President George Bush and the United States in conflicts with Saddam Hussein and Kuwait. But there, Haass argues, the resemblance ends. The first Iraq war, following Saddam’s invasion of neighboring Kuwait, was a war of necessity. By contrast, the second Iraq war, launched in 2003, was a war of choice, one that Haass asserts was unwarranted. Join Richard Haass for an inside account of both wars and a discussion of lessons for today’s foreign policy challenges.

Direct download: 05-20-09_Richard_Haass.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:57am PDT

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad’s record in one of the most turbulent periods in US foreign policy has earned him broad respect throughout the world. Serving as the 26th United States Ambassador to the United Nations, he dealt with global issues during one of the most challenging periods in our history, including the recent Russia-Georgia conflict and the Mumbai terror attacks. The highest-ranking Muslim to serve in the US government, he has been the US Ambassador to both Afghanistan and Iraq, where he played a significant role in facilitating both countries’ constitutions, elections and formation of government. With first-hand knowledge and experience from these diplomatic positions, Ambassador Khalilzad provides an insider perspective on Afghanistan and Pakistan as the United States becomes more engaged in this region, as well as what must be done to reach peace in the entire Middle East.

Direct download: 5-12-2009-Ambassador_Zalmay_Khalilzad.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:53am PDT

Reza Aslan joins the Council for an in-depth discussion on the ideology that fuels al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and like-minded militants throughout the Muslim world. With a look at the United States’ approach to the War on Terror, he examines the polarizing rhetoric that has further entangled politics with religion. From Israel to Iraq and from the Netherlands to New York, Aslan argues that religion is a stronger force today than it has been in a century. He asserts that the only way to win an ideological war is to refuse to fight one: we must strip away the current ideological conflict of its religious connotations and address the actual grievances that fuel the Jihadist movement. Reza Aslan is the award-winning author of lt;igt;No god but Godlt;/igt; and lt;igt;How to Win a Cosmic Warlt;/igt;, and a Middle East Analyst for CBS News.

Direct download: 05-11-09_Reza_Aslan.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:49am PDT

Valentino Achak Deng fled his native Sudan in the late 1980’s during civil war, when his village was destroyed by the murahaleen— the same type of militia which currently terrorize Darfur. After nine years in Ethiopian and Kenyan refugee camps, where he worked for the UNHCR as a social advocate and reproductive health educator, he resettled in Atlanta. Since then, Deng has toured the country speaking about Sudan, his experience as a refugee, and his collaboration with author Dave Eggers on lt;igt;What Is the Whatlt;/igt;, the novelized version of Deng’s life story. A leader in the Sudanese Diaspora, he has also worked relentlessly to expose the realities of what is happening in Sudan, its effect on the people, and how we can rebuild Sudanese communities.

Direct download: 04-27-09_Valentino_Achak_Deng.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:45am PDT

From the killing fields of Cambodia to the ongoing nightmare in Darfur, why has the world traditionally stood by as governments fail to protect their own people from genocide, ethnic cleansing, or other crimes against humanity? Gareth Evans explains why mass atrocities continue to go unchecked and how the emergence of new international norms, such as the Responsibility to Protect, can guard citizens from falling victim to mass crimes. A former Australian Foreign Minister and leading international advocate in conflict prevention and resolution, Evans co-chaired the international commission that initiated the Responsibility to Protect idea in 2001.

Direct download: 04-13-09_Gareth_Evans.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:33am PDT

The economic, military and political challenges for the new administration and for each of us as citizens are enormous. Explore the discussions and debates from the 2009 Annual Conference that reveal the key global issues to be addressed at this historical moment.

Direct download: Breakout-IV-Sate_Failures-2009_Annual_Conference.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:21am PDT

The economic, military and political challenges for the new administration and for each of us as citizens are enormous. Explore the discussions and debates from the 2009 Annual Conference that reveal the key global issues to be addressed at this historical moment.


The economic, military and political challenges for the new administration and for each of us as citizens are enormous. Explore the discussions and debates from the 2009 Annual Conference that reveal the key global issues to be addressed at this historical moment.


The economic, military and political challenges for the new administration and for each of us as citizens are enormous. Explore the discussions and debates from the 2009 Annual Conference that reveal the key global issues to be addressed at this historical moment.


The economic, military and political challenges for the new administration and for each of us as citizens are enormous. Explore the discussions and debates from the 2009 Annual Conference that reveal the key global issues to be addressed at this historical moment.


The economic, military and political challenges for the new administration and for each of us as citizens are enormous. Explore the discussions and debates from the 2009 Annual Conference that reveal the key global issues to be addressed at this historical moment.

Direct download: Breakout-III-Addressing_Global_Povery-2009_Annual_Conference.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:20am PDT

The economic, military and political challenges for the new administration and for each of us as citizens are enormous. Explore the discussions and debates from the 2009 Annual Conference that reveal the key global issues to be addressed at this historical moment.


The economic, military and political challenges for the new administration and for each of us as citizens are enormous. Explore the discussions and debates from the 2009 Annual Conference that reveal the key global issues to be addressed at this historical moment.


