WorldAffairs (general)

The discovery of mass graves at residential schools for indigenous children in Canada has shed new light on a disturbing chapter in North American history---the abuse and neglect of Indigenous children at the hands of the American and Canadian governments. This week, we look at Canada’s journey towards truth and reconciliation with its native people. From the late 19th century until the last school closed in 1996, the Canadian government took indigenous children from their families and forced them to attend schools run by churches. Little learning happened in these institutions, which were the sites of widespread abuse. Children were separated from their siblings and stripped of their native language and culture. First we speak with Connie Walker, an investigative journalist whose family members were forced to attend these schools. Then, we speak to Ry Moran, an indigenous archivist who works to preserve the testimonies of residential school survivors.


Ry Moran, The University of Victoria Associate University Librarian - Reconciliation

Connie Walker, host of Stolen: The Search for Jermain, Gimlet Media



Teresa Cotsirilos, senior producer, WorldAffairs

Ray Suarez, co-host, WorldAffairs

Direct download: 10-11_World_Affairs_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

When footage of rioters storming the US Capitol was broadcast live around the world, some far-right extremists in Germany were watching it like a soccer game. The country has spent decades confronting its dark history, but neo-Nazis and conspiracy theorists remain a threat. In this episode, we hear from Stephan Kramer, the head of domestic intelligence in the eastern German state of Thuringia. He talks with Ray Suarez about what he’s learned trying to stop this movement.



Stephan Kramer, head of domestic intelligence for the eastern German state of Thuringia


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Direct download: 02_08_21_White_Nationalism_Germany.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:01pm PDT

With 5 million recorded COVID-19  infections and 160,000 deaths, the coronavirus has paralyzed the United States…the richest, most powerful country in the world. We know it was preventable because at the same time, some countries with far fewer resources have kept infection and death rates remarkably low. Even with its close proximity to China, where the pandemic started, parts of Southeast Asia have managed to control the coronavirus far better than the US and Europe. What are Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar doing that the rest of the world finds itself unable to do? In this episode, we hear from New York Times Southeast Asia Bureau Chief Hannah Beech, Country Director for the Partnership for Health Advancement in Vietnam Dr. Todd Pollock and Director of the Oxford University clinical research unit in Vietnam Guy Thwaites about the quick decision making that went into these countries’ successes. What can we learn from them?



Hannah Beech, NYTimes Southeast Asia Bureau Chief, based in Bangkok, Thailand @hkbeech

Dr. Todd Pollock, Country Director for the Partnership for Health Advancement in Vietnam @toddmpollack

Guy Thwaites, Professor of infectious diseases and the director of the Oxford University clinical research unit in Vietnam @ThwaitesGuy


If you appreciate this episode and want to support the work we do, please consider making a donation to World Affairs. We cannot do this work without your help. Thank you.


Direct download: 08_10_20_Southeast-Asia_COVID-19.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

The United States is in the midst of a national conversation about the role systemic racism plays in law enforcement, but police brutality is not just an American problem. In this episode, we look at how South Africa has grappled with its own legacy of white supremacy and police violence. Under Apartheid, South Africa’s white leaders used the police as an instrument of control, enforcing a web of laws that bound black lives. When liberation came with the end of Apartheid, the police were supposedly reformed. Now, a quarter-center later, has anything changed? Co-host Ray Suarez talks with Stan Henkeman, Executive Director of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in South Africa, and John Steinberg, Professor of African Studies at Oxford University, about South Africa’s cautionary tale of police reforms made after Apartheid.



Stan Henkeman, Executive director of the Institute and Reconciliation in South Africa

Jonny Steinberg, African Studies Professor, at Oxford University


Philip Yun, President and CEO, WorldAffairs

Ray Suarez, co-host, WorldAffairs

Teresa Cotsirilos, producer, WorldAffairs

Jarrod Sport, senior producer, WorldAffairs

Joanne Elgart Jennings, executive producer, WorldAffairs


If you appreciate this episode and want to support the work we do, please consider making a donation to World Affairs. We cannot do this work without your help. Thank you.


Direct download: 07_16_20_South_Africa.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Guyana is the latest country where a major oil discovery has been made. With ExxonMobil set to begin oil production next year, the small, impoverished nation is on the path to become one of the richest in the world. But with oil production brings risk. Next door Venezuela offers a cautionary tale of the “resource curse,” a spiral of political corruption and economic mismanagement that has driven commodity-rich nations into crisis.  But it doesn’t have to happen that way.  In some places natural resource production has brought much-needed development through education, infrastructure and economic diversification. What can Guyana learn from countries that have avoided the resource curse?

Direct download: 09_16_19_Resource_Curse.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am PDT

At the southern border, the rhetoric and emotion surrounding the issue of immigration have stood in the way of comprehensive reform. Where policy has fallen short, international, national and local nonprofit organizations have stepped in to provide vital, life-saving services. On this week’s episode, we’re taking a sobering look at the realities of what happens to migrants when they reach the border. Joining us are civil society leaders working to lessen the trauma for migrants and asylum seekers fleeing violent crime and political persecution.

Lee Gelernt, Deputy Director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children, Maria Moreno, Principal of the Las Americas Newcomer School, and Jonathan Ryan, CEO and President of RAICES, are in conversation with Neal Keny-Guyer, CEO of MercyCorps.

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Direct download: 04_15_19_US_Immigration.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am PDT

Artificial intelligence (AI) brings boundless possibilities. It can now drive our cars, diagnose our diseases, and even help us tackle climate change. But AI can also divide societies and drive nations to conflict. As we cede more of our fundamental decisions to machines, how do we ensure AI is designed with our best interests in mind? Fei-Fei Li, Co-director of the Stanford Human-Centered AI Institute and co-founder of the non-profit AI4ALL, and Olaf Groth, founder of Cambrian AI and co-author of the new book, Solomon’s Code: Humanity in a World of Thinking Machines, discuss how our relationship with AI is central to the future of humanity with WorldAffairs Co-host Ray Suarez.

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Direct download: 01_21_19_Groth_Li_AI.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am PDT

This extended program is a re-air from earlier in 2018.

The conflict in Afghanistan reached its 17th anniversary in October, and US involvement in Iraq will be 15 years. Americans are aware of these wars, but what about the almost 200,000 other US military personnel stationed around the world in over 130 countries? Where are American forces and what explains the large military footprint? Admiral James Stavridis, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and Dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and Richard Fontaine, President of the Center for a New American Security, discuss the value of the American military abroad with Ray Suarez, former chief national correspondent for PBS NewsHour.

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Direct download: 12_24_18_American_Troops_Abroad.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am PDT

American exceptionalism has long been a tenet of US foreign policy. Today, it’s taken the form of an isolationist, “America first” approach. In this week’s episode, world renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs shares his perspectives on how a century of exceptionalism has created false justification for countless wars while leading to an increasingly polarized, unjust world. Sachs argues that in order to meet the global challenges we face, America must adopt an internationalist view, one that “embraces global cooperation, international law and aspirations for global prosperity.” He discusses his new book “A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism” with Ray Suarez, former chief national correspondent for PBS NewsHour.

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Direct download: 10_08_18_Jeff_Sachs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am PDT

In 2018, Russia will hold its presidential election, and few are likely to oppose the current president, Vladimir Putin. One of the potential challengers gaining momentum is Alexei Navalny, a central figure in the pro-democracy movement. Since 2011, this small but passionate opposition group has captured the attention of many disaffected Russians angered by corruption, economic disparity and the restriction of civil liberties. What can Russia's pro-democracy movement do to break through a culture of systemic corruption to win the election? What can the opposition do to build support among all Russians?

Vladimir Ashurkov, executive director of the Anti-Corruption Foundation and close colleague of Alexei Navalny, will provide insight into the pro-democracy campaign, recent protests in Moscow and the many challenges facing the opposition movement.


Vladimir Ashurkov
Executive Director, Anti-Corruption Foundation


Carla Thorson
Senior Vice President, Programs, World Affairs

For more information about this event please visit:

Direct download: 07_26_17_Vladimir_Ashurkov.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:24pm PDT

In 2011, Cairo's Tahrir Square commanded the attention of the world as the Egyptian people demanded their freedom. At the time, President Barack Obama famously declared: “Egyptians have inspired us, they have changed the world.” But, half a decade later, is this the whole story?

The Arab World's most populous nation remains as volatile as ever and thoroughly enmeshed with a broader moment of political turbulence that is unfolding across the globe. In his new book, "The Egyptians: A Radical Story," former Egypt Correspondent for the Guardian, Jack Shenker, examines the roots of Egypt’s revolution, arguing for a much more nuanced, and far-reaching view of the forces that are reshaping the region. Egypt’s revolutionary turmoil has never just been about Mubarak, or his successors, or elections, says Shenker. It is not merely a civil war between Islamists and secularists, nor a fight between backwardness and modernity. Underlying it all, the unrest is about economically marginalized citizens muscling their way onto the political stage to demand sovereignty over domains previously closed to them: factories and urban streets, the houses they live in, the food they eat and the water they drink. The real story is more complicated and, ultimately, more hopeful.

Speaker Jack Shenker is an author and journalist, and Former Egypt Correspondent for the Guardian.

The conversation is moderated by David D. Arnold is President of The Asia Foundation.

For more information please visit:

Direct download: 02_02_17_Jack_Shenker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:12pm PDT

Our lives in 2050 will be vastly different than today. Rapidly advancing technology is changing everything from food production to health care, energy output, manufacturing and the military balance. Innovations already in development include brain-computer interfaces, vat-grown cruelty-free meat, knitted cars and guided bullets among many others. Technology which once seemed like science fiction is now reality - and even old news - where can we possibly go from here?

The Executive Editor of The Economist, Daniel Franklin, explores how technology will shape the future in his recent book, Megatech: Technology in 2050. His insights are based on extensive interviews with distinguished scientists, industry leaders, academics and acclaimed science-fiction authors who are at the forefront of the most exceptional inventions and sinister trends.

Where will technology be in 2050, and how will it affect the way we live? What does this mean for the job market and how we perform our work? In what ways can we prepare for the opportunities — as well as the dangers — that await?

Speaker Daniel Franklin is Executive Editor at The Economist. He is in conversation with Quentin Hardy, Head of Editorial at Google Cloud.

For more information about this event please visit:

Direct download: 03_29_17_Daniel_Franklin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:41pm PDT

Is American influence in Asia and around the world set to decline? In the years following the global financial crisis, the US has increasing ceded its leadership in the world, while China has rushed in to fill the gap left behind. Based on the inward-looking economic nationalism of the Trump administration, some say this trend is poised to accelerate.

Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times, terms this phenomenon “Easternization” - the tectonic shift of the world’s center of gravity from West to East, and from the US to China. Though obscured by the headlines of the day, in the not-so-distant future we may come to view this, as Rachman does, as the momentous transformation of the young century.

How is the growing wealth of Asian nations transforming the international balance of power? Will Trump’s temperament lead to war or peace with Asian nations? After striving for years to be a part of Europe, is Russia now returning to its Asian roots? How would a shift to the East shape all of our lives? This event is co-organized with the Mechanics Institute.


Gideon Rachman
Chief Foreign Affairs Commentator, Financial Times


Carla Thorson
Senior Vice President, Programs, World Affairs

For more information about this event please visit:

Direct download: 05_23_17_Gideon_Rachman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:07pm PDT

General Michael Hayden is the only person ever to lead both the CIA and NSA. For 10 years, he was a key player in some of the most important events in the history of American national security. Now, at a time of ominous new threats and political change, General Hayden will share an insider’s perspective of America's intelligence wars.

What role did US intelligence play in the wake of terrorist threats, a major war and the technological revolution? What was the transformation of the NSA after 9/11? Why did the NSA begin the controversial terrorist surveillance program that included the collection of domestic phone records? What else was set in motion during this period that formed the backdrop for the infamous Snowden revelations in 2013?

General Hayden is a retired United States Air Force four-star general, former director of the NSA, principal deputy director of National Intelligence, and director of the CIA. His recent book, "Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror," is a behind-the-scenes account of his experiences within our national intelligence operations. His goals for writing it are simple: No apologies. No excuses. Just what happened.

Speaker General Michael Hayden is the Former Director of the NSA and CIA.

Jane Wales, CEO, World Affairs and Global Philanthropy Forum, and Vice President, The Aspen Institute, moderates the discussion.

For more information please visit:

Direct download: 03_13_17_Michael_Hayden.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:53am PDT

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — the Iran deal — is perhaps the most important negotiated arrangement thus far in the 21st century. Iran’s capacity to construct a nuclear weapon has been stopped for 15 years and perhaps longer. It has not yet led to greater cooperation with Iran in the region, domestically on human rights and more democratic governance, and it has created problems for the governments of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Why? What are the prospects for the future for the next US president.

Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

Suzanne Maloney, Deputy Director, Foreign Policy Program, The Brookings Institution

Thomas Pickering, Vice Chairman of Hills & Company, former Under Secretary of State for Policy and Career Ambassador

Moderator: Greg Dobbs, former Foreign Correspondent, ABC News

Direct download: 10_28_16_US_Iran.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:15pm PDT

Refugee camps spring up around the world in response to the needs of displaced populations. Always intended to be temporary, these camps often become long term homes for their residents. From the outside, they're seen as a humanitarian crisis by aid workers and a security challenge by host governments. What does life look like for those who call a refugee camp home?

Journalist Ben Rawlence spent years documenting life in Dadaab, a group of refugee camps in northern Kenya. The camps make up a small city of almost half a million people, mostly Somalis who fled civil war and violence. How does this population address the challenges of education, employment, healthcare and meeting other basic needs? Why has this camp, and others like it, become a more permanent settlement for so many? Rawlence will share the stories of a few of Dadaab’s citizens, exploring both individual lives and the wider political forces that have kept them from returning home.

Speaker Ben Rawlence is an author and journalist.

Karen Ferguson, Executive Director, Northern California, International Rescue Committee, moderates the conversation.

For more information about this event please visit:

Direct download: 01_14_16_Ben_Rawlence.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT