Global Dispatches -- World News That Matters

The longest running independent international affairs podcast features in-depth interviews with policymakers, journalists and experts around the world who discuss global news, international relations, global development and key trends driving world affairs. Named by The Guardian as "a podcast to make you smarter," Global Dispatches is a podcast for people who crave a deeper understanding of international news.


  • How "Longtermism" is Shaping Foreign Policy| Will MacAskill

    Aug 15 2022

    Longtermism is a moral philosophy that is increasingly gaining traction around the United Nations and in foreign policy circles. Put simply, Longtermism holds the key premise that positively influencing the long-term future is a key moral priority of our time. The foreign policy community in general and the the United Nations in particular are beginning to embrace longtermism.  Next year at the opening of the UN General Assembly in September 2023, the Secretary General is hosting what he is call...more

  • Lab Leak? Bioweapons Attack? Natural Pathogen? A New Proposal Would Give the UN the Ability to Investigate | Angela Kane

    Aug 11 2022

    Rapidly identifying an emerging infectious pathogen is critical to  prevent a disease outbreak from becoming an epidemic -- or even a deadly pandemic. But right now, there is no agreed international mechanism to do so. Veteran UN diplomat Angela Kane is trying to change that. She is working to create a new UN body to strengthen UN capabilities to investigate high-consequence biological events of unknown origin. Angela Kane, is the Sam Nunn Distinguished Fellow at the Nuclear Threat Initiative. S...more

  • Kenya's UN Ambassador Martin Kimani | Live from the Aspen Security Forum

    Aug 08 2022

    Kenya's Ambassador to the United Nations Martin Kimani gave a viral speech at the UN Security Council on the eve of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Months later, Ambassador Kimani reflects on the impact of that speech and why Russian aggression against Ukraine is so resonant to Africa's own experience with colonialism.  Our conversation was recorded live at the Aspen Security Forum in Mid July and Ambassador Kimani also discusses the impact of the war in Ukraine on Kenya and what opportunities sti...more

  • How The Global Food Crisis is Impacting People and Politics in the Middle East

    Aug 04 2022

    Prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Middle East was heavily dependent on importing food from Ukraine and Russia. The disruption of grain exports from the Black Sea region has had a profoundly negative impact on food security in the Middle East. I'm joined today my Arnaud Quemin, Middle East regional director for Mercy Corps. We kick off discussing what the food security situation in the region looked like before the war and then have an extended conversation about how the global food cris...more

  • The Philippines Gets a New President With A Very Familiar Name

    Aug 01 2022

    On May 9th, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was elected President of the Philippines. If that name sounds familiar to you, it is because he is the son of Ferdinand Marcos Senior, the brutal kleptocrat who ruled the Philippines for nearly 20 years. Marcos Jr., who is commonly known as “Bongbong,” took office on June 30th succeeding Rodrigo Duterte, whose six year term was marked by a sharp deterioration of human rights in the Philippines, including a so-called “war on drugs” in which several thousands of pe...more

  • Kenya is Holding a High-Stakes Election

    Jul 28 2022

    Kenyans will go to the polls on August 9th to elect a new president. The current president, Uhuru Kenyatta, is term limited from seeking re-election and the two main candidates are both very familiar figures in Kenyan politics.  William Ruto is currently the Deputy to President Kenyatta. But the two men had a falling out and now President Kenyatta is backing Ruto's main rival, Raila Odinga. For his part, this is Odinga's fifth time running for president.  Kenya has a recent history of highly co...more

  • Poland's Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz | Live From the Aspen Security Forum

    Jul 25 2022

    I caught up with Poland's Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Pryzdaz at the Aspen Security Conference in mid July.  Poland is a front line state to the crisis in Ukraine and has been directly impacted by Russia's invasion, including hosting millions of Ukrainian refugees. Poland was also and early target of Vladimir Putin's efforts to use gas exports as a kind of blackmail; and when Poland refused to pay for Russian gas in Rubles, Russian gas was abruptly cut off.  I kick off my conversation with th...more

  • Is the US Inflating The Military Threat From China?

    Jul 21 2022

    Official and unofficial pronouncements from many sectors of the American foreign policy and political establishment routinely portray China as a major military threat to the United States --even claiming that this threat is existential.  This is part of a pattern that my guest today calls "threat inflation" which he argues leads to policy decisions that paradoxically leaves the US less secure.  Michael D Swaine, is director of the east asia program at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecr...more

  • Why There's a Resurgence of Armed Conflict in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

    Jul 18 2022

    In November 2021, a rebel group known as M23 carried out a series of surprising attacks in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. By the spring and summer of 2022, M23 had captured even more territory in this region.  These attacks caught many by surprise because the M23 was believed to be largely defunct But nearly 10 years later, the group is now engaged in battles with the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo for control of strategic locations in eastern DRC. My guest today...more

  • From "Pariah" to Partner: Why President Biden is Going to Saudi Arabia

    Jul 13 2022

    Joe Biden is traveling to the Middle East for the first time as President, with stops in Israel, Palestine -- and most notably Saudi Arabia. As a candidate for president, Biden called the Saudi government a "pariah." Just weeks after taking office, he released an assessment from the US intelligence community revealing that US intelligence believes that Mohammad bin Salman approved of the operation that lead to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.  Yet in the face of high oil prices and the perceived n...more

  • How to Stop the Global Food Crisis From Getting Worse | Sir Mark Lowcock

    Jul 11 2022

    Food prices are soaring around the world, and along with it so are rates of food insecurity and the risk of famine.  As my guest today, Sir Mark Lowcock explains, this is only partly due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which exacerbated an already worsening situation. Mark Lowcock is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development and author of the new book Relief Chief: A Manifesto for Saving Lives in Dire Times. He served as the top United Nations humanitarian official fr...more

  • The Last Humanitarian Lifeline To Syria May Soon Be Severed | A view from Northern Syria and the United Nations

    Jul 04 2022

    As the Syrian civil war escalated, the Syrian government began obstructing access to humanitarian relief in rebel held parts of the country. So, in 2014 the UN Security Council took the extraordinary step of allowing the United Nations to deliver humanitarian relief to parts of Syria without the consent of the Syrian government and in violation of Syrian sovereignty. Since then, humanitarian aid has been able to reach besieged parts of Syria through border crossings, mainly from Turkey into Nort...more

  • Hostage Diplomacy and the Case of Brittney Griner

    Jun 30 2022

    Brittney Griner is an American basketball superstar. On February 17th, she was arrested in an airport outside of Moscow allegedly for possession of cannabis oil. She has been held in a Russian jail ever since and her trial is scheduled to begin on July 1.  Brittney Griner's case is a text book example of what my guest today calls "Hostage Diplomacy." Dani Gilbert is an Assistant Professor of Military and Strategic studies at the US Air Force Academy.  She is a leading researcher and expert on th...more

  • What Explains Turkey's Foreign Policy and Its Relationship With NATO?

    Jun 27 2022

    Sweden and Finland have both formally requested to become members of the NATO alliance. To admit new members to NATO requires the approval of all existing NATO members and so far, Turkey is objecting. My guest today, Sibel Oktay, is associate professor at University of Illinois at Springfield and non-resident senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.  We kick off with a discussion about Turkey's specific grievances with Sweden and Finland and then have a broader conversation about ...more

  • Ethnic Violence is Escalating in Ethiopia

    Jun 23 2022

    On June 19th, reports began to emerge of a mass atrocity in the Ethiopian region of Oromia committed against members of the Amhara ethnic group. This latest attack fits into a broader pattern of ethnic violence in Ethiopia since the outbreak of civil war in November 2020. Laetitia Bader is the Horn of Africa Director at Human Rights Watch. She contributed to a joint Human Rights Watch-Amnesty International report titled "We Will Erase You from This Land:  Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Clea...more

  • Iran Nuclear Diplomacy Enters a Perilous New Phase

    Jun 20 2022

    In early June, Iran took the dramatic step of turning off some monitoring cameras in key nuclear facilities that had been installed by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The move came in reaction to a vote by the IAEA board of governors to censor Iran over its lack of cooperation with IAEA inspectors. This latest turn in the ongoing saga of nuclear diplomacy with Iran is further indication of just how precarious the 2015 Nuclear deal seems to be.  Laura Rozen is a veteran reporter who has c...more

  • Can Justice and Accountability Solve Nigeria's Security Challenges?

    Jun 16 2022

    On June 5th, armed men attacked worshipers at a Catholic Church in the city of Owo, Nigeria. Scores of people were reportedly killed and many more injured. My guest today,  Idayat Hassan, is director of the Center for Democracy and Development in Nigeria. We kick off discussing this church attack as well as another high profile recent attack on a train in northern Nigeria. Idayat Hassan then describes how these attacks fit into broader patterns of insecurity in Nigeria.   The increasing insecuri...more

  • Can The Monkeypox Outbreak Be Contained?

    Jun 13 2022

    At time of recording there have been over 1,000 confirmed cases of Monkey Pox across 29 countries -- mostly in Europe and North America. The actual number of cases circulating in the population is likely much higher.  We are in the midst of an outbreak of Monkey Pox, which is rarely found outside of West Africa.   My guest today, Dr. Eric Toner is a Senior Scholar at The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. We kick off discussing what exactly Monkey Pox is and how spreads before having a br...more

  • Climate-Related Mobility and Conflict: Pathways to Peace and Human Security | Recorded Live

    Jun 09 2022

    Today's episode was recorded live in front of a virtual audience at a side event of the International Migration Review Forum. The episode is produced in partnership with CGIAR and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.  The event was titled "Climate-related mobility and conflict: Pathways to peace and human security" and includes some extended expert commentary on this topic.  You will first hear from Sheggen Fan, system board member CGIAR followed by remarks from Shukri Ah...more

  • Colombia's VERY Surprising Presidential Election

    Jun 06 2022

    Colombia held the first round of its presidential elections on May 29th and it is hard to overstate just how surprised most analysts were by the results. For generations, Colombia has been dominated by a small political establishment that ranges from the center right to the hard right. Unlike other countries in the Latin America, Colombia has never elected a President from the left wing; nor has Colombia ever experienced a right wing populist.    Yet this be the choice as Colombians head to the ...more

  • The Fascinating Origin Story of the United Nations Environment Program, UNEP

    Jun 02 2022

    The United Nations Environment Program, UNEP, turns 50 years old this year. And in early June world leaders are gathering in the city where UNEP was born to commemorate this milestone in a conference known as Stockholm+50.  Maria Ivanova wrote the book on the absolutely fascinating history of the United Nations Environment Program.  She is a professor of Global Governance at the University of Massachusetts Boston and author of the book "The Untold Story of the World's Leading Environmental Insti...more

  • These Lessons from COVID Can Help Us Prevent the Next Pandemic | Dr. Joanne Liu

    May 30 2022

    Dr. Joanne Liu is a professor at the School of Population and Global Health at McGill University and a practicing physician at the University of Montreal. She is the former international president of Medicines Sans Frontiers/Doctors Without Borders and for the purposes of this conversation she served on the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.  This panel was co-chaired former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and Former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. It wa...more

  • What does the Human Rights Council mean to victims of atrocities? | Inside Geneva

    May 26 2022

    Today’s episode of Global Dispatches is a promotion for a podcast that I think many of my listeners will find valuable. The podcast is called “Inside Geneva,” in which host Imogen Foulkes puts big questions facing the world to the experts working to tackle them in Switzerland’s international city. Inside Geneva is is produced by Swissinfo, a public service media company based in Bern, Switzerland. In this episode, Imogen Foulkes talks to human rights defenders and investigators bringing their ca...more

  • Biden is Sending Hundreds of American Troops to Somalia and Expanding US Drone Strikes

    May 23 2022

    President Biden has authorized the deployment of hundreds of American Special Operations forces to Somalia to assist the Somali government in its fight against al-Shabaab.  According to the New York Times President Biden has also authorized a Pentagon plan to step up airstrikes against al-Shabaab leadership.  This increased US military engagement in Somalia comes at a time of transition in Somalia. After years of political wrangling, Somalia's Parliament has elected a new President, Hassan Sheik...more

  • Chinese "Debt Trap Diplomacy" is a Myth

    May 19 2022

    The idea that China engages in so-called "Debt Trap Diplomacy" is almost apocryphal. There is a persistent media narrative that China makes big infrastructure investments oversees as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, and when countries cant replay those loans China seizes infrastructure.  My guest today, Deborah Brautigam, is the director of the China Africa Research Initiative at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.  She has done extensive research on Chinese-financed...more

  • Better Know Enset, The Banana-Like "Wonder Crop" That Can Fight Food Insecurity

    May 16 2022

    Enset is a relative of the banana. It has been cultivated in a parts of Ethiopia for generations because it has several unique characteristics that make it a resilient and reliable staple crop.  Despite Enset's incredible potential to support food security it is rarely -- if ever --  cultivated beyond the Ethiopian Highlands. culture. My guest, Dr. James Borrell is a research fellow at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, in the United Kingdom. He is the co-author of a recent study demonstrating that Ens...more

  • How the United Nations is Responding to Russia's Invasion of Ukraine | Richard Gowan

    May 12 2022

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine has posed a major test for the United Nations.  And while some parts of the UN system have admirably risen to the occasion, the Security Council has not.  On the line with me to assess the UN's response to Russia's invasion is Richard Gowan, the UN Director for the International Crisis Group. We kick off discussing a recent diplomatic mission by UN Secretary General to both Moscow and Kyiv before having a longer conversation about how his major international crisis i...more

  • The Rise and Fall of Imran Khan and What's Next for Pakistan

    May 09 2022

    Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan resigned on April 10th, following a no-confidence vote in Parliament. The former cricket star turned politician had served as Prime Minister since 2018,  but in recent months he had increasingly fallen out of favor with Pakistan's powerful military establishment, which has long been a dominant force in Pakistani politics.  My guest, Michael Kugelman, is Senior Associate for South Asia at the Wilson Center.  We kick off discussing how Imran Khan leveraged his ...more

  • The View From Moldova -- Is This Putin's Next Target?

    May 05 2022

    Of all the countries that border Ukraine, Moldova is arguably the most vulnerable to Russian aggression. Since 1992, Russian troops have been present in a breakaway region of Moldova called Transnistria. This is a majority Russian-speaking region that receives considerable support from Moscow.  In late April there were a series of explosions in Transnistria, the perpetrators are unknown but the explosions further heightened concerns that Russia's invasion of Ukraine would spill over into Transni...more

  • The Hellish Plight of African Migrants Trapped in Libya

    May 02 2022

    Libya is a popular point from which Africa refugees and migrants set off for Europe. However, if caught, these migrants and refugees have been subject to indefinite detention in hellish conditions in Libya. Journalist Sally Hayden first caught wind of this story when she unexpectedly received a Facebook message from an Eritrean migrant stranded in a Libyan jail. This lead her on a reporting journey that resulted in her new book, "My Fourth Time We Drowned: Seeking Refuge on the World's Deadliest...more

  • Sri Lanka is in an Economic Free Fall

    Apr 28 2022

    Sri Lanka is in the midst of an economic catastrophe. The government is low on foreign exchange reserves and struggling to pay off its debts. The Sri Lankan rupee has plunged in value over the last several weeks. Inflation is soaring. Fuel is scarce, and there have been widespread blackouts in major parts of the country.  This sharp economic downturn is sparking a major political crisis for the government, long controlled by a single family. But now widespread protests are posing the most signif...more

  • Sweden and Finland Want to Join NATO. What's Next? | Ivo Daalder

    Apr 25 2022

    Sweden and Finland are both historically neutral countries. Though both are members of the European Union, they are decidedly not members of NATO But that may soon change. In the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Finland and Sweden have signaled a desire to join the US-lead western military alliance.  On the line with me to explain the significance of Sweden and Finland joining NATO is Ivo Daalder, President of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and former US Ambassador to NATO. We kick o...more

  • Can a UN Brokered Ceasefire in Yemen Lead to a Lasting Peace?

    Apr 21 2022

    Yemen remains the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. More than 17 million are food insecure with over 150,000 people experiencing famine like conditions. In late March the heads of all the main UN humanitarian agencies said Yemen was “teetering on the edge of outright catastrophe.” But after nearly eight years of war, the United Nations brokered a truce to coincide with Ramadan and last two months. So far, over two weeks in, this truce is holding. Can it lead to a broader peace agreement?  ...more

  • The Five Reasons Countries Go to War (And How to Avoid Them) | Chris Blattman

    Apr 18 2022

    The economist Chris Blattman is well known in academic and policy circles for his research and writing on peace, conflict and economic development. Chris Blattman is a professor at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago and he is out with a brand new book, Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace. The book boils down decades of social science around peace and conflict, using examples throughout history, to explain why groups resort to war. This book is a hig...more

  • French Elections: Marine Le Pen and Ascendence of the Far Right in France

    Apr 14 2022

    Emmanuel Macron and the far right wing politician Marine Le Pen will face off in the second round of the French presidential elections on April 24.  Macron and Le Pen last faced each in 2017, and back then Macron absolutely trounced her, defeating Le Pen by more than 30 points. But this time around the vote promises to be much closer, with many polls putting Le Pen within striking distance of Macron. On the line with me to explain what happened in the first round of voting and what to expect ahe...more

  • How Russian War Crimes Have Changed the Conflict in Ukraine

    Apr 11 2022

    As Russian forces retreated from areas around Kyiv, the whole world became aware of the scope of atrocity crimes committed in areas under Russian control. Meanwhile, the brutal bombardment of cities like Mariupol in the south of Ukraine continues. And civilians are being targeted in deadly airstrikes, included a crowded train station in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, which was crammed with civilians seeking to flee that region ahead of a Russian military advance.   As my guest today, Dr. Liana ...more

  • Key Findings From The Latest United Nations Scientific Report on Climate Change

    Apr 07 2022

    Every six to eight years the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, undertakes a massive review of the latest science around climate change. Right now, we are near the end of one of these cycles of scientific review.  My guest today, Ryan Hobert, is the managing director of the United Nations Foundations climate and environment team. We kick off discussing the process behind these IPCC reports before diving deep into some of the specific findings of the latest report...more

  • Changing the Narrative of Doing Business in Africa

    Apr 04 2022

    How do media narratives shape people's perception of the business environment in Africa?  This question is at the heart of an innovative research project by Africa No Filter called The Business in Africa Narrative Report.  The report identifies and defines several dominant frames that western and African media invoke when covering issues on the continent. It shows how these frames lead to narratives that are often distorted from reality and harmful to the business ecosystem across Africa. Joinin...more

  • Algeria's Uncertain Political Future

    Mar 31 2022

    This February marked the third anniversary of the Algerian street protests and movement that lead to the ouster of president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Bouteflika was a fixture of Algerian politics and served as President since 1999. This was a huge turning point in modern Algerian history.  The movement that lead to his ouster is called The Hirak. Joining me to discuss the impact of the impact and legacy of this movement three years on are two scholars of Algeria's politics and economy. Andrew Ferra...more

  • Inside "The Mediator's Studio" With Legendary Diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi

    Mar 28 2022

    As listeners to Global Dispatches know, in many parts of the world war is a growing threat – or a harsh reality. But who are the peacemakers working to change this?  This week, we are featuring an episode of The Mediator’s Studio podcast, which offers a glimpse into the normally hidden world of peace diplomacy. In this episode, one of the world's most distinguished conflict mediators, Lakhdar Brahimi, reflects on the hopes and failures of peacemaking in Afghanistan and his search for a peaceful ...more

  • The Promise and Perils of "Solar Radiation Modification" to Mitigate Climate Change

    Mar 24 2022

    The Paris Agreement set a target to limit global warming to "well below 2 degrees, but preferably to 1.5 degrees celsius compared to pre-industrial levels."  However, if present trends continue the world is set to blow past those international targets. This has lead scientists, the policy community and ethicists to consider strategies on climate change that assume the Paris Agreement targets will not be met in time.  This includes the technological innovation called "Solar Radiation Modification...more

  • How China Views Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

    Mar 21 2022

    Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, one major diplomatic variable has been the stance of China. So far, China has played its cards sort of close to its chest, neither firmly denouncing Russia's aggression, nor providing Russia with meaningful support. My guest Kaiser Kuo calls China's stance thus far a kind of "pro-Russian neutrality." He is host of the Sinica Podcast in the SUP China Network and we have a long conversation about what is informing China's approach to this interna...more

  • Can There Be Justice for War Crimes in Ukraine?

    Mar 17 2022

    War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity are being committed nearly every day in Ukraine. We can see it on our TV. Russian forces are apparently deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure in ways that violate international humanitarian law. So what opportunities might exist to hold perpetrators of atrocity crimes accountable for their actions? Joining me to discuss this question and more is Mark Kersten. He a researcher at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the Global Justice Lab at the Univ...more

  • How the War in Ukraine Will Impact Food Prices and Food Security Around the World

    Mar 14 2022

    Ukraine is a major exporter of key food staples around the world. Even before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the prices of food commodities like wheat were near all time highs. Since the outbreak of armed conflicted, these prices have soared even higher.  What impact is this war having on global food supply, food prices and food security? I put this question and more to Joe Glauber, Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington and formerly the chief eco...more

  • Gender, Conflict and Ukraine | Plus, a Preview of the UN's Commission on the Status of Women Conference

    Mar 10 2022

    I caught up with Michelle Milford Morse on International Women's Day and as the war in Ukraine entered its second week. Michelle Milford Morse is the United Nations Foundation’s Vice President for Girls and Women Strategy. I wanted to speak with her to both better understand gender dynamics in armed conflict and how these dynamics are playing out today in Ukraine.  Also, we spoke about a week before the Commission on the Status of Women kicked off at UN headquarters in New York. The Commission o...more

  • How Russia's Invasion of Ukraine is Seen by the United Nations

    Mar 07 2022

    It has been a very intense few weeks of diplomacy at the United Nations. Even before Russia mounted its full scale invasion of Ukraine there were several meetings at the Security Council intended to deter and dissuade Russia from doing so. And it was in the middle of one such Security Council meeting on February 23rd that Vladimir Putin declared war and began the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  Two days later, Russia predictably vetoed a Security Council resolution denouncing the invasion and from...more

  • What if Russia Wins?

    Mar 03 2022

    It has been one week since Russia mounted a massive invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainian people have thus far mounted a valorous defense of their country and have thwarted Vladimir Putin's plans for a swift victory.  Still, the situation on the ground changes by the day and Russia remains the dominant military power. This begs the question: What happens if Russia wins this war?  Liana Fix is a resident fellow at the German Marshall Fund in Washington, DC. Along with co-author Michael Kimmage recen...more

  • Live from Ukraine: From Frontlines of a Refugee Crisis

    Feb 27 2022

    It was 7pm Ukraine time on the evening of Friday February 25 when I caught up with my guest today, journalist Catia Bruno.  She had recently arrived in Lviv, a city in Western Ukraine not far from the Polish border. She was there to report to bear witness to the growing refugee and displacement crisis caused by the Russian attack on Ukraine, which began three days prior. This conversation provides a valuable perspective on the choices facing Ukrainians as many seek to leave the country while oth...more

  • The British Ambassador to the United States Explains How Russia Sanctions Were Coordinated

    Feb 23 2022

    I caught up with Ambassador Karen Pierce in the middle of a very intense day of diplomacy on February 22.  She is the United Kingdom's Ambassador to the United States and earlier that morning Boris Johnson announced new British sanctions on certain Russian oligarchs and financial institutions. This was followed by similar sanctions announcements by the European Union and the United States later in the day.  These new sanctions come after Vladimir Putin's government formally recognized the indepe...more

  • Live From Kabul: A Female NGO Leader on Women's Rights in Afghanistan Under Taliban Rule

    Feb 21 2022

    overran Kabul a few weeks prior. Despite the apparent danger and uncertainty, Zuhra Bahman told me that she was eager to get back home and return to work as the Afghanistan country director for the peace building NGO Search for Common. Ground. Today, she is back in Kabul, which is where I caught up with her for the conversation you are about to hear And she kicks off explaining why and how she returned home. We then have a long conversation about how she navigates her life and work as a professi...more

  • The Russia-Ukraine Crisis: What Now?

    Feb 16 2022

    Over the last few days, there has been a flurry of diplomatic activity between Russia, Ukraine, the United States, Germany and France -- among others. Meanwhile, the messaging coming from the White House indicates that they believe a Russian attack on Ukraine is imminent.  I am joined by Melinda Haring of the Atlantic Council who offers some context and analysis of the recent diplomatic maneuvering. We spoke via Twitter Spaces just after President Biden concluded remarks from the White House. Af...more

  • Why So Many Coups in Africa Recently?

    Feb 14 2022

    There have been a spate of coups in Africa over the last 18 months. Most of these coups have taken place in West Africa, but not all. This includes Burkina Faso, Guinea, Chad, Sudan and two coups in Mali. This is not to mention some attempted coups, most recently in Guinea Bissau.   On the line with me to discuss why there have there been so many coups recently, and whether or not this is a trend is Solomon Dersso. He is the founder of Amani Africa, an Adis Ababa based think tank with a focus on...more

  • Who Are These Canadian Truckers Disrupting Ottawa? And Why?

    Feb 09 2022

    For about two weeks now, truck driving protesters have snarled traffic and otherwise disrupted daily life in downtown Ottawa, ostensibly to protest covid related restrictions and vaccine mandates.   These protests have spread elsewhere in Canada and for a time, forced the closure of the busiest border crossing between the United States and Canada.  Meanwhile, right wing media in the US are now cheering on these protests.    Canadian journalist Justin Ling explains what exactly is happening in Ca...more

  • Bearing Witness to the Uyghur Genocide During the Beijing Olympics

    Feb 07 2022

    The 2022 Winter Olympics have kicked off in  Beijing. Meanwhile, in the northwestern Xinjiang region of China, the government is implementing policies that many human rights organizations and foreign governments have determined amount to crimes against humanity and even genocide against the Uyghur people.   The juxtaposition of this internationally celebrated Olympics in the midst of an ongoing human rights calamity is what drives our conversation today, with four different speakers.    Rushan A...more

  • What Happened at the UN Security Council Meeting on Ukraine?

    Jan 31 2022

    On January 31, the United Nations Security Council held a meeting about Russia's military buildup on the border of Ukraine.  Here to help understand what happened at this meeting and any potentially significant outcomes is Ashish Pradhan, who covers Security Council affairs for the International Crisis Group. We kick off discussing this procedural vote before having a broader conversation about the international and geopolitical dynamics informing diplomacy around this crisis. 

  • Why is North Korea Suddenly Launching So Many Missile Tests?

    Jan 30 2022

    North Korea has already launched more than six missile tests since the start of the new year. Why is North Korea is suddenly launching so many new missile tests -- and what can be done about?  Three experts weigh in: Jeffrey Lewis is a Professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterrey and an open source researcher at the James Martin Center for non proliferation studies Ankit Panda is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Michelle Kae is the ...more

  • What Was Behind A Coup in Burkina Faso ?

    Jan 27 2022

    On Monday January 24th, mutineers in Burkina Faso overthrew the democratically elected president, Roch Kabore.   This was the fourth military coup in the region in the past 17th months, including two coups in Mali and a coup in Guinea. To better understand the significance of the coup in Burkina Faso and its broader international and humanitarian implications, I am joined by three guests. Brice Bado is a political scientist and Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Center for Research and Action ...more

  • The Conflict in Yemen is Escalating Sharply

    Jan 24 2022

    After nearly eight years, the conflict in Yemen is getting worse. Scott Paul, the senior manager for humanitarian policy at Oxfam America, explains the significance of a recent attack in Abu Dhabi and the latest bombardment of Yemen's capital before having a broader discussion about the trajectory and impact of this years long crisis.  

  • If Russia Invades Ukraine, How Should the United States and Europe Respond?

    Jan 20 2022

    The likelihood that Russia will invade Ukraine seems to be growing by the day. If Russia indeed attacks Ukraine, how should the United States and Europe respond?    Joining me to take on that question and more are four excellent speakers: Andrew Weiss of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Nina Jankowicz the Woodrow Wilson Center Jim Goldgeier of Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation.   Melinda Haring of The Atlantic Council     Recorded live via Twitter Spac...more

  • The Death of Press Freedom in Hong Kong

    Jan 17 2022

    Hong Kong used to have one of the most vibrant media ecosystems in all of Asia. But not today.  There is an ongoing crackdown on independent media in Hong Kong. Outlets large and small are being shut down, ostensible for violating newly enacted laws intended to suppress the pro-democracy movement.  On the line with me from Hong Kong to discuss the plight of independent media there is Austin Ramzy of the New York Times.  "For the Love of Hong Kong: A Memoir from My City Under Siege" by Hana Meiha...more

  • Bosnia is on the Brink of Political Disintegration

    Jan 13 2022

    Bosnia is facing its deepest political crisis since the civil war in the 1990s.   In 1995, the United States helped broker an agreement between the waring parties known as the Dayton Accords. This agreement created a new political order in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It has been an uneasy agreement, certainly tenuous at times, but it has held.      Now, the agreement is unraveling -- and very quickly.   On the line to explain why and how Bosnia is on the verge of potential political disintegration i...more

  • David Miliband on the "Systems Failure" in the World's Crisis Zones

    Jan 10 2022

    David Miliband is the president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, one of the larger global humanitarian organizations with relief operations around the world. At the end of 2021 David Miliband, the former Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, delivered a lecture at the Council on Foreign Relations identifying and defining what he called a "Systems Failure" in global crisis response. This is the topic of much of our conversation today.   

  • Kazakhstan Protests: Why They Started And What Comes Next

    Jan 06 2022

    For the last week, massive protests have swept across the large Central Asian country of Kazakhstan.  The spark was a decision by the government to increase fuel prices in the country, which is a major fuel producer.  But as my guests today explain, though the fuel price hike was the proximate cause of the protests, they are rooted in deep and widespread disaffection with Kazakhstan's ruling class.  Three Kazakstan political and security experts contribute to this episode:  Dr. Erica Marat, a pr...more

  • Somalia is in the Midst of a Deepening Political Crisis

    Jan 04 2022

    Just before the start of the new year, Somalia's President Mohammad Abdulahi Farmaajo sought to arrest and remove from power Somalia's Prime Minister Mohammad Hussein Roble. This move added a layer of instability on top of an already fragile political and security situation. Somalia is both in midst of elections and fending off an insurgency by al Shabaab, which controls much of the countryside. On the line from Mogadishu is journalist Sakariye Cissman, who explains the current state of Somalia'...more

  • The United Nations Year in Review

    Dec 30 2021

    As 2021 comes to a close, I thought it may be worthwhile to gather some veteran United Nations watchers to reflect on the key events that shaped the work of the United Nations this year.  I'm joined in this conversation by Margaret Besheer, the UN Correspondent for Voice of America, Anjali Diyal, Assistant Professor of International Politics in the Political Science Department at Fordham University, and Louis Charbonneau, UN Director for Human Rights Watch.  We recorded our conversation live via...more

  • The International and Domestic Implications of Turkey's Tanking Lira

    Dec 27 2021

    Turkey is in the midst of a currency crisis. The Lira hit a new record low in December, trading about 15.5 lira to the US dollar. This compares to a year ago when the rate was about 7.5 lira to the dollar. In other words, the value of the currency had declined by about 50% in one year.   Meanwhile, inflation is soaring -- at a current rate of more than 20%.   On the line to explain the domestic and international implications of Turkey's tanking Lira is Sibel Oktay, associate professor and chair...more

  • Is the Energy Transition an Opportunity or Risk for Climate Security? | Climate Security Series

    Dec 23 2021

    Today's episode was recorded live in front of a virtual audience in partnership with CGIAR, the world's largest agricultural innovation network. It is part of a series of episodes examining the relationship between climate and security. Today's episode takes a deep dive into how the transition to low carbon energy economies impacts security. The episode kicks off with introductory remarks by Jesús Quintana-Garcia () Director General, CIAT, Managing Director of the Americas, Alliance Bioversity I...more

  • Libya Faces Uncertain Elections and a Major Political Crisis

    Dec 20 2021

    Libya is poised to hold its first presidential elections in the post-Gaddafi era. This was supposed to be the culmination of a year long peace process. However, there is mounting doubt that these elections will be held on time, amid a brewing political crisis that could lead to a return to armed conflict.   Podcast guest Mary Fitzgerald is a longtime Libya analyst and non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute. She explains why these elections are so fraught with peril and what the inte...more

  • Afghanistan is in the Midst of a Humanitarian and Human Rights Catastrophe

    Dec 16 2021

    Afghanistan is in a humanitarian and human rights tailspin. Since the fall of the Afghan government to the Taliban in August, the Afghan economy has been in a tailspin. A major liquidity crisis is causing widespread suffering among the Afghan people including severe foos insecurity. Meanwhile, a new report from Human Rights Watch details a spate of summary executions and violence meted out by the newly installed de-facto Taliban government.  Guest: Patricia Gossman, Associate Asia Director for H...more

  • Is Myanmar Sliding Towards a Civil War?

    Dec 13 2021

    On December 6, Aung San Suu Kyi was handed down a prison sentence by a court loyal to Myanmar's military junta. Until February of this year, Suu Kyi was the de-facto civilian leader of Myanmar. Her party, the National League for Democracy, had just won re-election in a landslide victory -- the results of which were rejected by the military, which mounted a coup.  The military junta were not swayed massive protests throughout the country and began violently suppressing dissent. Now, violence seem...more

  • Robert Jervis, From 2015

    Dec 12 2021

    Robert Jervis passed away on December 9th at the age of 81. He was one of the major figures of International Relations scholarship  -- in the entire history of International Relations as a field of study.   In October 2015, Robert Jervis sat down with me for a long interview about his life and career in which he discussed how his upbringing shaped his worldview from a young age.It was a long and thoughtful conversation about both his personal history and the origins of some of the big ideas that...more

  • Putting Gender at the Heart of Climate Security | Climate Security Series

    Dec 09 2021

    Today's episode was recorded live in front of a virtual audience in partnership with CGIAR, the world's largest agricultural innovation network. It is part of a series of episodes examining the relationship between climate and security. Today's episode takes a deep dive into how gender impacts and is impacted by climate-security. The episode kicks off with introductory remarks by Nicoline de Haan, director of CGIAR GENDER platform.   I moderate a panel discussion featuring a diverse group of exp...more

  • Could a New Pandemic Treaty Stop the Next Terrible COVID Variant?