While much of American foreign policy is focused on fighting extremists in the Middle East and South Asia, many American leaders have lost sight of a growing threat closer to home: the growing ambivalence of Europe’s Muslims. Until the United States and Europe adopt new strategies to attract the hearts and minds of moderate Muslims living in the West, Shore argues, Europe will increasingly become the incubation ground for breeding new Bin Ladens. Shore asserts that “No one is born a terrorist; terrorists are bred” and that therefore it is imperative to understand the thoughts and feelings of Europe’s younger Muslims, most of whom would never commit violence, but some of whom could be tempted to sympathize with terrorist acts. He gives voice to people of deep faith who speak of the conflict between their desire to integrate into their adopted societies and the repulsion they feel toward some of what the West represents.

Direct download: 03-19-09_Zachary_Shore.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:08pm PDT

Civil wars, acts of terror, large scale economic failure, seizures of private industries—the world can be a very dangerous place for investors. And because of the growing importance of emerging and frontier markets in recent years, too many companies and financiers have learned the hard truth that in the international economy and these tough financial times, politics often matters as much as economic fundamentals. From the impact of great power rivalries, terrorist groups, government takeover of private property, and weak leaders, how can global firms, money managers and economic policy makers effectively analyze and manage political instability in a volatile global marketplace? A leading figure in political risk management, Ian Bremmer joins the Council to discuss the wide range of potential political risks that global firms face and will shed light on how investors can effectively analyze, evaluate, and predict them.

Direct download: 03-13-09_Ian_Bremmer.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:06pm PDT

As China and India continue their ascent as emerging powers, how does the Tibet issue affect the relationship between these two economic giants? On the 50th anniversary of Tibetan Uprising Day, join Tenzin Tethong for a look at what Tibet means for China-India relations. Tibetan Uprising Day commemorates the 1959 Tibetan demonstrations against the People’s Republic of China presence in Tibet. This uprising was followed by a crackdown on Tibetan independence movements, and the flight of the 14th Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans into exile in India. The Dalai Lama and Tibetan government-in-exile continue to reside in India today; however, their presence has been a source of friction and distrust between China and India. Tethong will discuss the complex geo-political relationship between China and India and how the recent resurgence of protests surrounding the Tibet issue has affected these emerging powers. The program will be followed by a wine reception.

Direct download: 03-10-09_Tenzin_Tethong.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:01pm PDT

From the accomplishments of the French Presidency of the European Union in responding to the recent turmoil in financial markets and the Georgian crisis to France’s leadership in attempting to resolve the current crisis in the Middle East, the Council is honored to host Ambassador Pierre Vimont to discuss the active and influential role that the French Republic is playing on the European continent and across the globe. Ambassador Vimont has had a distinguished career in France’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. Prior to his present appointment as Ambassador by President Nicolas Sarkozy, he has also served as the chief of staff to the minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Ambassador and permanent representative of France to the European Union. Advanced registration

Direct download: 2-23-09_Amb_Pierre_Vimont.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:49am PDT

According to Peter Singer, the ordinary American has an obligation to the world’s poor. He suggests that for the first time in history we, as individuals, are in a position to end extreme poverty. Yet with the death of more than 10 million children each year from avoidable, poverty-related causes, Singer argues that our current minimal response is ethically indefensible. Through thought experiments and examples, Singer examines our concept of giving and personal responsibility to the poor. He offers practical ways to tackle global poverty through philanthropy, local activism and political awareness. A philosopher and ethicist, Singer was named one of “The Most Influential People in the World” by TIME magazine and is the author and editor of over forty books.

Direct download: 03-04-09_Peter_Singer.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:57am PDT

The three leading schools of American foreign policy today: the left-of-center liberal institutionalist, the Bush-era neocon, and the realist, are likened to the major characters of the infamous film, The Godfather. Hulsman and Mitchell offer a cogent analysis of foreign policy using the themes of the film as parable. Given the present changes in the world’s power structure, the movie is a startling and useful metaphor for the strategic problems of our times, and an assessment of cold-war American power in decline.

Direct download: 3_5_09__Hulsman_Mitchell.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:53pm PDT

Described by former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers as the world preeminent financial journalist, Martin Wolf joins the World Affairs Council to explain what has happened to the global financial order and what can be done to avoid the shocks of global finance. Martin Wolf was one of the first to warn and write about the problems in the financial markets, in large part predicting the current financial turmoil. Offering a prescription for fixing global finance, Martin Wolf will discuss the links between the microeconomics of finance and the macroeconomics of the balance of payments, demonstrating how the subprime lending crisis in the United States fits into a pattern that includes the economic shocks of 1997, 1998, and early 1999 in Latin America, Russia, and Asia. Martin Wolf is the associate editor and chief economics commentator for the Financial Times and a professor of economics at the University of Nottingham, England. He is the author of several books, most recently Fixing Global Finance, and was named to Foreign Policy and Prospect magazinesapos; Top 100 Public Intellectuals list.

Direct download: 2-18-09_Martin_Wolf.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 4:19am PDT

Join Jane Wales, President CEO of the World Affairs Council and Global Philanthropy Forum, for a powerful conversation with two dynamic agents of change: Denis Mukwege, founder of the Panzi Hospital in Eastern Congo and winner of the 2008 UN Human Rights Prize, and Eve Ensler, founder of V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls. Dr. Mukwege and Ms. Ensler will discuss Dr. Mukwege’s work with survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a country rich in natural resources but weighed down by years of war and its attendant abuses. Since 1996, sexual violence against women and girls in Eastern DRC has been used as a weapon of war to torture, humiliate and destroy not only women and girls, but entire families and communities. Hundreds of thousands of women and girls have been raped due to conflict in the region. The V-Day movement and UNICEF (in partnership with UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict) are engaged in a global campaign to bring much needed attention to the needs of Congolese women and girls. The campaign is called “Stop Raping Our Greatest Resource: Power to the Women and Girls of DRC.” On the ground, women survivors are coming together and breaking the silence. Dr. Mukwege and Ms. Ensler will speak about violence against women, the efforts underway to end it, and their work toward supporting a new wave of women leaders in the region. Please join us as we learn what it takes to economically and socially empower women and girls so that they can become leaders in rebuilding their country.

Direct download: 2_18_09_Denis_Mukwege.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:46pm PDT

Having denounced the Guantánamo Bay detention camp as a “sad chapter in American history,” President Obama has vowed to restore our nation’s moral stature by closing the controversial facility. As the world awaits definitive action, the Council welcomes Laurel Fletcher and Eric Stover, co-authors of Guantánamo and its Aftermath, an in-depth study of former detainees. In a conversation led by Elizabeth Farnsworth, Fletcher and Stover discuss the implications of their study’s findings, explore what measures are currently being taken by the US government and human rights organizations on Guantánamo, and propose recommendations for the Obama administration.

Direct download: 02-11-09_Facing_up_to_Guantanamo.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:12pm PDT

We honor former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and her daughters, Alice, Anne and Katie, in conversation with Jane Wales, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Northern California and the Global Philanthropy Forum. All four Albright women devote their lives to bettering our world. Together, we will explore how the ideals of community and service are shared across generations.

Direct download: 2-7-09_Madaline_Albright.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:45pm PDT

After the startling attacks on Mumbai the world is focused with even greater apprehension on the relationship between India and Pakistan. Rafiq Dossani, Neil Joeck and Daniel Sneider join the Council to examine India and Pakistan’s responses to the November terrorist strikes. Will the two nations continue to confront each other through diplomacy or will mutual distrust escalate to armed conflict? What potential does the US have as peacemaker? What are the implications of what is predicted to be an increasing number of terrorist attacks on India as an emerging power?

Direct download: 02-03-09_Aftermath_of_Mumbai.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:43pm PDT

With a new administration in the White House, what will political change in Washington mean for transatlantic relations between Europe and the United States? From the turmoil in closely-linked financial markets to greater engagement with international institutions to combating terrorism and climate change, how can governments on both sides of the Atlantic turn a series of separate problems into a chain of interlinked opportunities? The Honorable John Bruton, former Irish Prime Minister and current EU Ambassador to the United States, joins the Council to discuss the future of EU-US relations and the prospect for a more outward-looking and engaged transatlantic partnership.

Direct download: 01-30-09Amb_John_Bruton.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:17am PDT

For many, the effects of climate change can appear far off—either geographically distant or isolated to the future. Stephan Faris joins the Council to reveal how climate change is at the root of many of the world’s current and impending crises. Reporting from Darfur to Napa Valley, Faris’ work linking the warming of our planet to local and global conflicts has been widely published and recently cited by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Direct download: 01-27-09_Stephan_Faris.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:14am PDT

The 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq sprang in no small part from massive intelligence failures, that much is well understood. How the CIA got to a point where it could fail so catastrophically is not. John Diamond begins by looking at US intelligence during the dozen years from the end of the Cold War to the invasion of Iraq in early 2003 as a defining period in CIA history. Diamond argues that while the CIA had a role in the successful outcome of the Cold War, it also became a source of ridicule for missing the collapse of the Soviet Union. And so with its main mission at an end, the Agency faced staff and budget reductions and a decline in morale as it struggled to prove its relevance and redefine its role. It was during this period, when the CIA was at its weakest, that the Agency made critical misjudgments about Iraq and missed the emergence of its gravest challenge: al Qaeda. Join the Council for an analysis of the CIA past activities and to take a look at where the CIA will be heading under Barack Obama new CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta.

Direct download: 01-12-09_John_Diamond.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:01pm PDT

As President-elect Barack Obama prepares to take office, how will turmoil in the international financial markets impact the formulation of his economic and foreign policy agendas? Adam Posen joins the Council to shed light on the economic challenges and international implications facing the new Obama presidency. A widely cited expert on monetary policy from the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C., Posen has been a consultant to the Departments of State and Treasury, the European Commission, and the International Monetary Fund on a variety of economic and foreign policy issues.

Direct download: 01-07-09_Adam_Posen.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT