Global Dispatches -- World News That Matters

Journalists, policymakers, diplomats and scholars discuss under-reported news, trends and topics from around the world. Named by The Guardian as “One of 27 Podcasts to Make You Smarter” Global Dispatches is podcast about foreign policy and world affairs.


  • What the Trouble Between the NBA and China Tells Us About the Future of International Relations

    Oct 21 2019

    On October 4th, the General Manager of the Houston Rockets basketball team shared a message on Twitter. It was which was an image with the words: "Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong." The post was almost immediately deleted, but not before it caught the attention of Chinese authorities who began threatening huge sanctions on the Houston Rockets and on the NBA. The NBA quickly went into damage control mode with various officials profusely apologizing for this one tweet; and even the world's ...more

  • The "Girl Effect" in International Development

    Oct 17 2019

    The "Girl Effect" is a concept that has been around international development for the better part of a decade. It refers to the community and societal benefits that can accrue when investments are made in the education and health of girls. The concept has been backed up by research over the years and is now a driving force guiding many health and development projects.   "The Girl Effect" is also the name of a non profit dedicated to catalyzing its namesake, and on the podcast today is the organi...more

  • Why is Russia Suddenly So Interested in the Central African Republic?

    Oct 14 2019

    Dionne Searcey travelled to the Central African Republic to report on a story that has previously lead to the murder of other foreign journalists. In July 2018 three Russian journalists were killed in the Central African Republic while investigating Russia's growing presence in the country. Their murder last year, however, has only increased international attention on Russia's shadowy aims in the Central African Republic. Dionne Searcey is a reporter for the New York Times and her story, publish...more

  • Turkey Invades Syria as the United States Abandons the Kurds

    Oct 10 2019

    Kurdish forces have a long history of siding with the United States. And the United States has a long history of eventually selling them out.  The latest iteration of this dynamic unfolded when Donald Trump ordered a small US military contingent to withdraw from Kurdish controlled parts of Northeastern Syria in advance of a likely Turkish military operation. The move came after phone call between Trump and Turkish President Recep Teyyep Erdogan in which Trump apparently acquiesced to a Turkish m...more

  • The Battle of Mosul Was the Beginning of the End of the Islamic State Caliphate

    Oct 04 2019

    The battle of Mosul began exactly three years ago this month. Iraqi government forces and allied Kurdish militias with backing from the United States and other key international partners sought to re-take Mosul from ISIS, which captured the city two years earlier. Mosul is the second most populous city in Iraq. The fighting that ensued was the most intense urban warfare since World War Two. tThe liberating forces went neighborhood to neighborhood, house to house, to recapture territory. It took ...more

  • Why Human Rights Defender Gulalai Ismail Fled Pakistan

    Oct 03 2019

    Gulalai Ismail won't tell me how she came to New York. Doing so, she says, will put too many lives at risk.   Gulalai Ismail is a longtime human rights activist in Pakistan. Her organization, Aware Girls, helped to train the likes of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai and hundreds of other Pakistani girls, mostly in the very conservative parts of the country rife with Islamist militants. She has faced numerous death threats over the years for her outspoken promotion of the rights of women...more

  • Kumi Naidoo, Head of Amnesty International

    Sep 26 2019

    My guest today, Kumi Naidoo, is Secretary General of Amnesty International. He's a longtime activist and civil society leader who joined the anti-apartheid movement as a teenager and for many years lead Greenpeace.  In September, ahead of the UN Climate Summit, Amnesty International conferred its highest honor, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, to Greta Thunberg and the Friday's for the Future Movement. In this conversation I sought to draw out Kumi Naidoo's perspective as a longtime activist ...more

  • Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg on How 5G Can Drive Sustainable Development

    Sep 24 2019

    Around the United Nations you will often see CEOs of major companies participating in meetings and events around sustainability. Meaningful corporate participation is fairly commonplace at the United Nation these days. But this was certainly not the case ten years ago and more, when I'd regularly see Hans Vestberg around the United Nations as one of the very few corporate leaders engaging on development and sustainability issues. Hans Vestberg is the CEO of Verizon and he is on the Global Dispat...more

  • These Stories Will Drive the Agenda During UN Week

    Sep 19 2019

      The United Nations General Assembly, better known as UNGA, kicks in New York this week.  Hundreds of heads of state, business and civil society leaders and dignitaries of all stripes will descend on the UN for a week of events, meetings, and of course speeches. UNGA is the single most important and action-packed week on the diplomatic calendar -- a behemoth of diplomatic events. On the line with me to preview the big stories that will drive the agenda at UNGA this year is Margaret Besheer, the...more

  • UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

    Sep 17 2019

    United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres discusses climate change in this special episode of the Global Dispatches podcast.  On Tuesday, September 17th Antonio Guterres sat down with Mark Hertsgaard of The Nation and Mark Phillips of CBS News for an interview conducted on behalf of Covering Climate Now. This is a global collaboration of over 250 news outlets, including the Global Dispatches Podcast and UN Dispatch, to strengthen coverage of the climate story. The interview with Antonio ...more

  • The UN Climate Action Summit, Explained

    Sep 16 2019

    The UN General Assembly convenes at United Nations headquarters in New York next week. As in every year, UNGA is an annual opportunity for heads of state to come to the United Nations to meet each other and address the world.   What distinguishes the UN General Assembly this year is a series of key events and meetings focused on climate change.   Of these events and meetings the most high profile is what is known as the UN Climate Action Summit. This will take place on Monday the 23rd of Septemb...more

  • What's Next for the Peace Process in Afghanistan?

    Sep 12 2019

    In late August it appeared that the United States was very close to an agreement with the Taliban that would see US troops withdraw from the Afghanistan. Leading the negotiations on the US-side was Zalmay Khalilzad, a widely respected former US Ambassador to the UN who is an immigrant to the US from Afghanistan.  He also served as US Ambassador to Afghanistan shortly after the fall of the Taliban.  Significantly, these negotiations did not include the Afghan government, rather they were direct n...more

  • Why Are Journalists Going Missing in Tanzania?

    Sep 09 2019

    Tanzania has long been recognized as stable country, generally more advanced in its democracy than many other countries in East Africa. To be sure, democracy in Tanzania was certainly imperfect and flawed. But there did exist a degree of press freedom, a robust civil society, and multiple political parties. Over the last few years, elements of Tanzanian democracy have been curtailed. The country is now in the midst of what scholars would call a democratic backslide. This occurs when the state us...more

  • Japan and South Korea Are Locked in A Bitter Dispute With Global Implications

    Sep 05 2019

    Japan and South Korea are in the throws of a dispute - and its getting worse. What was a trade war escalated to the security realm last month when the South Korean government announced that it was pulling out of a key intelligence sharing agreement with Tokyo. This agreement enabled the real-time sharing of key intelligence as it related to common threats, including from North Korea.  Needless to say, amid a growing threat from North Korea, which is regularly testing missiles that could reach bo...more

  • Greg Stanton Fights Genocide -- and Genocide Haunts Him

    Sep 02 2019

    Greg Stanton has spent a career researching and fighting genocide. He speaks candidly about the psychological toll of this line of work and managing the PTSD which he confronts to this day.  Stanton is a descendent of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and as you'll learn from this conversation, the human rights gene runs strong in this family. His father was a liberal preacher and civil rights activist, and Greg tells me the most dangerous place he's ever worked, to this day, was registering black voters i...more

  • Jair Bolsonaro and the Destruction of the Amazon

    Aug 29 2019

    Fires raging in the Amazon have captured the world's attention and put focus on the policies of the Brazilian government.  The true extent of the fires is not yet known--but most sources suggest that the scale of the fires and deforestation underway is much greater than that of previous years. The reason for that is the permissive policies of the Jair Bolsonaro government. Bolsonaro is a rightwing firebrand who was elected to office in 2018 following major scandals implicating more left wing par...more

  • Research Uncovers a Link Between the Cost of Getting Married and the Outbreak of Conflict

    Aug 26 2019

    About 75% of the world's population live in societies that practice of form of dowry payment. This is also known as brideprice and it is essentially wealth that a potential husband must pay to the family of his would-be wife. But in this way, brideprice acts as a kind of regressive flat tax that younger, and generally poorer men must pay to wealthier, older men. Hilary Matfess, a PHD candidate at Yale University, undertook a wide study of the impact of fluctuations in brideprice on broader issue...more

  • An Inside Look at Slavery on Fishing Boats in the South China Sea

    Aug 22 2019

    The fish you eat may have been caught by slaves. Most Thai fishing boats operating in the South China Sea are dependent on migrant labor. But many of those vessels are essentially floating slave ships in which migrant workers are forced into a kind of debt bondage from which they cannot escape.  Journalist Ian Urbina covered this issue for years as a reporter for the New York Times. He reported from land and sea to offer a first hand account of both the conditions on these ships and the broader ...more

  • How We Can Feed the World Without Destroying the Planet

    Aug 19 2019

    The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, released a report in August demonstrating the harmful relationship between climate change and how we humans are using land for food and agriculture.  The warnings are dire. Agriculture and deforestation account for nearly a quarter of all human made greenhouse gas emissions -- and big changes in how we produce and consume food need to take place if we are to curb the worst effects of climate change. At the same time, the wor...more

  • The Rohingya of Myanmar Suffered Crimes Against Humanity. Can There Be Justice?

    Aug 15 2019

    In August 2017, hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya muslims from Myanmar fled across the border to Bangladesh. The Rohingya are a minority population that have long faced discrimination by the Buddhist Burmese majority. In the summer of 2017, things got very bad, very quickly.  A Rohingya militant group attacked some police outposts in Myanmar. The government and military responded by attacking Rohingya towns and villages, unleashing massive violence against a civilian population. This drov...more

  • The Yazidi Genocide, Five Years On

    Aug 12 2019

    In the summer of 2014, ISIS forces swept through parts of Iraq that were home to the Yazidi people. This is an ethnic minority that has lived in Northwestern Iraq for centuries -- and suddenly they were under attack.  What transpired was a genocide. Men and boys were murdered for being Yazidi; women and girls were kidnapped and taken as sex slaves for ISIS fighters.     At the time, my guest today Emma Beals was reporting from Erbil, a city in the Kurdish region of Iraq near to where these atroc...more

  • What Happened to Aung San Suu Kyi?

    Aug 08 2019

    When Ben Rhodes first met Aung San Suu Kyi she exuded the all traits that made her such an international icon for human rights and democracy. It was 2012, and Ben Rhodes, who was the deputy national security advisor, was accompanying Barack Obama in an historic visit to Myanmar. As he puts it, this meeting was the high water mark for her moral authority. There was a hopefulness, surrounding her, he says. Now seven years later, she has stripped of many international accolades, honors and prizes. ...more

  • Drought in the Horn of Africa is Threatening 15 Million People

    Aug 04 2019

      The Horn of Africa region, which includes parts of Somalia, Kenya,  Ethiopia, is experiencing a severe drought. This region has been particularly vulnerable to droughts in recent years--but the situation this summer has become increasingly dire and is raising the prospect of a widespread humanitarian emergency.  A little background: In the summer of 2011, there was a similar drought in the region. But warnings about the humanitarian consequences of this drought went largely unheeded until the ...more

  • Ethiopia is in the Midst of a Democratic Renewal. Can It Succeed?

    Aug 01 2019

    Ethiopia is in the midst of a fairly remarkable democratic renewal. Since taking office in April 2018, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has accelerated a process of political opening, including a greater freedom of press, the release of political prisoners, a detente with Eritrea, and other meaningful reforms.  But Ethiopia's transition to a liberal, open and multi-party democracy has faced some significant challenges in recent weeks. On June 22, an a general tried to orchestrate a coup attempt, which ...more

  • Chennai, India is Facing an Unprecedented Water Shortage

    Jul 29 2019

    One of the largest cities in India is running out of water. Is this our climate future? Monsoons typically provide the bulk of water for Chennai, which is one of the largest cities in India. It is on the south eastern coast of the country, in the Tamil Nadu province which is an area that relies on seasonal monsoons to supply the bulk of water.  But last year's monsoons were exceptionally weak, causing aquifers and other water sources to run dry.  Now, in some neighborhoods if taps run at all, on...more

  • Trump's Assault on Refugees and Asylum Seekers Enter's a New Phase

    Jul 24 2019

    Since taking office the Trump administration has taken unprecedented steps to sharply reduce both the number of refugees who are resettled in the United States and also the number of people who can claim asylum. This has included significantly lowering what is known as the "ceiling" on refugee admissions to the smallest number ever and placing onerous restrictions on exactly who can be admitted as a refugee. Meanwhile, the administration is implementing several policies of dubious legality that ...more

  • How Kim Jong Un Smuggles His Luxury Cars into North Korea

    Jul 22 2019

    North Korea is under the world's most stringent set of international sanctions. This includes, since 2006, a ban on exporting of luxury goods to North Korea. This has not stopped Kim Jong Un from amassing a fleet of high end cars. He is regularly seen in Mercedes and Rolls Royces both in North Korea and on his trips abroad. And now a fascinating report in the New York Times offers some key insights into how Kim Jong Un smuggles his luxury cars into North Korea. Reporters from the New York Times ...more

  • A Progress Report on the Sustainable Development Goals

    Jul 18 2019

    In 2015, the world adopted the Sustainable Development Goals. These are 17 goals around improving health, welfare and the environment that members of the United Nations agreed to achieve by 2030. The "SDGs," as they are known, built upon a previous set of global goals, called the Millennium Development Goals, which expired in 2015. The idea behind the SDGs was to create an ambitious but achievable set of quantifiable targets around which governments, civil society organizations and the UN can or...more

  • Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter

    Jul 15 2019

    Ash Carter served as President Obama's Secretary of Defense from 2015 to 2017. What made Ash Carter so unique among his predecessors was that by the time he became the Secretary of Defense, he'd already spent nearly 30 years working at the Pentagon. This included stints as both the deputy Secretary of Defense and as the number three in the department, a position often referred to as the acquisitions Tsar. Ash Carter is out with a new book "Inside the Five-Sided Box: Lessons from a Lifetime of Le...more

  • A Secretly Filmed Documentary Exposes A Dystopian Nightmare for Uighur Muslims in China

    Jul 11 2019

    Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang province of Northwestern China are living in a police state like no other on earth. Using counter-terrorism as a pre-text, Chinese authorities have rounded up over a million Uighur men and women, forcing them into what they call "re-education centers."  Men and women are arrested, seemingly for minor offenses like growing a beard, or having foreign contacts, or sometimes for no reason at all. They languish in these detention centers indefinitely.   Outside the pris...more

  • Why Turkey's Municipal Elections are of Global Significance

    Jul 08 2019

    When Reccep Tayyep Erdogan party, the AKP, won a landslide victory in Turkey's 2002 general elections he became a very different kind of Turkish leader from his predecessors. The AKP is a religious party in what was an avowedly secular political tradition.  For a time, Erdogan presided over a booming economy and was hailed for being a modernizing muslim leader in a troubled region. His relations with Europe and the United States were strong, and he sought to play a stabilizing role in the middle...more

  • What Political Science Teaches Us About the World Cup and World Peace

    Jul 03 2019

    I've been following with glee the US Women's National Soccer Team's run in this year's World Cup. At time of recording, the United States was set to face either Netherlands or Sweden in the finals.  It turns out that political science has something to say about whether or not international sporting events like this contributes to peace and security--or not.  Last year, I interviewed the author of a peer reviewed study that found a rather significant correlation between success in the mens world ...more

  • What Comes Next in the Escalating Crisis With Iran?

    Jun 28 2019

    Events are unfolding rapidly between the United States and Iran. At time of recording, it was reported that Trump ordered and then called off a military strike against Iran in retaliation for the downing of a US surveillance drone over the gulf of Oman. Meanwhile, Iran is threatening to take actions that would put it in direct violation of the nuclear deal, otherwise known as the JCPOA and Europe is trying is darndest to hold the deal together.  There are a lot of moving pieces right now, so I w...more

  • Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher is a Rising GOP Foreign Policy Star

    Jun 27 2019

    Congressman Mike Gallagher is a Republican representing the eighth district of Wisconsin, which includes the city of Green Bay. Congressman Gallagher has an interesting profile, which includes a PHD in International Relations. He's very thoughtful and I think this conversation offers listeners some key insights into how an emerging leader in Republican foreign policy circles considers the US role in the world, the value of multilateralism and international institutions, and more.  We kick off di...more

  • Better Know Kelly Craft, Trump's Pick for UN Ambassador

    Jun 23 2019

    Donald Trump's pick to serve as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations is unlike any other previous nominee for the US-UN role. Kelly Knight Craft currently serves as the US Ambassador to Canada, a position she was conferred for the fact that her family are billionaire Republican donors. Her family owns a major coal company with deep roots in Kentucky.  It is not at all unusual at all for Democratic or Republican administrations to reward major donors with plum ambassador roles. For ...more

  • Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Jun 19 2019

    According to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization, an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed over 1400 people. This makes it the second worst ebola outbreak in history, following the 2014 outbreak in West Africa that killed over 11,000 people. The current outbreak in the DRC is so far confined to the eastern part of the country, which has long been beset by insecurity and violence. There were, however, two cases reported over the border of Uganda from...more

  • The Hong Kong Protests

    Jun 16 2019

    The protests in Hong Kong represent a key turning point for China, Hong Kong, and the world. Hong Kong is in the midst of the most significant protest movement since China assumed sovereignty in 1997.  These protests were sparked by a proposed law that could permit people in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China to face trial. Protesters fear that this law could be used by authorities in Beijing to erode the rights and liberties currently enjoyed by people in Hong Kong. At the heart of t...more

  • Protests in Sudan Enter a Dangerous New Phase

    Jun 13 2019

    Sudan is at a crossroads. In April, popular protests lead to the ouster of the country's longtime ruler, Omar al Bashir. He was toppled in a coup -- but the peaceful protests did not stop. Rather, the protesters held their ground and rallied outside the headquarters of the military junta demanding that civilians -- not military leaders -- lead the transition to democracy. The standoff between the military council and civilian protesters held firm until early June, when a paramilitary group known...more

  • The Persecution of Christians in Iraq

    Jun 09 2019

    In 2003, before the US invasion of Iraq, there were an estimated 1.2 million Christians living there. Today, that number is less than 250,000 -- an eighty percent drop in less than two decades.   If this trend continues, a religious minority that has been in Iraq for centuries will be gone entirely.    A recent article in The Atlantic by reporter Emma Green describes the plight of Iraq's Chaldean Catholic community and the incredible pressure that they have been under since the fall of Saddam. T...more

  • Life Stories, Anecdotes, and Advice from Renowned Foreign Affairs Professionals

    Jun 07 2019

    Over the course of six years of running this podcast, I have interviewed hundreds of astounding people who have lived fascinating lives and led storied careers in international affairs. This includes foreign ministers, diplomats, famous academics, journalists, social entrepreneurs and more. I've decided to collect the very best of these interviews and offer them exclusively to premium subscribers.  Premium subscribers unlock the growing archive of these unforgettable interviews. Each week, for ...more

  • What You Need to Know About Internally Displaced People Around the World

    Jun 05 2019

    According to the latest data, over 41 million people were internally displaced last year due to conflict and violence, according to a new report from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center. This is a record high and excludes an additional 17 million people who were internally displaced due to a natural disaster.     When we say "internally displaced" we mean people who are forced to flee their homes, but do not cross an international border. This distinguishes internally displaced people, o...more

  • How A Census Can Drive Sustainable Development in Africa

    May 31 2019

    In 2020 the West African Country of Ghana will conduct a census. This is a massive undertaking. Some 60,000 people will be deployed across the country in an effort to count every single person in Ghana.     Last week, in a reporting trip to Ghana, I got a sense of what this process entails. Along with a few other journalists, I shadowed census takers, known as enumerators, as they tested their systems in a few places around Accra. This included a mental health hospital and an urban slum. The ide...more

  • UN Correspondent Chat: Sherwin Bryce-Pease, South African Broadcast Corporation

    May 29 2019

    Sherwin Bryce-Pease is the United Nations Bureau chief for South African Broadcast Corporation, SABC News. We have a wide ranging discussion about happenings at the United Nations, including debates and discussions at the Security Council about the deteriorating situation in Libya, why the dispute in Western Sahara is at a key inflection point, how the ongoing ebola outbreak in the Congo is being discussed at the UN, and why the Trump administration's Middle East peace Pplan will likely shape de...more

  • Journalist Beth Gardiner Traveled the World to Report on Air Pollution

    May 23 2019

    Air pollution results in the premature death of 7 million people around the world each year. It is a major global killer harming people in nearly every corner of the globe.  My guest today, Beth Gardiner is a journalist who traveled the world examining the impact of air pollution. Her new book is called Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution.    In our conversation she shares stories from her reporting, which includes not only detailing the harmful impact of air pollution but also a...more

  • Can Canada Change How the World Deals With Corrupt Foreign Officials?

    May 19 2019

    Several countries have laws on the books that enables governments to freeze the assets of corrupt foreign officials. Canada is one of those countries, and now one Canadian Senator is trying to take that law one step further by redistributing the frozen assets to those harmed by the actions of the corrupt official.   Ratna Omidvar is an independent Senator from Ontario to the Senate of Canada. She is the author of legislation that is starting to make its way through the Canadian Parliament called...more

  • Intensifying Fighting in Syria Suggests a New Phase of the War

    May 15 2019

    Over the last several weeks an estimated 140,000 people have been displaced by escalating fighting in Idlib, Syria.  Syrian regime forces, backed by Russia, have scaled up their attacks in what is the last part of Syria controlled by rebel forces.    Idlib is the only remaining rebel held territory. As regime forces re-captured parts of Syria under rebel control, rebels and their families fled to Idlib, which the key players in the conflict agreed would be a "de-escalation zone." There are now 3...more

  • How to Eliminate the Global Problem of Online Child Abuse

    May 10 2019

    The spread of child sexual abuse material on the internet has grown at an exponential pace in the last fifteen years, since the advent of social media.  This is truly a global problem, affecting every country on earth. The tools of technology can be harnessed to combat the spread of images and videos depicting child abuse and one non-profit is leading the way. Thorn is a technology driver non-profit founded by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore that develops tools to combat online child abuse and chi...more

  • A Crisis in Cameroon is Getting Worse

    May 08 2019

    There is an escalating humanitarian crisis in Cameroon where more than half a million people have been displaced by conflict.  This conflict erupted in earnest in late 2017 and early 2018 in a series of attacks and reprisals between Anglophone separatists and the French dominated government. In international affairs circles, this is known as the "Anglophone Crisis" in Cameroon.   As my guest today, Jan Egeland says, when hundreds of thousands of civilians are displaced, it usually sets off inte...more

  • Supriya Vani Interviewed Every Female Nobel Peace Prize Winner

    May 03 2019

    My guest today Supriya Vani interviewed every living female Nobel Peace Prize winner for her 2018 book Battling Injustice: 16 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.  In this conversation we discuss some common traits that she found across these women and she tells some stories from her interviews and reporting across the globe.   Supriya Vani is a journalist and activist in India, and I caught up with her from New Delhi    Quick note before we begin: thank you to all of you who are supporting the show th...more

  • "How to Fix Democracy," with Michael Ignatieff

    May 01 2019

    Today's episode is a cross over promotion with the new podcast: How to Fix Democracy. How to Fix Democracy is an interview series in which prominent thinkers, writers, politicians, technologists, and business leaders discuss some fundamental questions about the fate and trajectory of democracy today.  This episode features an interview with Michael Ignatieff by the host of the show, Andrew Keen. Michael Ignatieff is a former Canadian politician and author of several books about world affairs. He...more

  • How Big Data and Text Messaging Can Prevent Suicide Around the World

    Apr 27 2019

    According to the World Health Organization 800,000 people die due to suicide every year. My guest today, Bob Filbin is helping to pioneer a way to sharply reduce that number.  Bob Filbin is the Chief Data Scientist of Crisis Text line. This is a text based mental health crisis intervention platform, operational in the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Individuals in crisis are able to text trained mental health workers anonymously, who can then help them through their emergency.    Hundreds of...more

  • Libya is Lurching Toward a Full Scale Civil War

    Apr 24 2019

    Battles are raging in Tripoli between forces aligned with the UN-backed government and a renegade general named Khalifa Haftar. Haftar and his militias had controlled eastern parts of the country, including the city of Benghazi, but in recent weeks he has marched his troops westward, toward the capitol Tripoli, in an effort to oust the Libya's internationally recognized government.     Several hundred people have been killed in this fighting. Thousands have been displaced, and the situation is n...more

  • Cyclone Idai Devastates Mozambique, One Month On

    Apr 19 2019

    In mid march, Cyclone Idai struck southern Africa, ravaging parts of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Of these countries, Mozambique was hardest hit. The storm struck the port city Beira and surrounding areas, creating a massive inland flood plane. At the time, the World Meteorological Organization called it one of the worst weather related disasters to ever strike the southern hemisphere.   One month on, I wanted to get a sense of the how the recovery efforts were progressing, so I called up Do...more

  • A Revolution in Sudan

    Apr 17 2019

    Some truly remarkable events are unfolding in Sudan, where protesters have secured the ouster of longtime ruler Omar al Bashir. After nearly thirty years as an authoritarian president and dictator, he was deposed in coup on April 11. But the protesters have not dispersed and are rallying against the cadre of military officials who have assumed control.   On the line with me to discuss these events is Payton Knopf. He is a former US diplomat and UN official who has worked on Sudan issues for many...more

  • How a Social Entrepreneur is Revolutionizing Access to Medicines in Five African Countries

    Apr 15 2019

    Among the many barriers to quality healthcare in the developing world is the high cost of medicine. This is due, in part, to frequent disruptions in the supply chain. Customers who visit a pharmacy to purchase medicine can't be guaranteed that the medicine will be something they can afford-- or even if the medicine will be there at all. My podcast guest today, Gregory Rockson, is a social entrepreneur who is pioneering a way to make medicine in several African countries more affordable and acces...more

  • How to Stop a Demographic "Youth Bulge" From Causing Widespread Unemployment

    Apr 09 2019

    South Africa is experiencing what demographers call a "youth bulge." This occurs when young people make up a very large percentage of the entire population. There are youth bulges similar in many countries in the developing world, including in Africa and Asia. One key challenge facing societies experiencing a youth bulge large is what happens when these young people become of working age, and there are too few jobs.  In South Africa and in many countries with similar demographics, unemployment ...more

  • How Fear Distorts U.S. Foreign Policy

    Apr 07 2019

    The world has never been safer, wealthier or healthier. So why is it that our foreign policy is dominated by fear and inflated perceptions of threats that can harm us?  My guest today, Michael Cohen, and co-author Micah Zenko seek to answer that question in their new book Clear and Present Safety: The World Has Never Been Better and Why That Matters to Americans.  The book makes the convincing argument that fear mongering has distorted US foreign policy and distracted us from recognizing impress...more

  • How a Social Entrepreneur is Fighting Counterfeit Medicine in the Developing World

    Apr 03 2019

    Not long ago, the social entrepreneur Bright Simons had a lofty goal of restoring social bonds between farmers and consumers. He tried to create a platform to pair organic farmers in Ghana with consumers of organic products. That project failed --  but in failure he made an important discovery that is now revolutionizing the fight against fake and counterfeit goods in the developing world, including potentially deadly counterfeit medicines Bright Simons is the co-founder and lead of mPedigree, a...more

  • Egypt's Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is Looking More and More Like a Dictator-For-Life

    Mar 29 2019

    The White House confirmed that Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is to meet President Trump at the White House on April 9. The invitation to the White House was offered amid a deepening crackdown on human rights and a further erosion of the rule of law in Egypt, nearly six years after al-Sisi ousted President Mohammad Morsi. The White House visit comes as Egypt is facing yet another inflection point that could further ensconce al Sisi in power. At issue are a series of constitutional amendm...more

  • New Trends in Global Trade are Changing How Women Work in the Developing World

    Mar 27 2019

    Global trade is changing how women work. Supermarkets and major brands source much of their materials and manufacturing in the developing world as part of a "Global Value Chain." This is a way of obtaining raw materials and bringing goods to market that has become more and more common among major global brands in recent years. One consequence of this trend in global trade and global sourcing has been to upend traditional dynamics around gender and work. Stephanie Barrientos is a professor of glo...more

  • "It's Really Worrying Right Now." An Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is Not Under Control

    Mar 22 2019

    The second worst Ebola outbreak in history is currently unfolding in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since August last year there have been nearly 1,000 confirmed cases and over 600 deaths. The DRC is a very large country and these cases are so far confined to the eastern part of the country. This is also the region of the Democratic Republic of Congo that has long been mired in conflict and insecurity. In recent weeks, Ebola treatment centers have been attacked forcing medical staff to suspen...more

  • Snakebites are a Global Health Problem

    Mar 19 2019

    Getting bitten by a poisonous snake is not just an individual injury -- rather it is now recognized as a global health hazard. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that between 80,000 and 136,000 people die from snakebite in each year. To put that in perspective, that is more than the number of people who died from meningitis and within the range of the number of people who died from Measles.  Getting bitten by a poisonous snake, or as it's known snakebite envenoming, is now included...more

  • UN Correspondent Chat, With Carole Landry of AFP

    Mar 16 2019

    Today's episode is the second installment of my new series "UN Correspondent Chat." As the name suggests, this series includes wide ranging conversations with in-house reporters at the United Nations who discuss what is driving the agenda at Turtle Bay.  On the line today is Carole Landry, who is a veteran UN Correspondent with Agence France Presse, AFP.    We float between topics that have been buzzing around UN in recent weeks including: how Brexit will impact diplomacy at the UN; some of the ...more

  • CNN's Clarissa Ward Spent 36 Hours With the Taliban. This is What She Learned

    Mar 14 2019

    I caught up with CNN's Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward not long after she returned from reporting inside Taliban controlled territory in Afghanistan. She is one of the only western journalists to access Taliban territory to see what life is like under their control. She interviewed both civilians and Taliban officials and is on the Global Dispatches podcast to discuss her reporting. We kick off discussing the story behind her story: that is, how an unprecedented reporting project...more

  • Trump's "Remain in Mexico" Policy is a Fiasco

    Mar 08 2019

    In late January, the Trump administration began a pilot program on the border between Tijuana and San Diego in which migrants who claim asylum are sent back to wait in Mexico as their asylum claims are processed. This is known formally as the Migrant Protection Protocols and informally as the "Remain in Mexico" policy.   The result has been to turn back individuals, mostly migrants from central America, before they can even present claims of asylum; and even if they are able to make a formal cla...more

  • Is an "Arab Spring" Coming to Algeria?

    Mar 06 2019

    For the past several weeks Algeria has been rocked by mass protests that harken to the Arab Spring. The protests were triggered by the decision of longtime ruler Abdelaziz Bouteflika  to run for another term in office in elections scheduled for April.  Bouteflika came to power in 1999 as the architect of a peace accord that ended Algeria's brutal civil war that killed as many as 200,000. But Bouteflika is now 82 years old and has not been seen in public since suffering a stroke over five years a...more

  • North Korea: What's Next For Nuclear Diplomacy After the Trump-Kim Summit Ends in Failure

    Mar 01 2019

    "Sometimes you gotta walkaway,"   That is how Donald Trump described the failure of he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to come to an agreement during their summit in Hanoi, Vietnam.   So now that this meeting has ended in failure what comes next for nuclear diplomacy with North Korea?   On the line with me to discuss the events in Hanoi and talk through possible scenarios for future engagement with North Korea is Kelsey Davenport, the director of non-proliferation policy at the Arms Control ...more

  • A Crisis in Kashmir Threatens War Between India and Pakistan

    Feb 27 2019

    Tensions are rapidly escalating between India and Pakistan, following a suicide bombing in India controlled Kashmir that killed scores of Indian security forces. In retaliation, India bombed what it called a terrorist camp inside Pakistani territory.  The situation is still unfolding--as I'm recording this there is word that an Indian Air Force pilot has been captured after his plane was shot down over Pakistan.  On the line to discuss this ongoing crisis, and explain why Kashmir has become such...more

  • How "Energy Poverty" is Stifling Job Growth in the Developing World

    Feb 23 2019

    Energy Poverty conventionally refers to the lack of household electricity. Over 1 billion people live without reliable sources of electricity -- but a new group seeks to change how we think about energy poverty.   My guest today, Todd Moss is the founder and executive director of the Energy for Growth Hub, a new think tank. The Energy for Growth Hub seeks large scale solutions to end the kind of energy poverty that can stifle industrial and commercial development in the developing world. We kick...more

  • What Happens When Women Are Excluded From Peace Talks?

    Feb 20 2019

    As I am recording this, the United States is deep into negotiations with the Taliban over some sort of political arrangement that would enable the Taliban's entrance into Afghan politics while the US drew down its troop levels. The specifics of these negotiations are opaque--not much is known about what is on the table.   What we do know is that there are precisely zero Afghan women at the table.    And what we also know, thanks to research done in part by my guest today Anna Tonelli, is that th...more

  • How Vaccines Fight Poverty

    Feb 14 2019

    We have known for years that vaccinations, including routine childhood vaccinations for diseases like measles, mumps and rubella prevent children from dying on a fairly massive scale. We also know that as a health intervention, most vaccines and vaccination programs are relatively inexpensive.  What was not well known, at least until recently, was the relationship between vaccine preventable illness and poverty.    Dr. Angela Chang lead a ground breaking study that shows how vaccines can be an e...more

  • Massive Protests in Haiti Spark a New Kind of Political Crisis

    Feb 13 2019

    Thousands of Haitians have taken to the streets in anti-government protests that quickly turned violent. Several people have been killed and a great amount of property has been damaged in these protests.  Haiti, of course, is no stranger to political crisis. But this crisis feels different, according to veteran reporter Jacqueline Charles. Jacqueline Charles is the Haiti Caribbean reporter for the Miami Herald and in this conversation she explains the origins of this new protest movement and how...more

  • New Research Shows How Countries Can Avoid the "Resource Curse"

    Feb 10 2019

    The riddle of how to avoid the so-called "resource curse" has bedeviled a generation of policy makers, economists and academics.   Resource curse refers to the negative consequences that befall a country when it discovers a valuable natural resource, like oil. Often times the discovery of oil does not propel a country's economic development, and can even set a country back.   My guest today is engaging in ground-breaking research that suggests some ways that a government may avoid the resource c...more

  • The Co-Founder of Global Citizen Discusses the Future of Global Advocacy

    Feb 06 2019

    About a decade ago, Simon Moss co-founded Global Citizen with a few friends in Australia. It has since grown into a behemoth of global advocacy on issues related to ending extreme poverty around the world. I've known Simon for years and have watched Global Citizen evolve over the years. So, I thought it might be useful and interesting to learn from him how an advocacy group like Global Citizen is adapting to broader geopolitical shifts. How does a group focused on ended extreme poverty respond t...more

  • Protests and Repression Returns to Zimbabwe

    Feb 01 2019

    Zimbabwe was rocked by protests in mid-January in the most significant public display of dissatisfaction with the government of Emerson Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa you will remember deposed longtime Zimbawe ruler Robert Mugabe in a coup in November 2017  -- an this past summer he further ensconced himself in power through an election in which he was declared the winner.    The proximate cause of these protests were a sudden increase in the price of fuel. The government's response was exceedingly viole...more

  • What is Next for the US in Afghanistan?

    Jan 30 2019

    My guest today, Dr. Sharifullah Dorani is the author of the new book America in Afghanistan: Foreign Policy and Decision Making from Bush to Obama to Trump’ as the title suggests, the book examines the history of US involvement in Afghanistan from 2001 through the first two years of the Trump presidency. And in this conversation we discuss what both what has stayed the same and what has distinguished the Trump administrations approach to Afghanistan from his predecessors.   We recorded this conv...more

  • UN Correspondent Chatter: Margaret Besheer of Voice of America

    Jan 25 2019

    Today's episode is the launch of a new series: UN Correspondent Chatter. From time to time I'll check in with an in-house reporter at the United Nations headquarters in New York to discuss the latest news, buzz, and intrigues around Turtle Bay.   I'm pleased to launch this new series with Margaret Besheer of the Voice of America. She has covered the UN since 2008 and has a been a great source of news and insight to me over the years.    We cover a lot of ground in this conversation, including ho...more

  • Will Crisis in Venezuela Lead to a Civil War?

    Jan 24 2019

    On January 23rd, the 35-year-old head of the Venezuela's National Assembly Juan Guiado declared himself president of Venezuela, promising to would serve in that role on an interim basis before free elections could be held. He was quickly recognized as the legitimate head of state by the United States, Canada, the Organization of American States and many countries in Latin America.  Of course, de-facto president Nicolas Maduro is rejecting this claim. At time of recording he still controls the go...more

  • Coffee Is Being Threatened With Extinction Because of Climate Change

    Jan 20 2019

    Dr. Aaron Davis, has one of the greatest titles of anyone I have ever interviewed in the last four years of doing this podcast. He is head of coffee research at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.     And in that role, he co-authored of two new scientific papers which demonstrate that many species of what is known as "wild coffee" are threatened with extinction, and that is in large part due to climate change.    As Dr. Davis explains, we coffee drinkers do not generally consume wild coffee. Rather,...more

  • Election Fraud in the Democratic Republic of Congo

    Jan 17 2019

    The Democratic Republic of Congo held elections on December 30th that would mark the country's first peaceful transfer of power since its independence in 1960. The long serving ruler, Joseph Kabilla had effectively delayed these elections for years, but finally promised to step down and cede power to the winner of these elections.  Votes were cast. Ballots were counted. A winner declared--and according to several reports a massive fraud was perpetrated.   The Catholic Church, which served as ind...more

  • Will Protests in Sudan Bring Down the Genocidal Regime of Omar al Bashir?

    Jan 12 2019

    A protest movement in Sudan is posing the biggest challenge to the genocidal regime of Omar al Bashir in decades. The protests began just before Christmas, ostensibly over an increase in the price of bread and they quickly spread. Predictably, the regime has responded with violence but nevertheless, these protests persist. On the line with me to discuss the origins of this protest movement, how it spread and whether or not it may take down the nearly thirty year reign of Omar al Bashir is Zachar...more

  • What's Next for the World Bank After Jim Yong Kim's Sudden Resignation?

    Jan 09 2019

    World Bank president Jim Yong Kim is stepping down at the end January. He made that announcement on January 7th, surprising most observers for the fact that he is resigning from his post with three years left in his second term.  This coming vacancy presents a key inflection point for the World Bank, according to my guest today, Scott Morris. Scott Morris is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and longtime observer and analyst of the World Bank. In this conversation we discuss J...more

  • The Migrant Route to Europe is Changing

    Jan 04 2019

    You would not really know it from the headlines, but more irregular migrants and refugees are arriving to Europe via Morocco than are arriving to Italy via Libya or to Greece via Turkey. In fact, as the numbers of migrants arriving to Europe declined overall in 2018, the migrant route from Morocco to Spain experienced a sharp increase.    On the line with me to explain why the Morocco-to-Spain route has become so popular, and what this change in migration routes says about Europe's shifting atti...more

  • A Crisis Between China and Canada Has Big Global Implications

    Jan 02 2019

    On December 1st, a business executive named Meng Wanzhou was arrested while transferring through the Vancouver airport at the request of US authorities. Ms Meng is the CFO of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei and now faces extradition to the United States.    About ten days later, a former Canadian diplomat and analyst with the International Crisis Group named Michael Kovrig was mysteriously arrested in China. His arrest was followed by the arrest of another Canadian, businessman Micheal Spavor, ...more

  • A Decade Old War Crime is Causing Instability in Sri Lanka Today

    Dec 26 2018

    One of the worst mass atrocities in recent times took place in Sri Lanka during the final days of that country’s long civil war. In May 2009, tens of thousands of people were killed by Sri Lankan armed forces over the course of just a few days as the military sought to deal a final blow to an insurgent group known as the Tamil Tigers. In the process, they killed as many as 40,000 civilians. No one was brought to justice for this crime against humanity. And the lack of accountability for those cr...more

  • Better Know Heather Nauert, Donald Trump's Pick for UN Ambassador

    Dec 20 2018

    State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert is Donald Trump's nominee to serve as the next US Ambassador to the United Nations. If confirmed, she will replace of course Nikki Haley, who served in the role for nearly two years. Heather Nauert is a former journalist and Fox News personality before joining the State Department in April 2017.   As State Department spokesperson, Heather Nauert held regular briefings with the State Department press corps, so I thought it would be a good idea to invit...more

  • How Rivalry Between China and the United States Will Drive Global Development

    Dec 16 2018

    Massive infrastructure projects like the building of ports, roads and railways are becoming more and more commonplace in the developing world. According to my guest today, the reason we are seeing more of these projects is a burgeoning global rivalry between China and the United States. Seth Schindler is a senior lecturer in urban development and transformation at the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester. He studies large scale infrastructure projects and as he explains w...more

  • Will The Yellow Vest Protest in France Bring Down Emmanuel Macron--and Europe With Him?

    Dec 12 2018

    A protest movement in France known as the Gilets Jaunes, or Yellow Vests, has become a political crisis for French President Emmanuel Macron. The protest movement began over a hike in a fuel tax, but has grown into something much more and is now threatening to further weaken Macron, who was already deeply unpopular in France. On the line with me to discuss the origins of this movement and its political significance both in France and throughout Europe is Arthur Goldhammer, a senior affiliate wit...more

  • What is the 'Global Compact for Migration?'

    Dec 09 2018

    Over 180 countries are endorsing what is known as the Global Compact for Migration. The text of this non-binding agreement was finalized over the summer, and countries are meeting in Marrakech Morocco on December 10th and 11th to formally launch the Compact.  There is a great deal of misinformation being spread, mostly by right wing governments in Europe and here in the US, about what this agreement entails. This agreement is not a treaty. Rather, it is an agreed set of principles and creates a ...more

  • What Sham Elections in Bahrain Tell Us About the Middle East

    Dec 06 2018

    The Kingdom of Bahrain is the smallest country in the Middle East. It is an island in the Persian Gulf connected to Saudi Arabia by a causeway. And it is home to a very large US naval base, that houses the Navy's fifth fleet.    Bahrain is also in the midst of a years long crackdown in which political opposition figures, human rights defenders, journalists and bloggers have been languishing in jail. And it was in this context that last month Bahrain held elections that were a total sham, accordi...more

  • What You Need to Know About the Big UN Climate Conference, COP24

    Nov 30 2018

    Diplomats, scientists, advocates and other concerned parties are gathering in Katowice, Poland for a major international climate conference that is serving as a followup to the Paris Climate Agreement. The meeting is formally called the 24th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is better known in UN lingo as COP24 and it stretches from December 2nd to the 14th.    This conference is a big moment in international diplomacy and a key inflection poi...more

  • Some Cultures Tolerate Rule Breaking More than Others. Comparing them can teach us a lot about international relations

    Nov 29 2018

    Michelle Gelfand is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland and author of the new book Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire our World. The book, which is written for a popular audience, is based on a scientific study conducted by Gelfand in 33 countries in which she examines cultural norms around rule following.  As she explains, certain countries have a higher tolerance for norm and rules breaking behavior than others--and these discrepancies can have im...more

  • What You Need to Know About Slums Around the World

    Nov 21 2018

    My guest today, Diana Mitlin, is a professor of global urbanism at the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester. Much of her work focuses on issues surrounding informal urban settlements, commonly known as slums. In this episode we discuss why slums present such a profound challenge for global development--and how getting policies around slums right can lead to big progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. We kick off this discuss talking more broadly about the scop...more

  • In Donald Trump V. International Law, Who Is Winning?

    Nov 16 2018

    Harold Hongju Koh is one of the America's leading scholars of international law. He is the Sterling Professor of International Law at Yale Law School, where he formerly served as the dean. He's also served as the Legal Advisor in the State Department and was the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.   Professor Koh is the author of the new book that examines the Trump administration's relationship with international law. His book, called "The Trump Administrati...more

  • South Sudan's High Risk, High Reward Peace Process

    Nov 13 2018

    On October 31, South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar entered the capitol city of Juba for the first time in two years to attend a peace ceremony. The ceremony in Juba was intended a confidence building measure toward the implementation of the peace deal.  Earlier this summer, Machar and South Sudan's president Salva Kiir signed a peace deal, formally ending a civil war that killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced over a million more.  On the line with me to discuss the peace deal ...more

  • Under Reported Human Rights Catastrophe: Thousands of Refugees Languish in Libyan Jails

    Nov 08 2018

    In mid September, I was sitting next to the journalist Sally Hayden while attending a press briefing near the United Nations when phone started buzzing with WhatsApp messages.  Refugees and migrants stranded in a prison in Libya had gotten her number and were sending her messages describing awful details of their confinement. These refugees were stranded in prison because of a deal worked out between the Libyan Coast Guard and Italian government. Thousands of refugees and migrants, mostly from E...more

  • These Are the Foreign Policy Implications of the US Mid-Term Election Results

    Nov 07 2018

    As was expected, Republicans have held onto control of the Senate while Democrats have won a solid majority in the House of Representatives.  So what does this mean for foreign policy and global affairs? On the line with me to talk through some of the international implications of the US Mid term elections is Heather Hurlburt. She is the director of the New Models of Policy Change project at the New America Foundation and is a longtime player and analyst of US foreign policy. And in this conver...more

  • The Top UN Humanitarian Official Discusses the Crisis in Yemen

    Nov 02 2018

    Mark Lowcock is the top humanitarian official at the United Nations, serving as the Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and the UN's Emergency Relief Coordinator.   When a manmade or natural disaster strikes, his UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which is known by its acronym OCHA, is the focal point for managing and coordinating the international humanitarian response, including getting food, shelter, medicines and other life saving needs to people affected by...more

  • Macedonia May Get a New Name -- And this is a Very Big Deal for International Relations

    Nov 01 2018

    For 27 years, the question of what to formally call the country informally known as "Macedonia" has been a diplomatic thorn in the side of Europe and the Balkans.  Macedonia became independent upon the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia in 1991. Immediately, though, the question of what to call this new country became a diplomatic and political crisis. Macedonia borders Greece and the region of Greece that borders Macedonia is called..."Macedonia." So, for decades Greece has systematically blo...more

  • What Happens if the International Criminal Court Investigates American War Crimes in Afghanistan?

    Oct 26 2018

    The International Criminal Court is likely to open an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Afghanistan. Much of the focus of the investigation would be crimes committed by the Taliban, but actions by Americans could also come under scrutiny. This raises the prospect of the first real collision between Americans and the International Criminal Court.    On the line with me to discuss the implications of this probable ICC probe of the Afghanistan conflict i...more

  • How India Defeated Polio

    Oct 23 2018

    The challenge was immense About twenty years ago, India accounted for over 60% of all polio cases worldwide -- in fact it was considered a "hyper" endemic country. Then, the Indian government teamed up with the United Nations and other partners, including through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, to tackle polio head on. India's vast population, its geographic diversity, and pockets of extreme poverty seriously complicated this effort. But the Indian government and its partners adapted, i...more

  • Canada Goes to Pot

    Oct 19 2018

    On October 17 Canada became the second country in the world to legalize the recreational use of Cannabis. The first was Uruguay, which decriminalized Cannabis a few years ago. But Canada's move is arguably more significant to international relations for the fact that it is a member of the G7; and is a country that has a longstanding commitment to international law and the rules based international order    But, as my guest today Ambassador David Johnson explains, this move puts Canada squarely i...more

  • Why the Latest Ebola Outbreak in the DRC is So Dangerous

    Oct 18 2018

    An ongoing Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has sickened over 250 people, and resulted in over 130 deaths as of October 18. Now, the DRC is experienced in handling Ebola outbreaks. A separate outbreak in the country's Equateur province was rather quickly and effectively contained. 33 people died, but it could have been much worse. That outbreak was declared over this summer.    What makes this current outbreak so potentially dangerous is the fact that it is occurring in a confl...more

  • The State Sanctioned Murder of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi Will Shake International Relations

    Oct 12 2018

    On October 2, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, seeking to retrieve some marriage documents relating to his upcoming wedding.  He never came out. Turkish authorities believe he was tortured and murdered by Saudi intelligence officers sent to kill him.    This incident has profoundly shaken Saudi Arabia's relationship with the United States. Khashoggi was well known and well-liked by journalists and others in policy circles in Washington DC. He was a co...more

  • The Grand Strategic Failure of Trump's Foreign Policy

    Oct 11 2018

    My guest today Ivo Daalder served as the United States ambassador to NATO under President Obama from 2009 to 2013. He is now the president of the Chicago council on foreign relations and he is the co-author, with James Lindsey, of the new book, The Empty Throne: America's Abdication of Global Leadership.  The book offers a comprehensive accounting of the first two years of President Trump's foreign policy and in so doing, it offers an unsparing criticism of what the authors argue is a grand stra...more

  • Are Development NGOs Fit for Purpose?

    Oct 05 2018

    My guest today, Nicola Banks, is a lecturer in global urbanism and urban development at the University of Manchester. She has conducted some pioneering research on the role of the NGO sector in global development. Some of her findings, including that development NGOs be more politically engaged, are being adopted and tested by some major aid agencies. Dr. Banks is also undertaking an ambitious project, along with Professor Dan Brockington of the University of Sheffield, of mapping the UK's NGO s...more

  • A Conversation with Kosovo's Foreign Minister

    Oct 03 2018

    I met the Foreign Minister of Kosovo Behgjet Pacolli in a hotel lobby not far from the United Nations where the foreign minister had spent several days during the UN General Assembly last week.    I was interested in learning from the foreign minister both some of the substantive issues on his plate--that is, what are Kosovo's foreign policy priorities today, and also just what life is like during UN week for the foreign minister of a small state like Kosovo. So, the conversation you about to he...more

  • How Facebook is Abetting Rodrigo Duterte's Drug War in the Philippines

    Oct 01 2018

    If you want a glimpse of a dystopian future in which authoritarian leaders harness the power of social media to carry out human rights abuses and suppress their political opponents, you need to look no further than the Philippines today.   There are few countries in the world as hyper connected on Facebook as the Philippines. And here, President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies are using Facebook to advance their so-called war on drugs which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, mostl...more

  • How Better Data Can Fight Global Hunger

    Sep 25 2018

    Every year during UN Week there are a number of substantive and important issues discussed, new initiatives launched and new partnerships formed, typically around some big important global issues. It is a week in the diplomatic calendar in which a lot of problem solving gets done. The problem is, this aspect of UN Week rarely gets covered by the mainstream media, which so often chases the big headlines in general--and Donald Trump in particular. But there is so much happening beyond Trump, so to...more

  • UN Week is Here! These Are the Stories That Will Drive the Agenda

    Sep 19 2018

    All eyes turn to the New York and the United Nations as world leaders gather for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, better known UNGA. This is always the busiest week of the diplomatic calendar and on the line the help make sense of it all is Richard Gowan. He is a Senior Fellow at the UN University Centre for Policy Research, and a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. This year, like last year, much of the oxygen in Turtle Bay and beyond will be sucked up by the...more

  • When UN Peacekeeping Works: The Story of the United Nations Mission in Liberia

    Sep 14 2018

    In this special episode of Global Dispatches Podcast we are bringing you the story of how UN Peacekeepers partnered with the people and government of Liberia to help transform the country from one of the bleakest places on the planet, to one of the more hopeful today. When peacekeepers were first deployed to Liberia in 2003, the west African country had just experienced a devastating civil war. Fifteen years later, the last Blue Helmets left the country.   Through interviews and archival audio, ...more

  • Unmasking the Elite Charade of "Changing the World"

    Sep 12 2018

    My guest today, Anand Giridharadas, is the author of the new book Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World. The book is a piercing examination of how the global elite have co-opted our mechanisms of social change. This trend manifests itself in many ways, including the belief that market forces are more important than government in affecting change. The book is an extremely challenging, and at times discomfiting, critique of a trend that I've witnessed and certainly been on the ...more

  • The World is Experiencing a Dam Building Boom

    Sep 07 2018

    The world is experiencing a dam building boom. According to research by my guest today David Hulme there are plans underway around for the construction of over 3,700 new dams around the world. And this explosion in dam building comes after a period in which there was a lull in the construction of new dam projects.   So what accounts for this new interest in dams? Where are these new dams being built?  Do dams contribute to sustainable development or do they detract from it?    We discuss these q...more

  • How the Return of Refugees to Syria Will Define the Next Phase of the Conflict

    Sep 05 2018

    1.5 million Syrian refugees are in Lebanon today. But as the fighting quells in areas of Syria, some of these refugees are considering returning home.    Who gets to return, the places to which they will return, and the circumstances under which refugees move back to Syria are intensely political decisions. As journalist Charlotte Alfred explains, the return of refugees, albeit in small numbers, has begun. And it is becoming a tactic of the civil war.   Charlotte Alfred is the managing director ...more

  • There's New Evidence of China's Brutal Repression of its Uighur Population

    Aug 29 2018

    In mid-August a UN human rights body called the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said that up to 1 million ethnic Uighurs in China were imprisoned in massive internment camps.    Subsequent reporting in places like the Wall Street Journal offered a degree of confirmation that Uighurs were being rounded up, seemingly at random, and sent to "re-education" centers where they are forced to chant communist party slogans, study the speeches of Xi Jinping and also subjected to tor...more

  • Remembering Princeton Lyman

    Aug 24 2018

    Ambassador Princeton Lyman passed away on August 24th at the age of 83.  In January 2017, he came on the podcast to discuss his remarkable life and career, which included serving as the US ambassador to South Africa during the end of apartheid and transition to democracy. We listen back to that interview. 

  • A Final Showdown Looms in Syria. The UN Warns it Could be a "Bloodbath"

    Aug 22 2018

    The Syrian war may be entering its final phase. Rebel fighters, from various factions, are now concentrated in Idlib, in northern Syria.  Idlib is the place to which civilians and members of armed groups were permitted to escape as part of evacuation deals from places like Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta as they fell to government forces. Millions of displaced Syrians and some armed groups are now concentrated there.    But now there is every indication that Syrian forces, backed by Russia, are prepar...more

  • This is How Nuclear War Breaks Out With North Korea

    Aug 19 2018

    On March 21, 2020 North Korea shoots down a South Korean civilian airliner, mistaking it for a US bomber. This sets off a series of events that leads to the launching 13 nuclear armed ballistic missiles towards the United States. Several of these missiles miss their target. But not all. One bomb levels Manhattan, another hits Northern Virginia and a third lands near Mar a Lago, in Florida. 1.4 million Americans are killed. The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against th...more

  • Dr. Vanessa Kerry Strengthens Health Systems Against Ebola and Other Threats

    Aug 15 2018

    Dr. Vanessa Kerry is the Co-founder and CEO of Seed Global Health. This is an international NGO that works in five sub-Saharan countries to bolster the education of medical professionals.    We kick off discussing the newest ebola outbreak in the DRC. This is a very alarming outbreak for the fact that it is occurring a region of the DRC that is very much a hot conflict zone.  We then have a broader conversation about the challenge of strengthening health systems in poorer countries and we of cou...more

  • Fifteen Years Ago this Week, the UN Headquarters in Iraq Was Bombed

    Aug 13 2018

    On August 19th 2003 the United Nations headquarters in Iraq at the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, was hit with a truck bomb. At least 22 people lost their lives in this attack, including the UN's top official in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.  In subsequent years, August 19th has been commemorated at the United Nations as World Humanitarian Day, in which the sacrifices of humanitarian workers are honored.    This year marks the 15th anniversary of the attacks on the UN headquarters in Iraq, which ushere...more

  • Journalist Robin Wright from 2014

    Aug 09 2018

    In 2014, I spoke with New Yorker writer Robin Wright about her life and career as a foreign affairs journalist.  

  • The 1998 US Embassy Bombings, Twenty Years On

    Jul 30 2018

    On August 7th, 1998 my guest today John Lange was the acting United States Ambassador to Tanzania when a truck bomb exploded outside the embassy in Dar es Salaam. He did not know it at the time, but this bombing was part of a coordinated attack on US embassies in the region. Minutes early in Nairobi, Kenya the US embassy was bombed as well.  Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks that killed over 200 people. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of these attacks, I invited Ambassador Lange on th...more

  • 977 Days as the Hostage of Somali Pirates

    Jul 29 2018

    Michael Scott Moore spent 977 days as a hostage of Somali pirates. He is a journalist and in 2012 he set out for the Somali coast on a reporting trip when he was kidnapped. What followed was a two and a half year ordeal that he masterfully recounts in his new book: "The Desert and the Sea." The book is beautifully written-- it's a page turner and he really puts you in his shoes as he struggles to survive.    In our conversation we discuss his capture and time in captivity, as well as broader iss...more

  • How the World Regulates Twitter

    Jul 27 2018

    David Kaye, is the author of the UN's first ever report on the regulation of user generated online content. That is, how governments and companies like Facebook and Twitter police their users.  David Kaye is the UN's special rapporteur for the freedom of expression and a law professor at UC Irvine, and in our conversation he explains how human rights principles can inform debates about how to approach "fake news," disinformation and online extremism all while maintaining a fidelity to the ideals...more

  • Colombia Has a New President Who is Opposed to the Peace Deal

    Jul 25 2018

    Ivan Duque won a run-off election on June 17th to become the next president of Colombia. Duque is a right of center politician who has been a sharp critic of the peace deal negotiated by president Juan Manuel Santos that ended a half century long conflict with the FARC rebels.    Duque will be sworn in on August 7th, and that of course raises the question: what happens to this peace deal now that the president of Colombia is on the record opposing it. Can the deal survive? And what comes next fo...more

  • The Inside Story of How the World Closed the Hole in the Ozone Layer

    Jul 22 2018

    The year is 1985. Ronald Regan is president. Margaret Thatcher is prime minister of the United Kingdom. Michael Jackson, White Snake and George Michael are dominating the billboard charts. Back to the Future is a smash hit at the box office. And scientists have just discovered a giant hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica. Scientists were warning that if left unchecked, this hole in the ozone would grow ever larger, letting through harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun that would wreak h...more

  • How Much Progress Are We Making Towards the Sustainable Development Goals?

    Jul 18 2018

    At the United Nations in mid-July officials gathered for an annual checkup on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs, as they are known, are a set of 17 anti-poverty, health and environmental goals that in 2015 the world agreed to achieve by 2030.  We are now two and a half years into these goals, and this gathering at the United Nations, which is known as the High Level Political Forum, is a moment in which top officials take stock of both global and domestic progress towa...more

  • These are the World's "Invisible" Countries

    Jul 13 2018

    Like me, my guest today Joshua Keating, loves maps. His new book "Invisible Countries: Journeys to the Edge of Nationhood" is about borders we see on maps and the borders we don't see.  Josh Keating is a longtime foreign affairs journalist and now an editor at Slate. And in this book he takes readers to places that are not quite countries. This includes places like Abkhazia, Somaliland, the Akwesasne nation between New York and Ontario. He makes an argument that we are currently in a period of w...more

  • Sunitha Krishan Rescues Girls from Sex Slavery

    Jul 11 2018

    Sunitha Krishnan literally rescues girls from sex slavery. She is the founder of the Indian NGO Prajwala which both physically removes girls from sexual bondage and provides social, medical and psychological support for their rehabilitation.  She's been beaten. She's been jailed. But nevertheless she persists.  And as she tells me in our conversation what motivates her in this dangerous work is anger. And that anger stems from her own experience with sexual assault at the age of 15, when she was...more

  • Crisis in Nicaragua

    Jul 08 2018

    Nicaragua is in the midst of a deepening political and security crisis. Over the last three months the government has been increasingly violent in its response to a growing protest movement.  Over 240 people have been killed since April, when protests against a social security reform measure began. Those protests have morphed to a broader political challenge against the longtime Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega. On the line with me to discuss recent events in Nicaragua and explain why the country...more

  • An Interview with the Top UN Official in the Central African Republic

    Jul 03 2018

    Parfait Onanga-Anyanga is the Special Representative of the Secretary General in the Central African Republic. This makes him the top UN official in CAR, which includes overseeing a UN Peacekeeping mission of over 14,000 personnel.     That mission is known as MINUSCA and in recent weeks it has suffered a series of casualties as armed groups vie for control of the country's natural resources.    The peacekeeping mission was first deployed in 2014 as part of an international effort to prevent CAR...more

  • What We Know About Air Pollution Around the World

    Jun 29 2018

    The World Health Organization estimates that around 7 million people die every year from the air they breathe. Air pollution is a major killer around the globe and one that disproportionately affects low and middle income countries.    There are two kinds of air pollution. The first is called ambient air pollution, and that is basically the air we breathe when we are outside. The second is called household air pollution, and this is air pollution driven by the use of dirty burning  stoves inside...more

  • Peace Breaks Out Between Ethiopia and Eritrea

    Jun 27 2018

    Something truly remarkable in African history and global affairs occurred on June 26 when Eritrean leaders flew to the capitol of Ethiopia for peace talks.  In the late 1990s the two countries fought each other in a brutal war, and despite a peace agreement they have remained actively hostile to each other. But that seems to be changing. And quickly.  On the line with me to discuss this detente between two previously irreconcilable foes is Michael Woldermairam, an Assistant Professor of Internat...more

  • Why Mary Robinson Fights For Climate Justice

    Jun 22 2018

    Mary Robinson was the first female President of Ireland, serving from 1990 to 1997. She then served as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and has since undertaken a variety of roles at the UN system, focusing on human rights, gender equality and, as is the focus of our conversation today, climate justice.  Mary Robinson and I have an extended conversation about what climate justice means and what it entails--and this was a concept, I admit, that I was unaware of until Mary Robinson began ...more

  • Understanding Asylum Law in the United States in the Context of Family Separations at the Border

    Jun 19 2018

    My guest today, Kari Hong is an assistant professor at the Boston College law school and an expert on US asylum policy and law. As you can imagine, we have an extended conversation about the tragedy unfolding at the Southern US border, where the Trump administration has mandated the separation of migrant children from their parents in order to deter them from claiming asylum and expedite their removal from the country.  This is inhumane, barbaric and as Kari Hong explains, not in compliance with...more

  • Tom Catena is a Hero Doctor of Sudan's Nuba Mountains

    Jun 14 2018

    For many years Tom Catena was the only doctor in the Nuba Mountain region of Sudan. This is an area on the border between Sudan and South Sudan. In 2011 it was the site of intense fighting between government forces and local groups aligned with the South.   Throughout this fighting, which lasted for years, Tom Catena ran the Mother of Mercy Hospital. He saw thousands upon thousands of patients every year under the most difficult of circumstances. His hospital was bombed, his house was targeted, ...more

  • How to Make Sense of the Trump-Kim Summit

    Jun 13 2018

    When I last spoke with my guest today, Kelsey Davenport, the saber rattling between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un had reached a fever pitch. North Korea was launching nuclear and missile tests; the United States was undertaking aggressive military drills, with Donald Trump routinely threatening war via Twitter. Then this meeting in Singapore happened. Now things look much different, so I invited Kelsey Davenport back on the show to help explain the significance of this meeting and what we may exp...more

  • A Bold Idea for UN Reform

    Jun 10 2018

    I spent the last weekend of May at a conference in Stockholm called the New Shape Forum. This was an ideas festival and prize competition and workshop all around new ideas for better organizing the world to confront catastrophic global risks.   The Global Challenges Foundation, which convened this, solicited new ideas for global governance and received several thousand ideas from all over the world. Of these submissions, 14 finalists were selected to present their ideas at the New Shape Forum.  ...more

  • World Food Program Director David Beasley on the Food Emergenices North Korea and the Sahel

    Jun 07 2018

    My guest today, David Beasley is the executive director of the World Food Program. We caught up not long after he visited both the Sahel region of western Africa and from North Korea, where the World Food Program is actively engaged. We kick off discussing the situation in the Sahel, where food security conditions are rapidly deteriorating because of a combination of lower than normal rainfall and insurgent activities. Beasley describes the situation there, and also the link between food securit...more

  • What India Can Teach Indiana About Fighting Diabetes

    Jun 01 2018

    Amy Israel is the global health thought leadership and policy director for the health and pharmaceutical company, Lilly.  In that role, she's recently launched a new pilot project to combat high rates of diabetes in three neigbourhoods of the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. But this is a global health story, because the pilot project is using a model for health intervention that was pioneered in the developing world. This is often called the community health worker model, and global health nerds ...more

  • Kristine McDivitt Tompkins was one of the largest private landowners in the world before she gave it away

    May 30 2018

    Kristine McDivitt Tompkins made history earlier this year when she completed what is said to be the largest ever transfer of land from a private entity to a government. In a ceremony in Chile with President Michelle Bachelet at her side, Kristine McDivitt Tompkins formally handed over 1 million acres of land of while President Bachelet designated 9 million more acres to create vast new national parks. This created areas of protected wilderness about the size of Switzerland. That ceremony was the...more

  • A New Ebola Outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo

    May 24 2018

    The ebola outbreak ongoing the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most severe ebola outbreak since the 2014 calamity in west Africa that killed over 11,000 people. Citing figures about this outbreak is a bit tricky because the situation remains extremely fluid.   By the last week of May, there a have been over 20 deaths linked to this outbreak and over 50 suspected cases. But by the time you are listening to this that will inevitably change. So what I wanted to do with this episode is to of...more

  • A Conversation With Michael Møller, Director General of the UN Offices in Geneva

    May 23 2018

    I was a bit skeptical when my guest today told me that every person on the planet, in any 24 hour period, is somehow impacted by the work of the UN and other international entities in Geneva. Still, Michael Møller would be in a position to know. He is the Director General of the UN Office in Geneva, which makes him a very senior UN official. And I must say, he was convincing. As the director general explains, the mundane routines of life -- everything from brushing my teeth in morning to calling...more

  • How Shipping Containers Explain the Conflict in Yemen

    May 18 2018

    For this episode, I wanted to explore a different way to understand the crisis in Yemen.   Yemen has two main ports, Hodeidah to the north, on the Red Sea and Aden to the south, on the Gulf of Aden. Of these two ports, Hodeidah is by far the bigger one. But Hodeidah is under the control of forces aligned with the Houthi rebels. Aden is controlled by forces aligned with the internationally recognized government of Yemen --  a government that is militarily backed by a Saudi-led coalition.   Both t...more

  • Understanding the Gaza Protests

    May 16 2018

    It's been a tumultuous week in Israel and Palestine. On the same day that the United States formally opened its embassy in Jerusalem, dozens of Palestinians were shot to death by Israeli soldiers along the border between Gaza and Israel.  That incident along the border fence was part of a broader Palestinian protest movement that has gained steam in recent months.    The movement is known as the Great Return March. In it, Gazan protesters approach and seek to breach the border fence that separat...more

  • How Colonialism Explains HIV in Africa

    May 11 2018

    Around the world the HIV rates for men and women are more or less equal. Except, that is, in sub-saharan Africa which is the only region in the world where the HIV rates for women are substantially higher than that of men. Scholars call this the "feminization" of HIV and AIDS in Africa and have devoted a great deal of effort into studying why Getting to the bottom of this question is vitally important to combating HIV and AIDS in general. Some 80% of all women who live with HIV are living in sub...more

  • The Demise of the Iran Nuclear Deal and What Comes Next

    May 09 2018

    No journalist covered the ins and outs of the negotiations over the Iran nuclear deal as closely as Laura Rozen. She is a reporter with the middle east news website Al Monitor and in the negotiations that lead up to the July 2015 deal, her reporting and high volume Twitter feed were an essential resource to anyone wanted to know the pulse of these negotiations.   Now that the pulse may be turning to a flatline after Donald Trump's announcement that the United States is withdrawing from the nucle...more

  • Can Dr. Tom Frieden Save 100 Million Lives?

    May 04 2018

    Dr. Tom Frieden lead the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2009 to 2017. He now has a new role: President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies.   And in this role he has an audacious goal: to save 100 million lives.  In our conversation, Dr. Frieden explains why he believes that he can achieve that goal by focusing on two health issues: cardiovascular disease in the developing work and shoring up our global defenses against pandemics.   To those en...more

  • China's Foreign Policy is at a Turning Point

    May 02 2018

    My guest today, Elizabeth Economy, is the author of the new book The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State. The book examines the transformative changes ongoing in China today under the leadership of Xi Jinping.  Xi Jingping has consolidated power in a fairly unprecedented way, and as Elizabeth Economy explains he is fundamentally shifting China's domestic and foreign policies. We spend the bulk of our conversation focusing on Chinese foreign policy, including China's massive fo...more

  • A Past Podcast Guest is Reportedly Tapped for a Top State Department Post: Listening Back on the Paula Dobriansky Interview

    Apr 27 2018

    In the hierarchy of the State Department the Secretary of State, of course, sits on top. Below the Secretary of State is the Deputy Secretary of State and below the Deputy Secretary is the number three post at the state department, the Under-secretary of State for Political Affairs.  According to a recent report in Bloomberg by the journalist Nick Wadhams, Paula Dobriansky has be tapped to serve in that number 3 spot. Wadhams cites three sources "familiar with the decision," though neither Dobr...more

  • How the US Can Get Its Multilateral Groove Back

    Apr 25 2018

    My guest today, Paul Stares, is the author of the new book Preventative Engagement. How America Can Avoid War, Stay Strong, and Keep the Peace. The book identifies what Stares calls "the American predicament" in which United States remains the principal guarantor of global peace and security, but that in the process of maintaining global peace and security the United States becomes overly extended and prone to costly military entanglements. Stares offers a way out of this predicament that does n...more

  • Venezuelans are fleeing their country in record numbers. This is Latin America's worst-ever refugee crisis

    Apr 20 2018

    Latin America is experiencing its worst-ever refugee crisis. By most estimates, several thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing the country every single day.  In recent weeks the pace and scale of this refugee crisis has sharply increased. There is no end in sight.   My guest today, Andrei Serbin Pont, explains why Venezuelans are leaving their country in such profound numbers. He is the research director of the regional think tank Cries and recently undertook a study of the Venezuelan refugee cris...more

  • The View From Europe

    Apr 18 2018

    We are in a period of profound domestic turmoil here in the United States. I clearly don't need to run down the list of everything out of the ordinary that is happening in DC -- you know full well this is not normal.    But I am curious to learn how some of America's longstanding allies in Europe are interpreting this unique moment of US history and I was also curious to learn how diplomacy with the United States has changed over the last year and half since Trump took office.     So, I could no...more

  • Episode 190: Suzanne DiMaggio

    Apr 16 2018

    Suzanne DiMaggio specializes in what is called Track Two diplomacy with countries that have limited or no diplomatic relations with the United Stats. In practice, this has meant that she's spent countless hours over the last nearly twenty years in meetings with North Koreans and Iranians and those encounters have lead to some major diplomatic breakthroughs.    We kick off defining our terms. She explains what Track Two diplomacy means, as opposed to, say "back channel" diplomacy. We then preview...more

  • What happened to Iraq's Oil Wealth?

    Apr 12 2018

    What happened to Iraq's oil wealth? That is the central question of the book: Pipe Dreams: The Plundering of Iraq's oil Wealth by my guest today Erin Banco.   Erin Banco is an investigative reporter at the Star Ledger in New Jersey, where she covers the intersection of money and government. She has reported from the middle east for years and puts her investigative skills to use by examining documents and cultivating sources who explain the sordid tale of corruption surrounding Iraq's oil wealth,...more

  • Episode 189: Steve Coll

    Apr 05 2018

    My guest today is the renowned journalist Steve Coll. He is a staff writer at the New Yorker, dean of the Colombia School of Journalism and former president of the New America Foundation think tank.  In 2005 he wont he Pulitzer for his book Ghost Wars, which examines the secret history of the CIA in Afghanistan from the Soviet invasion to right before the September 11 attacks. It is the foundational text that provides the history and context for understanding America's involvement in Afghanistan...more

  • Bosnia is Vladimir Putin's Next Target

    Apr 04 2018

    A few weeks ago I was having lunch with a former high ranking US diplomat whose work focused on Russia and Europe. I asked him where he thought Vladimir Putin might target next to sow instability and without missing a beat he said: Bosnia. A scattering of recent think tank and press reports offer some insights into Russian meddling in Bosnia. It is an extremely under-covered global story, but one that has the potential to cause unrest not only in the Balkans, but across Europe. On the line with ...more

  • Episode 188: Bangladeshi Immigrant Rais Bhuiyan Survived a Hate Crime and Fought to Save from Execution the Man Who Shot Him

    Mar 30 2018

    On September 21, 2001, Rais Bhuiyan was working behind the counter at a gas station outside Dallas, Texas when a man named Mark Stroman walked in brandishing a sawed-off shotgun. Stroman was a self-proclaimed white supremacist in the midst of a deadly hate crime spree. Seeking revenge for the recent September 11th attacks just days earlier, he roamed the area looking for what he believed to be Arabs to kill. In that killing spree Stroman took the lives of an Indian immigrant named Vasudev Patel ...more

  • Palestinian Refugees are about to Face Yet Another Crisis

    Mar 29 2018

    The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, known as UNRWA, is facing a crisis. This is the humanitarian agency that provides relief for Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. This includes running hospitals and schools that serve about half a million children. Typically, the United States has provided about one third of UNRWA's overall budget, judging the organization to be a source of stability in an otherwise volatile region.  The Trump administration, however...more

  • I Started My Career as a Journalist Covering John Bolton. Here is What I have Learned (special episode)

    Mar 27 2018

    I got my start in journalism covering John Bolton when he was the US Ambassador to the United Nations.  At the time, I was a reporter for the political monthly The American Prospect. I sometimes quip that I owe my career to Bolton because covering his time at the UN was my entry point into covering the United Nations more broadly. My reporting at the time culminated in a cover story that was published in January 2006 that detailed Bolton's tenure thus far at the UN and broke a few scoops about h...more

  • Episode 187: Wanjira Mathai

    Mar 23 2018

    Wanjira Mathai is a Kenyan environmental and civic leader. She is the chair of the Wangari Mathai Foundation, which is named after her mother who won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.   Much of Wanjira's work focuses on the intersection of women's empowerment and environmental sustainability. We kick off with a discussion about her work with a group called the Partnership on Women's Entrepreneurship in Renewables (wPOWER). Much of our conversation discusses the challenges and opportunities around ren...more

  • A Successful End to the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Liberia

    Mar 20 2018

    By the end of this month the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Liberia will no longer exist. The mission, known as UNMIL, is closing shop after nearly 15 years in operation, and its closing this is a major milestone and success for both Liberia and the United Nations. In 2003, it was hard to imagine this day would ever come. Around 250,000 people had been killed in a singularly brutal civil war, the infrastructure that existed in the country was decimated and most Liberians who had the oppo...more

  • Episode 186: Maggy Barankitse saved thousands of children in the wake of a genocide

    Mar 18 2018

    Maggy Barankitse is the founder of Maison Shalom, an orphanage and school that was created in Burundi in the wake of the Civil War there in the 1990s. Like in neighboring Rwanda, the conflict in Burundi involved acts of genocide pitting ethnic groups against each other.   The conflict came to Maggy's town on October 24th 1993. At the time, Maggy was working as a secretary in the local catholic diocese in her hometown of Ruyigi, Burundi. What happened was an act of unspeakable cruelty and I am go...more

  • Meet Mike Pompeo

    Mar 14 2018

    I am still catching my breath over the news that Rex Tillerson was fired and CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been nominated as his replacement as Secretary of State. That happened, of course, just days after a South Korean diplomat announced a summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, scheduled for May.   I was just getting my head around that news and its broader implications when, of course, the firing-by-tweet occurred.    Fortunately for all of us, I had on my schedule an interview with Uri ...more

  • Episode 185: Joseph Kaifala

    Mar 11 2018

    Joseph Kaifala was just a child when civil war broke out in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The war came to his town in 1989 and as a seven-year-old was imprisoned with his father. They were eventually released and Joseph and his family spent much of the next decade on the run from a brutal civil war that seemed to follow them everywhere. Kaifala recently published a memoir of these experiences titled Adamalui: A Survivor's Journey from Civil Wars in Africa to Life in America. He is also the subject o...more

  • How Democracies Can Defend Themselves from Disinformation Campaigns

    Mar 07 2018

    As the United States enters its next election cycle, our democracy is still extremely vulnerable to disinformation campaigns from Russia. Other democracies, particularly in Europe, are also vulnerable to this kind of threat and, indeed, have also been the target of Russian meddling.    A new report from The Atlantic Council identifies some concrete ways that the United States and Europe can better protect themselves against propaganda, disinformation, and election related hacking. On the line wi...more

  • Episode 184: Noubar Afeyan

    Mar 02 2018

    Noubar Afeyan is a business leader, entrepreneur and philanthropist. In 2015, along with other decedents of survivors of the 1915 Armenian genocide, he co-founded the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.  This initiative, as Noubar explains, seeks to empower modern day survivors of genocide and mass atrocities through a variety of projects the most high profile of which is a $1 million prize for individuals who are saving lives and promoting humanitarian values in the face of extreme adversity.  Noub...more

  • Why We Lie About Aid

    Feb 28 2018

    My podcast guest today Pablo Yanguas is a research fellow at the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester. He is the author of the new book "Why We Lie About Aid: Development and the Messy Politics of Change." In this conversation we discuss the central thesis of his book which is that there is a profound gap between the politics of development, and how economic development is actually achieved on the ground in the developing world. And the book is provocative for arguing tha...more

  • Episode 182: Sulome Anderson

    Feb 23 2018

    Sulome Anderson was in utero when her father, the journalist Terry Anderson, was kidnapped in Beirut. She met him for the first time as a six year old, when he was finally released by his Hezbollah linked captors. Her book The Hostage's Daughter investigates the circumstances of her father's kidnapping and also serves as a memoir of her own experience dealing with her trauma and the trauma of her family. The book was published about 18 months ago to critical acclaim and it's since been optioned...more

  • The Conflict in Syria Enters a New Phase

    Feb 21 2018

    The conflict in Syria has entered a new phase. ISIS has been defeated, yet in many ways the war is metastasizing. In places like Eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus, the war is as brutal as ever. After days of extremely heavy bombing, the UN secretary general called Ghouta "hell on earth."  Meanwhile, in another part of Syria, in the northern town of Afrin, you have a situation where the US-backed Kurdish forces that were instrumental in defeating ISIS are now under attack by America's ...more

  • Episode 181: Djibouti Democracy Activist Daher Ahmed Farah

    Feb 16 2018

    Djibouti is the only country in the world that hosts military bases for both the United States and China. The US base, Camp Lemmonier, hosts US special forces and its only a few kilometers from China's only military base outside of Asia. France, the former colonial ruler, also has a base in the country. That so many countries would want their military stationed in tiny Djibouti is partly due of the country's geography. It is strategically located in the horn of Africa, bordering Somalia, Ethiopi...more

  • Why American Funding for the United Nations is a Bargain

    Feb 15 2018

    It's budget season in Washington, DC. And this year (like last year) the White House has requested massive cuts to foreign affairs spending in general, and to the United Nations in particular. The Fiscal Year 2019 budget request from the White House asks for about a 30% overall cut in non-military international affairs spending over current spending levels. Congress, which ultimately controls the purse strings, has largely pushed back against these more draconian spending measures.  On the line ...more

  • Episode 180: Anote Tong, Former President of Kirabati

    Feb 12 2018

    To the people of Kiribati, climate change is an existential threat.  This is an Island nation in the pacific -- it is a string of atolls about halfway between Australia and Hawaii. It has a population of about 100,000 and is known for its vast Tuna stocks. But climate change and rising sea levels are making much of Kiribas uninhabitable--it is a country that is facing extinction. And not in some distant future. This is happening now.  My guest today, Anote Tong served as President of Kiribas ...more

  • Olympic Truce? Not! Emerging Political Science Shows Us that International Sports Are Actually Bad for World Peace

    Feb 07 2018

    All eyes turn to South Korea for the start of the Winter Olympics this week. There is always a political political component to this Olympics and indeed all major international sporting events. This year, much of the commentary will focus on how the olympics is providing a platform for cooperation between the Koreas--they are marching under a single flag and joining forces for Women's hockey.  But emerging political science suggests that contrary to popular perception, international sporting ev...more

  • Hate Speech is on the Rise in Poland

    Feb 02 2018

    Last week, the Polish Senate passed a law that would make it a criminal offense to claim that Poland was complicit in Nazi crimes. The Israeli government strongly opposed this measure, as do most people who care about honest academic discourse. Nevertheless, the measure was passed and now awaits the signature of the president to become law.  When I caught up with my guest today, Monika Mazur-Rafał, Poland's lower house had recently passed the law and as Monika explains the public debate and dis...more

  • Episode 179: Max Boot

    Jan 31 2018

    Max Boot is a foreign policy commentator and historian. Just this week he was named a contributing writer to the Op-ed page of the Washington Post. He is the author of several books;  his most recent is The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam  Lansdale was a CIA officer who was the inspiration behind the title character of the famous Graham Green novel, The Quiet American. As Max explains Lansdale pioneered a "hearts and minds" approach to the Vietnam quandary an...more

  • Donald Trump's Nuclear Weapons Policy is Radically Different from His Predecessors

    Jan 25 2018

    You've may of the Doomsday Clock. This is a rubric created by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists at the dawn of the nuclear age to demonstrate how close humanity is to nuclear annihilation. Midnight symbolizes doomsday -- and the closer the clock moves to midnight, the closer we are to nuclear war.   Well, on January 25th, the scientists behind the nuclear clock moved it a tic closer -- to two minutes before midnight. This is the closest the clock has been to the doomsday scenario since 1953. The...more

  • A Crisis in Cameroon is Forcing Anglophones to Flee the Country

    Jan 24 2018

    Over 10,000 people have fled from English speaking regions of Cameroon to neighboring Nigeria in recent weeks. They are escaping an ongoing crackdown by Cameroonian security forces against a movement that is demanding greater autonomy for English speaking regions from the French dominated central government.  In Cameroon, the struggle for more equal political rights and power by English speaking regions is a longstanding issue. It's commonly known as "the Anglophone problem." Over the past coupl...more

  • Mexican Towns Are Taking Security Into Their Own Hands

    Jan 21 2018

    Tancintaro, Mexico claims to be the "avocado capital" of the world, selling one million dollars worth of the fruit per day. But what makes Tancitaro truly interesting is that the orchards--and the town itself--is under the protection of a militia funded by the avocado growers.     In a fascinating piece in the New York Times, Amanda Taub, Max Fisher and Dalia Martinez use the towns of Tancitaro, Neva and Monterrey to demonstrate a trend in Mexico: cities are effectively seceding from the state. ...more

  • A School in India is Trying to Disrupt the Caste System

    Jan 17 2018

    Shanti Bhavan is a school in the Tamil Nadu state of southern India that serves children from the Dalit community. These are the some of the poorest children in the country. Systemic inequality has kept many members of this community in extreme poverty. (The Dalits were sometimes referred to as the "untouchables" in India's now-illegal caste system.) Shanti Bhavan seeks to break that cycle by offering high quality education and other life skills to its students. And for its successes to that end...more

  • Episode 178: Lidia Bastianich is a celebrity chef, and a refugee

    Jan 15 2018

    Lidia Bastianich is a chef, restauranteur, cookbook author, TV personality, entrepreneur and for the purposes of this conversation, most importantly a refugee. She was born on the Istrian Penninsula to an ethnic Italian family. This is a region on the Adriatic Sea, in modern day Croatia. Following World War Two it was ceded from Italy to the control of Yugoslavia, which was under the communist rule of Marshal Tito.  As Lidia explains, policies that Tito enacted lead to the displacement of hundre...more

  • Episode 177: Robert Malley is the new head of the International Crisis Group

    Jan 10 2018

    Robert Malley is the new president and CEO of the International Crisis Group. He took over on January 1st. The International Crisis Group, of course, provides the public and policymakers with analysis of conflicts and potential ways out of conflict around the world. As regular listeners probably know it is one of my go-to resources for understanding crises and conflicts around the world and analysts from the Crisis Group are regular guests on the this show.  (I did not realize this when I reache...more

  • What Big Data Can Teach Us About Terrorism

    Jan 05 2018

    At the very end of last year I had the opportunity to moderate a panel at the United States Institute of Peace that served as the launch of a new report called the Global Terrorism Index.  This is a one-of-its kind quantitative examination of the impact of terrorism around the world. It includes a look at the number of terrorism deaths, the geographic distribution of terrorist attacks (including the countries and regions where terrorism is on the increase or decrease) and importantly, it puts al...more

  • Big Protests are Sweeping Across Iran

    Jan 03 2018

    Iran is in the midst of its most significant protest and popular uprising since 2009, when the so-called Green Revolution was quashed by the government.    Now, since December 28th, tens of thousands of people -- possibly more -- have taken to the streets in several different cities in demonstrations against both the more moderate elected President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and the more hardline supreme leader Ali Khameni.     As my guest today Ariane Tabatabai explains, these protests began largel...more

  • Episode 176: Daniel Webb

    Dec 31 2017

    Since 2013, the government of Australia has enforced a policy of sending any refugee or migrant who arrives who arrives by boat to detention centers in Papua New Guinea or the remote island nation of Nauru. They do so without exception.  Daniel Webb is an Australian lawyer who is fighting that policy.     He is the Director of Legal Advocacy at Australia's Human Rights Law Center and he represents asylum seekers who are stranded indefinitely in Nauru and in Papua New Guinea.    In 2016 Daniel...more

  • After a Vote, The United States Finds itself Isolated at the UN. (Plus: A 2017 UN Year-in-Review)

    Dec 22 2017

    On Thursday, December  21 the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning the United States' decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The resolution passed 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions, despite the fact that in the days leading up to the vote Donald Trump and Nikki Haley threatened to cut off US aid to any countries who voted against the United States.    Meanwhile, a day earlier, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al Hussein announced that...more

  • Meet the US Youth Observer to the UN

    Dec 19 2017

    Munira Khalif is the US Youth Observer to the United Nations. This is a position created in partnership between the State Department and the United Nations Association of the United States to help give youth a voice in official and semi-official diplomatic settings. Munira is a student at Harvard, though she is taking some time off to focus on this new role, in which she will serve for a year.  And in this conversation Munira discusses her work and what is involved in giving youth a voice at the...more

  • The International Committee for the Red Cross Plays a Unique Role in International Affairs

    Dec 15 2017

    The International Committee for the Red Cross/Red Crescent, otherwise known as the ICRC, is a singularly unique international organization. It was founded over 150 years ago to care for soldiers wounded in battle and has evolved substantially since then. Over the years, it has helped shape what is known today as International Humanitarian Law, which are the laws of war. This includes the Geneva Conventions in which the ICRC is specifically named.  Today, the ICRC works in conflict zones around t...more

  • Episode 175: Dr. Mozhdeh Ghasemiyani is a Psychologist who Escaped a Genocide

    Dec 13 2017

    Dr. Mozhdeh Ghasemiyani is a psychologist with Doctors without Borders. She is a Kurdish refugee to Denmark and recently delivered a TED Talk describing her refugee experience. In the talk she draws on her knowledge as a psychologist specializing in trauma and PTSD to explain how the traumatic experiences of refugee children can have life long effects.    Mozhdeh Ghasemiyani is someone i have known for years. We are both Humanity in Action Senior Fellows and lived in DC at the same time some yea...more

  • Trump's Jerusalem Gamble

    Dec 06 2017

    The United States will formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol and intends to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv — thus, decreed President Trump from the White House yesterday. The move bucks decades of US policy, which sought to include the status of Jerusalem as part of a broader peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Meanwhile, virtually the entire world warned President Trump against this declaration, fearing that it will sow instability throughout the region and ere...more

  • Episode 173: Dr. Joanne Liu, Head of Doctors Without Borders / MSF

    Dec 01 2017

    Dr. Joanne Liu is the International President of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), otherwise known as Doctors without Borders. She is a Canadian Pediatrician by training and has been with MSF for almost her entire career. She became the international head of MSF in 2013.   We spoke not long after she visited MSF's operations in a stretch of land in Bangladesh called Cox's Bazar. This is where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have fled from neighboring Myanmar in recent months and it is t...more

  • Episode 172: Agnès Marcaillou Leads the UN's Bomb Squad

    Nov 29 2017

    Agnès Marcaillou is the director of the United Nations Mine Action Service. This is the UN agency that helps clear mine fields, defuse IEDs and clean up unexploded ordinance around the world. It is the UN Bomb Squad.  In this conversation, we discuss the problem of landmines and unexploded ordinance around the word, the work of UNMAS, and how funding shortages is preventing her agency from being maximally effective in places like Iraq, where UNMAS has received high praise for defusing a bomb-lad...more

  • Zimbabwe and the fall of Robert Mugabe, Explained

    Nov 19 2017

    Zimbabwe has had exactly one leader in its entire 37 year history as an independent country. That was, until November 14th Robert Mugabe was deposed in an apparent coup. What happens next is still very much in the air. Right now, Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace are under an apparent house arrest, though it seems he may soon be forced into exile. Meanwhile, his recently sacked vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa seems to be calling the shots.     On the line with me to discuss recent events in Zim...more

  • Can ISIS Face Justice for the Atrocities They Have Committed?

    Nov 16 2017

    Over the last several weeks, ISIS has been systematically losing territory. Its last stronghold in Iraq, the city of Hawija, was liberated in early October. A few weeks later, ISIS' de-facto capitol in Raqaa, Syria fell to US-backed forces. ISIS no longer controls any major city in the region.   With the group mostly defeated on the ground, the international community is starting to think through some difficult and fraught questions of how best to bring ISIS to justice for genocide, war crimes a...more

  • Episode 170: Peter W. Galbraith

    Nov 13 2017

    Peter Galbraith helped uncover and confront two genocides. As a staffer in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the 1980s, Peter compiled evidence of Saddam Hussein’s genocide against the Kurdish people. Later, as the United States Ambassador to Croatia during the 1990s, he used his position to call for more forceful intervention on behalf of besieged populations in the Balkans. We discuss both these events, plus what it was like to be born the son of the 20th century’s most celebrated publ...more

  • The Crisis in Yemen Takes A Turn for the Worse

    Nov 08 2017

    Saudi Crown Price Mohammad bin Salman consolidated power in a pretty dramatic fashion by detaining would-be rivals and diminishing other power centers in the country. These moves coincided with an apparent rocket attack, launched from Yemen, toward the vicinity of an airport in Riyadh. That sparked a very dramatic decision by the Crown Prince to impose a total blockade of Yemen. That decision could have a profoundly devastating impact on the situation in Yemen, where nearly the entire population...more

  • How Trump's Radical Approach to "Sovereignty" is shaping International Relations

    Nov 06 2017

    Donald Trump's approach to sovereignty is not unique in American history. There is a longstanding political tradition that seeks no compromise with the world and see's all interactions with allies and adversaries as zero sum. What is different is that no American President has held these views until now. Stewart Patrick is author of the new book The Sovereignty Wars Reconciling America with the World. The book examines how debates about sovereignty in the United States shape American foreign pol...more

  • The International Relations of California

    Nov 02 2017

    If California were a country, it would be the sixth largest economy in the world. Its population is greater than countries like Poland and Canada.  So what happens in California can very much impact the rest of the world. And one fairly direct manifestation of California's global relevance is in the state's approach to climate change. Earlier this summer, California revamped its Cap-and-Trade program. This is a policy innovation intended to curb emissions by creating a market around greenhouse g...more

  • Episode 169: Farida Nabouremba, Democracy Activist in Togo

    Oct 27 2017

    Farida Nabourema spoke from an undisclosed location in West Africa, out of fear for her personal safety. Farida is a prominent Togolese activist and these are very tense times in Togo. Several people were killed in protests in recent months amid a growing opposition movement that is calling for the re-instatement of presidential term limits. These term limits are guaranteed under the Togolese constitution, but nonetheless are being ignored by the regime.   Togo is a small country in west Africa,...more

  • How Tunisia Became the Only Real Arab Spring Success Story

    Oct 25 2017

    Safwan Masri set out with a simple question: of all the countries caught in the turmoil of the Arab Spring, how is it that Tunisia was the only country to successfully replace a long ruling despot with a more or less functioning democracy? His new book Tunisia: An Arab Anomaly takes a deep dive into that question, examining Tunisia's history, politics and, crucially some decades old educational reforms.  This is a very interesting conversation about both the Arab Spring, and Tunisia's unique exp...more

  • Episode 168: 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Beatrice Fihn

    Oct 20 2017

      Exactly two weeks to the day before this interview, Beatrice Fihn received a phone call from Norway. It was the Nobel Committee informing her that the NGO she leads, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.  The committee cited ICAN, as the NGO is known, for its work to achieve an international treaty against nuclear weapons. The treaty is often compared to the Landmine Ban Treaty and Convention Against Chemical Weapons in that it invokes b...more

  • This Supreme Court Case Could Have a Big Impact on US Foreign Policy

    Oct 18 2017

    A case that is pending before the Supreme Court of the United States could have profound implications for human rights and corporate social responsibility around the world. The case is called Jesner vs. Arab Bank. It is a lawsuit in which The plaintiffs allege that Arab Bank, which is a Jordanian financial institution, facilitated payments to terrorist groups that carried out attacks in Israel, killing and injuring them.    Now a case involving foreign victims of a terrorist attack carried out o...more

  • Episode 167: Alexis Okeowo

    Oct 16 2017

    Alexis Okeowo is a staff writer for the New Yorker whose debut book was published earlier this month. The book,  A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa has been getting rave reviews --  rightfully so. The book tells the story of subtle forms of resistance; how individuals, in their own way, are pushing back against injustice. In doing so, she shines a light on some important though often overlooked global stories, like slavery in the country of Mauritania o...more

  • Will Trump Destroy the Iran Nuclear Deal?

    Oct 11 2017

    President Trump is widely expected to decertify the Iran Nuclear Deal. But what decertification actually mean? And will this action destroy the Iran Nuclear Deal? On the line with me to discuss these questions and more is Spencer Ackerman, the Pulitzer Prize winning reporter with the Daily Beast.   It's becoming increasingly clear that even if this White House action does not result in the re-imposition of US sanctions, which could kill the deal, it nonetheless undermines American credibility am...more

  • Can UN Peacekeepers Prevent the Central African Republic from Descending Deeper into Conflict?

    Oct 06 2017

    The Central African Republic is facing some serious challenges right now. Four years ago, the country was on the brink of genocide after the longtime strongman Francois Bozize was ousted in an armed rebellion. The violence quickly turned sectarian with Christian and Muslim militias attacking civilian populations and displacing hundreds of thousands of people. UN Peacekeepers along with French forces deployed to the country and prevented this crisis from spiraling totally out of control. A peace ...more

  • What the Kurdish Independence Referendum Means for the Middle East

    Oct 04 2017

    People in Kurdish region of Iraq have voted overwhelmingly for independence in a popular referendum that took place in late September. No country in the region wanted this referendum to happen--and neither did the United States, with whom the Kurds have been a longtime ally. Soon after the results were announced, the Iraqi government and other countries in the region like Turkey and Iran threatened retaliatory measures.   The implications of this referendum and its fallout are still unfolding, a...more

  • Episode 166: Ambassador Keith Harper

    Sep 29 2017

    When Keith Harper was confirmed as President Obama's Ambassador to the Human Rights Council he became the first American-Indian to achieve the rank of Ambassador. The longtime attorney for native American rights soon put his knowledge of tribal culture to use in Geneva where he represented the United States on the top UN human rights body.  Keith is a Cherokee Indian. He was born in San Francisco and from an early age was animated by a civil rights movement known as "Red Power." After law school...more

  • Trump's New Travel Ban Has One Historic Precedent: The Chinese Exclusion Act

    Sep 27 2017

    The Trump administration this week announced sweeping new restrictions on travelers from eight countries:  Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen Days later, the administration formally established that the United States will take in no more than 45,000 refugees fleeing conflict around the world. This is a record-low cap on the number of refugees that the United States has ever resettled since 1980. To put this in context, the previous cap authorized by President Oba...more

  • Episode 165: Meghan O'Sullivan

    Sep 25 2017

    My guest today Meghan O'Sullivan is the author of the new book Windfall: How the new energy abundance upends global politics and strengthens American power. And we kick off our conversation with a discussion of the ways in which the natural gas boom in the united states is changing international diplomacy and geopolitics. It's fascinating stuff. Meghan is the Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School and has had a career in government and the t...more

  • The Challenge of Getting Refugee Children in Quality Schools

    Sep 21 2017

    Amid all the pageantry, hoopla and media circus that is UN week in New York there is always some interesting and substantive work being done on important global issues. Sometimes these issues are not on top of the agenda of world leaders (though they probably should be) and conversations around them do not get the kind of attention they deserve for one reason or another. So, I was very glad to catch up with Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children to have a conversation about the ch...more

  • The United Nations and Donald Trump Get to Know Each Other

    Sep 16 2017

    World leaders gather at the United Nations this week for the annual summit at the United Nations General Assembly. This is always one of the big highlights of the international diplomatic calendar and it will be all the more interesting this year for the fact that President Trump is making his UN debut. So what should expect from Trump at UNGA? What are some of the big issues on the diplomatic agenda in New York this week? How much oxygen will the US President suck from the room? On the line to ...more

  • Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar

    Sep 13 2017

    Nearly 400,000 ethnic Rohingya have fled Myanmar across the border to Bangladesh. By the time you listen to this, that number will almost surely be much higher.  Since late August, security forces from the government of Myanmar (also called Burma) have attacked villages and towns in a seemingly coordinated fashion to create a massive displacement crisis. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has described what is happening a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”   On the line with me to dis...more

  • Episode 164: John Shattuck

    Sep 08 2017

    John Shattuck is the former US Ambassador to the Czech Republic, former President of the Central European University, and served as the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy Human Rights and Labor During the Clinton administration.  He is currently a professor at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts John was deep in the policy debates over the US response to the Rwanda genocide and explains how and why the United States failed to mount a meaningful response to this crisis. John als...more

  • Can the International Community Do Hurricane Response Better?

    Sep 07 2017

    With Houston still reeling from Hurricane Harvey, Irma causing massive havoc in the Caribbean, and more storms on the way, I thought it would be timely and interesting to speak with my guest today, Maria Ivanova Maria Ivanova is an academic who straddles the university and policy worlds to help think through the connections between human security, environmental stresses and global governance--that is, the mechanisms that the international community and beyond have designed to deal with environm...more

  • Episode 163: Helene Cooper is a pulitzer prize winning journalist and refugee from Liberia

    Sep 01 2017

    Helene Cooper is the Pentagon correspondent for the New York Times. She is also the author of the new book "Madame President: The extraordinary journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf" which is a biography of the Liberian president and nobel peace prize winner was was Africa's first female head of state.  Helene was born and raised in Liberia. Her family fled to the United States in 1980, when she was 13 years old, following a coup. Her immediate family was brutally targeted during this coup.  She desc...more

  • Cutting Edge Research Finds a Link Between the Cost of Getting Married and the Outbreak Violent Conflict

    Aug 30 2017

    My guest today, Hillary Matfess of Yale, has discovered that there is a link between bride prices and violent conflict.     She is the co-author of a fascinating new paper that appears in the current, Summer 2017 issue of the academic journal International Security. In it, she and her co-author Valerie Hudson identify how the cost of getting married can lead to the outbreak of violent conflict and war.    Brideprice  is sometimes known more commonly as dowry payments, but it is essentially, as M...more

  • Senator Sam Nunn Explains How a New "Fuel Bank" Can Curb Nuclear Proliferation

    Aug 25 2017

    In Kazakstan this week, the international atomic energy agency is opening a new facility that will serve as a bank for low enriched uranium.    This facility is known as the LEU fuel bank and its opening is the result of over a decade of work by my guest Senator Sam Nunn.    Now the idea behind the, bank which Senator Nunn explains in detail is basically this. countries that want to use civilian nuclear power must either build their own enrichment facilities, or must purchase enriched uranium on...more

  • Poland is Fighting for its Democratic Life

    Aug 19 2017

    Poland is in the midst of a democratic backslide. The country's politics is dominated by the far right Law and Justice Party, which has embarked on a series of moves to curb the independence of the judiciary and free press. This has put Poland on a collision course with the European Union, of which it is a member. It has also earned the government the praise and support of Donald Trump--indeed Trump visited Poland this summer and delivered a rabble rousing speech appealing directly to right wing...more

  • Can North Korea Be Stopped?

    Aug 15 2017

    Tensions are very clearly escalating on the Korean Peninsula, with the North making unrelenting progress on their nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and the United States president now overtly threatening a new war.    In the meantime, the United Nations Security Council, which of course includes China, the United States and Russia, passed a new round of sanctions on North Korea intended to force Pyongyang back to the negotiating table -- but as of yet it is unclear if these new sanction wi...more

  • *** Special Episode *** Your Questions About Careers in International Affairs, Answered

    Aug 09 2017

    After receiving dozens of emails from podcast listeners asking for career advice, I decided to put together this special episode in which your questions are answered. On the line are Paul Stronski and Alanna Shaikh, two individuals who have had varied careers in world affairs. Paul is a senior fellow with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Alanna is a consultant who has worked with several international development and global health organizations. They were on hand to answer ques...more

  • Somalia is Caught in a Conflict-Climate Change Nexus

    Aug 04 2017

    Somalia is ground zero for an emerging trend in global affairs-- the nexus between climate change and conflict. My guest today, journalist Laura Heaton  spent years reporting on how climate change and conflict feed off each other in profoundly destabilizing ways in horn of Africa.  She's the author of a feature story in Foreign Policy magazine that uses the work and life story of  a British Scientist named Murray Watson to explain how climate change in Somalia has exacerbated conflict -- both lo...more

  • Everything You Know About Sweatshops is Wrong

    Jul 26 2017

    Chris Blattman is a development economist who routinely conducts experiments to test ideas related to reducing poverty and improving the well being of people living in poorer countries. His latest experiment takes on the question of sweatshops--whether they are good for the poor, exploitative, or something else.  Along with his colleague Stefan Dercon, Chris went to Ethiopia and — performed the first randomized trial of industrial employment on workers. They went to five factories and followed t...more

  • An Unprecedented Coalition of NGOs Has Formed to Fight a Global Food Emergency

    Jul 19 2017

    On July 17 a very rare thing happened in the world of humanitarian relief. Eight organizations that typically compete for donor dollars joined forces to launch a joint appeal to raise funds and awareness around a global food crisis. Some 20 million people in four countries— South Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia — face acute food scarcity. South Sudan even experienced a famine for a period of time this year. Facing funding shortages and relatively little popular awareness of this crisis, these ...more

  • Peace Breaks Out in Colombia

    Jul 14 2017

    On June 27th, FARC rebels turned over the last of their weapons to the United Nations in a ceremony attended by both the leader of FARC and President Juan Manuel Santos. This officially marked the end of a over 50 year civil war that killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions more.  So how did we get to this point? And what are some of the big challenges that lay ahead for Colombia as peace takes hold? I put these questions and more to Kyle Johnson of the International Crisis Group. I r...more

  • Episode 160: Wendy Pearlman is an academic who studies the Middle East in an unusual way

    Jul 12 2017

    Wendy Pearlman is an academic who studies the Middle East, but also writes popularly focused narratives that examines everyday life of people caught in the chaos of the region.Her latest book, We Crossed a Bridge and it Trembled: Voices from Syria, is a collection of interviews of Syrians displaced by the war. That book was published by Harper Collins in June, but she used some of the research in that book for peer reviewed academic papers, that among other things examine the role of fear in rev...more

  • Episode 159: Eric Schwartz, former top State Department official who ran US refugee programs

    Jul 07 2017

    Eric Schwartz served as the top refugee policy official in the Obama administration as the Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration between 2009 and 2011. He was recently appointed the president of Refugees International, an advocacy organization in Washington, DC. We kick off this conversation discussing US refugee policy in the wake of President Trump's attempts to sharply curb the number or refugees allowed into the United States.   Eric has had a fascinating career...more

  • This Could Be Africa's Next Big Crisis

    Jun 30 2017

    Conflict is escalating in one region of the Democratic Republic of Congo and this conflict  has the potential to become one of Africa's next big crises.    At issue is a brewing situation in a region of DRC called Kasai. Now, if this is unfamiliar to you, it is with reason. This was not a region heretofore that had experienced much violence or conflict that caught international attention. (Indeed it is the far away eastern part of the country -- and this is a very large country, about the size o...more

  • How the Supreme Court's Ruling on Trump's Travel Ban Will Impact Refugees Around the World

    Jun 28 2017

    The Supreme Court has issued a preliminary decision on Trump’s travel ban–and this decision could have a profound impact on refugees around the world. The court upheld key portions of the travel ban pending a final ruling by the court in October. This includes a 120 day ban on all refugees coming to the United States from everywhere in the world — though with some exceptions. On the line with me to talk through the Supreme Court ruling, including its implications for US refugee resettlement poli...more

  • Episode 157: Jeffrey Smith Helped Bring Down a "President for Life"

    Jun 23 2017

    My guest today Jeffrey Smith helps topple dictators for a living. His organization, Vanguard Africa, is very new but they already have one success under their belt--the peaceful transition of power from The Gambia's longtime ruler. He now has his sites set on Africa's second longest ruling leader, Paul Biya of Cameroon. We kick off with a discussion of the situation in Cameroon and have great digressions about the Zimbabwe, some deficiencies of the NGO community in DC and, of course, the Gambia....more

  • The Latest World Population Facts and Figures Were Just Released

    Jun 22 2017

    Pop Quiz: do you know how many people are in the world right now?    The answer is 7.6 billion.    That data point and much more are contained in a report called "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision," which was recently published by the UN. The report contains all sorts of facts and figures that are both interesting on its own, but also extremely consequential to understanding the future of our species in a very literal sense.    On the line with me to talk through some of the demogra...more

  • Episode 156: Greg Stone -- Ocean Scientist, Explorer and Advocate

    Jun 16 2017

    Gregory Stone once lived underwater for 30 days. He is an ocean scientist and author who has spent a career studying and advocating on behalf of our oceans. He's now with an executive vice president with  Conservation International  and is one of the world's leading authorities on ocean health and ocean conservation.   We caught up just as a big UN conference on oceans was wrapping up in New York. This was the first-ever UN conference on Oceans and ocean health and we kick off discussing some of...more

  • Episode 155: Marietje Schaake, Member of the European Parliament

    Jun 14 2017

    Marietje Schaake was under 30 years old when she first joined the European Parliament as a representative from the Netherlands in 2009. She candidly discusses the kinds of challenges she faced as a young woman navigating what was then--and still is--mostly and old mens club.  We caught up shortly after a series of consequential elections in Europe, including the victory of Emmanuel Macron in France and the surprising  near-defeat of Therese May in the UK. We kick off this conversation discussing...more

  • Episode 154: Hans Binnendijk

    Jun 09 2017

    Hans Binnendijk is a senior fellow at the Center for Transatlantic relations and a longtime DC foreign policy insider. He served in top posts in the Clinton administration, including in the National Security Council and he was the founding director of the Center for Technology and National Security Policy at National Defense University.   Hans is a senior foreign policy hand who has collected many affiliations along the way.    Hans wrote one of my favorite op-eds of all-time, that made the cas...more

  • Saudi Arabia moves against Qatar and we now have yet another crisis in the Middle East

    Jun 07 2017

    There is yet another crisis in the middle east. This week, Saudi Arabia and its close allies in the region moved against Qatar, cutting off sea and air travel and moving to isolate their fellow sunni Gulf country.  Like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Qatar is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional group of erstwhile allies that coordinate security policies against Iran and other common threats. But tensions have been brewing for many years between Qatar and other countr...more

  • What You Need to Know About the Paris Agreement Pullout

    Jun 02 2017

    Donald Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement   In the wake of this decision, I wanted to get a sense of the consequences of this decision to both the climate change goals embedded in the Paris Agreement and also to the wider diplomacy and geopolitics that surrounds global climate change.    I bring you two perspectives on these very timely questions. First, I speak with Paula Caballero of the World Resources Institute who does a good job explaining the kinds of gl...more

  • What you need to know about the world's "Internally Displaced"

    May 31 2017

    One overlooked aspect of the global conversation on conflict, disaster and humanitarian affairs is internal displacement and the plight of internally displaced people, or IDPs. Like refugees, IDPs have been forced from their home by conflict or disaster. But unlike refugees, they have not crossed an international border and are not afforded the kind of legal protections embedded in widely adopted international treaties like the refugee convention. But as my guest Alexandra Bilak a explains, the ...more

  • Episode 153: Sharon Weinberger

    May 26 2017

    Sharon Weinberger is the author of the new book The Imagineers of War:The Untold Story of DARPA. DARPA, for the un-initiated, stands for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and it is the branch of the Pentagon that is famous for developing some far-out-there technologies, some of which were total flops but others that have become central to not only modern warfare, but also daily life. We have a fascinating conversation about the history of technology in modern warfare and the implica...more

  • What Political Science Can Teach Us About the Killing of Journalists

    May 24 2017

    We are nearly six months into the year and already 9 journalists have been killed in 2017, including 4 in Mexico alone. That figure comes from reporters without borders and is part of a larger data set that my guest Sabine Carey is collecting on the murders of journalists around the world.  Sabine is a political scientist at Mannheim University in Germany, and co-author with Anita Gohdes of a new study about the killing of journalists around the world.  Their research finds that the murder of jo...more

  • Episode 152: Jill Filipovic

    May 19 2017

    Jill Filipovic is author of the new book The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness. She is a Nairobi based journalist, but we caught up while she was on book tour in her hometown of Seattle.    Jill is someone I've known both online and in real life for many years. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and regular contributor to the Guardian among many other publications. She is one of the original pioneers of political blogging; her contributions to the blog Feministe ...more

  • Trump's First Foreign Trip: Here's What to Know

    May 17 2017

    As I'm typing, the White House is busy doing damage control over revelations that Donald Trump revealed sensitive information to the Russians when he met wth the Russian ambassador and foreign minister the day after he fired the FBI director. But at the same time, the White House is also preparing for Trump's first foreign trip as president. The first stop is Saudi Arabia, followed by Israel and then to Europe, including to Brussels for a NATO summit.  On the line with me to discuss the strategi...more

  • Episode 151: James Walsh

    May 12 2017

    Dr. James Walsh of MIT is a nuclear security security expert and one of the few Americans who have travelled to both Iran and North Korea for talks on nuclear issues. To this day, Jim meets frequently with North Korean officials to discuss nuclear issues. I spoke with Jim the day that Moon Jae-In was elected as president of South Korea, potentially setting up a very different dynamic for nuclear diplomacy with North Korea. We kick off with a discussion about this new South Korean leader and how ...more

  • Meet Emmanuel Macron, the Surprising New President of France

    May 10 2017

    By now, of course, you are well aware that Emmanuel Macron won a stunning election victory in France, besting by huge margins the far right candidate Marine Le Pen. But if you are like me, you probably did not know too much about Macron -- who he is, where he came from, and how he emerged from the political wilderness to become one of the most intriguing personalities in politics today.    On the line with me to discuss the election, give a biographical sketch of Macron and offer insights into t...more

  • Episode 150: Lisa Palmer

    May 05 2017

    Lisa Palmer is author of the new book Hot Hungry Planet: The Fight to Stop a Global Food Crisis in the Face of Climate Change. As the title suggests, the book examines the intersection of climate change, population growth and the politics of food all -- of which we discuss in this episode.  Lisa is a journalist who writes for both popular and academic outlets. She's been covering climate change and environmental issues for many years and she discusses how her upbringing in an agrarian community ...more

  • Yemen, Already Beset by Civil War, is Now Facing Famine

    May 03 2017

    Millions of people in Yemen are facing a potential famine. The country was already the poorest in the region and for the last several years has been beset by a civil conflict stoked by key regional players. And now, one of the lifelines into the country, the Port of Hoedeida, could be beset by intense fighting.    On the line with me to discuss the conflict in Yemen and why despite the availability of food Yemen is still at serious risk of famine is Joost Hiltermann, the Middle East and North Af...more

  • Episode 149: Marcus Bleasdale

    Apr 28 2017

    The internationally acclaimed and award-winning photojournalist Marcus Bleasdale has a spread in the latest issue of National Geographic magazine from his collection of photos documenting the conflict in the Central African Republic. His work in CAR is a good demonstration of how Marcus puts his significant talents to work in the service of human rights around the world. We kick off with an extended conversation about the conflict in CAR and how he want about documenting. Marcus started out his ...more

  • What's Next for Afghanistan

    Apr 26 2017

    When I reached Ahmad Shuja in Kabul the country was still reeling from the deadliest single Taliban attack since the start of the insurgency nearly 15 years ago. Some 160 young soldiers--mostly recruits-- were massacred in a brazen assault on a base in the northern part of the country. That attack came after the United States dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat on what was reportedly a network of tunnels used by insurgents    Shuja is an Afghan analyst and researcher who pre...more

  • Episode 148: Laurie Adams

    Apr 21 2017

    Laurie Adams is president of the NGO Women for Women International which works with women survivors of war. She has had a long career in the NGO sector and as an activist, including many years with Oxfam in various parts of Africa and the NGO ActionAidInternational.   Laurie also had a career as an activist initially inspired by the anti-apartheid movement and we have a really thoughtful conversation about both the role of activism in international affairs and also just how one becomes a profess...more

  • The Venezuela Crisis, explained

    Apr 18 2017

    Venezuela is at yet another crisis point.  The government of Nicolas Maduro is facing steep opposition from the very people that swept Maduro's predecessor and mentor Hugo Chavez to power nearly 20 years ago. But after years of sharp economic decline it appears that the "revolution's" hold on power is a tenuous as ever.    On the line to explain what is going on in Venezuela is Francisco Toro, editor of the news website Caracas Chronicles. He discusses how the situation reached this crisis point...more

  • What Political Science Can Teach Us About the Syria Strikes

    Apr 12 2017

    Micah Zenko has researched whether or not limited airstrikes -- like the kind Donald Trump ordered on Syria last week -- actually achieve their stated political and military objectives.     His book Between Threats and War: US Discrete Military Operations in the Post Cold-War World examined some 36 airstrikes and finds that they very rarely do what they are intended to do. We discuss why that is--and what implications his findings have for further US involvement in Syria.   We do a little name d...more

  • What's Next for the US-China Relationship?

    Apr 05 2017

    Xi Jinping is headed to Mar-a-Lago for his first big meeting with Donald Trump. The US-China relationship is arguably the most consequential bi-lateral relationship in the world so naturally this trip is garnering a lot of attention. But what is actually on the agenda? And how might US-China relations shift in the coming years under President Trump? I put these questions and more to Susan Jakes who is the editor of ChinaFile and Senior Fellow at Asia Society's Center on US-China Relations. She d...more

  • These Are the Smugglers Who Make Mass Migration Possible

    Mar 29 2017

    Despite wide attention to the global refugee and migrant crisis, there has been little research of one key group that facilitates the movement of migrants: the smugglers themselves.  In brand new book published by Oxford University Press authors Peter Tinti and Tuesday Reitano offer an in-depth look at the individuals who make the movement of migrants possible. The book Migrant Refugee Smuggler Savior examines the people and places that are profiting from this global phenomenon. And as the title...more

  • Episode 144: James Goldgeier

    Mar 24 2017

    --Go Premium! Support the Show! Unlock Bonus Episodes! Earn Rewards! --- James Goldgeier is the dean of the school for international service at American University. He's spent a career trying to bridge the gap between academic research and policy makers and he currently runs a program at American University appropriately called Bridging the Gap thats seeks to do just that. Jim is also a Russia expert-- and you might recall that he and I spoke about a month after the election to discuss Russia's ...more

  • What North Korea Wants

    Mar 22 2017

    ---Go Premium! Support the Show! Unlock Bonus Episodes! Earn Rewards! --- Over the past several months, North Korea has engaged in a series of provocative nuclear and missile tests. It conducted nuclear tests in January and then September of last year along with several ballistic missile tests. And in 2017 alone there have been no less than 5 missile launches, most recently on March 6, when North Korea launched four missiles which landed off the coast of Japan.  Meanwhile, later in March Secreta...more

  • Is Torture Making a Comeback?

    Mar 15 2017

    ---Go Premium! Support the Show! Unlock Bonus Episodes! Earn Rewards! ---   Elizabeth Arsenault is a professor at Georgetown University out with the new book How the Gloves Came Off: Lawyers, Policy Makers, and Norms in the Debate on Torture. The book examines how the Bush administration shattered a widely held consensus against using torture and what that means for the current debate about intelligence gathering, Guantanamo, so-called "black sites" and, crucially, executive power.  These debate...more

  • Episode 143: Julie Smith

    Mar 10 2017

    ---Go Premium! Support the Show! Unlock Bonus Episodes! Earn Rewards! --- Julie Smith is Senior Fellow and Director of the Strategy and Statecraft Program at the Center for a New American Security. recently left her post as a top national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. She takes me inside some of the key events, decisions and frustrations from her time in that senior policy making role. Julie is a NATO and European policy expert who spent much of her formative years working in Eur...more

  • Episode 142: Jeremy Konyndyk

    Mar 09 2017

    ---Support the Show! Unlock Bonus Episodes! Earn Rewards! --- Jeremy Konyndyk recently left his post as the top US global humanitarian relief official. Jeremy lead the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance at USAID during much of Obama's second term and we discuss how the US responded to some key disasters, including the ebola outbreak.  Jeremy's been working in this field since the Balkans crises of the 1990s and I caught up with him just as he returned from a trip to northern Nigeria, which is...more

  • What We Mean When We Talk About "Foreign Aid"

    Mar 03 2017

    ---Support the Show! Unlock Bonus Episodes! Earn Rewards! --- You may have seen news reports that the White House wants to substantially increase defense spending, and to offset those increases slash discretionary spending elsewhere. In particular the White House has signaled that foreign aid spending will be sharply reduced.  Foreign aid is one of those issues that is pretty widely mis-understood by the general public; and I think fairly so, because its extremely complicated. I've spent over 10...more

  • Bonus Episodes! A Message from Mark

    Mar 02 2017

    I've started to roll out special bonus episodes for premium subscribers. I'm calling these "Background Briefings." Through interviews with experts, we will provide you with the context you need to understand key ideas, debates, dilemmas and institutions shaping foreign policy and world affairs today. Think of these as "explainers." And you, the listener, get to assign me a topic to explore.   I've created two of these episodes already and many more are on the way. Become a premium subscriber to ...more

  • For the first time in six years, a famine has been declared

    Feb 23 2017

    The United Nations did some extremely rare in February: agencies declared that a famine was ongoing in parts of South Sudan. More than 100,000 people are affected by this famine and childhood mortality rates are already surging there. On the line with me to discuss why this famine declaration was made, what is means on the ground for the people affected by it and the humanitarian agencies trying to contain the damage is Steve Taravella, senior spokesperson for the World Food Program in Washingto...more

  • Episode 139: Bathsheba Crocker

    Feb 15 2017

    Diplomacy runs in her family. Sheba Crocker and her father Chester Crocker are the first parent-child combination to have both served as assistant secretaries of state. Crocker-the-elder was a noted Africa specialist who served in the Regan administration, and Sheba describes his how influence and the influence of her mother's family, who were Jews who fled eastern Europe to Zimbabwe, had a profound impact on her worldview. Bathsheba Crocker recently left her post as President Obama's Assistant ...more

  • Is "Gross National Happiness" the New GDP?

    Feb 12 2017

    Greetings from the World Government Summit in Dubai! This one of those big international conferences (think: World Economic Forum in Davos) that is hosted by the government of the United Arab Emirates. It focuses on ways that governments can better serve their people and operate in the service of sustainable development. There's heavy UN participation (the Secretary General is giving an address.) The heads of the World Bank and IMF are also presenting, among many other national leaders and digni...more

  • Crimes Against Humanity in Burma are Ongoing (and terribly under-covered)

    Feb 08 2017

    Crimes against humanity are ongoing in Burma and they are being committed by the state against the Rohingya people. This is a minority community in Burma that has historically faced intense discrimination, but there was some degree of hope that as the country transitioned to a democracy the situation of this community would improve. Alas, we are now nearly a year into the leadership of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi and the plight of this minority community is as dire as ever.  A numb...more

  • Episode 138: Dr. Larry Brilliant

    Feb 03 2017

    Dr. Larry Brilliant starred in a 1960s film that was a total flop. The movie was called Medicine Ball Caravan and it was a sort of documentary that followed Larry and a bunch of other hippies as they followed the touring busses of acts like the Grateful Dead.   But despite the commercial failure of this film I would posit that it lead, though somewhat indirectly, to the global eradication of small pox. That's because after the filming ended, Larry kept the hippie caravan going until he reached I...more

  • How the Middle East is Reacting to Trump's Travel Ban

    Feb 01 2017

    By now,  you are well aware of President Trump's sweeping ban on migrants from seven Muslim majority countries; the indefinite suspension of refugees from Syria and the suspension of all refugee resettlement into the United States for at least four months. The executive order is, of course, the subject of intense debate and discussion here in the United States, but I wanted to get a sense of how this executive order is playing out in the region so I called up one of my favorite scholars and publ...more

  • Episode 137: Princeton Lyman

    Jan 27 2017

    Princeton Lyman was a long serving US Diplomat who has become one of the leading experts on African politics and policy. He most recently served as President Obama's special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan from 2011 to 2013; but before that had an extensive career in the foreign service that included stints as US Ambassador to Nigeria and to South Africa during the negotiations that lead to the end of Apartheid and the election of Nelson Mandela. And we do have an extensive conversation about his...more

  • Trump Just Re-Instated the "Global Gag Rule." Here's what that means.

    Jan 25 2017

    On his third day on office President Trump signed a memorandum re-instating what is known as the "Global Gag Rule" or sometimes alternatively as the "Mexico City Policy." This is a policy that Republican Presidents enact and Democratic presidents lift when they come to office. Simply put the rule places restrictions on NGOs that receive US government assistance about what they can say about abortion.    As you can imagine, this policy is very much caught up in domestic US politics about abortion...more

  • Live from Chicago! Zalmay Khalilzad: former UN ambassador and GOP Foreign Policy Insider

    Jan 23 2017

    In many ways Ambassador Khalilzad was the ideal person with whom to speak at the dawn of the next republican administration. He served in senior positions in the Bush white house, including as ambassador to his native Afghanistan and Iraq and was also someone on the shortlist for Secretary of State as Donald Trump assembled his cabinet. We kick off discussing what to expect from Trump's foreign policy and how the new president will  approach  some of the myriad of challenges  around the world be...more

  • What's Next for the Israel and Palestine?

    Jan 18 2017

    The Two State Solution--the idea that a sovereign, secure and independent Palestine can co-exist with a sovereign secure and independent jewish state of Israel is arguably as far from being realized now than at anytime in the past twenty five years. With the election of Donald Trump, the unrelenting expansion of Israeli settlements and political incertitude in Palestine it appears we soon may be signing the requiem for the two state solution.   But what comes next? Are we living in the post-two ...more

  • Episode 136: Karen Greenberg

    Jan 13 2017

    Karen Greenberg has spent the last 15 years studying the intersection of national security, terrorism and civil liberties. She's currently the director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School.   She's authored several books on the subject including most recently Rogue Justice: the Making of the Security State. In 2009 she wrote the critically acclaimed Least Worst Place: Guantanamo's First 100 Days. We kick off discussing why was it that President Obama, having come to office ei...more

  • Sponsored: Get a Master of Arts in Social Innovation from the University of San Diego

    Jan 13 2017

    This is a special episode of the podcast sponsored by the Master of Arts in Social Innovation program at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego. This is a brand new program that seeks original thinkers who are looking to make a lasting impact in the world to join the inaugural class. On the line with me to discuss the program, including the curriculum, the faculty and the kind of experience and education students can expect is the dean of the Kroc school, Patrici...more

  • Turkey is in Crisis

    Jan 11 2017

    Turkey is in crisis. A number of terrorist attacks in recent weeks has rattled Turkish society, there is a persistent and ongoing crackdown on civil society, and President Erdogan is engineering constitutional changes to further consolidate power.  On the line with me to discuss recent events in Turkey and offer some deeper context into the political situation and the future of US-Turkey relations is Elmira Bayrasli. She is an author and the co-founder of Foreign Policy Interrupted which seeks t...more

  • Episode 135: Maria J Stephan

    Jan 06 2017

    Maria Stephan is a pioneering academic and public intellectual who studies authoritarian regimes and how they fall. She's the co-author with Erica Chenoweth of the groundbreaking and award winning book Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict which was a first-of-its kind study that offered empirical evidence that non-violent resistance is more effective than conflict and civil war in toppling oppressive regimes. She recently lead a study with the Atlantic Council s...more

  • Here are the big stories that will drive the global agenda in 2017

    Jan 03 2017

    On the line with me to preview the big stories, ideas, trends and crises and provocations that will set the agenda at the United Nations and beyond is Richard Gowen. He's a fellow with the European Council on Foreign Affairs and a regular guest of this very podcast. We have a lively conversation about Trump's relationship with the UN, the new incoming secretary general and more.    We recorded this conversation in late December, before the big vote on Israel settlements into which the president ...more

  • What Russia Wants

    Dec 21 2016

    Russia has successfully influenced the election here in the United States in its favor. It's side is winning the war in Syria. Crimea looks like it will remain in Russia for the foreseeable future and the NATO alliance may become weakened when Donald Trump takes office.  This is pretty much springtime for Putin in Moscow. But what are Russia's grander ambitions? Why did they hack the US election? What do they want from the Middle East? From Europe and China? I put these questions and more to Jam...more

  • Episode 133: Amy Costello

    Dec 18 2016

    Amy Costello is a veteran reporter who now hosts the excellent Tiny Spark podcast that investigates what goes right and what goes wrong in philanthropy, including global philanthropy and the NGO sector. At the very end of our conversation Amy reveals she started this podcast in part as a response to a story she reported that was wildly popular, but she later learned rested on a false premise.  Amy was one of the first television reporters in Darfur during the midst of the genocide, a work for wh...more

  • Trump has Assembled a "Team of Generals." So What's the Problem?

    Dec 14 2016

    President Elect Donald Trump has assembled a team of generals to fill key posts in his national security team. Former Army General Mike Flynn is his National Security Advisor, Marine General John Kelly has been tapped to serve as homeland security chief and of course recently retired marine general ames Mattis has been nominated as Secretary of Defense.    Top military brass have served in civilian roles But never before have so many generals been tapped to serve at once and in top positions in ...more

  • Episode 132: Cameron Munter

    Dec 11 2016

    Cameron Munter was the US Ambassador to Pakistan when US Special forces conducted the midnight raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. He watched the raid live and hours later was dealing with the diplomatic fallout.     Munter had a career in both academia and the diplomatic corps, serving in a wide variety of posts. He's now the president of the East West Institute. And this is arguably the first podcast ever in the history of the universe in which both Otto Von Bismark and Lou Reed are each discuss...more

  • Conditions are ripe for a genocide in South Sudan

    Dec 07 2016

    There are some frightening warning signs that a genocide may erupt in South Sudan. The country has been at war with itself for the better of three years, ever since a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his Vice Preisident Riek Machar turned into an armed conflict between those two men. The conflict took on ugly sectarian dimensions--these men hail from different ethnic groups--and peace has been elusive.    In recent weeks, however, it seems that the government of Salva Kiir is r...more

  • Episode 131: Mark Tokola

    Dec 04 2016

    Mark Tokola is the vice president of the Korea Economic Institute of America. He's a long serving American diplomat with postings around the world and we discuss a few of them in this episode, including his first posting to Turkey where his main job was helping Americans sent to prison on drug trafficking charges. He also compares his work in the Balkans in the 1990s to Iraq after the fall of Saddam and I think makes an important point about the value of multilateralism to American interests.  W...more

  • What Political Science Can Teach Us About Trump's Cabinet Picks

    Nov 30 2016

    Donald Trump's foreign policy and national security team is still taking shape. He has appointed Nikki Haley as his UN ambassador and Mike Flynn as his National Security Advisor. But at the time of recording, he has not picked a Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense.    So how are you best able to interpret and understand the implications of those selections to American foreign policy? Thankfully, there is some is some emerging political science that speaks to the role of advisors in shapin...more

  • Better Know Nikki Haley, the next US Ambassador to the UN

    Nov 29 2016

    --- Support the podcast and join our premium subscribers club! ---> https://www.patreon.com/GlobalDispatches    President elect Donald Trump will nominate Nikki Haley to be his Ambassador to the United Nations. She is a rising star in Republican politics and currently serves as the governor of South Carolina. She was sharp critic of Trump during the primaries, yet he has picked her to represent him at the United Nations.    On the line with me to discuss Nikki Haley, her political background,...more

  • Episode 130: Tali Nates

    Nov 18 2016

    --- Support the podcast! Join the premium subscribers club! --- Tali Nates has a personal connection to Schindler's List. On it was the name of her father and uncle, whom Oskar Schindler saved from a Nazi extermination camp.  She is now the director of the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Center in South Africa and we have a fascinating conversation about how the lessons of the Holocaust are applied and learned in post-Apartheid South Africa.   Tali was born in Israel and moved to South Afric...more

  • What Does President Trump Mean for the Paris Climate Agreement?

    Nov 16 2016

    --- Support the podcast and join our premium subscribers club! --- As Americans headed to the polls on election day, diplomats from around the world headed to Marrakech, Morocco for the first big global climate summit since the Paris Agreement last year. This was to be an important inflection point in the global effort to combat climate change. Just a week earlier the Paris Agreement officially entered into force after the requisite number of countries ratified it and this meeting in Marrakech w...more

  • Episode 129: Maina Kiai

    Nov 14 2016

    --- Support the podcast and join our premium subscribers club! --- Maina Kiai has some profound insights into how governments abrogate the rights of people to freely assemble. He is a Kenyan human rights lawyer and activist who currently serves as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. His career was born in opposition to an oppressive government in Kenya and he discusses the kinds of tactics and strategies he used to advance human...more

  • A Personal Note -- My Pledge to You -- Build Community -- Earn Rewards

    Nov 10 2016

    --- Click here to go to the Patreon Page to earn rewards and support the show! ---    I'll get straight to the point. These are uncertain times. They are confusing times. We are entering the Trump era of American foreign policy. What does that mean for the world? For the ideals we care about? For the entire liberal international world order?  I don't know. But I am going to make a pledge to you right now: I will dedicate this podcast to exploring and explaining the implications of President Tr...more

  • American Foreign Policy in the Age of Trump

    Nov 09 2016

    Donald Trump will become president and commander-in-chief in January. I am pledging to you right now that I will dedicate myself and dedicate this podcast to helping you make sense of foreign policy and world affairs in the era of Trump.   To that end, I caught up with Heather Hurlburt of the New America Foundation. Heather and I have a pretty wide ranging discussion about the implications of a Trump presidency for American alliances, for Syria, for the Iran nuclear deal and for the lives of som...more

  • How the UN is Fighting Hunger in Somalia

    Nov 05 2016

    How the international community saves lives in conflict prone countries or insecure places is becoming increasingly relevant and important to global affairs. On the line to walk me through the nuts and bolts of one of these relief operations is Laurent Bukera, who runs the World Food Program's operations in Somalia.  We have a pretty fascinating conversation about how a humanitarian agency like the World Food Program operates in profoundly difficult environments beset by insecurity and terrorism...more

  • Why Hot Sauce Can Explain the US Election

    Nov 03 2016

    Here we are days from the US election, so I thought to myself let's have a US focused episode that explains US culture and American politics and why Trump is facing such an uphill battle by talking about....hot sauce.  Now, it's been widely reported--and I'm being completely serious here--that this is Hillary Clinton's favorite condiment. And full disclosure: I too love everything spicy. But it is also true that more Americans like spicy food than at any time in the history of this country.   On...more

  • Episode 128: Brian Katulis

    Oct 30 2016

    Brian Katulis is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress where his work focuses on US National Security and Foreign Policy.  He's had a long career working and living in several middle eastern countries at key junctures in their history, including Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Egypt and we discuss many of these experiences in this conversation. We kick off discussing a new report he helped write about some of the key challenges facing the next administration as it navigates an ever e...more

  • The Battle for Mosul

    Oct 26 2016

     Mosul is Iraq's second largest city, and in 2014 ISIS militants took the city as Iraqi army units fled. Now, a large scale military operation backed by the United States is underway to regain control of the city, which is situated in Northern Iraq.  The fight to re-take Mosul may have profound domestic and regional political implications says my guest today Kirk Sowell, publisher of the Inside Iraqi Politics newsletter,  He argues in a recent piece published by the Carnegie Endowment that the o...more

  • Is this the end of the International Criminal Court?

    Oct 21 2016

    Late in the evening on October 20th news broke that South Africa is moving to withdraw from the International Criminal Court. The ICC is the first permanent international court to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity and back in 2002 when it came to life, South Africa was a founding member. In recent years the court has come under criticism by some African governments for holding a perceived bias against Africa, but until now no major country has withdrawn from the court after joinin...more

  • Episode 127: Sarah Chayes

    Oct 19 2016

    Sarah Chayes was a reporter for NPR working in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. Then, in early 2002 she decided to give up her career in journalism to help rebuild the country. She joined the NGO world, eventually founding an Afghan based NGO. And during this time, while living in the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, she became an advisor to the top US generals in Afghanistan.  These experiences in Afghanistan informed her prize winning book, Thieves of State: Why Corruption Thr...more

  • Meet Antonio Guterres, the Next UN Secretary General

    Oct 16 2016

    Last week the UN General Assembly Officially elected Antonio Guterres as the next UN Secretary General. Guterres is a well known figure around the UN and in global politics more broadly. From 2005 to 2015 he served as the UN High Commissioner for refugees and before that he served as Prime Minister of Portugal.  His term begins on January 1st and I thought it would be useful and interesting to learn more about Guterres from two distinct perspectives.   This episode is in two parts. First, I spea...more

  • Beware the Global Superbug

    Oct 12 2016

    At the United Nations last month there was a major meeting at the sidelines of the General Assembly about an issue called anti-microbial resistance. This meeting did not make much news outside the UN bubble, but it was arguably the single most meaningful thing to happen at the United Nations in months.    Anti-microbial resistance is one of the worst global health crises in the world that gets the least amount of attention. The short story is that the antibiotics we use to treat common infection...more

  • Episode 126: Charles Kenny

    Oct 10 2016

    Charles Kenny is an optimist. He's the author of several book about global development, including Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding--And How We Can Improve the World Even More, which was widely hailed across the spectrum and personally endorsed by Bill Gates.  Charles is a fellow with Center for Global Development where his work focuses on a wide array of topics, including the intersection of gender and development and we kick off with a discussion of some new research he's wo...more

  • Why the Colombia Peace Deal Failed and What's Next

    Oct 05 2016

    The 52 year civil war in Colombia between the government and the Marxist rebel group the FARC is the longest running conflict in the Western Hemisphere. But after years of painstaking negotiations, the conflict looked as if it is finally coming to an end. There is ceasefire, and a peace deal was signed in September between FARC's leader and the president of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos.    The government promised to put the peace deal to a final vote among the people of Colombia in a popular refe...more

  • Episode 125: Scott Shane

    Sep 29 2016

    Scott Shane is a veteran reporter with the New York Times.His latest book is titled Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President and the Rise of the Drone. It tells the story of Anwar al-Awlaki and President Obama's decision to kill him. al-Awlaki was an American born man of Yemeni descent. He was a charismatic preacher who later moved to Yemen and joined an al Qaeda affiliate. In 2011 he was killed by a US drone strike, making him the fist American since the civil war to be deliberately assassinate...more

  • The Heroes of Syria

    Sep 28 2016

    When a building is bombed, a group of volunteers known as the White Helmets rush to the scene to dig through rubble to find survivors. In a conflict known for its never-ending descent into depravity, this one group stands apart as true servants of humanity.    On the line to discuss their work is Orlando von Einsiedel, who directed the new Netflix documentary "The White Helmets." The film follows members of the Aleppo contingent of the Syrian Civil Defense Corps as they go on rescue and training...more

  • Episode 124: Sarah Sewall, Live!

    Sep 25 2016

    I was in New York for the UN General Assembly and so was Under Secretary of State for civilian security, democracy and human rights Sarah Sewall. We taped this episode in front of a live audience organized by New York chapter of the group Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, YPFP. Sarah Sewall kicks off telling some behind the scenes stories from her week at the UN and describing what it's like being a top US diplomat during the busiest week on the diplomatic calendar. We then discuss some of ...more

  • UN Week Is Here! These Stories Will Drive the Global Agenda at the UN General Assembly

    Sep 16 2016

    The UN General Assembly kicks into high gear this week as world leaders flock to New York for the annual UN summit. There are many story lines for international affairs nerds to follow, and on the line with me to break them all down is Richard Gowen, a fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations.    Richard and I offer a preview of the big stories, high drama, and possible moments of intrigue that are sure to be present at one of the most important weeks ever year for global affairs.  ...more

  • Here's How the International Community Is Trying to Solve the Global Refugee Crisis

    Sep 14 2016

    -----SUPPORT THE SHOW----- Click here to make a contribution to the podcast -->  http://www.globaldispatchespodcast.com/support-the-show/  World leaders gather at the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York next week. There will be much political drama and diplomatic storylines that I'll discuss in a later episode. But behind all the politics and drama are issues of substance -- and arguably the most important substantive issues on the table relate to the global refugee crisis.  Th...more

  • How Yemen Became Mired in a Brutal Civil War

    Sep 09 2016

    -----SUPPORT THE SHOW----- Click here to make a contribution to the podcast -->  http://www.globaldispatchespodcast.com/support-the-show/  The crisis in Yemen is getting worse by the day. Hospitals are being bombed, seemingly at a routine frequency; some 10,000 people have been killed; and extremist groups affiliated with Al Qaeda and ISIS have gained a foothold in parts of the country.    Yemen is the region's poorest country. And, since the Arab Spring, it's also been one of the most unstab...more

  • This is the worst crisis in the world that gets the least amount of attention

    Sep 08 2016

    -----SUPPORT THE SHOW----- Click here to make a contribution to the podcast -->  http://www.globaldispatchespodcast.com/support-the-show/ Over the course of the last six weeks or so, I've received a series of increasingly urgent sounding press releases from various humanitarian organizations operating in the far northeastern region of Nigeria, called Borno state.    In July, I received this from MSF saying (in all caps) "NIGERIA: CATASTROPHIC MALNUTRITION IN BORNO STATE...A major humanitarian...more

  • Episode 123: Dr. Peter Hotez

    Sep 05 2016

    Dr. Peter Hotez is one of the world's leading experts on so-called Neglected Tropical Diseases. These are a set of diseases, often times parasitic, that have historically afflicted the absolute poorest people on the planet. Some of these diseases are better known, like hookworm or leprosy, and now Zika. But most are virtually unknown outside the medical community, and I suspect many doctors as well, have probably never heard of many of them. That may soon change, thanks in part to the work of Dr...more

  • An Important Message from Mark

    Aug 31 2016

    Guys, I need your help. I need you to support the show. If you can afford it, then please click the link below and make a contribution. I--literally--can do this without you. Or, to put this another way, I can't keep this podcast going without diversifying my funding streams. We get some ads, but not enough to keep the lights on.  Help us keep the lights on, and the quality of content high.  THANK YOU! Mark    -----SUPPORT THE SHOW----- Click here to make a contribution to the podcast -->  ht...more

  • An Insane Drug War in the Philippines

    Aug 15 2016

    The new bombastic and brash president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte is undertaking a war on drugs like no other country on earth. In the last few months, hundreds of alleged drug offenders have been killed on the streets, many by vigilante groups empowered by the government. Meanwhile, Duterte has released a list of hundreds of public officials that he claims are involved in the drugs trade.  It's a human rights disaster unfolding in real time and another indication that Duterte is a singul...more

  • Episode 121: Greg Stanton

    Aug 12 2016

    -----SUPPORT THE SHOW----- Click here to make a contribution to the podcast -->  http://www.globaldispatchespodcast.com/support-the-show/  Greg Stanton has spent a career researching and fighting genocide. He speaks candidly about the psychological toll of this line of work and managing the PTSD which he confronts to this day.  Stanton is a descendent of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and as you'll learn from this conversation, the human rights gene runs strong in this family. His father was a libera...more

  • Why the Battle for Aleppo is So Consequential

    Aug 10 2016

    There is a catastrophe underway in the Syrian city  of  Aleppo. The city has been at the center of fighting since the civil war broke out in 2011, but in recent weeks the battle for Aleppo has become much more intense. And caught in the middle are 2 million people. Food is scarce. Hospitals have been bombed. Humanitarian aid has not been able to reach the city. And earlier this week, the UN warned that water supply has been cut off for about a week.  On the line with me to discuss the situation ...more

  • Episode 120: Derek Chollet

    Jul 29 2016

    Derek Chollet is the author of the new book The Long Game: How Obama Defied Washington and Redefined America's Role in the World.  Derek served in a number of foreign policy positions in the Obama administration, including in the National Security Council, State Department and finally as an assistant secretary of defense for international security so this book serves, very much, as an insider's assessment of 7 years of Obama's foreign policy.    We kick off with an extended discussion about his ...more

  • El Nino Has Caused a Food Shortage in Southern Africa

    Jul 27 2016

    There catastrophe is looming in southern Africa. This year’s historically intense El Nino sparked a region-wide drought that has decimated harvests. The area was already prone to food insecurity, but the extreme nature of this El Nino is causing a humanitarian emergency not experienced in decades. On the line with me to discuss the food crisis in Southern Africa are two officials from the US Agency for International Development, USAID: Dave Harden, the Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conf...more

  • Arsalan Iftikhar Battles Islamophobia

    Jul 22 2016

    Arsalan Iftikhar is the author of the new book Scapegoats: How Islamophobia Helps Our Enemies and Threatens Our Freedoms. Arsalan is a human rights lawyer by training and was one of the original guests on this podcast a couple years ago, when he discussed his career and life journey that lead him to this line of work. Arsalan is on TV a lot. And often times he get's the call after there has been some sort of terrible terrorist attack. To that end, we have an extended conversation about what it's...more

  • UN Secretary General Candidate Conversations: Helen Clark

    Jul 20 2016

    Helen Clark is a candidate to become the next UN Secretary General. She’s the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, serving from 1999 to 2008 and is currently the head of the United Nations Development Program. We spoke in mid-July as part of a series of conversations I’m having with the candidates in the race to replace Ban Ki Moon when his term expires at the end of this year.The goal with these candidate conversations is to learn how some of their past experiences might inform the kinds of de...more

  • Episode 118: Priscilla Clapp

    Jul 15 2016

    Priscilla Clapp had a 30 year career in the state department, which ended in 2002 as the top US official in Burma. She also served in top positions in South Africa in the early 1990s during the transition from Apartheid and in Japan and Moscow.  Clapp is the co-author with Mort Halperin of what I consider one of the most important books you can read about US foreign policy. It's called Bureaucratic Politics and Foreign Policy, and as the title suggests the book describes the role of the bureaucr...more

  • Congress Actually Does Something Good

    Jul 13 2016

    If you follow US politics even just slightly you will probably be surprised to learn that Congress actually did something last week. And deeper still, the action they took was broadly in the service of humanity.   Just after the July 4th holiday Congress passed the Global Food Security Act, which was a piece of legislation that will inform how the US government fights hunger worldwide.    My guest today, Judith Rowland was deep in the trenches of the years long effort to pass this bill. She is t...more

  • Episode 117: Lauren Wolfe

    Jul 10 2016

    Lauren Wolfe is an award winning journalist who covers sexual violence in conflict. She's the director of the Women Under Siege project, which is a journalistic endeavor founded by Gloria Steinem as part of the Women's Media Center to investigate how rape and gender based violence are used as tools of conflict.  About a week before we spoke Lauren wrote an article in the Guardian about a Congolese militia that terrorized a small town in the eastern part of the country by systematically raping ba...more

  • The World's Newest Country Turns Five Years Old and There's Not Much to Celebrate

    Jul 07 2016

    On July 9, South Sudan commemorates its 5th independence day. And I say "commemorates" and not "celebrates" because there is not a whole lot to celebrate. The country has been mired in conflict since late 2013, when a political dispute between president Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar devolved into an armed battle and then full blown civil war.   The consequences of this war for the people of South Sudan have been immense. Millions have been displaced, and though a peace deal was signed la...more

  • The International Development Implications of Brexit

    Jun 30 2016

    Both the European Union and the United Kingdom are important players in international development. In fact the EU is the single largest foreign aid provider; and the United Kingdom's own aid programs, run by the Department for International Development, or DfID, are considered some of the more innovative programs in this space. Also, the UK is one of just a few countries to actually have met a commitment to spend 0.7% of its gross national income on global development. So, it would seem the fall...more

  • Episode 116: Stewart Patrick

    Jun 24 2016

    Stewart Patrick is an international relations scholar with a background in studying human evolution. As you might imagine, that combination makes for some fascinating conversation. Stewart is a Senior Fellow and Director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. He's a Rhodes scholar who has studied the intersection of the evolution of culture and international relations and we have some great digressions about how culture contributes to...more

  • Trouble in the South China Sea

    Jun 22 2016

    You've probably heard about the dispute in the South China Sea. And if you have heard about it, you are probably vaguely aware, as I was, that it involves disputed territorial claims between China and its neighbors, and that in defense of American allies in the region, the US navy is positioning military assets in the area.  On this episode we go a bit deeper into this dispute, its origins, and broader global implications -- of which there are many. On the line to discuss it all is Gregory Polin...more

  • The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Turns 20. It's an anniversary worth celebrating

    Jun 15 2016

    I caught up with my guest today, Arms Control Association president Daryl Kimball from his hotel in Vienna. Daryl, along with hundreds of diplomats around the world were gathered for the 20th anniversary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.   This is a treaty that bans the testing of nuclear weapons and establishes a global monitoring system to ensure that no one can secretly test a nuclear bomb. The treaty was signed by the USA and most countries on the planet back in 1996, but it has not been...more

  • Episode 114: Marc Lynch

    Jun 12 2016

    If you follow the Middle East at all, you've probably read the works of my guest today, Marc Lynch.   Marc publishes widely and in a wide variety of mediums. He's got a high volume Twitter feed under the handle @AbuAardvark and writes regularly for the Monkey Cage blog at the Washington Post.    He is a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, and the founder and director of the Project on Middle East Political Science among other affiliations.  ...more

  • The Worst Dictatorship You Have Never Heard Of

    Jun 08 2016

    The Gambia is a tiny country in western Africa. It's a narrow sliver on the ocean, surrounded by Senegal. It has a population of under 2 million, and according to my guest today, Jeffrey Smith, it is the worst dictatorship you have never heard of.  Smith is a human rights researcher, now a consultant to human rights activists in Africa through his firm Vanguard Africa. In this conversation he describes the politics of repression in Gambia and how the deteriorating situation there is having profo...more

  • Episode 113 Shelly Culbertson

    Jun 06 2016

    In her new book The Fires of Spring my guest today Shelly Culbertson travels to six countries in the Middle East and North Africa to describe for readers how each of these countries are managing the political, economic and social challenges of the post Arab Spring era. Through interviews and drawing on her own expertise as a longtime analyst, Culbertson explains why some countries in the region managed to muddle through the Arab Spring, some collapsed under pressure, and how at least on may have...more

  • Should the Rio Olympics Be Cancelled over Zika?

    Jun 02 2016

    Over the past week, a number of scientists and bio-ethicists expressed deep concern that holding the Olympics this summer in Rio de Janeiro could enable the Zika virus to spread far and wide.    I caught up with one of the world's leading experts on Zika, Dr. Peter Hotez and put the question to him. Dr. Hotez has a lot of credentials. Among other affiliations, he is dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of medicine, where he is also a professor of pediatrics and mole...more

  • Venezuela is on the Verge of Collapse

    May 26 2016

    Venezuela is on a rapid and precipitous decline. You might even say, as my guest today Francisco Toro wrote in a recent piece in the Atlantic that Venezuela is falling apart. Between food, fuel, medicine and commodity shortages, corruption and rampant crime, this one-time middle income country is struggling mightily. There's an incipient humanitarian crisis and instability of Valenzuela could effect the entire region.    Fransisco Toro is the proprietor of the blog Caracas Chronicles and co-auth...more

  • Episode 111: Jennifer Harris

    May 22 2016

    Jennifer Harris has devoted much of her career to studying what she calls "geo-economics," -- the  ability of countries to shape world politics, diplomacy, and global affairs more broadly through the deployment of economic means. She's a Council on Foreign Relations Fellow and co-author, with Robert Blackwill, of the new book War By Other Means: Geoeconomics and Statecraft. Jennifer grew up near an artillery range in Oklahoma and became fascinated with economics from a young age. She was a Rhode...more

  • How One Senator is Trying to Change the US-Saudi Relationship

    May 18 2016

    Senator Chris Murphy wants to change a bedrock relationship in US foreign policy.  In April this year he introduced legislation to restrict arms sales to Saudi Arabia over that country's conduct in the war in Yemen. The Saudi-led air campaign is both causing inordinate civilian casualties in Yemen and not doing much to counter the active ISIS or Al Qaeda branches in the country. Senator Murphy discusses how this legislation hopes to reign in Saudi Arabia's military campaign, which in the view of...more

  • Episode 110: Calestous Juma

    May 15 2016

    Calestous Juma is a prolific author who focuses on the intersection of society, science and international development.    He is a professor and director of the Science, Technology and Globalization project at the Belfer Center for Science and International affairs at Harvard.    Calestous grew up in flood prone village on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya and in this episode he describes how his upbringing inspired his interest in understanding the relationship between nature, economic develo...more

  • How to Fix a Broken Humanitarian System -- The World Humanitarian Summit Has Some Ideas

    May 11 2016

    The international humanitarian system is stretched beyond capacity. In fact, it's fair to say it is broken. The inability of the international community to confront multiple manmade and natural disasters, like the crisis in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, ebola in west Africa and the earthquake in Nepal is a profound contributor to insecurity around the world.There are more people displaced around the world than there has been at any time since World War Two; donors are not committing enough money to ...more

  • How Tom Vilsack and the US Department of Agriculture are Taking on Climate Change

    May 07 2016

    I caught up with my guest today, The US Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack just after he left the stage at the Climate Action Conference in DC. This was a two day UN backed conference with representatives from local and national governments, the business sector, civil society, NGOs and philanthropies gathered to discuss strategies to implement the Paris Agreement.    Some quick background: the cornerstone of the Paris Climate Agreement are a set of commitments by each government to take certa...more

  • What Would Happen if You Offered People Living in Extreme Poverty a Guaranteed Basic Income?

    May 04 2016

    Paul Niehaus is undertaking a radical experiment. His organization, Give Directly, wants to find out would happen if people living in extreme poverty were offered the guarantee of a basic income for ten to 15 years. They plan on launching an experiment in East Africa in which 6,000 people would be given, with no strings attached, enough money to pay for their basic needs over a long period of time.  The idea they seek to test is called the Universal Basic Income. There are some communities aroun...more

  • Episode 109: Tom Nagorski

    Apr 30 2016

    Tom Nagorski is a longtime TV editor reporter and producer for ABC news and is currently an executive vice president at the Asia Society.   Tom's career as a journalist spans some of the major world events of the last three decades, including the dissolution of the Soviet Union and its aftermath, the first Gulf War, the war in the Balkans, Somalia, the second Gulf War, and many many other events. We discuss what it was like reporting on these events and witnessing some world historic moments fro...more

  • Haitians in the Dominican Republic Face Statelessness

    Apr 27 2016

    On the island of Hispaniola, which is shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti, there is an ongoing and overlooked human rights and humanitarian catastrophe. In recent years, the government of the Dominican Republic has taken measures to essentially strip ethnic Haitians of Dominican citizenship. New legal statutes have the potential to render about 500,000 people stateless. (For context and comparison's sake that is roughly the equivalent of the number of asylum applicants in Germany stemming...more

  • Episode 108: Kevin Rudd

    Apr 24 2016

    Kevin Rudd is the former prime minister of Australia who knows China far better than most western leaders. He served from 2007 to 2010, and then again in 2013. These days, among other things, he's president of the Asia Society Policy Institute.  I got to know the prime minister a little bit earlier this year when he moderated a panel on which I was a speaker. The panel was for the Independent Commission on Multilateralism which is putting together a set of policy recommendations for the next Se...more

  • UN Secretary General Candidate Conversations: Srgjan Kerim

    Apr 20 2016

    My guest today Srgjan Kerim is a diplomat with the soul of an artist, who wants to become the next UN Secretary General. Karim is the former foreign minister of Macedonia, was an official in the Federal government of the former Yugoslavia and also served as president of the UN General Assembly back in 2007-8.  He's a self described citizen of the world. He was born in Macedonia, but spent much of his formative years in Germany and has lived at various times all over the world. We discuss his un...more

  • UN Secretary General Candidate Conversations: Vesna Pusic

    Apr 18 2016

    Vesna Pusic is the former foreign minister of Croatia and a candidate to become the next UN Secretary General. She's a sociologist by training. Politician and diplomat by practice and I caught up with her one day after she participated in hours of questioning by UN member states  in what was essentially a very public job interview for the position of Secretary General Pusic grew up in Zagreb in a household of intellectuals in the aftermath of World War Two, which was particularly brutal in Croa...more

  • Who Will Be the Next UN Secretary General?

    Apr 14 2016

    Something extraordinary took place at the United Nations this week. For twenty hours, over three days, each candidate in the race to become the next UN secretary general submitted themselves to hours of questioning by member states and civil society. This was a radical departure from how things were done previously. For the past 70 years, the Secretary General was picked pretty much behind closed doors by the five veto wielding members of the Security Council. It was a totally un-transparent ...more

  • UN Secretary General Candidate Series: Danilo Turk

    Apr 10 2016

    Danilo Turk is the former president of Slovenia and one of eight currently declared candidates to be the next United Nations Secretary General. He was president from 2007 to 2012 and also served as his country's ambassador to the UN for many years.  Turk was born in 1952, just seven years following the Nazi occupation of Slovenia. He shares how his mother's experience of being sent to a forced labor camp at the age of 14 affected his own childhood. That included an intense focus on eduction. By...more

  • A New, Old Crisis in Western Sahara

    Apr 06 2016

    Ban Ki moon visited a refugee camp in Algeria that is home to people displaced by conflict in Western Sahara and he uttered remarks that created a diplomatic maelstrom. Ban referred to the quote "occupation" of Western Sahara, by the government of Morocco.    Morocco responded with a massive government sponsored protest in the streets of Rabat, and also ceased cooperation with a UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara, including evicting civilian members of that mission. It has also threate...more

  • Episode 104: Mary Fitzgerald

    Apr 01 2016

    Mary Fitzgerald is an Irish journalist who for the better part of five years has covered Libya, including the fall of Gaddafi, Libya's fractured politics, and the the rise of ISIS. Mary got her start in journalism covering the conflict in Northern Ireland and she discusses how she applies what she learned studying that conflict to help her better understand Libya.   We kick off with an extended discussion about the current political situation in Libya, which is complicated, but fascinating, and...more

  • Meet the Next Big Global Environmental Treaty

    Mar 30 2016

    Work started at the United Nations this week on the next big global enviromental treaty. The treaty would create rules of the road for management of the high seas. This would include provisions to create marine sanctuaries and other mechanisms to preserve sea life and biodiversity.  On the line to discuss this new treaty (which does not yet have a name) is Elizabeth Wilson of the Pew Charitable Trusts. She explains the problems that this new treaty aspires to solve, how it would fit into alread...more

  • Anna Day 3:28:16, 12 54 PM

    Mar 28 2016

    The last time I saw Anna Day we were both attending a conference in Dubai. That was just last month, in February. I hopped a plane back to the United States. She went to Bahrain, and was promptly arrested with her crew. They were filming a documentary about the legacy of the Arab Spring uprisings when they were detained by Bahrani authorities and charged with crimes that carried hefty sentences.  Anna recounts that experience in pretty vivid detail. But getting arrested in Bahrain is just the l...more

  • After Brussels, A Disasterous Deal for Refugees

    Mar 24 2016

    The attacks in Brussels this week are accelerating an already heated conversation in Europe about the unrelenting movement of refugee from the Middle East to the continent.  The attacks on Tuesday came just days after the EU sealed a highly controversial agreement with Turkey in which refugees arriving to the greek islands would be expelled back to Turkey.   This agreement is highly maligned by the United Nations and refugee advocates for reasons I discuss with a UN official and a refugee adv...more

  • Episode 102: Somini Sengupta

    Mar 20 2016

    My guest today Somini Sengupta is the United Nations correspondent for the New York Times. She's the author of the new book The End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India's Young which tells the story of a huge demographic challenge facing India today, where 365 million people are between the ages of 10 and 24. It is the youngest country on the planet, and through storytelling and reporting, Somini puts the experiences of India's young into the broader context of the country's political, social and...more

  • How the Islamic State Came to Libya

    Mar 16 2016

    The Islamic state is seemingly on the ascent in Libya. It controls territory, including the coastal city of Sirte, and over the past several weeks it has launched a series of spectacular attacks in Libya and Tunisia.  This episode goes pretty deep into the weeds of the origins of the Islamic State in Libya and its current strategic goals. On the line is Aaron Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Phd candidate and proprietor of Jihadology.net. Aaron explains how The ...more

  • Episode 101: Thomas Fuller

    Mar 13 2016

    Thomas Fuller was the longtime Southeast Asia correspondent for the New York Times. He's now based in San Francisco, but his last posting from the region caught my attention. Fuller describes a scene in which he is interviewing the leader of a protest in Thailand, when that leader is gunned down right in front of him. That experience leads him to his conclusion of the piece: a rampant culture of impunity is threatening the region's otherwise impressive gains. We discuss some of Fuller's other r...more

  • Episode 100: Ashish Thakkar

    Mar 06 2016

    Ashish Thakkar is an African entrepreneur who started his business at the age of 15 having just escaped from the Rwanda genocide. That business, the Mara Group, is now a multi-billion dollar enterprise headquartered in Dubai and with operations in 22 African countries.  I met Ashish a few weeks ago at a conference in Dubai and learned just enough about his personal story to know that I needed to speak with him for a podcast episode. It's an intense story not only of his own escape from the Rwan...more

  • The War Crime of Cultural Destruction

    Mar 02 2016

    On March 1 a man named Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi  made an appearance at the international criminal court in the hague, and in so doing earned the dubious distinction of being the first person to ever appear at the ICC for the crime of destroying cultural heritage. He is accused of ordering and participating in the destruction of centuries old mausoleums in Timbuktu, Mali. Timbuktu was taken over by Islamist extremists in 2012 in the midst of a civil war in Mali, and their puritanical vision of Isla...more

  • Episode 99: Raj Shah

    Feb 26 2016

    Dr. Raj Shah served as the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, from 2010 to 2015. He was just 36 years old when he was appointed to this cabinet-level position, and less than a week into his tenure a massive earthquake struck Haiti. President Obama turned to raj to coordinate the US Government's response. We discuss how he came to terms with that responsibility. We also have a very interesting discussion about his childhood growing up the son of immig...more

  • The Global Implications of Apple V FBI

    Feb 24 2016

    By now you have probably heard of the legal and public relations battle between the FBI and Apple. In short, the FBI is trying to force Apple to unlock the phone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. Apple is unwilling to comply, saying that doing so could endanger the privacy of every iPhone user, everywhere.  This dispute will play itself out in the US legal system. But the result will have profound international implications. On the line to discuss the global consequences of this dispute is...more

  • Episode 98: Susan Benesch

    Feb 21 2016

    Susan Benesch is the founding director of the Dangerous Speech Project. And in this role she has helped to create a set of guidelines that helps policy makers and observers deduce the conditions under which inflammatory public rhetoric crosses the line to become a catalyst for major violence. We kick off discussion what those criteria are have a broader conversation about the role of language in inspiring violence.  Susan had a career as a journalist, covering conflict in Latin America in the 1...more

  • Burundi is in a Tailspin

    Feb 18 2016

    Burundi is in a tailspin. It has been for the last year since President Pierre Nkurinziza decided to run for a constitutionally dubious third term in office. That set off protests, a violent suppression of those protests, and a short lived coup. Now, Nkurinziza is consolidating his hold on power, there is great fear that the situation may devolve into a full blown civil war, and given the history of the region, perhaps even genocide.    The world is pretty aware of this. But the international ...more

  • From the World Government Summit in Dubai

    Feb 11 2016

    I'm coming to you from World Government Summit this week, which is a conference dedicated to ideas and technologies to make government work more effectively.  It's sort of a cross between TED talks and Davos. You have people like Neil deGrasse Tyson discussing government's role science research, fancy displays of drone technologies, and virtual reality stations. But you also have UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Elliason discussing the SDGs and international superstars like Mary Robinson and Moha...more

  • Episode 97: Michelle Mays

    Feb 08 2016

    Michelle Mays is a nurse with Doctors without Borders, better known of course as MSF. She has worked in conflict zones, post conflict zones and generally very intense situations around the world to deliver health care and other services to vulnerable people. MSF has a reputation in the humanitarian community for being the first to arrive and last to leave often times dangerous situations, and its been in the news recently for the fact that its hospitals have been bombed in Yemen, by Saudi forc...more

  • The Syrian Humanitarian Crisis Enters a New Phase

    Feb 03 2016

    The United Kingdom plays host to a major conference this week intended to raise money and political support for the Syrian humanitarian disaster. There are now over 4.6 million Syrian refugees who have fled abroad, mostly to surrounding countries and 7.6 million people displaced inside the country. In all the UN estimates that there by the end of 2016, there will be 18 million people in need of some sort of humanitarian relief, thins like food aid, shelter, medicines. And that is going to cost ...more

  • Episode 96: Raymond Baker

    Jan 31 2016

    Raymond Baker was a newly minted Harvard Business School graduate working in Nigeria in the 1960s when he discovered that foreign businesses were nefariously sneaking money out of the country. After years of working in Nigeria and then internationally as businessman and consultant, Baker founded the NGO Global Financial Integrity to fight what he's termed illicit financial flows out of economies in the developing world. This is a fascinating conversation about an interesting, though little ap...more

  • The Coming Zika Crisis

    Jan 27 2016

    Earlier this week the World Health Organization warned that a mosquito borne viral disease known as Zika was fast spreading throughout the Americas. That includes the United States, which it will likely reach sooner rather than later.  On the line to discuss Zika and its larger public health implications is one of the world's leading experts in tropical diseases, Dr. Peter Hotez.  He is the  Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine Baylor College of Medicine in Houston; The's the Endow...more

  • Episode 95: Elizabeth Economy, and China's environmental challenges

    Jan 22 2016

    Elizabeth Economy has for decades studied something that used to be considered somewhat obscure, but today is very much in vogue: the relationship between Chinese politics and economy to climate change and the natural world. She is now a Senior Fellow and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and she's written a number of books and influential papers examining China and climate change.    She's had a fascinating career. She started out specializing in Soviet studies an...more

  • The Psychology of Drone Strikes

    Jan 20 2016

    Drone strikes are an increasingly common feature of modern warfare; and there have been numerous discussions in the academic literature and beyond about the effectiveness of drones strikes, the morality of the policy, and the larger implications of the United States' growing reliance on drone strikes as part of a broader counter-terrorism strategy.     But for all this debate, there has been very little research into the psychology that surrounds drone strikes. Now, two academics out of George...more

  • Episode 95: Dan Byman

    Jan 18 2016

    Dan Byman was fresh out of school when he took a job as an analyst for the CIA. Byman was a generalist, and they put him on a backwater Persian gulf desk in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Then Saddam invaded Kuwait and the US led a massive military operation to evict the Iraqi army from Kuwait. His memos suddenly had an audience at the highest reaches of government.  That experience led Byman to a career studying the Middle East and global terrorism. He's the author of numerous books on intern...more

  • Rwanda is on a Dangerous Path

    Jan 13 2016

    The journalist Anjan Sundaram is the author of the new book Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship. The book details how the creeping authoritarianism of the Rwandan government has silenced the free press, even as that government is treated as a darling of the international community for its impressive economic gains following the genocide.  In 2009, Anjan took a job teaching journalism in Rwanda. He soon saw that something was amiss. His students were harassed, beaten and one colleague m...more

  • Episode 94: Marcy Hersh understands the plight of female refugees

    Jan 11 2016

    Marcy Hersh recently returned from a research trip to the Balkans, where she followed refugee women and girls as they made their way through Europe. Marcy is a senior advocacy officer with the women's refugee commission, and we kick off our conversation discussing what she witnessed on that trip and the broader struggles that are unique to female refugees around the world.  Marcy has had a long career in humanitarianism. Including a stint in Haiti just after the earthquake. But she started off ...more

  • Decision 2016: Who Will Become the Next UN Secretary General?

    Jan 06 2016

    Happy New Year everyone! And what an interesting an exciting year this will be for the United Nations because the new year marks the semi-official kickoff of the race to select the next UN secretary general.Ban Ki Moon's second and final term expires at the end of the year and now it is up to the world--or, i should say more specifically the Security Council with input from the General Assembly--to find his replacement.  On the line with me to discuss the likely candidates for the next secretar...more

  • An Update From Mark

    Dec 30 2015

  • The Paris Agreement

    Dec 16 2015

    The Paris agreement that was adopted on December 12 was a triumph of diplomacy.  It is also a affirmation of idealism in international relations -- that the anarchy of the international system can be transcended to find global solutions to global problems.     And the fact international community found a way to push the needle in the right direction on as complex an issue as climate change makes other global challenges suddenly seem a little less daunting.   The Paris Agreement itself is pro...more

  • Why Are So Many Eritreans Are Fleeing Their Country?

    Dec 09 2015

    After Syrians and Afghans, the largest nationality of people who are fleeing as refugees to Europe are Eritreans. And the vast majority of Eritreans who are fleeing to Europe are young people between the ages of 18 and 24 who are escaping an oppressive system of compulsory national service.  National service itself is not a problem. Lots of liberal democracies have some of draft or conscription. But the System of national service in Eritrea takes this to the extreme and has become a system of f...more

  • Episode 90: Emma Sky

    Dec 07 2015

    Emma Sky was an Arabist, working at the British Council in 2003 when the United Kingdom joined the US led invasion and occupation of Iraq.  Though she strongly opposed the war, she opted to join the coalition provisional authority, which administered Iraq after the fall of Saddam. Here's why   She served as the top coalition official in the-oil rich and ethnically diverse province of Kirkuk, and later returned to Iraq as the top civilian advisor to advisor to general Ray Odierno as they manage...more

  • Why the Paris Climate Talks Are a Political Tipping Point

    Dec 03 2015

    Unlike any other global climate or environment conference I've covered over the years, civil society and the activist community this time around is genuinely enthused about the Paris Climate Talks. Cautious optimism, or at the very least, not gloom and doom, seems to be prevailing mood.    I asked the leader of one of the most important and largest global climate activist organizations, May Boeve of 350.org, why that is. And her reply is interesting and telling. May says that we are in the mid...more

  • Episode 89: Katie Meyler

    Dec 01 2015

    My guest today Katie Meyler is the founder of the NGO More than Me, which provides schooling and counseling to adolescent girls in Monrovia, Liberia. Katie founded the NGO in 2009, but during the Ebola outbreak last year it transformed into a community hub in the West Point neighborhood of Monrovia, which was the hardest hit neighborhood in the hardest hit city in the hardest hit country by the outbreak.   And we have a powerful discussion of why she opted to stay put in Liberia during the Ebo...more

  • Will the Paris Attacks Lead to a Dayton-Style Peace Plan for Syria?

    Nov 18 2015

    Could the horrible attack in Paris might provide the kind of exogenous shock to the international system that could unstick international diplomacy on Syria and move the needle in right direction? After a key meeting in Vienna of the USA, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and all the relevant regional players it would appear that there is finally some movement on the diplomatic front.  Here with me to discuss the diplomatic implications of the paris attacks is Ambassador Christopher Hill. He is the fo...more

  • The Life and Times of James P Grant, former UNICEF Director, as told by his biographer

    Nov 13 2015

    James P Grant is not a household name. But he most certainly should be. Grant lead UNICEF from 1979 until his death in 1995, and as Nick Kristof once wrote he "probably saved more lives than were destroyed by Hitler, Stalin and Mao combined." He was a force in the UN bureaucracy and on the international stage. And now, for the first time, there is a full accounting of his life and work in the new biography titled "A Mighty Purpose: How UNICEF's James P Grant Sold the World on Saving Its Children...more

  • Paris Climate Talks: What You Need to Know

    Nov 11 2015

    The Paris Climate talks kick off in just a few short weeks. On November 30, president Obama and many other heads of state are going to start weeks of negotiations that if all goes according to plan, will usher in a new kind of international climate change regime.    These talks a huge deal for diplomacy and for the planet. On the line with me to discuss the contours of the talks, expected outcomes, diplomatic intriguies and possible speed bumps along the way is Elliot Diringer, executive vice ...more

  • Playing the Devil's Advocate In International Relations

    Nov 05 2015

    "Red Teaming" is a concept that can trace its origins to the year 1234 when Pope Gregory the IX created the position of Devils Advocate to vet Papal cannonizations. In more modern times, the process has been increasingly used by militaries, the foreign policy bureaucracy and even the private sector to question assumptions and challenge groupthink.    My guest today, Micah Zenko, is a Council on Foreign Relations fellow who has written what is arguably the first and definitely the most comprehe...more

  • What Russia Wants from Syria

    Oct 28 2015

    Less than a month ago, Russia began a military operation in Syria that is ongoing to this day. Russia's direct military involvement in Syria adds a complicated layer to an already complex conflict. On the line to discuss Russia military and political strategy for Syria, and the implications of this military action for the longer term prospects of a internationally negotiated resolution to this conflict is Michael Kofman, who is an analyst at the CNA Corporation and Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson C...more

  • The Foreign Policy Implications of Canada's Elections

    Oct 20 2015

    The Liberal party in Canada, lead by Justin Trudeau, son of Pierre, shocked the world with a big, big win in hotly contested national elections. The Liberal ascent ends a near decade in power for the conservative Stephen Harper and has the potential to fundamentally re-balance Canada's relationship with the world, so says my guest Janice Stein who is the founding director of the Munk School of International Affairs at the University of Toronto. We spoke the morning after the elections and have ...more

  • Episode 84: Felice Gaer

    Oct 16 2015

    Felice Gaer has served on the UN Committee Against torture since 1999, making her the longest serving American elected to a UN Human Rights body. Though there is little power vested in the independent experts who staff treaty organizations, Gaer has been able to move the needle on human rights cases worldwide through creatively deploying the little power she has. This was an lesson she first learned while investigating the disappearance of the soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov in the early 1980s....more

  • My Wife Gave Birth to our Son in the Passenger Seat of our Toyota So This Episode Is About Maternal and Newborn Health

    Oct 14 2015

    So we had a scare. But all ends well.    This episode is in two parts. First, you'll hear directly from my amazing wife about giving birth in our family car. It's a crazy story. Then, I speak with Dr. Luc de Bernis Senior Maternal Health Advisor at the UN Population Fund who puts our experience in a larger global health context. We discuss various interventions to reduce maternal and newborn mortality around the world, including the deployment of what the World Health Organization calls "Skill...more

  • Christine Fair, a scholar of South Asian Security, speaks openly about sexual harassment in the IR field

    Oct 09 2015

    Christine Fair is a respected scholar of South Asian politics and security. But her career path has been tough, with unnecessary obstacles in her way. In this episode, she speaks candidly about overcoming sexual harassment in graduate school and facing threats of sexual violence by the very subjects she studies as an academic. 

  • Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Victor Ochen Survived the LRA

    Oct 06 2015

    The Nobel Peace Prize is announced on October 9. In March this year, Victor Ochen was nominated for the 2015 prize by the same organization the nominated previous laureates, Martin Luther King, Jr, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter and Dag Hammarskjold Victor Ochen may not be a household name. But that may soon change. He is the founder of the peace and reconciliation NGO African Youth Initiative Network, which is active in Northern Uganda. He was the first Ugandan and youngest African ever nominated ...more

  • Civil Rights Icon, UN Ambassador, Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young (Repost)

    Sep 30 2015

    Andrew Young is a civil rights icon who was with his friend Martin Luther King Jr when Dr. King was assassinated in 1968. In this interview, Young traces his a lifelong commitment to non-violence from his childhood in New Orleans, to his civil rights work in the 1950s and 1960s, to becoming Jimmy Carter's ambassador to the United Nations and long-serving Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia.  This is a re-post of Episode 32, published last year. 

  • Introducing the Brand New Sustainable Development Goals

    Sep 23 2015

    UN Week kicks off on a high note on Friday, with the opening of a special summit on the Sustainable Development Goals. Pope Francis will be one of the first to address the summit on Friday morning. President Obama is helping to close the session on Sunday. In between are over 150 speakers, mostly heads of state.  The SDG summit is a very big deal for the United Nations, and quite possibly for all of humanity. It is the culmination of over two years of negotiations over what should replace the M...more

  • UNGA Games

    Sep 17 2015

    The UN Summit kicks off next week in New York! This is always the most exciting time of year for us UN nerds. And between the Pope and Putin, this UNGA promises to be a very interesting one.   Here with me to break down what to expect at the UN in the coming weeks and how make sense of it all is Richard Gowan. We discuss the big stories, the overlooked stories, and political intrigue that will accompany the 70th UN General Assembly.   Gowan is a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Re...more

  • Episode 81: Elmira Bayrasli

    Sep 14 2015

    Elmira Bayrasli is the author of the new book "From the Other Side of the World: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs, Unlikely Places." She is also the co founder of Foreign Policy Interrupted, which seeks to amplify the voice of female foreign policy experts-- and she's a former assistant to Madeleine Albright.   We kick off discussing the new book, which transitions nicely to a conversation about her experience growing up the child of Turkish immigrants and how she got her start working in foreign po...more

  • Why Do Countries Build Walls?

    Sep 09 2015

    Why do countries build fences and walls at their border and under what conditions are those walls and fences likely to work as intended? These questions are obviously topical right now, with the US-Mexico border a hot button issue in the US presidential election; and the Syrian refugee crisis dominating discussion the Europe   But fences and their effectiveness have largely remained off the radar of any rigorous academic study. Until now. In the most recent edition of the journal International ...more

  • Episode 80: Jina Moore

    Sep 04 2015

    When Jina Moore was in Middle School she became intensely curious about the Holocaust, reading about everything she could on the subject. That curiosity improbably led a girl from a small town in West Virginia to become pen pals with the woman who hid Anne Frank.  These days, Jina is based in Nairobi, Kenya and is the the international women's rights correspondent for Buzzfeed, where she's covered key stories, including the ebola outbreak. On a personal note, she is someone whose reporting I'...more

  • The Refugee Crisis Comes to Europe's Doorstep

    Sep 02 2015

    The Syrian refugee crisis has finally made it to Europe's doorstep. Over the past several weeks, masses of refugees have made their way to southeastern Europe, mostly en route to Germany and other countries in northern Europe. After four years of conflict, the Syrian refugee crisis is suddenly a crisis for Europe.   Here with me to discuss the implications of this refugee flow is Ellen Laipson of the Stimson Center. We have a fascinating discussion about how the conflict in Syria and Iraq is m...more

  • Episode 79: Juliana Barbassa

    Aug 30 2015

    My guest today, Juliana Barbassa is a journalist and the author of the new book Dancing with the Devil in the City of God: Rio di Janeiro on the Brink.  We have a great conversation about the current political upheaval in Brazil; how preparations for the 2016 summer Olympics are changing the character of Rio; and why corruption in Brazil's political system is seemingly so endemic.   Juliana had a nomadic upbringing. She is Brazilian, but spent much of her childhood overseas in the middle east...more

  • This Gay Syrian Refugee Risked it All

    Aug 26 2015

    Earlier this week the UN Security Council did something it's never done before: it held a meeting specifically focusing on violence directed against LGBT people. The council called two witnesses, both of whom are gay men caught up in the conflict in the Middle East. The first witness was an Iraqi who spoke to the Council by phone. He spoke anonymously and from an undiclosed location because he was marked for death by ISIS. The second witness was Subhi Nahas, a gay Syrian refugee now living in t...more

  • The Worm Wars!

    Aug 19 2015

    "Worm Wars" is shorthand for an ongoing scientific debate about the efficacy of de-worming programs; that is, programs supported by governments and non profits to stop the transmission of parasitic worms. This debate has become exceedingly heated in recent weeks after new research called into question old research about a key claim that de-worming programs increased school attendence.   This largely academic debate offers key insights into the role of research in influencing international deve...more

  • A New Ebola Vaccine Has Profound Global Implications

    Aug 13 2015

    There is a new ebola vaccine. And it works spectacularly well. A recent paper in the Lancet demonstrated of the 7,600 people in Guinea who received the vaccine, not one person contracted the virus. This 100% effectiveness rate is unheard of.    Dr. Jeremy Farrar is on the line to discuss the implications of this vaccine for the fight against ebola.  He is a professor of tropical medicine and director of the Welcome Trust, a philanthropy that supports medical research. We discuss how the vaccin...more

  • Colombia's FARC Insurgency May Be Coming to an End. But Can the Peace Hold?

    Aug 05 2015

    The FARC Insurgency in Colombia has been raging for fifty years. And now, after a long peace process, it may soon be coming to a formal end. But even though a peace deal may be signed, whether or not that results in a meaningful improvement for the lives of people in rural Colombia is a key determinant of whether or not peace can be sustained.  That is the argument of my guest James Bargent, a freelance journalist in Colombia who has a piece in World Politics Review discussing the prospect of a...more

  • South Sudan is in a Freefall

    Jul 29 2015

    South Sudan is in a tailspin. On July 9, the country commemorated its 4th anniversary of independence but it was hardly a celebration. Since December 2013 the country has been in a freefall stemming from when a political dispute between President Salva kiir and his rival Riek Machar turned into open conflict and civil war. Millions have been forced from their homes, a famine might loom over the country, and there is no end in sight.  Here to help explain how things went so badly, so quickly for...more

  • Episode 74: Jessica Jackley

    Jul 27 2015

    Jessica Jackley co-founded Kiva and revolutionized micro-lending. Her new memoir Clay, Water, Brick tells the story of the founding of Kiva and her own personal journey from a religious family in Pittsburgh to becoming a successful social entrepreneur. This is a great conversation about personal development, entrepreneurship, starting Kiva--and then figuring out how to handle its explosive growth.  Also: a podcast milestone! Jessica, and her husband Reza Aslan, have become the first wife and hu...more

  • What Obama's Ethiopia Visit Says About His Africa Policy

    Jul 26 2015

    This is a special bonus episode of Global Dispatches. Mark speaks with Prof Laura Seay about the implications of President Obama's decision to visit Ethiopia, and what it says about US policy toward Africa. 

  • Obama's Kenyan Homecoming

    Jul 22 2015

    President Obama is visiting Kenya this week. This is his first trip to his father's country of birth since becoming president, and people in Kenya are certainly treating it like a homecoming.  Here with me to discuss the symbolic and political relevance of this historic trip is Wycliffe Muga, the Weekend Editor of the Star Newspaper in Kenya.    Wycliffe and I have a rather lively conversation about what this trip means to ordinary Kenyans, what impact it might have on the Presidency of Uhu...more

  • The IAEA and Iran

    Jul 15 2015

    The nuclear deal with Iran is essentially grand bargain: Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear program in exchange for a gradual easing of international and national sanctions. But as President Obama is fond of saying, the agreement is not based on trust. It's based on verification. And the entity responsbile for verifying Iran's compliance with the nuclear accord is the International Atomic Energency Agency.   Here with me to discuss how the IAEA will go about this mission is Tom Colina, policy ...more

  • An Update....And A Question for all You Global Dispatchers

    Jul 13 2015

    Taking a break this week. Instead, I wanted to give you all an update on where things are going with the podcast. Let me know what you think.  

  • Can a UN Conference in Ethiopia Solve the Riddle of Financing International Development

    Jul 08 2015

    A hugely consequential UN conference kicks off in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia next week. It has has not gotten a tremendous amount of media attention, but it is pretty big deal for most of the world. At the heart of this conference is one very big question: can the idealism embedded in principles of sustainable development actually be paid for? Who will pony up the funds? And how?   The conference is officially called the "Third International Conference on Financing for Development"  The decisions a...more

  • Episode 72: Anand Gopal

    Jul 02 2015

    Anand Gopal's first book, "No Good Men Among the Living: America, The Taliban and The War through Afghan Eyes," was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize. And deservedly so. This book is easily one of the best and most important foreign policy books of the last decade and certainly the most enlightening book written about the Afghan War.  As its title suggests, Gopal offers a rarely seen perspective on the US-led intervention in Afghanistan by profiling individuals--both civilian and Taliban -...more

  • UN Peacekeeping is Facing Some Big Challenges. Can It Adapt?

    Jul 02 2015

    A panel of independent experts recently published an exhaustive and hotly awaited report on the future of UN Peacekeeping The panel was lead by Jose Ramos Horta, the Nobel Laureate and former president of East Timor--a country where peacekeeping played a key role in its turbulent early ears. The report was a pretty big deal in UN circles. Its release provides a good inflection point to discuss UN peacekeeping, the big challenges it faces, and how current trends in global security are going to f...more

  • Episode 71: Stephen Morrison

    Jun 29 2015

    Stephen Morrison is the Senior Vice President and Director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. He's had a long and fascinating career working on development, human rights and health issues around the world. His PhD work focused on the political economy of countries that bordered apartheid South Africa and spend much of the 1980s and 1990s working on African issues in Congress and for the clinton administration. We discuss the or...more

  • The UN Charter Turns 70 Years Old. Here is How it Came to Life

    Jun 24 2015

    The UN Charter turns 70 years old on June 26. This is the founding treaty that created the United Nations and in this episode you will learn the fascinating and legitimately entertaining history of that document and of the 1945 San Francisco Conference that produced it. Ban Ki Moon and a number of international dignitaries are visiting San Francisco this week to commemorate the occasion, so I caught up with the writer Stephen Schlesinger, author of Act of Creation: The Founding of the United Na...more

  • Episode 70: Paula Dobriansky

    Jun 21 2015

    Paula Dobriansky served as Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs for pretty much the entire George W Bush administration. Prior to that she served in the Bush 41, Reagan and Carter administrations in various foriegn policy capacities. And prior to that she was a Sovietologist studying at Harvard.  She's now back at Harvard, and reflects on her time in government. We kick off with a discussion about the situation in Ukraine and then have a longer discussion about some fun highl...more

  • A Fugitive from the International Criminal Court Escapes from South Africa

    Jun 17 2015

    Earlier this month, the African Union held a summit in South Africa. Among the attendees was Omar al Bashir, the president of Sudan. This was somewhat surprising because Bashir is wanted on charges of war crimes and genocide by the International Criminal Court. And South Africa, as a member of the ICC, is treaty bound to arrest fugitives like Bashir.  But South African authorities did not arrest him. So a local human rights group pressed their case in a South African court, which issued an inju...more

  • Episode 69: Kakenya Ntaiya

    Jun 11 2015

    When Kakenya Ntaiya was a teenager in her small Kenyan villiage, she made a deal with her father. She would undergo a public circumcision ceremony if he let her stay in school. 25 years later, Ntaiya holds advanced degrees from universities in the USA and is a public champion for girls' education and an advocate against female genital mutilation. In this episode you will hear the amazing story of how a woman who was born into poverty in a Massai village defied what was traditionally expected of ...more

  • Can ISIS Be Contained? The White House is Betting On It

    Jun 10 2015

    It was a year ago this week that the Iraqi city of Mosul--the second largest city in country--fell to ISIS. The loss of Mosul sparked a re-examination of US policy toward Iraq and ISIS. And just this week, the White House announced that it was sending over 400 military advisers to an Iraqi base that is on the front lines of the fight. On the line with me to discuss the evolution of US strategy to counter ISIS in Iraq is Dr. Steven Metz. He does a very good job articulating that the White House i...more

  • Episode 68: Olivier Bancoult and Chagossian Exile

    Jun 07 2015

    The Chagos Archipelago is a group of islands situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean. You may have heard of the largest of these Islands, Diego Garcia, because it is home to a strategically important US military base. However, the story of how this base came to being is rather sordid. And the plight of the thousands of inhabitents who were expelled from their homeland to make room for this base is utterly tragic.    Today's episode is a little different than what you may be used to from a t...more

  • What Air Conditioners Can Teach Us About International Development

    Jun 03 2015

    What's the relationship between air conditioning, air temperature and income levels? In other words, at what income level and in what climate zones do people opt to purchase A/C? The answer to these questions could have a profound implication on the quality of life of people in the developing world and also seriously strain fragile energy grids and contribute significantly to global carbon emissions. But the question was not seriously studied...until now.    On the line is Lucas Davis who is c...more

  • Episode 67: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

    Jun 01 2015

    Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is a journalist and fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who in April published the book Ashley's War, which tells the story of a group of female soldiers who accompanied special forces during missions in Afghanistan. In this conversation, Mark and Gayle discuss how these units were created and take a deep dive into the history of the role of women in the US military. Gayle has had a very interesting career as a journalist and as an MBA who studied entrepreneurship in ...more

  • Why Most Foreign Aid Does Not Go To the Poorest Countries

    May 27 2015

    Here's a statistic that may surprise you: most foreign aid does not go to the poorest countries on earth. In fact, only about 30% of official development assistance from donor governments goes to the 47 least developed countries in the world. Why is that the case? What would be a more appropriate ratio of foreign aid to the poorest countries on earth? And what could these countries be doing to raise their own domestic sources of revenue so they are not as dependent on foreign aid?   On the line...more

  • The Rohingya Refugee Crisis

    May 20 2015

    A dangerous game of human pingpong is underway in the Adaman Sea between Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Thousands of Rohingya, a Muslim minority primarily from Myanmar, are adrift at sea. Not only is no country taking them in, but Navies have pushed back boats that have made it into harbor. It is a wretched situation of almost unconscionable cruelty. And at the center of it all are human trafficking gangs who operate modern day slave camps from the jungles of Thailand. On the line t...more

  • Episode 65: Jean-Marie Guéhenno

    May 15 2015

     Jean-Marie Guéhenno is the president of the International Crisis Group and long serving head of UN Peacekeeping. He comes from an interesting background--his father was a well known French intellectual whose experience in World War I made him a pacifist. In this episode, Guéhenno discusses his experiences as the top French foreign policy planning official during the fall of the Berlin Wall; what it was like have Kofi Annan interview you for a job; and the future challenges facing international ...more

  • Burundi on a Knife's Edge

    May 13 2015

    Burundi is in the midst of a deepening political crisis that has many observers extremely worried about the prospects of mass violence. Dozens of people have been killed and tens of thousands of people have fled in recent weeks. At time of publication, there's been a reported coup attempt.  Journalist Jonathan Rosen is on the line from Kigali, Rwanda where he is reporting on the evolving situation. He explains the roots of the conflict, its proximate causes, and makes a compelling case that the...more

  • Epsiode 64: Reza Aslan

    May 08 2015

    Reza Aslan is arguably the most influential scholar of religion in America today. He's best known for mixing it up with the likes of Bill Maher and explaining the basics of the academic study of religion to ignorant Fox News hosts. His books "Zealot" about Jesus and "No God But God" about Islam were both best sellers. In this episode Reza recounts his family's escape from Iran during the Revolution and tells the story of his conversion to evangelical Christianity in high school. Reza and host Ma...more

  • The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Means Business

    May 06 2015

    The advent of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, sometimes called a Chinese-led rival to the World Bank, is one of the most genuinely interesting developments in global affairs. Thought not yet operational, it is being formed despite the strong opposition of the USA. The creation of the AIIB, with many US allies joining as founding partners, reflects the rise of China, waning American global influence, the declining relevance of international institutions created after World War Two, and ...more

  • Episode 63: Albina du Boisrouvray

    May 03 2015

    Albina du Boisrouvray is a French countess who sold her family heirlooms to start an anti poverty NGO. She was born into one of the wealthiest families in the world and was a successful film producer when her son, a rescue pilot, died in an helicopter accident in Mali. She then sold most of her possessions and devoted her fortune to fighting AIDS and extreme poverty. Her NGO, FXB International, uses an unconventional and holistic approach to fighting poverty village by village. In this episiode,...more

  • Nepal Dodges a Bullet

    Apr 30 2015

    Two years ago, I asked a top UN expert in disaster to describe the one scenario that keeps him up at night. Without hesitation he said that an intense earthquake in Kathamndu would be a monumental catastrophe that could kill as many as 250,000 to 400,000 people. He was not alone in this estimation. I'd heard humanitarian relief workers say the same thing. On Saturday, April 25 a massive earthquake struck Nepal. And while the damage and destruction is immense and tragic, it was not the cataclysm...more

  • Episode 62: Fareed Zakaria

    Apr 27 2015

    Fareed Zakaria shares stories about his upbringing in India and the influence of his die-hard pro-American mother and Indian nationalist father. He discusses his intellectual journey from a middle class childhood in India to getting getting a PHD at Harvard and becoming the editor of Foreign Affairs magazine at the age of 28. This is a great exploration of the intellectual development of one of the most prominent and oft-cited global affairs analysts of his generation. Fareed Zakaria is out with...more

  • Earthquake in Nepal: "Our Nightmare Scenario," says UN Official

    Apr 25 2015

    An earthquake in Katmandu may become one of the terrible natural disasters of our era.  In 2013, I spoke with Jo Scheuer of the United Nations Development Program. He is an expert in disaster risk reduction so I asked him what disaster scenario keeps him up at night? Without hesitating he said that an earthquake in Katmandu Valley could bring death and destruction even worse than the Haiti earthquake.  He was sure an earthquake would strike — and that the international community was racing the ...more

  • Inside the Fight Against Malaria

    Apr 22 2015

    Humanity is winning the fight against Malaria, but we still have a long way to go. Since the advent of the Global Fund, the Millennium Development Goals and the President's Malaria Initiative, death and illness rates have dropped precipitously around the globe. Now, talk of total worldwide eradication is not as preposterous as it may seem. This is the message that Martin Edlund of Malaria No More has for the policy community ahead of World Malaria Day on April 25. Despite the progress, though, h...more

  • Episode 61: Juliette Kayyem

    Apr 20 2015

    Juliette Kayyem is a practitioner and scholar of security studies. She's a former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, civil right attorney, Harvard Professor and self described "security mom." She even recently ran for governor of Massachusetts. In this episode, Kayyem discusses growing up the daughter of Lebanese immigrants in California and how she transitioned from civil rights law to terrorism and national security issues. Juliette Kayyem is also now a podcaster! This is a great conve...more

  • Palestinians in Syria: Stuck in "The Deepest Circle of Hell"

    Apr 15 2015

    When the Yarmouk refugee camp outside Damascus was overrun by ISIS, a bad situation got much worse. Ban Ki moon called it "the deepest circle of hell" and UN humanitarian agencies are struggling to help people escape from the encampment. On the line to discuss these efforts is Richard Wright of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which is a humanitarian agency for Palestinian refugees in the middle east. Wright relays the current situation in Yarmouk, describes the UN's ongoing efforts t...more

  • Yemen is a Hot Mess

    Apr 08 2015

    Yemen is the latest country in the region to collapse. Shi'ite rebels have taken control of much of the country and Saudi Arabia has launched a military campaign to re-install the ousted government. It's a complex mess, with regional rivalries and local grievances overlaid with sectarian strife. ISIS and al Qaeda are getting in the game, too. If present trends continue the situation could reach Syrian levels of depravity.  On the line today to discuss the underlying causes of the conflict, help...more

  • Episode 59: Caryl Stern

    Apr 06 2015

    Caryl Stern is the president and CEO of the United States Fund for UNICEF. This is the big fundraising arm (think "trick or treat for UNICEF") of one of the most important humanitarian organizations in the world. Caryl Stern's mother escaped the Holocaust at a young age and that experience loomed large over her childhood and eventual career trajectory. In this episode, Mark and Caryl discuss UNICEF's work and funding streams, the role of philanthropy in international development and how a woman ...more

  • The Iran Nuke Deal-- How the Inspections Will Work

    Apr 02 2015

    International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors are going to play a critical role in any final deal with Iran. But who are these inspectors? What do they do? What can't they do? Mark speaks with former IAEA inspector Thomas Shea who offers a grounds-eye view of what a robust inspection regime looks like. Dr. Shea also puts the potential inspections of Iran's program in the broader context of the IAEA's history of its work on behalf of international peace and security. We don't yet know what the Ir...more

  • Episode 58: Victor Ochen

    Mar 30 2015

    Victor Ochen grew up in displaced persons camps in Northern Uganda, fleeing from the Lord's Resistance Army. He emerged from that difficult situation to become a civic leader and peacemaker. And this year, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on behalf of war crimes victims in Uganda. Victor and Mark are old friends, and Victor opens up about growing up in a war zone, losing a brother, and becoming a self-taught social entrepreneur. This is one of the best episodes of Global D...more

  • The Nigeria Elections

    Mar 25 2015

    Nigerians go to the polls on March 28 in consequential elections that could decide the future of Africa's largest democracy. Incumbent Goodluck Jonathan is facing a tight race with Muhammdu Buhari. Security, Boko Haram and a slugging economy are all dominating the campaigns. Meanwhile, Boko Haram and fear of election related violence abounds. Mark speaks with journalist Dayo Olopade about the significance of the elections, what ordinary Nigerians are thinking when they go to the polls, and why f...more

  • Episode 57: Jessica Stern

    Mar 23 2015

    Jessica Stern was a mid level National Security Council staffer when Hollywood literally came calling. Nicole Kidman portrayed a fictionalized version of her work as a nuclear security analyst in the Clinton White House in the film "The Peacemaker" (also starring George Clooney). Stern's academic and professional life have taken some interesting turns. In the 2000s she published groundbreaking research on what motivates individuals to commit violent acts of terror, and she did so by speaking to ...more

  • Israeli Elections--What Happened and What it Means for Peace

    Mar 18 2015

    Benjamin Netanyahu secured a substantial victory in the Israel's elections this week. The consequences of this right wing victory will be profound both for Israeli politics and the prospects for a negotiated two state solution (which just became much dimmer). On the line to discuss what happened in Israel and how it will affect Israel's future and the peace process is Joel Brunold of the Alliance for Middle East Peace. Brunold is an astute observer of Knesset politics and a powerful voice for a...more

  • Episode 56: Todd Moss

    Mar 15 2015

    Todd Moss is a true international development wonk. He's also the author of a critically acclaimed novel--a thriller called The Golden Hour that examines the dysfunction of the American foreign policy bureaucracy through riveting storytelling. In this episode, Moss discusses how fiction can be a useful tool for examining real-world truths about how US foreign policy is made. Moss also discusses his unique path from studying stock markets in West Africa to becoming a novelist, which includes stin...more

  • Guinea Worm Disease is Tantalizingly Close to Global Eradication

    Mar 11 2015

    Guinea Worm eradication is near. Guinea Worm is a waterborne disease that affects only the poorest of the poor people on the planet. But after millennia of inflicting pain and suffering in Asia and Africa, the disease is tantalizingly close to being wiped off the face of the earth. 30 years ago there were millions of cases worldwide. In 2014, there were just 126. This decline is thanks in large part to Jimmy Carter and the the work of the Carter Center, which launched a Global Eradication Progra...more

  • Why Healthcare Systems in the Developing World Need a Shot in the Arm

    Mar 05 2015

    The ebola crisis demonstrated that countries with very weak health care systems are extremely vulnerable to a preventable disease outbreak. Now that the crisis is on the wane, organizations are taking stock of how to build better health systems--the nuts and bolts of how people access the care they need. To that end, Save the Children released a new report this week that ranks 72 poor countries based on the relative strength of their overall health system. Mark speaks with CEO Carolyn Miles abou...more

  • Episode 55: Sarah Margon

    Mar 01 2015

    Sarah Margon is the Washington director of Human Rights Watch. She's spent her career fighting for human rights in Africa and beyond, but took a somewhat circuitous path to get there. In this episode, Margon recounts a recent trip to Iraq to investigate abuses by militias aligned with the Iraqi Army; discusses her relationship with her former boss, Senator Russ Feingold; and describes how she landed a key post with Human Rights Watch. 