    Dec 06 2021

    For only the second time in its,  the governing body of the World Health Organization met in a special session. WHO, the World Health Assembly, gathered for a special session. The question at hand: Should member states of the WHO seek to create a new treaty, convention, accord or some sort of international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response?  The meetings occurred just as the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, was popping up in countries around the world, prompting travel bans focuse...more

  • Is Russia About to Invade Ukraine? (Again)

    Dec 02 2021

    Russian military forces are massing on the border of Ukraine. This has prompted widespread concern that Russia may once again seek to invade Ukraine. On the line with me to discuss this unfolding crisis is John Herbst, Senior Director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council and Former US Ambassador to Ukraine. We kick off with a conversation about what this military buildup may signal - or not - about Vladimir Putin's intensions on Ukraine before having a discussion about what diplomatic a...more

  • Can Cryptocurrency Accelerate Global Development?

    Nov 29 2021

    The most innovative cryptocurrency projects today are being built in the developing world (Sub-Saharan Africa in particular) to address real-world obstacles to economic development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  Cryptocurrency and the blockchain technologies they power carry big implications for global development, but are generally off the radar of the global development and foreign policy community. That may soon change as these technologies become more widely adopted.  Gues...more

  • Senator Chris Coons Discusses The Ethiopia Crisis and U.S. Policy Towards the Region | Live from the Halifax International Security Forum

    Nov 24 2021

    U.S. Senator Chris Coons is one of Congress's leading voices shaping U.S. policy on Africa. For many years he was the top Democrat in the Senate Sub-committee on Africa and earlier this year, President Biden tapped Senator Coons to be his special envoy to Ethiopia. (There is now a full time envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman) I caught up with Senator Coons in person at the Halifax International Security Forum, not long after governments around the world advised their citizens to leave...more

  • Can the Iran Nuclear Deal Be Saved?

    Nov 22 2021

    When Joe Biden came to office the Iran Nuclear Dead was on life support. Known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, the Obama-era deal lifted US and UN  sanctions on Iran in return for Iran placing verifiable limits on its nuclear program. The deal was rejected by the Trump administration which re-imposed sanctions; and Iran has responded in kind by re-starting certain aspects of its nuclear program. Here to explain where things stand with nuclear diplomacy between the U...more

  • The Halifax International Security Forum: What You Need To Know

    Nov 18 2021

    The Halifax International Security Forum is a major annual meeting dedicated to fostering closer ties among the world's democracies. The Forum is organized by HFX, an independent public policy organization based in Washington DC dedicated to strengthening strategic cooperation among democratic nations. And on the line today, is Peter van Praig Founding President of Halifax International Security Forum, HFX to preview this year's forum, which runs from November 19 through 21st in Halifax, Nova Sc...more

  • Was COP 26 a Success? Key Outcomes From the UN Climate Conference, Explained

    Nov 15 2021

    The major United Nations climate conference, known as COP26, went into overtime in Glasgow, Scotland. But on Saturday, November 13th agreement was reached on the text of an outcome document.   Pete Ogden, Vice President for Energy, Climate and the Environment at the United Nations Foundation explains the key outcomes from COP26, what was accomplished -- and what was left on the table -- at this major UN climate conference.   

  • How Can Climate Science Support Peace in the Middle East and North Africa? | Climate Security Series

    Nov 11 2021

    Today's episode was recorded live in front of a virtual audience and produced in partnership with CGIAR, the world's largest agricultural innovation network. It is part of a series of episodes that examine the relationship between climate and security. I moderate a panel discussion in which experts discuss how climate science can encourage and support peace in the Middle east and north Africa. The episode kicks off with some introductory remarks by Aly Abousabaa Regional Director for Central and...more

  • Why Is There Still a UN Peacekeeping Mission in Cyprus, 50 Years Later?

    Nov 08 2021

    The UN Peacekeeping Mission in Cyprus  is one of the world's oldest peacekeeping missions. Yet to this day, it is still serving a valuable role in preventing conflict between Greece and Turkey -- two NATO allies.  On the line to explain why this peacekeeping force is still needed after all these years is Peter Yeo, President of the Better World Campaign and Senior Vice President of the United Nations Foundation.  We kick off discussing the history of the mission before having a broader conversat...more

  • Madagascar is Experiencing The World's First Climate Change Induced Famine

    Nov 04 2021

    In Madagascar thousands of people in the southern part of the country are experiencing famine-like conditions. Over a million more are considered to be on the brink of famine. The crisis in Southern Madagascar is a direct consequence of climate change. This region has experienced successive droughts -- the rainy season is shorter, the lean season is longer and farmers are unable to plant their crops. This is widely considered to be the world's first climate-change induced famine.  On the line wi...more

  • What to Expect at COP26: The Biggest UN Climate Conference Since The Paris Agreement

    Nov 01 2021

    COP 26 is the most important international climate conference since the Paris Agreement of 2015.   On the line with me to offer a preview of what to expect from this major UN climate meeting is Pete Odgen, Vice President for Energy, Climate, and the Environment at the United Nations Foundation. He is a veteran of many previous COPs and in our conversation he discusses the key issues up for negotiation in Glasgow and the broader geopolitics of climate change diplomacy. This includes a deep dive i...more

  • How Agriculture, Land Use and Food Systems Can Help the Paris Agreement's Climate Goals | Taped Live

    Oct 28 2021

    Today's episode was recorded live in partnership with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) ahead of COP26 in Glasgow.   I moderate a panel discussion that takes a deep dive into the Nationally Determined Contributions as they relate to food and agriculture. The Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, are the backbone of the Paris Climate Agreement. They are what each country brings to the table in terms of their own contribution to climate act...more

  • A Sudden Coup in Sudan -- What Comes Next?

    Oct 25 2021

    Since the overthrow of the genocidal dictator Omar al Bashir in 2019, Sudan has been lead by a transitional governing council made up of civilians and the military. On Monday October 25th 2021 the Sudanese military purged the civilians from their leadership positions, including arresting the prime minister. On the line with me to discuss this coup and what comes next is Cameron Hudson. He is a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and former chief of staff in the office of the speci...more

  • Why Did Saudi Arabia Purchase Newcastle United -- Is "Sportswashing" the Next Frontier of Public Diplomacy?

    Oct 21 2021

    In early October, a group lead by the investment arm of the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia purchased Newcastle United, the English Premier League soccer team.  The purchase caused a great deal of speculation that it was motivated by a desire to burnish the image of the Saudi ruler.  What is not speculation is that overnight Newcastle United  became the richest soccer team in the world. On the line with me to explain the significance of Saudi Arabia's purchase of Newscastle United is Alex ...more

  • How Can We Achieve Policy Coherence for Climate Security | Climate Security Series

    Oct 19 2021

    Today's episode was recorded live in front of a virtual audience and produced in partnership with CGIAR, the world's largest agricultural innovation network. It is part of a series of episodes that examine the relationship between climate and security. I moderate a panel discussion in which experts discuss and explain the need for a coherent approach to climate security across multiple policy sectors. Introductory remarks are given by Rob Vos Director of Markets, Trade and Institutions Division,...more

  • Humanity Gets A Malaria Vaccine!

    Oct 18 2021

    On October 6, the World Health Organization endorsed a malaria vaccine for the first time ever. After years of testing, the vaccine was shown to be safe and effective at preventing the deaths of thousands of children in Sub-Saharan Africa. The WHO's backing of this Malaria vaccine is both a breakthrough in scientific research and an important moment in human history. Margaret McDonnell, executive director of Nothing But Nets at the UN Foundation, explains why this new malaria vaccine is so promi...more

  • The Civil War in Ethiopia is Getting Worse

    Oct 14 2021

    The government of Ethiopia has expelled seven top UN officials from the country. This move comes as the federal government launches a new military offensive against the TPLF -- the Tigray People's Liberation Front.  William Davison of the International Crisis Group explains how the civil war in Ethiopia has evolved in recent weeks and describes the ongoing calamitous humanitarian impact of the conflict in Ethiopia.   

  • How China Makes Foreign Policy

    Oct 11 2021

    The process by which China makes its foreign policy is often considered to be something of a black box, or at least very difficult for outsiders to discern.  Suiseng Zhao is a professor of International Studies and director of the Center for China-US Cooperation at the University of Denver. He has written extensively about the tapestry of Chinese institutions that inform foreign policy decision making, and in this conversation explains the key players that shape how Chinese foreign policy is mad...more

  • Migration, Climate and Security in Latin America | Climate Security Series

    Oct 07 2021

    Today's episode was recorded live in front of a virtual audience and produced in partnership with CGIAR, the world's largest agricultural innovation network. It is part of a series of episodes examining the relationship between climate variability and security. In today's episode, I moderate a panel discussion in which experts discuss the relationship between climate variability, migration and security in Latin America.  To participate in future live tapings of the podcast as part of this series...more

  • Will China's Evergrande Crisis Spark a Global Economic Contagion?

    Oct 04 2021

    The massive Chinese real estate company Evergrande is unable to pay its debts. This has sparked some rare protests in China and is spooking international financial markets. A key question now is whether or not the government of China will let Evergrande collapse -- and whether or not the collapse of this real estate giant will have knock on effects throughout the region and the world? Richard Vague is Secretary of Banking and Securities for Pennsylvania and an author who has written extensively ...more

  • A Coup in Guinea is the Latest of a Trend in West Africa

    Sep 30 2021

    On September 5th, a special forces unit of the Guinean military attacked the presidential palace in the capital Conakry, and deposed President Alpha Conde. This was the third coup in West Africa in the last 12 months. David Zounmenou, senior research consultant at the Institute for Security Studies, explains the circumstances that lead to this coup. He also explains how events in Guinea fit into a broader regional trends in which once duly elected presidents become authoritarian and are deposed ...more

  • How to Respond to Climate Security Crises in Africa? | Climate Security Series

    Sep 27 2021

    Today's episode was recorded live in front of a virtual audience and produced in partnership with CGIAR, the world's largest agricultural innovation network.  The podcast has partnered with CGIAR for a special series that examines the relationship between climate and security and in today's episode we explore how Africa is experiencing and approaching the climate security nexus -- in particular how institutions in Africa and beyond are responding to climate security crises.  The episode kicks of...more

  • Live From UNGA -- Day 5 | ICRC Head Peter Maurer | UN Foundation President Elizabeth Cousens | Big Meeting on Energy Transitions

    Sep 24 2021

    The United Nations General Assembly is always one of the most important weeks of the diplomatic calendar. Each day this week we are bringing you live coverage featuring the latest news and analysis from UNGA, in partnership with the UN Foundation.  Today's episode was recorded Friday afternoon, September 24. Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, discusses ongoing diplomacy on the crisis in Afghanistan.  Elizabeth Cousens, President and CEO of the United Nations...more

  • Live From UNGA -- Day 4 | Food Systems Summit | Security Council Meets on Climate-Security

    Sep 23 2021

    The United Nations General Assembly is always one of the most important weeks of the diplomatic calendar. Each day this week we are bringing you live coverage featuring the latest news and analysis from UNGA, in partnership with the UN Foundation.  Today's episode was recorded Thursday afternoon, September 23. Dr. Jemimah Njuki, Director for Africa at the International Food Policy Research Institute, discusses the significant outcomes from a much-anticipated Food Systems Summit. Ireland's Ambass...more

  • Live From UNGA -- Day 3 | Biden's Big COVID Summit | Plus, Panama's Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes

    Sep 22 2021

    The United Nations General Assembly is always one of the most important weeks of the diplomatic calendar. Each day this week we are bringing you live coverage featuring the latest news and analysis from of UNGA, in partnership with the UN Foundation.  Today's episode was recorded Wednesday afternoon, September 22. Kate Dodson, vice president for global health at the United Nations Foundation explains the big outcomes from a major COVID Summit convened by the White House. Also, Panama Foreign Min...more

  • Live From UNGA -- Day 2 | Joe Biden's UN Speech | Antonio Guterres' Big Warning to the World | And More!

    Sep 21 2021

    The United Nations General Assembly is always one of the most important weeks of the diplomatic calendar. Each day this week we are bringing you live coverage featuring the latest news and analysis from of UNGA, in partnership with the UN Foundation.  Today's episode was recorded Tuesday afternoon, September 21. Richard Gowan of the International Crisis Group and Anjali Dayal of Fordham University discuss the key takeaways from speeches by world leaders, including Joe Biden and Antonio Guterres....more

  • Live From UNGA -- Day 1 | Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed | Climate Diplomacy Expert Yamide Dagnet

    Sep 20 2021

    The annual opening of the UN General Assembly is always one the most important weeks on the diplomatic calendar. The podcast has partnered with the United Nations Foundation to provide listeners with daily news and expert analysis about what is driving the diplomatic agenda at the United Nations during this key week. Today, we speak with UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed who articulates her priorities for #UNGA76. We then turn to climate diplomacy expert Yamide Dagnet of the World Re...more

  • How Transforming Food Systems Can Inspire Action on Climate Change | Taped Live in Partnership with CGIAR

    Sep 16 2021

    This episode was recorded live in front of a virtual audience in advance of a key meeting at the United Nations known as the Food Systems Summit.  This episode is produced in partnership with CGIAR, the world's largest agricultural innovation network and features a panel discussion examining the links between food systems and action needed to confront climate change.   

  • Angela Merkel's Legacy in International Affairs and Foreign Policy

    Sep 13 2021

    Angela Merkel steps down this month after having served as chancellor of Germany since 2005. Her time in office coincided with a number of major world events, including the global financial crisis; the 2015 refugee and migrant crisis; Brexit, Crimea, Trump, COVID, and much more.  Throughout it all, Angela Merkel has been the de-facto leader of the European Union. On the line with me to discuss some of the significant moments in Angela Merkel's 16 years as Chancellor of Germany is Constanze Stelz...more

  • What Happened at the United Nations on September 11, 2001

    Sep 09 2021

    Stephane Dujarric is a long serving United Nations spokesperson who on September 11th, 2001 was at his office at the United Nations when planes struck the World Trade Center. I've known Stephane Dujarric a long time and knew that he was in the building that day, but I'd not spoken about it with him until now.  He offers a grounds-eye view of what it was like to be at the United Nations that day, and as a long serving senior UN spokesperson he is able to give some perspective on how those attacks...more

  • What's Next For the United Nations in Afghanistan? | Mark Malloch Brown

    Sep 06 2021

    As Afghanistan enters a perilous and uncertain future, the United Nations has promised to "stay and deliver." The country's humanitarian emergency is getting more acute by the day, taxing UN agencies like the World Food Program. Meanwhile, the Security Council's role in managing the political transition in Afghanistan is unclear, and many of the Taliban's senior leadership are still under UN sanction On the line with me to discuss the UN's role in the new Afghanistan is Mark Malloch Brown. He is...more

  • What Comes Next for Humanitarian and Development NGOs in Afghanistan?

    Sep 02 2021

    Zuhra Bahman was out of the country on a business meeting when the Taliban took control of Kabul. She is the Afghanistan country director for Search for Common Ground, an NGO that engages in community based peace-building work. I was eager to speak with her because it is very unclear to me and to the entire international community the extent to which NGOs will be able to operate under Taliban rule.  As Zurha Bahman explains, she is eager to get back to her work and life in Afghanistan -- but onl...more

  • How We Use Our Lands and Forests Can Fight Climate Change and Support Security (Or Not) | Climate Security Series

    Aug 30 2021

    Today's episode was recorded live in front of a virtual audience in partnership with CGIAR, the world's largest agricultural innovation network, as part of a series of episodes examining the links between climate variability and security.  The episode features a discussion amongst a panel of experts who explore the relationship between security and land use, including forestry. Visit https://climatesecurity.cgiar.org/ to register for the next live event in this series.     

  • "They Are Missing Our Side Of The Story" -- An Afghan Human Rights Activist Speaks Out

    Aug 25 2021

    Zubaida Akbar is an Afghan human rights activist living in Washington, D.C. She is desperately trying to get vulnerable people out of the country, including a group of female journalists who are almost certainly marked for execution by the Taliban.  We kick off discussing what she is hearing from her friends in Kabul as people attempt to flee the Taliban's retribution.  We then have a very heavy conversation about the tragedy unfolding in Afghanistan.         

  • Better Know The Climate Investment Funds

    Aug 23 2021

    Back in 2008, in the midst of both a global economic catastrophe and stalled progress on climate diplomacy, a unique multilateral platform called the Climate Investment Funds was born.   The G-8 created the Climate Investment Funds to support developing economies as they shifted to a less carbon intensive future. The Climate Investment Funds supports the development of clean energy markets and invests in projects and programs the enable clean energy transitions and adaptation to climate change. ...more

  • What Are the Latest Trends in Peace and Conflict Around the World? | Global Peace Index Founder Steve Killilea

    Aug 19 2021

    The Global Peace Index is an ambitious effort to measure peacefulness around the world using quantitative data. Now in its 15th year, the Index has offered policymakers and analysts a useful way to measure key trends in peace and conflict.  Steve Killilea, founder and executive director of the Institute for Economics and Peace, is on the podcast to discuss the report's findings and what it suggests about trends in peace and conflict around the world. 

  • How Do We Measure the Relationship Between Climate and Security | Climate Security Series

    Aug 16 2021

    This episode was recorded live in front of a virtual audience and produced in partnership with CGIAR, the world’s largest agricultural innovation network, as part of a series of episodes examining the relationship between climate and security. In today's conversation we discuss the key question of how one measures the relationship between climate variability and peacefulness or insecurity.  Sign up for the next live taping!  https://bre.is/e5REazzj 

  • How The Enduring Legacy of 9-11 and the War on Terror Forever Changed American Life | Spencer Ackerman

    Aug 12 2021

    You can draw a line from  September 11 2001 to January 6 2021.  In the new book Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump journalist Spencer Ackerman offers an intense examination of how a never ending war on terror became an embedded and malignant force in American civic life.  This is one of the most important foreign policy books of a generation. Spencer Ackerman, on the podcast today, is a Pulitzer Prize and National Magazine Award winning reporter who has wor...more

  • How Yemen's Rival Banks Are Fueling a Civil War

    Aug 09 2021

    Yemen has two rival central banks. These banks have their own priorities and fiscal policies -- and were set up, in part, to help defeat the other and control the Yemeni Rial.  The result has been runaway inflation and food prices that are increasingly out of reach for ordinary Yemenis.  Annelle Sheline of The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft explains how Yemen came to have rival central banks and how this situation fits into the broader conflict in Yemen.   

  • A Coup Puts Tunisia in Political Crisis

    Aug 05 2021

    On July 25th, Tunisian President Kais Saied fired the prime minister, dismissed parliament, and assumed dictatorial powers . This was a self-coup in which the president invoked an emergency clause in the constitution allowing him to rule by decree. Tarek Megirisi, Senior Policy fellow at European Council on Foreign Relations, explains what happened in Tunisia and the broader domestic and international implications of this power grab.   

  • How the Fight for Women's Rights Became so Polarized at the United Nations

    Aug 02 2021

    At the United Nations, debates over gender equality, reproductive health and women's rights were not always as polarized as they are today. When I started covering the United Nations as a journalist in the early 2000s the feminist movement, broadly speaking, was in ascendence and very much driving discussions around gender issues at the UN.  This is not as much the case today. According to my guest today, Jelena Cupac, that is because of the ascendence of a transnational network of conservative ...more

  • Can Congress Rein in the Forever Wars With the New "National Security Powers Act?" | Senator Chris Murphy

    Jul 29 2021

    United States Senator Chris Murphy wants to radically reign in the President's ability to use military force abroad. Chris Murphy is a Democrat from Connecticut and along with Independent Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont and Republican Senator Mike Lee from Utah is a co-sponsor of the new National Security Powers Act.  This legislation would give Congress far more say in matters of war and peace than it currently enjoys. This includes placing strict limits on the ability of the executive bran...more

  • Kashmir is on the Brink | Red Flags or Resilience? Series

    Jul 26 2021

    In March 2020, when countries around the world started imposing COVID-19 lockdowns Kashmir was just emerging from a lockdown of its own. Several months prior, in August 2019 the government of India revoked the special status that Kashmir had enjoyed since the partition of India in 1947. This sparked mass protests, violence and a heavy handed government response -- including curfews and an internet shutdown.  But just as restrictions were slowly being lifted in the early part of 2020, COVID emerg...more

  • Femicide in Mexico is on the Rise | Red Flags or Resistance?

    Jul 22 2021

    Unique among countries in the world, Mexico considers Femicide as a crime distinct from homicide. Sometimes known as "Feminicide," this is the crime of murdering a woman or girl on account of her gender.  Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020, the documented numbers of Femicide in parts of Mexico have skyrocketed. This includes a part of the State of Mexico, near Mexico City, known as The Periphery.  It is here that my guest today, Caroline Tracey, has reported on the increased frequency ...more

  • Crisis in South Africa

    Jul 19 2021

    Protest, looting, and riots have plunged South Africa into a deep crisis. Scores of people have been killed in this unrest which was sparked by the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma on July 7th.  At time of recording, the government was dispatching 25,000 troops to bring order--and unprecedented military mobilization in the post-apartheid era.  On the line with me from Johannesburg is journalist Geoffrey York, the Africa Bureau Chief for the Globe and Mail.

  • A Crisis Mounts in Africa's Only Absolute Monarchy, Eswatini (Formerly Known As Swaziland)

    Jul 15 2021

    Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland) is a small country in Southern Africa nestled on the border between South Africa and Mozambique. It is notably Africa's only absolute monarchy --  the king rules by decree, with no meaningful checks or balances.  Today, the country in in the midst of its most intense and significant protests against that monarch in recent history. The protests began in May and accelerated in June. The monarchy's response was violent, with many protesters killed and disappea...more

  • Colombia is Rocked By The Biggest Protests In Recent Memory

    Jul 11 2021

    Colombia has been rocked by the most significant protests in recent memory. In late April and May Colombians took to the streets across the country initially to protest a proposed new tax law. But what began as a a protest against this new tax bill swiftly morphed into a broad based protest movement against systemic inequality.  Colombia is one of the most unequal countries in the world and these protests are seeking to upend the political system that has entrenched this inequality in Colombian ...more

  • The Assassination of The President of Haiti Jovenal Moise

    Jul 07 2021

    In the early morning hours of July 7th, unknown assailants assassinated the President of Haiti Jovenal Moise.  Haiti was already facing an uncertain political future. And now, the line of succession is not at all clear.  Journalist Jonathan Myerson Katz explains the tumultuous political context in which this audacious assassination occurred and what the assassination of the president means for the future of Haiti. 

  • Introducing: "Guardians of the River"

    Jul 05 2021

    The Okavango River is a major river system in Southwest Africa. It begins in Angola, passes through Namibia and ends in a vast delta in Botswana. This river system, its ecological and social impact is the subject of a breathtaking new podcast called Guardians of The River.  Guardians of the River won the best narrative non-fiction podcast award at the Tribeca Film Festival -- and after listening to the pilot episode you will understand why. It is produced by the House of Pod, Wild Bird Trust and...more

  • The Crisis in Syria is at a Major Turning Point

    Jun 30 2021

    The crisis in Syria is at a crossroads. Millions of displaced people trapped in northern Syria may soon face a near complete cutoff of the humanitarian aid upon which they rely. This is because Security Council must vote to keep this aid flowing, but Russia is threatening a veto. On the line to explain how we got to this point and the implications of restricting aid access is Vanessa Jackson, UN Representative and Head of Office for CARE International at the United Nations. 

  • What Will Antonio Guterres Do In His Second Term As United Nations Secretary General?

    Jun 28 2021

    On June 18th, Antonio Guterres was re-appointed United Nations Secretary General for a second and final five year term.  Richard Gowan, the UN Director of the International Crisis Group, looks back at the highlights and lowlights of Guterres' first term and discusses some of the key challenges and opportunities that will present themselves over the next five years.  Global Dispatches debut book: For The Love of Hong Kong

  • Is Climate Migration a Security Threat? | Climate Security Series

    Jun 24 2021

    Climate variability can cause the mass movement of people -- but does the mass movement of people fleeing climate shocks undermine political and human security?  A diverse panel of experts who explores the relationship between security challenges and climate induced migration -- both across and within borders. This episode was recorded live in front of a virtual audience and produced in partnership with CGIAR, the world's largest agricultural innovation network.   

  • Is Sri Lanka at Risk For a Return to Mass Atrocity? | "Red Flags or Resilience?" Series

    Jun 21 2021

    The government of Sri Lanka is using COVID-19 as a pre-text to assert control over ethnic minority populations. This is particularly troubling because the government has a history of atrocity crime. The leaders of the country today are they very same people responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against ethnic tamils 11 years ago.   Journalist JS Tissainaygam explains how Sri Lanka's history of atrocity crimes is plaguing its response to COVID-19 and puts it at risk for...more

  • Famine in Ethiopia as the Tigray Conflict Worsens

    Jun 17 2021

    By all accounts, the situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia is extremely grim and about to get much worse. The United Nations now says that famine has struct parts of the region. The civil war in Ethiopia continues without and end in sight. Meanwhile, fraught national elections are scheduled for June 21.  Ethiopian journalist Zecharias Zelalem explains how we got to this point and where the conflict may be headed next.  

  • The Ban Ki-moon Interview

    Jun 14 2021

    Ban Ki-moon served as the eighth Secretary General of the United Nations from 2007 to 2016.  He is out with a new memoir titled Resolved: Uniting Nations in a Divided World. We cover quite a bit of ground in this interview, including his perspective on what the covid crisis revealed about the strengths and weaknesses of the United Nations, what can be done to bolster multilateralism today, his frustrations with the Security Council and what advice he might offer to his successor Antonio Guterres...more

  • Biden's Pick for Top US Human Rights Post, Sarah Margon

    Jun 10 2021

    President Biden has nominated Sarah Margon as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.  This is the top American global human rights watchdog and the most important human rights position in the US foreign policy bureaucracy.   In 2015, Sarah Margon came on the podcast for a long conversation about her life and career in human rights. Listen back to this conversation to learn the events that shaped the worldview of Biden's pick for top human rights official.  Unlock pre...more

  • The Dictator's "Digital Dilemma"

    Jun 07 2021

    Digital repression is on the rise. Governments around the world have used tools like mass surveillance, internet blocking and disinformation to stay in power. This includes both autocratic governments and weak or illiberal democracies.  New research from my guest today Steve Feldstein offers some novel insights into the kinds of digital tools governments are using to consolidate power, and for what purpose. He is the author of the new book The Rise of Digital Repression: How Technology is Resha...more

  • A Grounds-Eye View Of the Scarily Rapid Demise of Democracy and Free Speech in Hong Kong

    Jun 01 2021

    Hana Meihan Davis comes from a long line of democracy activists in Hong Kong. Today, they are all either in exile, facing arrest, or somewhere in between. Hana Meihan Davis is the author of the new book For The Love of Hong Kong: A Memoir From My City Under Siege, which tells the story of Hana's family and friends who have been on the frontlines of an epic struggle to defend democracy, freedom of speech and human rights in the face of increasing repression by Chinese government authorities. Thi...more

  • Why Would Belarus Force Down A Civilian Airliner to Capture a Dissident Journalist?

    May 27 2021

    On Sunday May 23rd a Belarusian fighter jet intercepted a civilian Ryan Air flight and forced it land in Minsk, Belarus. Authorities promptly arrested a dissident journalist onboard and his girlfriend.  Often described as "Europe's Last Dictator," this incident was an audacious example of the lengths that the regime of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko would go to silence opposition voices and dissidents. Guest: Sofya Orlosky, senior program manager for Europe and Eurasia at Freedom House. ...more

  • Why The Transition to Green Economies May Fuel Demand for Conflict Minerals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

    May 24 2021

    As the world turns towards greener economies there will be a surge in demand for natural resources that enable a less carbon intensive future. This includes the mineral cobalt, which is key component of batteries.  Most of the world's supply of Cobalt is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This raises the prospect that increasing demand for Cobalt might contribute to insecurity in the DRC.  On the line to explain the link between mineral extraction and conflict in the DRC and how cobalt min...more

  • Better Know Nayib Bukele, the Hipster Authoritarian President of El Salvador

    May 20 2021

    Elected in 2019 as a 37 year old third party candidate, the president of El Salvador Nayib Bukele is a political phenom. He has a hipster's disposition, but an authoritarian's proclivities.  a On the line to explain the rise of Nayib Bukele and the demise of democratic checks and balances in El Salvador is Frida Ghitis,  She is a world affairs analyst and columnist for World Politics Review.  We kick off discussing the sudden rise of Bukele in Salvadorian politics before entering into a discussi...more

  • Why The Crisis in Israel and Palestine is Different This Time

    May 17 2021

    Conflict in Israel and Palestine is escalating in ways we have seen before: an Israeli military assault on Gaza as rockets fly from Gaza to Israel. But what distinguishes this latest iteration of the Arab-Israeli conflict is that violence is spreading within Israel. Over the last several days there have been multiple incidents of mob attacks between Jews and Arabs in towns in Israel with mixed populations between Palestinian citizens of Israel and Jews. The threat of widespread communal violence...more

  • The Chief Economist of the World Food Program Explains Why Hunger is On the Rise

    May 13 2021

    The last time World Food Program Chief Economist Arif Husain came on the show to discuss global trends in food security was 15 months ago. Needless to say, since January 2020 and the onset of the pandemic food insecurity and hunger around the world have gotten much worse.  We kick off this conversation discussing a new report on global hunger and food security before have a longer discussion about what, exactly, is driving a current surge in food insecurity and hunger around the world today -- a...more

  • What We Mean By "Decolonizing" Global Health

    May 10 2021

    It was a combination of imperial ambition and white supremacy that inspired the advent of the field of global health in the 19th century and that colonialist legacy can still be seen in the practice of global health today.  Guest: Dr. Ashti Doobay-Persaud is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Medical Education at Northwestern University where she co-directs the Center for Global Health Education and is the Faculty Director of the Master of Science in Global Health program.  Learn more about ...more

  • Why the Battlefield Death of Chad President Idriss Deby Has Big Global Implications

    May 06 2021

    The longtime ruler of Chad, Idriss Deby, died from wounds sustained while visiting troops on the battlefield. Deby had been the president of Chad for over 30 years and was considered a stalwart ally of the United States and France, who viewed him as the lynchpin of regional counter-terrorism efforts.  On the line to discuss what the death of Chad president Idriss Deby means for regional and international security -- and for the future of Chad is Reed Brody, Counsel for Human Rights Watch.   

  • Is Poland At Risk For Atrocity Crimes? | "Red Flags or Resilience?" Series

    May 03 2021

    When COVID-19 forced countries to impose widespread lockdowns last year, there was a concurrent surge in gender based violence and domestic abuse. The United Nations has called this a "shadow pandemic" in which lockdowns everywhere lead to a sharp increase in gender based violence. This includes Poland, where even before the pandemic levels of gender based violence were extremely high.  During the first month of the lockdown in March 2020, the country's largest women's rights center received a 5...more

  • India: How the COVID Crisis Got So Bad, So Quickly

    Apr 29 2021

    India is currently in the midst the single worst spike in COVID cases experienced anywhere in the world since the start of the pandemic.  On the line with me to explain how and why the COVID crisis got so bad so quickly in India is Michael Kugelman, Asia Program Deputy Director and Senior Associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center. We kick off discussing the current humanitarian emergency in India before having a broader conversation about the political and international implications ...more

  • Climate Diplomacy Gets a Boost from the White House

    Apr 26 2021

    On April 22 and 23rd, the White House hosted the Climate Leaders Summit which featured more than 40 world leaders. Joe Biden kicked off the summit with a major announcement that the United States has set a target to reduce by 50% its carbon emissions by the year 2030 On the line with me to discuss the significance of the White House announcement and its implications for climate diplomacy is Pete Ogden, Vice President for Climate and the Environment at the United Nations Foundation.  

  • Is "Progressive Realism" the Future of US Foreign Policy?

    Apr 22 2021

    The American foreign policy tradition has been recently dominated by just a few ideologies: neoconservatism of the Regan and George W. Bush eras and the liberal internationalism of the Clinton and Obama administrations.  Robert Wright, has helped to introduce and popularize a new kind of intellectual tradition to the public square called "Progressive Realism."  He explains some key principals of a progressive-realist foreign policy and how this ideology might be applied to some key foreign polic...more

  • With American Troops Departing, What Comes Next For Afghanistan?

    Apr 19 2021

    On April 14th President Biden announced that American Troops will be leaving Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, formally ending US military engagement after twenty years of war. What contributed to this decision? What impact will it have on internal dynamics in Afghanistan and does this mean the Taliban will gain control?  On the line with me to discuss the implications of the decision to end US military presence in Afghanistan is Adam Weinstein,  Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute for Resp...more

  • How the Course of Human History Has Been Shaped by Infectious Disease | Charles Kenny

    Apr 15 2021

    The COVID-19 pandemic is just the latest iteration of what Charles Kenny calls an unending war between humanity and infectious disease. His new book "The Plague Cycle" documents and describes how the course of human history has been shaped by infectious disease from thousands of years ago to early 2021.   Guest: Charles Kenny,  senior fellow with the Center for Global Development and author of The Plague Cycle: The Unending War Between Humanity and Infectious Disease   Get a premium subscriptio...more

  • What is Driving a Surge of Violence in Niger?

    Apr 12 2021

    For the last several months Niger has experienced a surge in attacks against civilians by violent extremists. This region of West Africa, the Sahel, has experienced profound and growing security challenges in recent years. What distinguishes this new upsurge in violence in Niger is that civilians are being targeted -- and on the basis of their ethnicity.  Guest: Ornella Moderan the Sahel Program Head for Institute for Security Studies.        

  • How Have the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Responded to the Pandemic?

    Apr 08 2021

    When economies started tanking last year as COVID-19 spread rapidly around the globe, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund mounted their crisis response. Now, one year later we can assess some of the impact of the response of these institutions, and what comes next as countries continue to try weather this economic storm.  On the line with me to discuss how the World Bank and IMF have responded to the COVID-19 crisis is Scott Morris, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development. ...more

  • How A New International Pandemic Treaty Can Prevent the Next Big One

    Apr 05 2021

    On March 30th, leaders from 23 countries plus the heads of the World Health Organization and the European Union called for a new international treaty to confront the next pandemic. Global health expert Kate Dodson explains what would be included in a new international treaty on pandemic preparedness and response; how might a pandemic treaty be negotiated among world powers; and asks if a new global pandemic treaty even a good idea?  (It is)  Guest: Kate Dodson, Vice President for Global Health a...more

  • Elections and Democratic Backsliding in Benin

    Apr 01 2021

    Benin is a geographically small country in West Africa, located between Nigeria and Togo. Since the 1990s Benin has earned a reputation as a strong and stable multiparty democracy. However, that has all changed in recent years and Benin is in the midst of democratic backsliding ahead of elections in which opposition parties have been sidelined.  On the line with me from Benin is Jose Biaou, the spokesperson for the Alliance Patriotic de Nouvelle Espoir --  The New Hope Patriotic Alliance.

  • The Epic Odyssey of a Stateless Refugee Family's Quest to Find a Home

    Mar 29 2021

    Asad Hussein was born in a refugee camp in Kenya after his parents fled conflict in neighboring Somalia. He was born into extreme poverty and stateless, yet despite the odds he became the first person from his refugee camp admitted to an Ivy League school.  His family's incredible story is told in the new book Beyond the Sand and Sea: One Family's Quest for a Country to Call Home by journalist Ty McCormick, who is a senior editor with Foreign Affairs.      

  • Turkey Withdraws from a Key Gender-Based Violence Treaty and an Update from the Commission on the Status of Women

    Mar 25 2021

    In mid-March, the government of Turkey announced that is was withdrawing from a key human rights treaty known as the Istanbul Convention. Turkey took this move right in the middle of a major annual united nations conference called the Commission on the Status of Women. Needless to say the unfortunate irony of Turkey withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention during the Commission on the Status on Women was not lost on many observers, including my guest today Nabeeha Kazi Hutchins, President and CE...more

  • "Weaponized Interdependence" and the Future of International Relations

    Mar 22 2021

    Globalization was always presumed to have a flattening effect; power in a globalized world would be more diffuse and less centralized. A groundbreaking idea, called "Weaponized Interdependence," flips that idea on its head and demonstrates how governments have exploited economic integration to pursue their foreign policy goals and compel foreign adversaries.  Guest: Daniel Drezner, professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts and co-editor of the new b...more

  • An Update from Brazil, Where the Health System is Collapsing and Former President Lula is Poised for a Comeback

    Mar 18 2021

    Health systems in Brazil are collapsing. Hospitals are running out of beds and oxygen as COVID cases in that country are soaring. Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has long downplayed the severity of COVID and now deaths are spiking in South America's largest country. Meanwhile, Bolsonaro's rival, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is poised for a comeback in elections next year after a stunning court decision.  Guest:  Leticia Casado, a journalist and stringer for the New York Times wh...more

  • Can the United States Embrace a Feminist Foreign Policy?

    Mar 15 2021

    Several American allies have pledged to pursue an explicitely feminist foreign policy. But what does this mean in practice?   In today's episode, we explore what a feminist foreign policy would mean for the United States and how a feminist foreign policy is one that necessarily must also embrace multilateralism. Guest: Devon Cone, Senior advocate for women and girls at Refugees International. 

  • Inside the Drive to Create a 'Global Fund' for Public Interest Journalism

    Mar 11 2021

    The pandemic has been described as a mass extinction event for journalism. This is true in the United States, Europe and the developed world but even more so in poorer countries.  A free and independent media is a key guardrail for a free and open society -- yet many media organizations in the developing world are struggling to stay afloat.  Guest: Nishant Lalwani, managing director of Luminate, and driving force behind a new International Fund for Public Interest Media. https://www.patreon.com/...more

  • The Civil War in Ethiopia is Taking a Turn for the Worse

    Mar 08 2021

    In early November, a civil war broke out in the Tigray region in Ethiopia. The conflict pitted the federal government and its allies against the regional government of Tigray, known as the TPLF.   Since then the fighting has gotten worse and the humanitarian impact for people living in Tigray has been catastrophic. Guest: William Davison, a senior analyst for Ethiopia for International Crisis Group discusses how and why this conflict started, and where it may be headed next.  Premium subscriptio...more

  • A Coup and then Protests as Myanmar Slider Deeper into Crisis

    Mar 04 2021

    On February 1st, the Burmese military mounted a coup, deposing and detaining the civilian leadership of the country. The military arrested the de-facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other key members of her ruling party.  This coup is a major setback for Myanmar's transition to democracy and a key foreign policy challenge for the new Biden administration.  Why was there a coup in Myanmar and what happens next?  Guest:  John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director Human Rights Watch. Premium Subscr...more

  • An Historic Moment in the Fight Against COVID Shows Why Cold Chains Are Key to Global Health and Development

    Mar 01 2021

    On February 24 the very first shipments of a COVID-19 vaccine from COVAX arrived in Ghana. COVAX is the international cooperative effort around the development and distribution safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. Ghana became the first country to receive COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX when 600,000 doses landed at the airport in Accra.  On hand to receive these doses was an old friend of mine, Owusu Akoto. He is the founder and CEO of a Ghanian cold chain logistics company called Freezelink.  ...more

  • The Crisis in Yemen is Entering a Dangerous New Phase

    Feb 25 2021

    The conflict in Yemen is entering a new phase. The Houthi rebel group that controls much of the country is launching a new offensive in an oil rich region of the country. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has breathed new life into international diplomatic efforts to end the war by ending US support to the Saudi Arabia lead military campaign.  This episode examines how the Yemen conflict has evolved over the years and where it may be headed next.  Guest: Gregory D. Johnsen, Brookings Institute...more

  • Why Countries Just Can't Quit Coal? New Research Offers Some Clues

    Feb 22 2021

    We know that countries around the world sometimes favor coal because it is cheaper. But new research from my guest today Jan Steckel aims to pinpoint some of the political forces that drive investment in coal.  Steckel along with his research collaborator Michael Jakob are coordinating a series of global case studies to understand the non-economic factors associated with investment in coal-fired power. This episode, produced in partnership with the Sustainable Energy Transitions Initiative (SETI...more

  • Will Biden Pull US Troops From Afghanistan?

    Feb 18 2021

    President Biden must soon make a key decision about American troop levels in Afghanistan. There are currently about 2,500 American troops in Afghanistan, but under a deal negotiated last year between the United States and the Taliban all American troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by May 2021.  This deal was negotiated by the Trump administration and it is unclear whether or not the new Biden administration will honor it. Guest: Jessica Donati of the Wall Street Journal, author of Eagle...more

  • An Opportunity for Climate Diplomacy Opens for the Biden-Harris Administration

    Feb 16 2021

    2021 will be a consequential year for multilateral diplomacy on climate change. A number of key meetings are on the diplomatic calendar and they come just as the new Biden-Harris administration in the United states is seeking to leave its mark on international climate action. The geo-politics of this moment in climate diplomacy are complex and the new administration must skillfully navigate a path forward in order to make good on its promise to treat climate change like the priority it is.  Gues...more

  • Why Farmers in India Are Staging Mass Protests

    Feb 11 2021

    Over the last several weeks farmers in India have staged mass demonstrations to protest new government agricultural policies. The farmers say these new laws would be financially ruinous and allow large corporations to dictate the price of agricultural goods.  Now, the apparently ever growing size of these farmer protests, particularly around New Delhi, have brought worldwide attention to these mass protests.  Guest: Michael Kugelman, the Senior Associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Cent...more

  • What Comes Next for USAID?

    Feb 08 2021

    The United States Agency for international development, USAID, is the premier global development agency of the United States government and one of the largest global development organizations in the world. As USAID goes, so goes global development. As Samantha Power prepares to lead USAID, this episode examines the global development priorities the new administration may pursue.  Guest: Sarah Rose, policy fellow at Center for Global Development.

  • A Fresh Approach to Middle East Peace

    Feb 04 2021

    With the peace process between Israel and Palestine seemingly intractably stalled, a new peace building plan that is modeled on Northern Ireland seeks to build grassroots support for peace.  Peace-builder and advocate Joel Brunold explains how the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act, recently passed by US Congress, can build momentum for a lasting resolution to longstanding conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.    

  • Coup in Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi's Fall from Grace (Re-release)

    Feb 01 2021

    A military coup in Myanmar (also called Burma) has toppled the civilian government lead by Aung San Suu Kyi. In this 2019 episode, former deputy National Security Advisor to Barack Obama Ben Rhodes explains Aung San Suu Kyi's rise to prominence in Burmese politics and how she ultimately fell from grace as a human rights icon, once revered in the West. The episode covers the political dynamics and recent history of Myanmar that lead to the January 31 military coup (hence the re-release.)     

  • Crisis in the Central African Republic

    Feb 01 2021

    The security and humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic has rapidly deteriorated over the last several weeks. Rebel group control a key road from which goods, food and humanitarian supplies is imported to CAR from neighboring Cameroon. The capitol city, Bangui is under an effective siege.   On the line to discuss what is happening in the Central African Republic is Hans de Marie Heungoup, the Central Africa senior analyst with the International Crisis Group. 

  • Alexey Navalny and Protests in Russia, with Amb. Michael McFaul

    Jan 28 2021

    On January 23, protests erupted in several cities and town across Russia in support of Alexey Navalny, the anti-corruption activist who was poisoned in an assassination attempt last August.  Navalny returned to Russia and was promptly arrested.  On the line with me to discuss the significance of these protests and what they signal about politics in Russia today is Michael McFaul, who served as US Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014.  Link to McFaul's International Security article Support th...more

  • Nigeria, the Most Populous Country in Africa, is Desperate for COVID-19 Vaccines

    Jan 25 2021

    Nigeria has a population of over 200 million people. It is the largest country in Africa. The country is now in the midst of a second wave of COVID infections which is straining an already fragile health system. But Nigerian officials have not been able to secure any doses of any COVID-19 vaccine for their frontline health workers--let alone general population. My guest today, Dr. Faisal Shuaib heads Nigeria's National Primary Healthcare Development Agency and a member of the country's COVID-19 ...more

  • Bobi Wine and the Fraught Elections in Uganda

    Jan 21 2021

    On January 14th, Uganda held national elections for president and parliament. The incumbent was the 76 year old Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled Uganda since 1986. His main challenger was a 38 year old music star turned politician who goes by the stage name Bobi Wine. Museveni claimed victory and his security forces have laid siege to Wine's home.   On the line to help me understand the current state of play of the fraught election and its aftermath in Uganda is Rosebell Kagumire. She is a writer ...more

  • The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Becomes International Law

    Jan 18 2021

    A treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons becomes international law on January 22, 2021.  The treaty seeks to do to nuclear weapons what previous international treaties have done to chemical and biological weapons -- that is, prohibit their use on humanitarian grounds.  Nobel Peace Prize winning Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, discusses exactly this treaty obliges of its member states and also the broader politics surrounding the effor...more

  • The Siege of the US Capitol and the Future of US Foreign Policy

    Jan 13 2021

    Ambassador Klaus Scharioth, who served as German Ambassador the United States from 2006 to 2011, discusses the implications of the Pro-Trump insurrection on US foreign policy and international relations.  https://humanityinaction.org https://patreon.com/GlobalDispatches   

  • What the Criminal Conviction of Saudi Women's Rights Activist Loujan al-Hathloul Says About the Future of Saudi Arabia

    Jan 11 2021

    Loujan al-Hathloul is a 31 year old Saudi women's rights activist in prison for challenging laws that inhibit women in Saudi Arabia.  In early January 2021, she was handed down a nearly six year prison sentence, though much of the sentence was suspended and she may be released as early as February or March. On the line to discuss her case and what the persecution of Loujan al-Hathloul can tell us about the future of Saudi Arabia, is Sari Bashi, a consultant with the advocacy group DAWN -- Democr...more

  • Mozambique is Experiencing a Surge of Violence as Crisis Worsens in Cabo Delgado Region

    Jan 07 2021

    There is a worsening Jihadist insurgency in a  province in Northern Mozambique called Cabo Delgado. The insurgency began in 2017, but in recent weeks the fighting has intensified substantially. Over half a million people have been displaced -- most over the last few months. And in early January 2021, the French energy company Total announced it was suspending operations on a massive $3.9 billion natural gas project in the region amid concerns about the safety of personnel.  Zenaida Machado is a...more

  • How the United States Can Strengthen UN Peacekeeping and Support International Peace and Security

    Jan 04 2021

    One of the most visible tools of international cooperation on peace and security are UN Peacekeepers -- Blue Helmets. Today there are about 95,000  uniformed personnel deployed to to 13 missions around the world. Though the United States deploys very few boots on the ground to peacekeeping missions, it is the single largest funder of UN Peacekeeping. And, as a veto-wielding member of the Security Council, it also determines where peacekeepers should be sent. This means that the United States hol...more

  • How the Biden-Harris Administration Can Advance a Global Human Rights Agenda

    Dec 28 2020

    The last four years have altered the global human rights landscape in some pretty significant ways. The Trump administration by and large abandoned multilateral forums for advancing a human rights agenda, like the UN Human Rights Council, while at the same time China began to more proactively engage in those platforms.  Suzanne Nossel, makes the compelling argument that the time has never been more urgent for the United States to re-assert itself at multilateral human rights platforms like the U...more

  • How the Biden Administration Can Reset America's Approach to Refugees, Asylum Seekers and International Migration

    Dec 21 2020

    With Trump leaving office, the incoming administration has an opportunity to reset America's approach to refugees, asylum seekers and international migration more broadly. On the line with me to discuss some of the concrete steps the incoming Biden-Harris administration may take on these issues is Nazanin Ash, vice president for global policy and advocacy at the International Rescue Committee  We kick off discussing the ways in which refugee and asylum policy have historically enjoyed bi-partisa...more

  • The Western Sahara Conflict is Upended By a Trump Tweet

    Dec 17 2020

    On December 10th, Donald Trump upended over 30 years of US diplomacy with a tweet in which he declared American support for Morocco's claims of sovereignty over Western Sahara. Since the 1970s, Morocco and a local group called the Polisario Front have fought for control of Western Sahara. In the early 1990s the United States brokered a ceasefire agreement which called for the people of Western Sahara to vote in a referendum to determine their status as an independent country. A UN Peacekeeping m...more

  • A Global Health Agenda for the Biden Administration

    Dec 14 2020

    The COVID-19 pandemic has made global health a top tier issue in Washington. In today's episode we explore what opportunities might exist for the incoming Biden administration and Congress to advance a global health agenda premised on strengthening international cooperation to take on common health challenges  Loyce Pace is President and CEO of the Global Health Council. We kick off discussing how the Trump administration's approach to global health was something of departure from typical bi-par...more

  • Five Years on from the Paris Agreement, How Can Countries Give A Boost To Their Climate Action Plans?

    Dec 10 2020

    December 12 2020 is the five year anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement. And on that day a number of governments, non state actors and other world leaders will convene virtually for a Climate Ambition Summit hosted by the United Nations, the United Kingdom, and France, in partnership with Chile and Italy.  Ahead of this summit, the podcast partnered with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) for a live taping that explored ways countries can take on climate change while also improving h...more

  • Legendary US Diplomat Thomas Pickering Explains How the US Can Get Its Multilateral Groove Back

    Dec 03 2020

    Ambassador Thomas Pickering is a legendary retired US foreign service officer. He had a four decade career in diplomacy, including serving as ambassador to Russia, India, Israel, Nigeria, El Salvador, among key postings. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush appointed him US Ambassador to the United Nations where he played a critical role in marshaling broad international support against Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. The diplomacy that accompanied the international effort to expel Iraqi forces from K...more

  • How Biden Could Restore US Leadership at the UN in his First 100 Days

    Nov 30 2020

    The first 100 days of any new presidential administration offers a key inflection point, signaling the policies that the new administration will prioritize and champion. It is during those first 100 days that the new administration gets the most leeway from congress, the media, and the general public to set their agenda.   Setting that agenda often includes a mix of new executive actions, supporting specific pieces of legislation, and releasing a federal budget request to congress which demonstr...more

  • Joe Biden Picks Linda Thomas-Greenfield as UN Ambassador

    Nov 23 2020

    Linda Thomas-Greenfield will be nominated by President-elect Joe Biden to serve as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. She is a veteran diplomat who most recently served as Assistant-Secretary of State for African Affairs in the Obama administration. Prior to that she served as the US Ambassador to Liberia during a critical time in that country's transition to democracy. Linda Thomas-Greenfield left the State Department in 2017, amid a wider purge by the Trump administration of s...more

  • Inside Yemen's "Hunger Wards"

    Nov 23 2020

    Yemen is the world's worst humanitarian crisis and is in imminent danger of descending into the worst famine the world has ever seen. Earlier this year, a filmmaker documented heroic efforts by doctors and health workers fight acute malnutrition that is inflicting children in Yemen. The director of the new film "Hunger Ward," Skye Fitzgerald discusses his film.  https://www.hungerward.org/ 

  • What's Next for US- Iran Diplomacy and the Iran Nuclear Deal

    Nov 19 2020

    When President Trump came to office in 2017, he inherited from President Obama the Iran Nuclear Deal. Trump rejected the deal and embarked on a fruitless "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran.  Such is the state of relations between the United States and Iran that Joe Biden will inherit when he takes office in January. Trita Parsi of the Quincy Institute discusses whether or not it is even possible for a Biden administration to revive the nuclear deal; and what steps a Biden administration ca...more

  • A Ceasefire, But No Peace for Nagorno-Karabakh

    Nov 16 2020

    On November 9th the warring parties in Nagorno-Karabakh signed a ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia. The agreement comes after weeks of very heaving fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia which killed and displaced thousands of people. On the line with me to discuss these recent events Anna Zamejc, a freelance journalist who has covered this region for years. We spend a few minutes discussing the recent history of Nagorno-Karabakh before having a longer conversation about the regional and i...more

  • Ethiopia is on the Brink of Civil War

    Nov 12 2020

    On November 4th, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched military operations against the Tigray People's Liberation Front, the TPLF, which is the group that controls the Tigray region in Northern Ethiopia.  Tensions have been simmering for some time between the Federal government, which Abiy controls and the TPLF. Now, one year after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Abiy has launched a military campaign that could very well spark a widespread civil war.  On the line with me to discuss rec...more

  • Veteran European Diplomat Gerard Araud on Joe Biden's Election and the Future of Trans-Atlantic Relations

    Nov 09 2020

    Gerard Araud is the former French Ambassador to the United States and the United Nations. We recorded this conversation on the Friday following the Tuesday of election day, when the result was all but certain. Ambassador Araud offers his take on how the election of Joe Biden will impact transatlantic relations and the ways that a Biden administration can repair some of the damage done to US-European relations these past four years.       

  • The United States Election -- What We Know So Far and What It Means for Foreign Policy

    Nov 04 2020

    At time of recording, votes in the United States election were still being counted. It appears that the vote totals so far are highly favorable to Joe Biden. Boston Globe columnist Michael Cohen discusses the results, such as we know them, and what they reveal about the American electorate and what, if anything, the results mean for America's role in the world. 

  • Protests in Thailand, Explained

    Oct 30 2020

    Protests in Thailand took an unexpected turn in October when young Thais began demanding reforms to the Monarchy, a traditionally revered institution. This added to demands that the prime minister, who took over in a coup in 2014 immediately resign.   Benjamin Zawacki, Senior Program Specialist at the Asia Foundation and author of the book "Thailand: Shifting Ground between the US and a Rising China," explains what is driving protests in Thailand.  We kick off discussing the role of the monarchy...more

  • Introducing: "Rethinking Humanitarianism"

    Oct 29 2020

    Rethinking Humanitarianism is a new podcast for anyone with an interest in the future of humanitarianism, from donors to NGO executives,  frontline responders to policy wonks —  basically if you’ve got an eye on the aid sector, this podcast is for you.    The podcast is co-hosted by Heba Aly, director of the independent newsroom The New Humanitarian, and Jeremy  Konyndyk, senior policy fellow at the non-profit think tank the Center for Global Development.  Today's episode features the debut of "...more

  • Biological Weapons: Still a Huge Global Threat!

    Oct 26 2020

    It's the late summer, and an unexplained influenza virus is killing international travelers. Researchers quickly identify the virus as a genetically engineered flu-strain. Intelligence agencies find irrefutable evidence that the virus was created in a secret bioweapons laboratory in a middle income country.  It was accidentally released.  By the end 50 million people are killed by this pathogen.  This was the scenario presented to a group of experts at the Munich Security Conference in February ...more

  • The Link Between Climate Change and Inequality in Indonesia -- Taped Live

    Oct 22 2020

    Today's episode was taped live in front a virtual audience as part of a series of a series of episodes examining the relationship between climate and security, produced in partnership with CGIAR, the world's largest global agricultural innovation network. The episode today, which is the eighth and final in our series, examines the relationship between climate security and inequality in Indonesia. The episode kicks off with Grazia Pacillo, senior economist CGIAR Climate Security, explaining the r...more

  • Police Brutality in Nigeria Spark Protests and Ignites a Movement

    Oct 19 2020

    In early October a video began to circulate on social media in Nigeria depicting a gruesome act of police brutality. The perpetrators of the police violence were from a notorious police unit called the Special Robbery Squad, or SARS. As this video went viral, Nigerians voiced their own stories of being victimized by this police unit. The hashtag #ENDSARS was born. But the story does not end there.  Olorunrinu Oduala, helped to transform this hashtag into a massive youth-led protest movement agai...more

  • The Link Between Climate Change and Inequality in Vietnam -- Taped Live

    Oct 15 2020

    Today's episode was taped live in front a virtual audience as part of a series of a series of episodes examining the relationship between climate and security, produced in partnership with CGIAR, the world's largest global agricultural innovation network. The episode today, which is the seventh in our series, examines the relationship between climate security and inequality in Vietnam. The episode kicks off with Grazia Pacillo, senior economist CGIAR Climate Security, explaining the results of a...more

  • COVID-19 is Forcing a Reckoning for the Humanitarian Aid Industry

    Oct 12 2020

    In the short history of modern humanitarianism, great crises have often inspired reform in how the international community approaches emergency situations.   Jessica Alexander wrote a sweeping review of how big crises over the last thirty years have compelled the humanitarian aid sector to change how it operates. Her article culminates with a discussion of how the current COVID crisis is forcing a new kind of reckoning in the aid sector. Jessica Alexander is a longtime humanitarian worker and ed...more

  • How Unconventional Partnerships Can Advance Climate Security -- Taped Live

    Oct 08 2020

    Today's episode was taped live in front a virtual audience as part of a series of a series of episodes examining the relationship between climate and security, produced in partnership with CGIAR, the world's largest global agricultural innovation network. The episode today, which is the sixth in our series, examines how to achieve climate security through strengthening partnerships across sectors, disciplines and geographies. Panelists:  Robert Malley, President & CEO, International Crisis Group...more

  • Political Crisis in Cote d'Ivoire

    Oct 05 2020

     Cote d'Ivoire president Alassane Ouattara is seeking a constitutionally dubious third term in office in elections scheduled for October 31. Opposition supporters have taken to the streets, and several people have been killed in clashes. Cote d'Ivoire has a history of election-related violence and a chaotic situation in the run-up to these elections suggests that the country may erupt in violent conflict.  Mohammad Diatta, a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, explains the high-ris...more

  • The Nagorno-Karabakh Crisis Erupts into Major Conflict

    Oct 01 2020

    Nagorno-Karabakh is a mountainous region in the south caucuses that is claimed by both Armenia and Azerbaijan. Since 1994, the sides have been locked in stalemate, with periodic fighting. Now, the worst fighting in decades has erupted. In a matter of days, this has become a major international crisis with big geopolitical implications.  Olesya Vartanyan is a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, working in the South Caucuses. I caught up with her from Tblisi, Georgia.  We kick off ...more

  • How to Increase the Use of Clean Cookstoves and Solar Lighting in Rural Ethiopia and Beyond

    Sep 25 2020

    In rural Ethiopia women are more likely than men to collect firewood and cook over stoves that emit harmful smoke. Meanwhile, men are more likely than women to control how household income is spent. Accordingly, men are less likely than women to purchase improved cooking stoves that emit fewer pollutants while cooking. This is the case in rural Ethiopia and also across rural communities throughout much of the developing world.    Dr. Sied Hassan, sought to dig deeper into this phenomenon.  ...more

  • Climate and Security in Colombia -- Taped Live

    Sep 24 2020

    This episode was taped live in front of a virtual audience and featured four panelists discussing the intersection of climate and security in Colombia.  The experts and policymakers featured in this conversation bring diverse backgrounds and perspectives on the links between climate variability and security in an historically conflict-prone country.  This episode is part of a series of episodes examining the relationship between climate and security, produced in partnership with CGIAR, the world...more

  • What the UN's 75th Anniversary Means for International Relations

    Sep 21 2020

    On Monday, September 21 the United Nations officially commemorated its 75th anniversary. The centerpiece of this commemoration is a declaration from all 193 member states of the United Nations that reaffirming their commitment to international cooperation to advance peace and security, human rights and development.  The 75th anniversary of the UN provides a good opportunity to reflect on the changing role of the United Nations and of multilateralism more broadly in international relations.  On t...more

  • UNGA Goes Virtual! Previewing the 2020 United Nations General Assembly

    Sep 17 2020

    It will be a United Nations General Assembly like no other. Typically this is the time of year where world leaders gather in New York to deliver speeches at the UN and participate in all manner of diplomatic events at the United Nations. But this year UNGA goes virtual.  UNGA Week is always a highlight of the diplomatic calendar, though of course it will look much different this year. A great number of heads of state and world leaders are delivering video-messages, with the exception of Donald T...more

  • The 'Hotel Rwanda' Hero is the Latest Victim of The Rwandan Government's Crackdown on Dissidents

    Sep 14 2020

    On August 27th Paul Rusesabagina flew from his home in Texas to Dubai. Three days later, he mysteriously appeared in Kigali, Rwanda, where authorities proudly proclaimed his arrest. He would not be the first person whom the Rwandan government has targeted this way --  but he is arguably the highest profile.  Paul Rusesabagina was the manager of a high-end hotel in Kigali, Rwanda as the genocide unfolded. His heroism was dramatized in the film Hotel Rwanda.  On the line with me to discuss this si...more

  • Climate and Security in the Sahel -- Taped Live

    Sep 04 2020

    The Sahel region of Africa is one of the regions of the world that is worst impacted by climate change. It is also a region beset by instability, insecurity and conflict. This episode, which was taped live in front of a virtual audience, examines the relationship between climate and security in a discussion featuring five panelists.    This episode is part of a series of episodes examining the relationship between climate and security, produced in partnership with CGIAR, the world's largest glob...more

  • Better Know John Maynard Keynes

    Sep 03 2020

    John Maynard Keynes died 74 years ago, but his ideas are surprisingly relevant to understanding the world today. Though primarily known for his pioneering economic ideas, a new biography shows Keynes profound influence on international relations -- an influence that can be felt to this day.   Zachary Carter, Senior Reporter with HuffPost and author of the The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes, discusses Keynes' impact on international relations and why his id...more

  • How the World Will Get a COVID-19 Vaccine (Part 2)

    Aug 30 2020

    When a COVID-19 Vaccine is available, most of the world will have access to it thanks to a unique platform for international cooperation called The COVAX Facility.  The COVAX Facility is a platform for pooled investments in the development, manufacture and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine. At time of recording, 172 countries have entered into an initial agreement with COVAX, representing about 70% of the world's population.  The goal of the COVAX Facility is to provide 2 billion doses of a vac...more

  • A Major Dam Project in Ethiopia Sparks a Fight Over Water With Egypt and Sudan

    Aug 27 2020

    The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, or the GERD, is a major hydroelectric project that is being built on the Blue Nile river near the border with Sudan.  The dam promises to bring a much needed source of electricity to the people of Ethiopia. But the dam sits on what is the main tributary to the Nile River. Egypt, which is downstream from Ethiopia, has been vehemently opposed to its construction. Egypt contends that the dam will restrict water flow and undermine its rights to the Nile waters. E...more

  • How the World Will Get a COVID-19 Vaccine (Part 1)

    Aug 24 2020

    When a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, chances are that the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) will have played a big role in bringing it into the world.  CEPI is a partnership between governments, philanthropies and civil society organizations to support the development of vaccines and medicines for infectious diseases that have the potential to become pandemics. When COVID-19 emerged, CEPI made early investments in vaccine research and development and...more

  • Why COVID-19 is Not Raging in the Central African Republic (One of the World's Most Fragile Countries)

    Aug 18 2020

    The Central African Republic is near the bottom of every major economic or development indicator. Out of 189 countries ranked in the UN Development Program's Human Development Index, the Central African Republic is second to last. When it comes to life expectancy at birth, the country ranks dead-last. It is also a country that is emerging from civil war.  Despite these challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic is not raging out of control in CAR. This is in large part due to the work of the World Health...more

  • Understanding Joe Biden's Foreign Policy Views -- Is There a "Biden Doctrine?"

    Aug 17 2020

    Joe Biden formally accepts the Democratic party's nomination for US President this week at the Democratic National Convention. The convention is always a key moment in the presidential election calendar so I thought this would be a good opportunity to have a discussion about what a Joe Biden administration's foreign policy agenda would look like? And whether or not there is something that could be credibly called a "Biden Doctrine?" Other than Joe Biden himself, Steve Clemons is the perfect pers...more

  • Protests in Belarus Threaten to Take Down Europe's Last Dictator

    Aug 13 2020

    Belarus is sometimes referred to as Europe's last dictatorship. Since 1994 it has been ruled by just one man -- Alexander Lukashenko, and he has ruled the country with an iron fist.  In early August Belarusians went to the polls for presidential elections in which Lukashenko was declared the winner by a wide margin.  Belarusians, however, did not accept the results and took to the streets in record numbers. Government forces cracked down hard and the main opposition candidate was apparently deta...more

  • China is Reducing Household Air Pollution. But Who Benefits?

    Aug 07 2020

    China is the world's largest consumer of coal, though in recent years the government has sought to reduce the country's reliance on coal for energy. This includes transitioning away from coal for home heating. In 2014, the government launched what is known as the household heating energy transition program. This program sought to replace household coal heating units with electricity, natural gas, or cleaner burning coal. Like many Chinese infrastructure projects it was a massive undertaking. It ...more

  • Stranded by Civil War, A Leaky Oil Tanker Off the Coast of Yemen Threatens to Unleash the World's Worst-Ever Oil Spill

    Aug 04 2020

    The story of a leaky oil tanker stranded off the coast of Yemen is, in part, the story of the country's civil war. There are about a million gallons of oil stored in this tanker, which has not been operational since 2015. That is when Yemen's civil war escalated into an international conflict pitting Houthi rebels who overthrew the government against an international coalition lead by Saudi Arabia. Since then, the condition of this old oil tanker has deteriorated and is threatening to cause what...more

  • 8 Global Catastrophic Risks That Threaten Humanity -- And What to Do About them

    Aug 03 2020

    There is a certain category of disaster, whether manmade or natural, that poses an existential threat to humanity.  These are called global catastrophic risks. Some of these are fairly obvious, like nuclear war, and some may seem more the realm of science fiction like an asteroid impact.  My guest today, Jens Orback is the CEO of the Global Challenges Foundation, a Sweden based group that is seeking to prevent these catastrophes through enhanced international cooperation.  What binds each of the...more

  • Crisis in Mali

    Jul 30 2020

    Mali is in the midst of its worst political crisis in years. Since June, protesters have gathered in the streets of the capital city of Bamako demanding the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. On top of this, a conflict in the northern part of the country, to which the UN has deployed a large peacekeeping mission, is continuing to drive instability throughout the country.  My guest, Dr. Amadou Bocoum, is the Mali Director for the NGO Search for Common Ground and I caught up with him...more

  • Why Transparency is So Important in Foreign Aid and Development

    Jul 27 2020

    Billions of dollars are spent each year on foreign aid and global development. In the past, the exact amount of aid that is being spent, where is it is being spent, by whom it is being spent--and to what end is the aid serving has been very difficult for outsiders to parse. But that has been changing in recent years. Aid agencies in government and multi-lateral institutions like the World Bank and the United Nations are becoming increasingly transparent -- not least because they have been spurre...more

  • The Rais Bhuiyan Interview

    Jul 23 2020

    Rais Bhuiyan has an absolutely incredible and very moving story. In the days after the September 11th attacks in the United States, Bhuiyan -- an immigrant to the US from Bangladesh -- was working behind the counter at a gas station in Texas when he was shot in the face by a white supremacist who was on a killing spree and looking for foreigners to murder.  After surviving the attack, Bhuiyan embarked on an improbable journey of peace and reconciliation, seeking to prevent his attacker from the ...more

  • COVID-19 and Slumping Oil Prices are Shaking Up the Geopolitics of the Middle East

    Jul 20 2020

    As the Coronavirus Pandemic tore through the world this spring, it resulted in sharply lower demand for oil, driving down prices. Added to this, Russia and Saudi Arabia got into an oil price war that brought the price of oil to near historic low levels.    Needless to say, the low price of oil has deeply impacted countries in the region who rely on oil wealth. This includes not only oil-rich gulf countries, but also governments and other groups that rely on aid derived from oil largesse.    My g...more

  • Kosovo, Serbia and Rising Authoritarianism in The Balkans

    Jul 16 2020

    Since the Kosovo War of 1999, the status of Kosovo as a country independent of Serbia has not been resolved. Many countries, including the United States and most of Europe, recognize Kosovo as an independent country. But others do not--including Russia, which has blocked Kosovo's aspirations to join the United Nations. This has been the status quo for many years. But in recent months there has been some renewed momentum in diplomacy intended to find an agreement that would satisfy both Serbia an...more

  • Why Does Chile Have Such Bad Air Pollution?

