WorldAffairs

A News, Government and Society podcast
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Reza Aslan joins the Council for an in-depth discussion on the ideology that fuels al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and like-minded militants throughout the Muslim world. With a look at the United States’ approach to the War on Terror, he examines the polarizing rhetoric that has further entangled politics with religion. From Israel to Iraq and from the Netherlands to New York, Aslan argues that religion is a stronger force today than it has been in a century. He asserts that the only way to win an ideological war is to refuse to fight one: we must strip away the current ideological conflict of its religious connotations and address the actual grievances that fuel the Jihadist movement. Reza Aslan is the award-winning author of lt;igt;No god but Godlt;/igt; and lt;igt;How to Win a Cosmic Warlt;/igt;, and a Middle East Analyst for CBS News.
While considerable attention has been focused on following the actions of DPRK officials in Pyongyang, how well do we understand the mindset and culture of North Korea’s ordinary citizens? B.R. Myers argues that we know more of North Korea’s clandestine nuclear program than of the motivation behind it. We know more about Kim Jong Il’s potential successors than about the unique worldview that North Korean citizens share. Drawing from decades of research on the country’s ideology and propaganda, Myers offers a new understanding of North Korean culture; using multimedia to tell the story of modern-day life in this closed society through its art, unique historic perspective, literature, film, and iconography. A specialist on North Korea, he is a contributing editor to The Atlantic Monthly and a frequent contributor to both NPR and The New York Times, as well as author of The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves - And Why It Matters.
The face of war has changed markedly over the past half century. Conflicts are typically within a single country rather than between different nation states. They may last decades rather than a handful of years. And casualties are disproportionately civilian rather than military. This new face of war is evident in Afghanistan, Sudan, and the Congo. The International Rescue Committee is often among the first humanitarian relief and development agencies to respond in the aftermath or even during such conflicts. George Rupp joins the Council and Global Philanthropy Forum to discuss the challenges of implementing programs to assist uprooted individuals and communities in such settings. As the IRC’s chief executive officer, Dr. Rupp oversees the agency’s relief and rehabilitation operations in 42 countries and its refugee resettlement and assistance programs throughout the United States. In addition, he leads the IRC’s advocacy efforts in Washington, Geneva, Brussels and other capital
The grandson of refugees in Mexico, Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan is a career diplomat. He was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs and was posted in 1993 to the Mexican Embassy in the United States where he first served as Chief of Staff to the Ambassador, and then as head of the counternarcotics office. In 2000 he became Chief of Policy Planning at the Foreign Ministry and was appointed by the President as Mexican Consul General to New York City in 2003. He took a leave of absence from the Foreign Service in 2006 to join the presidential campaign of Felipe Calderón as Foreign Policy Advisor and International Spokesperson, and became Coordinator for Foreign Affairs in the transition team. In November 2006 he received the rank of Ambassador, and in February 2007 was appointed Mexican Ambassador to the United States.
The world’s fourth-most populous nation spread across a chain of thousands of islands, Indonesia is a highly diverse collection of cultures, ethnicities and religions. In terms of faith, six of the world’s religions are formally recognized in Indonesia: Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Confucianism, Hinduism and Buddhism. But with approximately 85 percent of the population adherent to Islam, what is the relationship between the Muslim majority and significant Catholic minority? And, how are other religions and traditions tolerated in Indonesia? The World Affairs Council and Indonesian Consulate General of San Francisco are pleased to host a group of Indonesian religious experts, one Catholic and two Muslim scholars, to discuss Indonesia’s promotion of moderate Islam and tolerant interfaith coexistence.
The world’s fourth-most populous nation spread across a chain of thousands of islands, Indonesia is a highly diverse collection of cultures, ethnicities and religions. In terms of faith, six of the world’s religions are formally recognized in Indonesia: Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Confucianism, Hinduism and Buddhism. But with approximately 85 percent of the population adherent to Islam, what is the relationship between the Muslim majority and significant Catholic minority? And, how are other religions and traditions tolerated in Indonesia? The World Affairs Council and Indonesian Consulate General of San Francisco are pleased to host a group of Indonesian religious experts, one Catholic and two Muslim scholars, to discuss Indonesia’s promotion of moderate Islam and tolerant interfaith coexistence.