  • What We Know About What We Don't Know About International Development

    Feb 16 2015

    How good are the data that drives international development policies? It turns out, not that great. This week's episode comes in two parts. In part 1, Mark speaks with Morten Jerven, author of "Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about it?" who offers an excellent overview of the situation. Next, Mark speaks with one person who is actively trying to solve this problem in one discreet way. Mayra Buvinich is a senior fellow with the United Nations Found...more

  • A Stunning Turn of Events in Sri Lanka

    Feb 16 2015

    Sri Lankans stunned the world--and probably themselves--when they voted to oust a quasi-autocrat from power. In January, a politician named Maithripali Sirisena engineered a surprise electoral upset against Mahinda Rajapaksa, an authoritarian and probable war criminal whose family long held a tight grip on power. In this episode,  human rights lawyer and political scientist Kate Cronin-Furman explains how this upset occurred, what it might mean for other quasi-dictators around the world, and how...more

  • Episode 53: Leila Zerrougui

    Feb 14 2015

    Leila Zerrougui is the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. It's her job to help free child soldiers and ensure that children are spared from the worst effects of war and conflict. In this episode, Zerrougui describes how she recently helped secure the release of child soldiers in South Sudan and reflects on her work to protect children around the world. Zerrougui was born in conflict: she grew up in Algeria during the war for independence and served as a juveni...more

  • Migrant Ship Disasters in the Mediterranean

    Feb 12 2015

    There is a tragedy unfolding in the Mediterranean sea. Migrants trying to reach an Italian island off the coast of Libya are dying by the boatload, and Europe is turning a blind eye. Just this week, the UN Refugee Agency estimated that over 300 people have died already this year taking this perilous journey. Meanwhile, an Italian search and rescue operation that saved thousands of people last year has been shelved. John Dalhuisen of Amnesty International is on the line to discuss this crisis, wh...more

  • Measles Around the World

    Feb 04 2015

    The measles outbreak in the United States is an aberration. Since 2000, measles cases have declined substantially around the world thanks to a worldwide effort known as the Measles and Rubella Initiative. Its goal is to eliminate measles all together by 2020. But is that realistic? And what would that entail? Mark speaks with epidemiologist Dr. Rebecca Martin of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who puts the US outbreak in a global context. She discusses why epidemiologists are...more

  • Episode 51: Ambassador Susan Jacobs

    Feb 02 2015

    Ambassador Susan Jacobs is the Special Advisor for Children's Issues at the State Department. She has the distinction of being the first sitting US government official to be Mark's guest. Ambassador Jacobs describes her office's work on inter-country adoptions and custody disputes and when these issues rise to the level of high diplomacy. Ambassador Jacobs was one of the very first married women to be allowed to enter the US foreign service. She discusses what it took to break that barrier as sh...more

  • Boko Haram and the Nigerian Elections

    Jan 28 2015

    The Boko Haram insurgency is intensifying precisely as Nigerians prepare to go the polls in hotly contested elections. Earlier this month, the group pulled off their deadliest attack to date (though the media was consumed by the Charlie Hebdo attacks). So why is Boko Haram stepping up their attacks now? What effect might it have on the prospects of another term in office for President Goodluck Jonathan? What can the international community do to help beat back this insurgency? And what are the o...more

  • Episode 50: Trita Parsi

    Jan 25 2015

    Trita Parsi is the founder of the National Iranian American Council. He tells Mark the story of his family's escape from Iran to Sweden during the revolution, and how he eventually came to Washington, D.C.  Parsi is a scholar, activist, and media personality who has written extensively on middle east affairs.In this episode, he discusses some of the domestic barriers to a nuclear deal facing Iranian moderates; his amazing personal story; and how he came to found America's only organization dedic...more

  • Obama in India

    Jan 22 2015

    President Obama visits India this week. This means that for the first time in history, a US President will visit India twice while in office. Tanvi Madan of the Brookings Institute discusses the symbolic importance and concrete policy outcomes that this trip may bring. She argues that Obama's decision to travel to India for its Republic Day celebrations could lift a profound psychological barrier that has prevented closer ties between the world's two largest democracies. Have a listen! 

  • Can We Really End Extreme Poverty?

    Jan 14 2015

    In September delegates at the United Nations will decide upon a set of Sustainable Development Goals to replace the Millennium Development Goals, which are expiring. The SDGs will almost certainly set an audacious goal: to totally of eradicate extreme poverty by 2015. Is that even possible? And what will it take to get there? In this episode, host Mark Leon Goldberg gets two distinct perspectives on the substance and process behind the Sustainable Development Goals. First up is John McArthur of ...more

  • Stories that will Drive the Agenda at the United Nations in 2015

    Jan 08 2015

    2015 will be a big year for the United Nations. Richard Gowan of New York University and host Mark Leon Goldberg discuss the debates, events, and ideas that are going to drive the agenda at the United Nations this year. Some of these are predictable (Syria!) others probably under the radar, but will still shape international diplomacy in the coming year. If you are interested in learning what will make ambassadors and diplomats sweat in Turtle Bay in the coming few months, have a listen. 

  • Name Your Favorite Foreign Policy Book of All Time

    Dec 24 2014

    This is a special edition of Global Dispatches Podcast for the holidays! Leave me a voicemail at 202 780 5166 and tell me what book about the world inspired you the most? What book shaped your worldview or informed how you understand international relations, foreign policy or world affairs? Leave me a message at the number above or click on the widget on GlobalDispatchesPodcast.com and I will play your answer on a future episode of the podcast. 

  • How the Pope Helped Seal the Cuba Deal

    Dec 18 2014

    Pope Francis and the Vatican played a key role in brokering the historic resumption of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States. This was high diplomacy, Vatican style. Father Thomas Reese of the National Catholic Reporter walks through the play-by-play that lead to the Pope playing a central role in the USA-Cuba deal. He also discusses the Vatican's robust history of diplomacy and the unique role of the Vatican's veritable clerical army of skilled diplomats. It's a fascinating di...more

  • Episode 45: Aaron David Miller

    Dec 14 2014

    Aaron David Miller has been at the center of nearly every major Arab-Israeli peace initiative since the late 1980s. The historian and Middle East expert discusses what drew him to study the politics of the Middle East and US foreign policy. Miller and host Mark Leon Goldberg have an extended conversation about Israeli politics, what has made Israeli leaders seek peace in the past, and what can be done to set American policy in the region on a better course. You'll learn a lot from this episode! ...more

  • An Ebola Fighter Speaks

    Dec 10 2014

    Time Magazine named Ebola Fighters as their 2014 Persons of the Year. Mark spoke with one of these health care workers, Dr. Joia Mukherjee of Partners in Health, literally as she was en route to Sierra Leone. They discuss why ebola cases are on the decline in Liberia, but not seemingly in Sierra Leone; why the fear of ebola is still much deadlier than the disease itself; why we need to invoke human rights language into any discussion about health care disparities in poor countries; and what less...more

  • Episode 44: Samantha Nutt

    Dec 07 2014

    Dr. Samantha Nutt is the founder of War Child, a group that assists children and their families in conflict affected countries around the world. Prior to founding War Child, Samantha Nutt was a humanitarian worker and researcher in places like Somalia, Burundi and Iraq. She pioneered a kind of gender study in war zones and her research on the deleterious humanitarian effects of economic sanctions is partly why there are so few countries currently under sanction these days. She tells some interes...more

  • High Stakes Diplomacy at the Climate Change Talks in Lima, Peru

    Dec 03 2014

    Delegates from around the world are in Lima, Peru for the latest round of international climate talks, known as "COP20." The climate change conference is not getting a tremendous amount of media attention, but it's tremendously important. Mark speaks with Eliot Diringer of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions about the big issues on the table, the big points of contention, and how these talks might move the needle towards an internationally binding climate accord. These talks are a big de...more

  • Episode 42: Howard French

    Nov 24 2014

    The journalist Howard French spent a career covering West Africa and China for the New York Times. He stumbled into journalism somewhat accidentally while living in the Ivory Coast and has reported from the Liberian civil war, conflict in DR Congo, and covered social upheavals in China.  Now out with a book about China's complex relationship with Africa, Howard sits down with Mark to discuss his unique path to become one of America's most respected journalists and observers of West Africa. Have ...more

  • The Geopolitical Implications of an Iran Nuclear Deal

    Nov 20 2014

    The USA and Iran may remake the geopolitics of the Middle East with a successful outcome of a nuclear deal. Failure to reach a nuclear agreement between the USA and Iran will come with its own set of profound consequences. I speak with Alireza Nader of the Rand Corporation about the regional and global implications of both failure and success in reaching a nuclear deal with Iran. We discuss the potential shifting of alliances in the Middle East, how a detente between the USA and Iran may affect ...more

  • Episode 41: Kori Schake

    Nov 17 2014

    Kori Schake is a Republican foreign policy advisor who served in various positions in the George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush Administrations before joining the McCain-Palin campaign in 2008. Now ensconced in academia, she is working on a book about American foreign policy in the 19th Century. She discusses being mentored by Condoleezza Rice, her regrets about the Iraq War, and why she became a Republican. It's an interesting conversation with a thoughtful critic of my general worldview...more

  • The Rohingya of Myanmar

    Nov 12 2014

    The Rohingya are a religious and ethnic minority in Myanmar that faces horrid abuse and discrimination by Burmese authorities. As the politics of Myanmar lurches toward representative democracy, this group is still excluded from sharing even basic rights of citizenship. Even the lauded Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is shamefully silent about their situation. On the eve of President Obama's second visit to Myanmar, Mark speaks with Matthew Smith of the human rights group Fortify Rights about th...more

  • Episode 40: Tom Hart

    Nov 10 2014

    Tom Hart was at the center of the biggest international development debates of the last 15 years. Now serving as the US Director of the ONE Campaign, Hart lobbied for forgiving the debt of the world's poorest countries in the late 1990s, and in the early 2000s he helped pass the world's largest program to combat HIV/AIDS. In this episode. Hart tells the genesis story of the Jubilee Campaign, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. And "Genesis" i...more

  • The Foreign Policy Implications of the U.S. Midterm Elections

    Nov 05 2014

    The foreign policy implications of the U.S. midterms could be profound. How might Republican control of the U.S. Senate affect the on-going and sensitive nuclear negotiations with Iran? How would it impact President Obama's Foreign Affairs budget requests, and what does the election results say about foreign policy debates within the Republican party? Here with me to discuss these questions and more is Boston Globe columnist Michael Cohen of The Century Foundation. Enjoy (or not, depending on yo...more

  • Episode 39: Erica Chenoweth

    Nov 03 2014

    Erica Chenoweth is a pioneering academic whose ground breaking study on strategic non-violence demonstrated that movements that use non-violent tactics when fighting for the over-through of a regime are twice as likely to succeed as movements that use violence as a tactic. Her book, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Non-Violence, co-authored with Maria J. Stephan, provides an authoritative study of how and when non-violent movements succeed in their goals of overthrowing a regim...more

  • What Ebola Reveals About Americans' Understanding of Africa

    Oct 23 2014

    The ebola outbreak and its importation to the United States has unleashed a wave of panic in the United States that reveals the paucity of Americans' knowledge and understanding of Africa. I speak with Laura Seay of Colby College and the Washington Post who is one of America's premier Africanists. She discusses how ignorance breeds discrimination and policy responses that undermine the effort to contain the ebola outbreak in West Africa. Americans don't know much about Africa or African geograph...more

  • Episode 37: Anneke Van Woudenberg

    Oct 20 2014

    Anneke Van Woudenberg first came to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997 on a drunken dare. The rest is history. In this episode, the famed human rights investigator discusses her life and career working for human rights in Africa. Woudenberg was born in Holland, raised in Canada, and schooled in the United Kingdom before she set foot in the country that would define her career. The name Anneke Van Woudenberg may not ring a bell to you --though it should--but Congolese warlords know and fear...more

  • The Sustainable Development Goals--What You Need to Know

    Oct 16 2014

    The Millennium Development Goals are expiring in 2015 and they will be replaced by the Sustainable Development Goals. This is a big year for international development--and humanity -- as complex diplomacy is underway at the United Nations to finalize what's called the "Post 2015 Development Agenda."   Here with me to discuss the process of creating the Sustainable Development Goals, the substance of those goals and the key points of contention is Minh Thu Pham of the United Nations Foundation. ...more

  • In an historic first, a president faces charges at the International Criminal Court

    Oct 09 2014

    For the first time in the history of the world, a sitting head of state is attending his trial for crimes against humanity. The head of state is Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta. The venue is the International Criminal Court. The stakes are high, but the case against him is troubled. Mark speaks with Mark Kersten of the LSE and SOAS, and author of the blog Justice in Conflict about the case against Kenyatta. They discuss its significance the ICC, and why it's exceedingly difficult to build a case ...more

  • Episode 35: Scott Guggenheim

    Oct 06 2014

    Scott Guggenheim is the most influential development expert that you've never heard of. The writer Rebecca Hamilton sits in for Mark today and interviews Guggenheim about his pioneering model of community driven economic development. This model has critics, but it was proven effective -- of all places -- in Afghanistan in the height of the insurgency. Guggenheim tells Hamilton how this model works, how he came up with it, his friendship with Ashraf Ghani, and his career as a maverick World Banke...more

  • Somaly Mam, in her own words

    Oct 02 2014

    Somaly Mam is on the line today. She is the Cambodian anti-sex trafficking activist who came to prominence a few years ago as celebrities in the west rallied around her and her organization. That all came crashing down this year when Newsweek published a cover story calling into question the credibility of her amazing personal story, which includes escaping from the sex trade herself. She was ousted from the organization that bears her name and was tarnished by some of her closest allies. Then, ...more

  • How the UN Helps Fight Terrorism

    Sep 23 2014

    The Security Council will hold an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, chaired by President Obama, dedicated to stemming the flow of foreign fighters to the Syrian battlefield. The meeting demonstrates that the United States believes the United Nations has an important role to play in the global fight against terrorism. But what, exactly, does that mean? Here to discuss the Security Council meeting and the UN's evolving involvement on terrorism issues (including its strengths and weaknesses) is N...more

  • The Big UN Climate Summit

    Sep 17 2014

    Hundreds of world leaders are descending on the United Nations for a one day meeting on climate change. This is a big deal for the United Nations, for diplomacy, and possibly for the planet. So who is showing up and what countries are snubbing the conference? What will be discussed? And how will this affect ongoing negotiations to construct an internationally binding climate change agreement? Mark speaks with Elliot Diringer of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions who helps put this histo...more

  • Episode 33: Ruth Messinger

    Sep 15 2014

    Ruth Messinger cut her teeth in New York City politics. She was a long serving member of the city council and one-time candidate for Mayor. She made the move from municipal politics to global affairs when she became the head of the American Jewish World Service, an international development and advocacy organization. Ruth tells Mark about growing up in New York, running for office, and making the switch to international issues. They kick off with a discussion about the work of the AJWS around ...more

  • The Crisis in the Central African Republic

    Sep 11 2014

    The Central African Republic is far from the headlines these days, which is unfortunate. Things are bad, but there's a potential that the situation may improve in the coming weeks as the current African Union-led peacekeeping force is formally "re-hatted" as a United Nations peacekeeping force. Mark speaks with Evan Cinq-Mars of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect about the situation in CAR and what the transition to a UN Peacekeeping mission may mean for the people of this confl...more

  • Obama's Syria Dilemma

    Sep 04 2014

    It looks increasingly likely that the United States will expand its military operations against ISIS to Syria. Mark speak with William McCants of the Brookings Institution about the prospects and pitfalls of a US-led international military campaign against the Islamic State in Syria. They also discuss the role of another Islamist rebel group, al Nusra, in Syria's conflict and what might befall about 40 UN Peacekeepers in the Golan who were abducted by this group. Have a listen! 

  • Episode 31: Amb. Michael Guest

    Sep 02 2014

    Michael Guest is a trailblazer. In 2001 he became the first out-gay senate confirmed United States ambassador. In 2007 his long and distinguished career in the foreign service was cut short when he resigned after failing to secure the kind of benefits and rights for his family that are routinely granted to heterosexual spouses.  Amb. Guest tells Mark about his long career working European and NATO policy during the height of the Cold War and as the Soviet Union disintegrated. He discusses how...more

  • The Fear of Ebola

    Aug 28 2014

    In many ways, the fear of ebola is more deadly and consequential than the virus itself. Jina Moore of BuzzFeed just returned from a reporting trip to Liberia where she detailed how the outbreak is transfixing Liberian society and politics. Moore is one of the best global beat reports in the game and her dispatches from Liberia are must-reads for anyone who wants a deeper texture and analysis of ebola's toll on a frontline state.  Have a listen. 

  • An Update for All You Global Dispatchers

    Aug 25 2014

    Hi all- No interview this week. Rather, after 30 longform interviews I thought it was a good time to take a quick break and update you all on where I want to take this podcast.     

  • South Sudan's Looming Famine

    Aug 21 2014

    South Sudan is quite possibly on the verge of famine. The conflict that erupted in December shows little signs of abating. The peace process is halting and in the meantime the humanitarian situation is growing precipitously worse. Mark speaks with Tariq Riebl, Oxfam's South Sudan country director about the humanitarian situation in South Sudan and what can be done to avert a possible famine.

  • Sex Slaves in Iraq

    Aug 14 2014

    The United Nations released a grave warning this week that some 1,500 women have been captured as sex slaves by the Sunni extremist group that is rampaging through parts of Iraq and Syria. Mark speaks with Zainab Hawa Bangura the UN Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict about the situation in Northern Iraq and what can be done to help these women. 

  • Episode 29: Chris Hill

    Aug 11 2014

    Chris Hill was born into the foreign service...and he stayed there. He has served as Ambassador to Iraq and as the lead American negotiator in the six party talks on North Korea's nuclear program. Ambassador Hill sits down with Mark to discuss managing US relations with key allies as the iron curtain fell, facing down Slobodan Milosevic, negotiating with North Korea and the current problems facing Iraq.     These stories are all fresh in his mind. Ambassador Hill just completed his highly ant...more

  • The International Criminal Court's Palestine Problem

    Aug 07 2014

    The Palestinian Authority may ask to join the International Criminal Court, potentially paving the way for war crimes charges to be brought against both Israelis and Palestinians. Mark speaks with international law expert Kevin Jon Heller about the legal and political consequences of a potential ICC investigation into alleged war crimes in Gaza. 

  • Episode 28: Nancy Birdsall

    Aug 04 2014

    The international development pioneer and founder of the Center for Global Development is on the line this week. Nancy Birdsall tells Mark about how she got her start in international development in the 1960s and how the field has changed since then. Her career includes long stints at the the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank before founding her own cutting edge research institution. It's an interesting conversation with great digressions and diversions about the history of th...more

  • Why this Ebola Outbreak is Out of Control

    Jul 31 2014

      An Ebola outbreak in west Africa has claimed more than 600 lives. Mark Leon Goldberg speaks with Gregory Hartl of the World Health Organization who explains why the international community has had such difficultly containing this outbreak. Why is this outbreak different from previous ones? What are local and international health workers doing to contain the outbreak? Why is it spreading? And what needs to be done to put it under control? Have a listen! 

  • How to Negotiate a Gaza Ceasefire

    Jul 24 2014

    As the conflict in Gaza drags on, there's a renewed diplomatic effort to secure a ceasefire. Mark speaks with Michael Hanna of the Century Foundation about the complex diplomatic efforts underway, the critical role that Egypt is playing, in all of this, and why things may get worse before it gets better. Hanna also offers one possible solution in which both sides can save face as they lay down their arms. Have a listen. This is an important and timely conversation. 

  • Episode 26: Helene Gayle

    Jul 21 2014

    CARE CEO Helene Gayle is on the line this week. The medical doctor from upstate New York tells Mark how she became the head of one of the largest international humanitarian relief NGOs on the planet. And prior to her work at CARE, Dr. Gayle had a twenty year career at the Centers for Disease Control where was at the front line of the fight against AIDS since the 1980s. She discusses how the fight against AIDS has changed over time and describes the origins of US policy to tackle AIDS internati...more

  • HIV/AIDS - How Humanity is Winning the Fight

    Jul 17 2014

    In the fight between humanity and the AIDS virus, humanity is winning. That is the top line conclusion you can draw from the newest global data about HIV/AIDS from the United Nations. Erin Hofhelder of the ONE Campaign is on the line to discuss this report, preview the big International AIDS Conference in Australia, and explain why new laws against LGBT communities in some African countries may undermine the progress we've made against HIV/AIDS.  Have a listen!   

  • A Child Migrant's Perspective

    Jul 10 2014

    There is a refugee crisis in the USA. Since October over 50,000 children and tens of thousands of families have streamed across the southern border of the United States. What is compelling this surge in migration, particularly of unaccompanied minors? Who are these children and families? And what is their journey like? I speak with Gary Shaye of Save the Children, which is running a relief operation in Texas for children and families that have made it across the border. He answers these questi...more

  • Live from the UN 2014, Part 2

    Jul 07 2014

    It's a special edition of the podcast today! I have a number of officials from the United Nations on the show. These interviews were conducted on location at the United Nations. Each conversation lasts about 10 minutes or so and focuses on some aspect of my interviewees work. Enjoy!  In order of appearence:  Richard Wright, UNRWA (Palestinian Refugees agency) George Papagiannis, UNESCO Valere Mantels, Office of Disarmament Affairs, Weapons of Mass Destruction Branch Sarah Crowe, UNICEF G...more

  • Inside the Iran Nuke Talks

    Jul 03 2014

    All eyes are on Vienna as delegations from the United States, Germany, France, the UK, Russia and China meet with Iranian officials in a final push to secure a comprehensive agreement over Iran's nuclear program. They have until July 20 to come to terms.  The negotiations are complex and the issues vexing. But one thing is certain: if an agreement is struck it could change international relations in the entire Middle East and even the world. Here to take us inside the negotiations is veteran jo...more

  • Turkey's Strategic View of the Iraq Crisis

    Jun 26 2014

    Turkish foreign policy is always a fascinating case study. As the sunni insurgency in Iraq is gaining steam, how are Turkish foreign policy elites responding? What are Turkey's near term strategic goals for Iraq and Syria? And how does this impact Turkey's sometimes hostile relationship to its Kurdish population? Mark speaks with professor Louis Fishman who answers these questions and more.  Be sure to check out Prof. Fishman's blog, Istanbul-New York-Tel Aviv.   

  • Live from the UN, 2014 (Part 1)

    Jun 23 2014

    Something different on the podcast this week! I recent sat down with a number of officials at the United Nations as part of Talk Radio Day 2014. This is an annual event hosted by the United Nations Foundation in which talk radio hosts from around the country broadcast from the UN for the day. I spoke with about a dozen officials, both from the United Nations secretariat and from member states. Each of the interviews focuses on topical issues related to the work of my very interesting guests.  H...more

  • A UN View of the Iraq Crisis

    Jun 19 2014

    From the perspective of the United Nations, the crisis in Iraq cannot be disaggregated from the crisis in Syria. In this special edition of Global Dispatches, I speak with the United Nations Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliason who shares his deep concern that ISIS's offensive in Iraq and Syria's escalating conflict could plunge the entire region into sectarian war. I also speak with Bettina Luescher, spokesperson for the World Food Program, who discusses the UN's humanitarian response to the ...more

  • Dying for the World Cup

    Jun 12 2014

      In 2022 Qatar will host the World Cup. Migrant workers, mostly from Southeast Asia, are living in harsh conditions and dying in large numbers as they construct the infrastructure for the World Cup in the Gulf Kingdom. Mark speaks with journalist Pete Pattisson of the Guardian who takes us inside the migrant worker in