    Jul 13 2020

    Chile is one of the most air polluted countries in the world. This is partly a matter of geography  -- many cities are in valleys that trap pollution. But it is also the consequence of how many Chileans heat their homes. Wood burning home heat stoves are very common in much of Chile, and these stoves burn dirty and emit harmful pollution.    My guest today, Carlos Chavez, is professor of economics at the School of Business and Economics at Universdad de Talca in Central Chile. His research has f...more

  • Hong Kong Braces for Troubled Times After China Imposes a Draconian New Law

    Jul 08 2020

    In recent years, as China has become more powerful on the world stage, the Chinese Communist Party has sought to erode Hong Kong's political independence. In fact, on June 30th, the Chinese government passed a so-called National Security Law that criminalized free speech and political activity in Hong Kong. Additionally, last year at this time there were massive peaceful protests against a law that Beijing sought to impose on Hong Kong that would permit the extradition of people from Hong Kong...more

  • Sustainable Finance for Peace and Climate Security | Climate Security Series - Taped Live

    Jul 06 2020

    This episode is part three of a six-part series examining the relationship between climate and security, produced in partnership with CGIAR, the world's largest global agricultural innovation network. This episode was taped live in front of a virtual audience and featured five panelists discussing how sustainable finance can support peace and climate security.   In the context of our conversation, sustainable finance is something of an umbrella term for harnessing private sector capital in the ...more

  • The Sudden COVID Death of Burundi's Strongman Ruler, Pierre Nkurunziza -- and What Comes Next

    Jul 02 2020

    Burundi's longtime ruler Pierre Nkurunziza died suddenly on June 8th, quite possibly from COVID-19. Nkurunziza has been president of Burundi since 2005, and in recent years his rule became firmly authoritarian.  His death sent shockwaves across Africa and the world On the line with me today is Yolande Bouka, a professor of political studies at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. We discuss the legacy of Pierre Nkurunziza and what this chaotic moment means for Burundi and the surrounding regi...more

  • Global Health and the Future We Want -- A UN 75 Consultation

    Jun 29 2020

    Today's episode is part three of a three-part series that gives you an inside look at how the United Nations is commemorating its 75th anniversary this year. This episode includes a 15-minute interview with Kate Dodson, Vice President for Global Health at the United Nations Foundation. We of course discuss the COVID-19 pandemic  -- specifically how the World Health Organization and other United Nations entities are responding. We also discuss what reforms might make the WHO more effective at res...more

  • A Brief History of the UN Charter

    Jun 25 2020

    On June 26, 1945, after months of negotiations in the city of San Francisco, representatives from 50 countries signed the Charter of the United Nations. In October that year, after the requisite number of countries ratified the charter, the United Nations was born.  To mark the 75th anniversary of the signing of treaty that created the United Nations, I am re-leasing a conversation I had with author Stephen Schlesinger who wrote the definitive book about the 1945 San Francisco Conference, Act of...more

  • A Dramatic Turn of Events in Libya

    Jun 25 2020

    Mary Fitzgerald a researcher specializing in Libya. When we last spoke, the Libyan conflict was intensifying very rapidly. For months, a renegade general named Khalifa Haftar had been attacking Tripoli, the seat of the UN-backed government. That assault was locked in a stalemate until Russia increased its support of Haftar’s forces, seemingly turning the tide. But then, Turkey announced that it was going to ramp up its support for the Tripoli government, setting the stage for a proxy war between...more

  • How Big Data and New Technologies Can Advance Climate Security | Climate Security Series - Taped Live

    Jun 22 2020

    This episode is part two of a six-part series examining the relationship between climate and security. I moderated this session with Grazia Pacillo of CGIAR, the world's largest global agricultural innovation network. Today we had four panelists from diverse fields grapple with how data and technology can be put to better use in the service of peacebuilding, resilience, and other aspects of climate security.   Panelists:    Elisabeth Gilmore, Associate Professor in the Environmental Science and ...more

  • How the Black Lives Matter Movement Went Global

    Jun 18 2020

    The Black Lives Matter movement has spread quickly around the world. Over the last several weeks, there have been BLM demonstrations in nearly every major city in Europe. Tens of thousands of people showed up for protests in Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, and London, just to name a few. There were also many protests across Latin America, Australia--even Asian cities like Seoul and Tokyo saw Black Lives Matter protests.  So how did the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota spark an anti-racism and civi...more

  • Climate Change and the Future We Want -- A UN 75 Consultation

    Jun 15 2020

    Today's episode is part two of a three part series that gives you an inside look at how the United Nations is commemorating its 75th anniversary this year. Rather than holding a big party or jubilee, the UN is instead embarking on a listening tour. The UN is seeking feedback from as many people in as many communities as possible, all around three big questions: What Kind of World do We Want to Create? Are We on Track? And What is Needed to Bridge the Gap? Here in the United States, the United Na...more

  • The India and China Border Crisis

    Jun 11 2020

    In late May a confrontation between Indian and Chinese soldiers in a remote border region of the Himalayas descended into what appears to be a massive fistfight. Most accounts describe a giant brawl between as many as 100 soldiers with no shots fired and no deaths. But soon after the fight, India and China mobilized heavy guns and artillery to the region threatening a major escalation of hostilities between two regional heavyweights. Since then, tensions seemed to have eased between the two c...more

  • The Link Between Food Security, Climate and Conflict | Climate Security Series - Taped Live

    Jun 08 2020

    The podcast has partnered with CGIAR, the world's largest global agricultural innovation network, around a series of live tapings on the topic of climate security. For today's episode, we are examining the link between food security, climate and conflict. My guests include a leading food systems scientist, Dr. Sonja Vermeulen, Director of Programs, CGIAR System Organization and Dan Smith, the director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI. The episode was taped on June ...more

  • Why the Conventional Wisdom About the Arab Spring is Wrong | Noah Feldman

    Jun 04 2020

    In his new book The Arab Winter: A Tragedy, my guest Noah Feldman maps some of the enduring political consequences of the Arab Spring. Noah Feldman is an author and constitutional scholar who is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He also hosts the Deep Background Podcast.  In his new book, he argues that the Arab Spring abruptly ended some long term trends that had shaped the history of the region in the decades prior. This includes ending experiments in Arab nationa...more

  • A View from the Caribbean About COVID-19

    Jun 01 2020

    In the Caribbean, where many country's depend on tourism to sustain their economy, COVID-19 is exacting a particularly heavy toll. Millions of people are out of work, and governments that were already deeply in debt are now in even deeper economic and budgetary distress.  My guest today, Geneive Brown Metzger, is the former Consul General of Jamaica in New York. She is also President of the American Caribbean Maritime Foundation. And she is the host of the new Caribbean affairs podcast, Diploma...more

  • Are the US and China Destined for War? | Graham Allison

    May 28 2020

    My guest today, Graham Allison, is a legendary scholar of international relations. The last time we spoke was just after the release of his 2017 book Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap? The book examined over a dozen historic cases in which global power shifts resulted in wars, and a few cases in which it did not.  The book makes a compelling case, that war between the US as established power and China as the rising power --while not inevitable-- is far more likel...more

  • COVID-19 is Interrupting Routine Childhood Vaccinations on a Global Scale

    May 25 2020

    Barbara Saitta is a nurse with Doctors without Borders who specializes in vaccination campaigns, primarily in poorer countries. She tells me that because of supply chain interruptions, a number of countries are running out of routine childhood vaccines. This includes vaccines for measles, polio, and the all-important pentavalent vaccine that protects against five common diseases. What is so alarming about the interruption of routine childhood vaccines is that there is a direct correlation betwe...more

  • How Female Entrepreneurs Can Light Up Rural Rwanda

    May 21 2020

    Just over 52% of households in Rwanda have access to some form of electricity. This access is not evenly distributed across Rwanda. In rural communities, where most Rwandans live, energy access rates are far lower. Furthermore, the country's geography severely limits the reach of Rwanda's electric grids. This means Rwandans are increasingly turning to off-grid energy solutions, namely solar power.  My guest today, Rebecca Klege, is a Ghanian economist whose research focuses on the intersection ...more

  • Liberia Confronts the Coronavirus

    May 18 2020

    My guest today, Dr. Mosoka P Fallah is helping to lead Liberia's fight against COVID-19. He is an infectious disease and public health expert and is the Director General National Public Health Institute of Liberia.  Dr. Fallah was a key player in Liberia's successful suppression of Ebola in 2014, for which he was named as one of Time Magazine's Persons of the Year. I mention this because, as Dr. Fallah explains, Liberia's experience with Ebola is very much informative of how both government and...more

  • How the Coronavirus Pandemic is Stifling Free Speech

    May 14 2020

    My guest, David Kaye, is the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression. He has held this position for the last three years, which has given him a unique vantage point--and unique platform--to monitor trends in the suppression of free speech. Today we discuss a new report to the UN Human Rights Council. In this report, David Kaye identifies and explains the ways in which governments and other entities have used the coronavirus pandemic to crack down on freedom of expression, in...more

  • An Inside Look at How the United Nations is Marking Its 75th Anniversary

    May 11 2020

    The United Nations turns 75 this year. But rather than have a diamond jubilee, the UN is instead embarking on a listening tour. The UN is seeking feedback from as many people in as many communities as possible, all around three big questions: What Kind of World do We Want to Create? Are We on Track? And What is Needed to Bridge the Gap? In today's interview, I talk to Michelle Milford Morse, who is the UN Foundation’s Vice President for Girls and Women Strategy. She explains the significance o...more

  • Lebanon is in the Midst of a Jaw-Dropping Economic Free Fall

    May 07 2020

    Lebanon is in the midst of an economic free fall, the degree to which is jaw dropping.  Inflation is out of control, commodities are hard to come by, and its currency is devaluing at a rapid clip. This all was happening months before the coronavirus pandemic. Now, in the midst of the pandemic, a deteriorating economic situation is poised to turn into a major political and social crisis. This is arguably the worst crisis since Lebanon emerged from a 15 year civil war in 1990. The government of L...more

  • Climate Change and the COVID-19 Economic Recovery

    May 04 2020

    Today's episode was recorded in front of a live-online audience, and featured an all-star panel discussing how to make the economic recovery from COVID-19 sustainable, just, and resilient. In other words, as governments and institutions prepare their economic rescue and stimulus packages what can they do to ensure that the recovery is a green one?    I moderated and guided the conversation which included Isabella Lovin; the Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden and Minister for Climate and the Envir...more

  • New Research Finds a Link Between Fires, Children's Health, and a Country's GDP

    Apr 30 2020

    My guest, Prachi Singh, is an associate fellow at the Brookings Institution, India Center and is a PhD candidate at Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi. Her research analyzed height and weight ratios of children who were exposed, in utero, to air pollution events like crop burning and forest fires. She finds a significant correlation between low weight and low height ratios and exposure to this pollution.  But her research goes further than that. She demonstrates how low height and weight ratio...more

  • What Kim Jong Un's Health Rumors Teach Us About North Korea

    Apr 27 2020

    If you have been following news recently out of the Korean Peninsula, you may have seen a report that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was gravely ill. He had, according to this report, undergone heart surgery and was fighting for his life. The thing is, we have no way of knowing whether or not this is true. Patricia Kim joins me to discuss the significance of the rumor about Kim Jong Un's ill-health. She is the senior policy analyst with the China program at US Institute of Peace. We also analy...more

  • How COVID-19 is Accelerating Geopolitical Shifts| Interview With Ian Bremmer

    Apr 23 2020

    Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the global order was poised for disruption. Global institutions were seemingly getting weaker, the United States under the Trump administration was abdicating its traditional role as a global leader, and China was most definitely flaunting its rising power on the global stage. Now, in the midst of a pandemic all these trends are still very much present -- but they're also accelerating according to my guest, Ian Bremmer.  Ian Bremmer is President of the Eurasia ...more

  • Why the WHO Needs U.S. Support to Fight Coronavirus Spread | Congressman Ami Bera's View

    Apr 20 2020

    Congressman Ami Bera is a Democrat from California who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and is chair of the subcommittee on Asia and Pacific. He is also a medical doctor who has long championed global health issues. Last November he served on a commission on pandemic preparedness convened by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC that issued a series of recommendations that looks rather prescient today.   We spoke just a day after President Trump announ...more

  • Why Don't More People Use Clean Cookstoves?

    Apr 16 2020

    For years, the global development community has struggled over the problem of dirty burning cookstoves. These are typically rudimentary stoves that burn wood or other biomass -- and in the process emit harmful smoke indoors. Nearly three billion people around the world cook their meals this way, leading to environmental damage and illness. Indoor air pollution attributed to dirty burning cookstoves kills millions of people each year. The solution to the problem of dirty cookstoves should be stra...more

  • Venezuela Plunges Deeper into Crisis

    Apr 09 2020

    On March 26th, the United States Department of Justice did something very unusual. In a press conference, Attorney General William Barr unsealed indictments against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and top regime officials, alleging drug trafficking and narcoterrorism. Previously, when the Trump administration declared Maduro to be an illegitimate leader it was done on the assumption that such a move would inspire defections among Maduro loyalists--particularly in the military and security s...more

  • The Coronavirus Human Rights Crackdown

    Apr 06 2020

    During this state of emergency, some governments -- many in fact -- are using this time as a pretext to further consolidate power, crack down on a free press, and restrict civil liberties. This is happening in authoritarian countries, but also some democracies.  Philippe Bolopion is the deputy director for global advocacy at Human Rights Watch. He is on the line with me to discuss how, exactly, regimes around the world are using the coronavirus pandemic to justify crackdowns and human rights ab...more

  • How Are Different Countries Handling COVID-19? | A Comparison of Political Systems

    Apr 02 2020

    As I record this, we are nearing the one million mark of reported cases of COVID-19. Although the spread is distributed unevenly, nearly every country on earth has now reported cases of COVID-19. It seems that certain countries, even countries with high case loads, are handling it better than others. Why is that? Political science, specifically comparative politics, can give us a new perspective in understanding why some countries are dealing with the outbreak better than others. This is a fiel...more

  • COVID-19 and Humanitarian Crises -- How Will NGOs Respond?

    Mar 30 2020

    Before the coronavirus became a global pandemic, the world was confronting a series of humanitarian crises; ranging from wars to natural disasters. Much of the responsibility for providing emergency relief to people caught up in these kinds of crises falls on international non-governmental organizations, INGOs. Now, many of these organizations are taking on the additional responsibility of responding to the impact of the coronavirus in places already beset by crises. So, how does a large INGO p...more

  • Massive Swarms of Desert Locusts Are Causing Crisis in East Africa

    Mar 26 2020

    Desert locusts are eating their way through East Africa on a scale not seen in decades. These migratory pests travel from field to field destroying either crops meant for human consumption or grasslands on which herders graze their livestock. It is estimated that a swarm the size of one square kilometer can eat as much food in a day as 35,000 people.  Right now, Ethiopia and Somalia are experiencing its worst locust situation in 25 years. For parts of Kenya, the swarms are larger than they have...more

  • Do International Criminal Courts Actually Deter War Crimes? |Interview with Jacqueline McAllister

    Mar 23 2020

    I encountered a study in the journal, International Security by Dr. Jacqueline McAllister that examines whether or not international war crimes tribunals actually deter and prevent war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Jacqueline McAllister is an assistant professor of political science at Kenyon College. Her article, titled "Deterring Wartime Atrocities: Hard Lessons from the Yugoslav Tribunal" examines whether or not the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, known as t...more

  • The Coronavirus Pandemic and Its Effect on Low Income Countries and Global Development with Amanda Glassman

    Mar 19 2020

    The coronavirus pandemic could have major implications for international development.  As of now, most of the countries that have been hit hardest by COVID-19 are higher income countries; places like Italy, South Korea, and the United States. Low income countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, have not yet recorded significant clusters of the coronavirus --  but the economic consequences of the virus are being felt around the world. How can low income countries -- including those tha...more

  • How the Coronavirus is Impacting the Inner Workings of the United Nations with Margaret Besheer

    Mar 16 2020

    The coronavirus pandemic is impacting institutions around the world, including the United Nations. In fact, about an hour after I recorded this episode, the Philippines Mission said to the United Nations that one of its diplomats, who had been at meetings in UN Headquarters in New York, tested positive for COVID-19. In this episode, I speak with Margaret Besheer, the UN correspondent for Voice of America. She helps me understand how the coronavirus is impacting the work and life of the United Na...more

  • The U.S. and Taliban Sign an Agreement to Withdraw American Troops from Afghanistan

    Mar 12 2020

    On February 29th, the United States and the Taliban entered into an agreement that would see the complete pullout of US troops from Afghanistan. In return, the Taliban would renounce international terrorist groups, like al Qaeda and the Islamic State, and prevent them from plotting foreign attacks from Afghan soil.  Despite how this has been characterized in some quarters of the media, "This is very much not a peace deal," says my guest, Michael Kugelman. He is the senior associate for South As...more

  • A Peace Agreement Ends South Sudan's Brutal Civil War. Will it Hold?

    Mar 09 2020

    On February 22nd, two long time foes, President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar signed a power-sharing agreement to formally end South Sudan's brutal six-year civil war. The accord determined that Machar and other opposition leaders would be vice-presidents in a new government of national unity.  The civil war in South Sudan broke out in December 2013, when President Salva Kiir accused his-then vice president Riek Machar of fomenting a coup. The fighting escalated very quickly and took on ethnic dim...more

  • China's Demand for Soybeans is Fueling the Destruction of the Amazon Rainforest with Melissa Chan

    Mar 05 2020

    In recent years, as the trade war between the United States and China threatened to disrupt Chinese soy supplies, Beijing began making big investments in Brazil. This included a potential new railway -- the so-called grain train -- that would link Brazilian soy fields to its ports. The problem is, from an environmental point of view, these fields are mostly in the heart of the lush Amazon Rainforest. As Chinese demands for Brazilian soy have increased, so too has the pace of deforestation. My gu...more

  • The Coronavirus Poses a Big Threat to Refugees and Displaced People | Dr. Paul B. Spiegel

    Mar 02 2020

    So far, COVID-19 has mostly impacted countries with decently functioning health care systems. However, experts and the WHO have expressed a great worry. What happens should we see clusters of cases where there is no good health system? This includes poorer countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and populations in the midst of some humanitarian crisis.  To help us understand the potential impact of coronavirus on vulnerable populations around the world is Dr. Paul B. Spiegel. He is the dir...more

  • How to Build Peace and Fight Terrorism at the Same Time with Judy Kimamo

    Feb 27 2020

    The Boni Forest is a lush coastal ecosystem on the border between Kenya and Somalia. Its location and geography have made it an ideal hideout for al Shebaab -- the Somali terrorist group that has launched some devastating attacks in Kenya over the last decade.  In 2015, Kenyan security forces mounted an operation to rid the region of al Shabaab. But their heavy-handed tactics alienated the local population, disrupting lives and livelihoods of the people who ostensibly the security forces were me...more

  • The Only Nuclear Arms Treaty Between Russia and the U.S. "New START" is Expiring

    Feb 24 2020

    A 2011 agreement known as the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, is the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the United States and Russia. The treaty imposes limits on the size and composition of the nuclear arsenals of the world's two largest nuclear powers. And it allows Russia and the United States to inspect each others nuclear arsenals to ensure compliance.  New START is now the only nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and Russia because las...more

  • Maurice Kamto Ran for President of Cameroon. Then He Was Arrested

    Feb 20 2020

    The President of Cameroon is named Paul Biya. He's been the president of Cameroon since 1982. Before that, from 1975, he was prime minister. Depending on how you count it, Paul Biya of Cameroon is one of -- if not the --  longest-serving world leader. My guest today, Maurice Kamto, challenged Paul Biya for the presidency in national elections in 2018. Kamto lost in what he plausibly claimed were rigged elections. He subsequently led a peaceful protest movement against the government of Paul Biya...more

  • The Top Hunger Crises to Watch in 2020 According to The World Food Program

    Feb 17 2020

    At the start of the year, the World Food Program issued a forecast of where it expects to find the worst hunger crises this year. The report, called the Global Hotspots 2020, identifies 15 major food emergencies that are deteriorating at an alarming rate and demand greater worldwide attention.   My guest today, Arif Husain, is the Chief Economist and Director of the Food Security Analysis and Trends Service at the United Nations World Food Programme. We kick things off by discussing what is mean...more

  • The Link Between Healthcare and Peace in Africa | with Dr. Roseanne Njiru

    Feb 13 2020

    Dr. Roseanne Njiru is a sociologist at the University of Nairobi who has conducted cutting edge field research that finds a link between healthcare and peacebuilding. Specifically, she examines the role that community health workers play in preventing conflict in marginalized communities, like urban slums, around Nairobi, Kenya.   Community health workers (or what in other contexts are sometimes called health extension workers) link poor, rural or otherwise marginalized communities to a country...more

  • The Crisis in Yemen is Getting Worse | with Scott Paul

    Feb 10 2020

    For a brief period this fall, it appeared that the crisis in Yemen was de-escalating. Fighting had reached some of its lowest levels since 2015, when Saudi Arabia led an international coalition to intervene in Yemen's civil war. But any hopes that a lull in fighting could be sustained were dashed in early 2020 with a series of high profile attacks.  Today, as I record, in February 2020 fighting in Yemen is intense -- indeed as bad as it has ever been since the civil war began -- if not worse. Ac...more

  • The Fight Against 'Neglected Tropical Diseases' Gets a Boost

    Feb 06 2020

    There is a category of diseases that sickens, injures and kills the poorest people on the planet. These are called Neglected Tropical Diseases or NTDs You may be familiar with some of them, like leprosy, guinea worm disease or River Blindness; but you have probably never heard of most of them--I know I have not.  But these diseases, combined, affect nearly 1.7 billion people around the world and further add to the costs of developing economies. So, in an effort to make these diseases a little le...more

  • Why More Aid Workers Are Being Killed in the Line of Duty with Abby Stoddard

    Feb 03 2020

    Aid work can be a dangerous business. According to the latest verified data, 131 aid workers were killed in the line of duty in 2018. Many more were injured in serious attacks.   According to my guest today, Abby Stoddard, attacks on aid workers and humanitarian relief operations are both a symptom and a weapon of modern warfare. Indeed, it is the changing nature of conflict around the world that is driving increasing levels of violence against aid workers.  Abby Stoddard is a former aid worker ...more

  • How the World Health Organization is Responding to the Coronavirus Outbreak

    Jan 28 2020

    At the time of recording, the coronavirus outbreak that originated in China has infected over 4,500 people -- though that number is sure to dramatically increase in the coming days. The vast majority of the people affected by this outbreak are in China, though infections have been confirmed in at least 14 other countries. And, again, the number of countries impacted will certainly increase.  There is a lot we still don't know about the coronavirus and this outbreak -- but we do know that this c...more

  • Can the Global Fragility Act Help Prevent Conflicts Before They Start? | Dr. Dafna Rand

    Jan 27 2020

    In the midst of the impeachment drama unfolding in Washington, DC a rare thing happened: Republicans and Democrats came together and in an overwhelmingly bi-partisan move, supported a bill known as the Global Fragility Act.   In brief, The Global Fragility Act is intended to address a key gap in how the US government approaches conflict prevention and post-conflict peace-building in what are known as fragile countries. The bill was broadly supported and in part conceived by advocates in the glob...more

  • Burkina Faso is Experiencing a Surge in Violence

    Jan 23 2020

    Burkina Faso, the landlocked country in West Africa, is in the midst of an escalating humanitarian emergency. Over half a million people have been displaced in the last year -- a 500% increase from one year ago, according to the latest data from the United Nations.  The vast majority of the newly displaced are fleeing an unrelenting series of terrorist attacks. Most of these attacks are occurring in regions near the border with Mali. But terrorist violence has also reached the capitol city Ouaga...more

  • What Happened With Haiti Earthquake Reconstruction?

    Jan 20 2020

    On January 12 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti.  Hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives. Millions more were made homeless. Around the world, there was a huge outpouring of support and solidarity for the people of Haiti. This included billions of dollars pledged for Haiti relief and reconstruction.  Ten years later, much of the rubble is gone. But the massive reconstruction plans have  materialized to a degree commensurate with the promises that were made at time.   So what...more

  • Why The Crisis in Syria is About To Get Worse

    Jan 16 2020

    The conflict in Syria is entering a new phase. Over the last several years Syrian government forces, backed by outside powers like Russia and Iran, have steadily regained control of territory held by rebel factions.  As they lay siege to opposition fighters, they forced groups, including massive numbers of civilians to retreat to a part of Syria called Idlib. This is in the Northwest of the country near the border of Turkey. Today, this is the largest rebel-held bastion. The number of fighters i...more

  • A Looming Crisis With North Korea, Again

    Jan 13 2020

    We may be in for a very turbulent year of nuclear diplomacy with North Korea Since 2018, North Korea has had a self-imposed moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons and long range missiles, like the kind that could reach the United States. The moratorium stems from the diplomatic opening between the United States and North Korea that culminated in three meetings between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.  However, even as North Korea has paused its long range missile and nuclear testing, it ha...more

  • Iran Crisis -- What Comes Next?

    Jan 08 2020

    I spoke to my guest today, Ilan Goldenberg, just a couple hours after Donald Trump addressed the nation following an Iranian missile attack on bases in Iraq. The Iranian attack, of course, was in retaliation to a US drone strike that killed a top Iranian official Qassem Souleimani on January third.  In his remarks, Donald Trump signaled that he was ready for the offramp and would not launch new military strikes in the near term. The Iranian government also said that the missile attacks on bases ...more

  • How to Promote Tolerance in Myanmar, a country that recently experienced a genocide

    Jan 06 2020

    In 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya muslims were driven from their homes in Myanmar. At the time, a UN official called this a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing." And today, the government of Myanmar is being sued at the International Court of Justice for perpetrating a genocide. These attacks against the rohingya are the most recent and extreme example of sectarian violence and discrimination in Myanmar -- which is an incredibly diverse country with a long history of ethnic conflict. ...more

  • Why Do We Lie About Foreign Aid?

    Jan 02 2020

    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. The book is provocative for arguing that the former causes us to m...more

  • Longtime Leader of MSF/Doctors Without Borders Joanne Liu

    Dec 29 2019

    Dr. Joanne Liu lead Medecins Sans Frontiers/Doctors Without Borders from 2013 to this past September. Listen back to her 2017 conversation in which she discusses why she joined MSF, and how MSF has evolved to respond to recent trends like the global refugee crisis and the increasing frequency with which hospitals are targeted in warfare. This is a powerful conversation that alternates between the wonky and the personal. 

  • How the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Saves Lives

    Dec 23 2019

    The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was created in 2002 as a partnership between governments, philanthropies and civil society.  At the time, these three diseases were completely out of control, killing millions of people each year and with no end in sight.  17 years later, thanks in large part to the Global Fund, we can imagine the end of AIDS, TB and Malaria.  Deaths from these three diseases have declined precipitously. Instances of infection have also declined--though not...more

  • How Narendra Modi's Hardline Hindu Nationalism is Transforming India

    Dec 19 2019

    India's prime minister Narendra Modi was re-elected to office in May in what was a landslide victory for his BJP party.  Modi is a Hindu nationalist in a diverse country that includes one of the world's largest Muslim populations. He rose to political prominence in the early 2000s as the chief minister of Gujarat during inter-communal riots that lead to the murder of over a thousand people, mostly Muslims. He was widely accused of failing to stop the riots and has used the mass murder of Muslims...more

  • Libya is Poised to Become THE Major International Crisis of 2020

    Dec 16 2019

    The crisis in Libya is about to get much worse. Nine months ago a renegade general named Khalifa Hiftar launched an attack on the internationally recognized and UN-backed government in Tripoli. That assault suddenly ended UN-brokered peace process that seemed to be on the brink of success.  In the ensuing months, the sides have been locked into a stalemate, with fighting mostly confined to neighborhoods on the outskirts of Tripoli. But, recently Hiftar's foreign backers have stepped up their sup...more

  • UN Correspondent Chat: What's Buzzing at United Nations Headquarters

    Dec 12 2019

    It's December at the United Nations.  Just weeks before many delegates and staff take time off for the holidays. But as the year winds down, some issues are heating up. North Korea is once again dominating the Security Council. Meanwhile, the United Nations is running out of money -- literally.  On the Global Dispatches podcast to discuss what is buzzing at the United Nations at the end of the decade, and otherwise driving the agenda at UN Headquarters is Margaret Besheer, UN correspondent for V...more

  • Why the Protests in Hong Kong Have Taken a New Turn

    Dec 08 2019

    Over the summer, millions of people in Hong Kong took to the streets in an unprecedented protest against a proposed law that could allow for the extradition of people in Hong Kong to mainland china. Protesters saw this as an affront to what is known as the one country, two systems policy. This is the idea that though Hong Kong is formally part of China, it also has a special political status as a former British Colony -- and that status includes a degree of autonomy and freedoms from the politic...more

  • Inside Europe's Largest Refugee Camp

    Dec 05 2019

    The Moria Refugee Camp on the island of Lesvos, Greece is the largest refugee camp in Europe. The camp has an official capacity of just over 2,000 people. But the population is now more than 17,000, with most people living in makeshift shelters in fields and olive groves on the island.  In recent months the number of refugees arriving at Lesvos by boat from Turkey has sharply increased. This is following the breakdown of a 2016 agreement between Turkey and the European Union in which Turkey larg...more

  • What You Need to Know About Fossil Fuels and the Paris Climate Agreement Goals

    Dec 02 2019

    Delegates, civil society and government officials from around the world are gathering in Madrid, Spain this week for the next big international climate change conference, known as COP 25. On the agenda are strategies to accelerate progress towards the Paris Agreement Goals of limiting global warming to 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius. But to reach the Paris Agreement goals, new research shows that countries need to dramatically reduce what is called the fossil fuel production gap. This gap is the diff...more

  • Crisis in Bolivia

    Nov 25 2019

    On November 12th, longtime Bolivian president Evo Morales fled to Mexico, prompting a political and security crisis in the Bolivia. Evo Morales fled his country amid protests against alleged election rigging and after being threatened by Bolivia's military and security services. The circumstances of his ouster have lead some to conclude this was a coup.  In his place, an interim and right-wing government has stepped up violent attacks against pro-Morales protesters. Several people have been kill...more

  • Why The Gambia is Suing Myanmar for Genocide

    Nov 14 2019

    The small west African country of the Gambia has lodged a suit at the International Court of Justice against Myanmar for committing a genocide against the Rohingya people.  The Rohingya are an ethnic and religious minority in Myanmar,  who have long faced discrimination and persecution. But it was not until the summer and fall of 2017 that this persecution became a mass atrocity event, and arguably a genocide. Some 700,000 Rohingya fled violence in this time, and now more than a million live as ...more

  • Iraq Protests: A Reporter in Baghdad Explains Why Thousands of Iraqis are Protesting the Government

    Nov 11 2019

    For the past several weeks, Washington Post reporter Mustafa Salim has had a front row view to massive protests that have erupted in Baghdad and other cities in Iraq. As he explains in this Global Dispatches podcast episode, these protests are neither centrally organized, nor do they have an explicit set of demands. Yet, they may prove to be powerful enough to bring down the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. The protests began in early October, mostly by young men from poorer ...more

  • How The Health and Welfare of Women and Girls Became an International Development Priority

    Nov 07 2019

    Twenty five years ago, the city of Cairo, Egypt hosted a UN-backed gathering of international development professionals from nearly every country on the earth. That 1994 meeting was called the International Conference on Population and Development, or the ICPD, and it became one of the most significant global development gatherings of the last quarter century. At the conference over 170 countries signed was was known as an "action plan" that for the first time recognized fulfilling the rights of...more

  • How Prepared are We for the Next Big Global Epidemic?

    Nov 04 2019

    In 1976 Peter Piot was a 27-year-old microbiologist working in Belgium when he travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo, then called Zaire, to investigate a particularly deadly disease outbreak. He took samples back to his lab and was among the team that first discovered the ebola virus.   Today, he is one of the world's leading experts on epidemics and infectious diseases. This includes HIV/AIDS. In 1995, he was the founding director of the United Nations Program on AIDS, called UNAIDS, an...more

  • Arab Countries Are Exporting their Fight to Far Away Battlefields

    Oct 31 2019

    One of the driving forces of international relations over the last several years has been a rivalry between Arab states. This is sometimes called the "Gulf Crisis" and put simply, it refers to tensions and hostilities between Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates on the one hand; and Qatar on the other. The roots of this rivalry run deep, but around the time of the Arab Spring these tensions came very much to the surface. The United States has historically had a profound interest in...more

  • How The Top LGBTI Rights Watchdog at the United Nations Defends Human Rights Around the World

    Oct 28 2019

    Victor Madrigal-Borloz is a Costa Rican jurist who serves as the United Nations Independent Expert on Protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In other words, he is the UN's top watchdog for LGBTI rights worldwide  The fact that this position even exists in the UN system was, at the time, controversial. In UN lingo, his position is known as the IE SOGI, or Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. It was created in 2016 b...more

  • Massive Protests and a Major Crisis in Chile

    Oct 24 2019

    What began last week as a protest against a fare hike in for the Santiago, Chile metro system has morphed into a broad social movement against increasing economic inequality in the country. And it has been violent. So far, at least 18 people have been killed.  From an international perspective, these protests are coming at an inopportune time. Santiago is hosting the next major global climate change conference, COP25, in early December. And prior to that, in mid November, the city is playing hos...more

  • 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,