The Global Philanthropy Forum and the World Affairs Council are honored to host the Department of the Treasury’s Under Secretary for International Affairs, The Honorable Lael Brainard. Recently confirmed by the Senate, she is entrusted with advancing the Obama Administration’s agenda to foster growth, create economic opportunities for Americans and address transnational economic challenges, including development, climate change, food security and financial inclusion.Before joining the Treasury Department, Under Secretary Brainard most recently served as Vice President and Founding Director of the Global Economy and Development Program at The Brookings Institution. Her prior government service includes tenure as the Deputy National Economic Adviser and Deputy Assistant to the President on International Economics during the Clinton Administration, addressing challenges such as the Asian financial crisis and China’s access to the World Trade Organization.
Drawing on the studies of religion and politics, Ron Hassner will offer insight into the often-violent dynamics that come into play at the places where religion and politics collide. He contends that sacred sites are particularly prone to conflict because they provide valuable resources for both religious and political actors yet cannot be divided. And due to their spiritual and cultural importance, holy places can therefore create the potential for military, theological, or political clashes, not only between competing religious groups but also between religious groups and secular actors. In his new book, War on Sacred Grounds, Ron Hassner investigates the causes and properties of conflicts over sites that are both venerated and contested, and proposes potential means for managing these disputes. He will discuss the failures to reach a settlement at Temple Mount/Haram el-Sharif that led to the clashes of 2000, and the competing claims of Hindus and Muslims at Ayodhya, which resulted in the destruction of the mosque there in 1992. He will also address more successful compromises in Jerusalem in 1967 and Mecca in 1979.
Many Americans, including those who are not Irish Americans, enjoy the culture, food and beer of the Irish. In addition, St. Patrick is the country’s most popular historical figure. However, many have heard of St. Patrick, but what did he actually do? Few know what St. Patrick is famous for and how he influenced Irish history and culture. Our special guest speakers—author and professor Daniel Melia of UC Berkeley, and local artists Melanie O’Reilly and Sean O’Nuallain—join us to discuss Irish-American culture and heritage. The event will feature a discussion of the historical Irish immigration to the US and the cultural legacy it left behind in the United States.
Since January 12th, our televisions and computers have been flooded with pictures of horrific destruction and human suffering wrought by the earthquake in Haiti. What makes the images all the more heart-wrenching is the knowledge that most of the devastation could have been prevented by modern building codes and disaster preparedness techniques. The World Affairs Council of Northern California in cooperation with The Pacific Council’s Equitable Globalization Member Committee welcome Dr. Brian Tucker, President and Founder of GeoHazards International. With decades of work in the field, Dr. Tucker is an expert on incorporating better building practices into disaster risk management programs and international development efforts. He describes how his organization is attempting to prevent earthquakes and tsunamis from having disastrous effects in developing countries, and will outline some of the possible steps needed in Haiti to ensure that the next earthquake that strikes does not cause the havoc we are witnessing now. The discussion offers insights into the challenge of instituting disaster preparedness programs in the developing world – how political, social, technical and economic barriers can be overcome to protect people in the world’s most vulnerable regions from the devastating effects of natural disasters.
Admiral Roughead is a 1973 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and is the first naval officer to command both classes of Aegis ships, Destroyer and Cruiser, and is one of only two officers in history to command both US Naval fleets in the Pacific and Atlantic, where he was responsible for ensuring Navy forces were trained, ready, equipped and prepared to operate around the world, where and when needed. He also commanded Cruiser Destroyer Group 2, the George Washington Battle Group; and US 2nd Fleet/NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic and Naval Forces North Fleet East. Ashore, he has served as Commandant, United States Naval Academy, the Department of the Navy Chief of Legislative Affairs, and as Deputy Commander of the US Pacific Command. Among the Admiral many awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, and various unit and service awards. Now serving as one of the US Navy highest ranking officials, Admiral Roughead joins the Council to discuss the US Navy global influence and the emerging security environment.
Despite widespread media coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, global terrorism and events in the Middle East, little is truly known about what a majority of the world Muslims really think and feel. What do Muslims have to say about violence and terrorist attacks? What do they have to say about democracy, women, and relations with the West? What are their values, goals, and religious beliefs? To help put to rest misunderstandings and present the often-silenced voice of the Muslim world, Dalia Mogahed joins the Council to discuss Gallup largest study of Muslim populations. Based on six years of research and more than 50,000 interviews representing 1.3 billion Muslims who reside in more than 35 nations, this poll is the largest, most comprehensive study which challenges conventional wisdom and sheds greater light on what motivates Muslims worldwide. Mogahed has recently been appointed to President Obama Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is an expert of game theory—the idea that people compete and that they always do what they think is in their own best interest. Bueno de Mesquita uses game theory and its insights into human behavior to predict events and his forecasts have a 90 percent accuracy rate. He boldly predicts that President Obama is unlikely to quash the terrorist influence in Pakistan, that Iran will not develop nuclear weapons, and that global warming will prove immune to government prescriptions. In his new book, The Predictioneer’s Game, Bueno de Mesquita uses his mathematical model to predict outcomes in business, national security, and people’s day-to-day lives based on the self-interest of decision makers. He joins the Council to detail his system of calculation that allows him to predict the outcomes of North Korean disarmament talks, the Middle East peace process, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Iran-Iraq relations following American troop withdrawals, and many other vexing national security challenges. Since the early 1980s, CIA officials have hired Bueno de Mesquita to perform more than a thousand predictions and a study by the CIA, now declassified, found that his predictions “hit the bull’s-eye” twice as often as its own analysts did.
According to Peter Singer, the ordinary American has an obligation to the world’s poor. He suggests that for the first time in history we, as individuals, are in a position to end extreme poverty. Yet with the death of more than 10 million children each year from avoidable, poverty-related causes, Singer argues that our current minimal response is ethically indefensible. Through thought experiments and examples, Singer examines our concept of giving and personal responsibility to the poor. He offers practical ways to tackle global poverty through philanthropy, local activism and political awareness. A philosopher and ethicist, Singer was named one of “The Most Influential People in the World” by TIME magazine and is the author and editor of over forty books.
Experience shows that physical reconstruction alone is not sufficient for the sustained, long-term politi cal and socio-economic development of societies emerging from conflict. Attention must be paid to the institutions that underlie function ing economic and political systems. John Sullivan, Executive Director of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), joins the Council to offer new perspectives on the critical juncture between democratic governance, market institutions, and a functioning private sector. Traditionally, in dealing with post-conflict reform and peace-building issues, reformers have focused on security operations and humanitarian assistance as a key to moving countries out of conflict. Although important in their own right, such efforts must be complemented by institutional reforms, such as good governance, anti-corruption, the rule of law, and the strengthening of civil society. Citing examples of CIPE’s work in fragile states such as Pakistan and in post-conflict states such as Afghanistan and Iraq, Dr. Sullivan will address the role of private enterprise in promoting a strong, well-functioning society and the particular challenges faced in these vastly different environments.
The World Affairs Council in cooperation with Hostelling International USA, Golden Gate Council, is pleased to present an evening with Don George: Three decades as a professional world-wanderer have taught me that the planet is a glorious and fragile picture-puzzle of precious, unique and irreplaceable pieces. It has also led me to believe fervently that all of us who love to travel -- who, in a profound sense, live to travel -- are the guardians of that puzzle, for it is we who hold its pieces in our hands, and who celebrate and sanctify its existence in our lives. A new year, with a new administration in Washington, presents extraordinary opportunities and challenges for the American traveler. As 2010 unfolds, I’d like to share ten lessons I’ve learned in 30 years of travel to 70-plus countries: tips that can help us realize our potential as citizen stewards and everyday ambassadors to build bridges of understanding and connection around the globe.
In order to solve the current economic crisis, what aspects of our economic model do we need to rethink? Echoing Oscar Wilde’s observation that “people know the price of everything and the value of nothing,” Raj Patel argues that our faith in prices as a way of valuing the world is misplaced. Patel looks at the hidden ecological and social costs of common items that we currently take for granted, such as the hamburger which can be priced as high as $200. While we need to rethink our economic model, the larger failure behind the food, climate, and economic crises is the result of our political system. Dr. Patel has previously worked for the World Bank and the WTO, and currently serves as a Fellow at the Institute for Food and Development Policy, also known as Food First.
His Excellency Maen Areikat, Chief Representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization Mission to the United States, joins the Council to discuss the recent developments in the Middle East peace process and to take a look forward at the opportunities and challenges for a Palestinian state. President Obama has demonstrated a renewed commitment and urgency to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and much has been happening. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is being pressured to stop settlement construction in the West Bank with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refusing to negotiate until this commitment is realized. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad recently released an outline to create a Palestinian state by 2011 through internal institution building. Meanwhile, tensions between Hamas and Fatah still remain. Reconciliation talks have floundered and new elections are scheduled for 2010. Mr. Areikat previously took part in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations at Beit Hanoun/Erez in Gaza and Taba, Egypt, in 1996, in Jerusalem in 1997, and was an official member of the Palestinian delegation at the Wye River negotiations in 1998. He recently returned from Bethlehem where Fatah held its first party conference in 20 years and elected a mostly new leadership committee.
The economic, military and political challenges for the new administration and for each of us as citizens are enormous. Explore the discussions and debates from the 2009 Annual Conference that reveal the key global issues to be addressed at this historical moment.
Are our current international institutions effectively equipped to address today’s most pressing global security challenges, ranging from climate change and nuclear proliferation to civil strife and terrorism? How can President Obama and key allies revitalize international cooperation and rejuvenate international institutions not only to protect their own citizens, but also to cooperate across borders to safeguard common resources and tackle common threats? Stephen Stedman joins the Council to present ideas for the new US administration and other global powers to promote what they cannot produce apart—peace and stability. A leading expert on civil wars and conflict management, Stedman was formerly the research director of the United Nations High- Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change from 2003-2004, and Assistant Secretary General and Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations, in 2005.
In November 2007, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change declared with more than 90 percent certainty that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are responsible for a significant portion of the increase in the Earth’s average temperature since the mid 20th century. As a result, the debate over climate change has largely subsided; however, a new debate has emerged. What is the best climate change policy moving forward? More importantly, what is the most efficient and cost-effective policy? How will the cap and trade bill currently debated in Congress affect climate change policy? Join the Council and a panel of economic and policy experts for a discussion on the economic costs and barriers to implementing a successful climate change policy. What are the foreseeable costs to individuals, businesses and government? The panel will also compare climate change policies across developing and developed economies—specifically, taking a comparative look at China and California.
For more than thirty years, humankind has known how to grow enough food to end chronic hunger worldwide. Yet more than 9 million people die each year of hunger, malnutrition, and related diseases—most of them in Africa and most of them children. Roger Thurow joins the Council for a look at the geopolitics that allow some countries to prosper while others starve. Looking at Africa, he examines how subsidies and food aid are going awry, and how many well-intentioned strategies contribute to keeping the poor hungry and unable to feed themselves. Thurow has been a foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal for twenty years and has reported from more than sixty countries.
As President-elect Barack Obama prepares to take office, how will turmoil in the international financial markets impact the formulation of his economic and foreign policy agendas? Adam Posen joins the Council to shed light on the economic challenges and international implications facing the new Obama presidency. A widely cited expert on monetary policy from the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C., Posen has been a consultant to the Departments of State and Treasury, the European Commission, and the International Monetary Fund on a variety of economic and foreign policy issues.
The economic, military and political challenges for the new administration and for each of us as citizens are enormous. Explore the discussions and debates from the 2009 Annual Conference that reveal the key global issues to be addressed at this historical moment.
Valentino Achak Deng fled his native Sudan in the late 1980’s during civil war, when his village was destroyed by the murahaleen— the same type of militia which currently terrorize Darfur. After nine years in Ethiopian and Kenyan refugee camps, where he worked for the UNHCR as a social advocate and reproductive health educator, he resettled in Atlanta. Since then, Deng has toured the country speaking about Sudan, his experience as a refugee, and his collaboration with author Dave Eggers on lt;igt;What Is the Whatlt;/igt;, the novelized version of Deng’s life story. A leader in the Sudanese Diaspora, he has also worked relentlessly to expose the realities of what is happening in Sudan, its effect on the people, and how we can rebuild Sudanese communities.
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Podcast Details

Started
Jan 8th, 2009
Latest Episode
Mar 30th, 2020
Release Period
Weekly
No. of Episodes
655
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour
Explicit
No

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