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Global Dispatches Podcast by Mark Goldberg

Global Dispatches Podcast

by Mark Goldberg

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Long form interviews with foreign policy influencers, and deep discussions with experts on topical issues in global affairs.


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Episode 144: James Goldgeier


Fri, Mar 24, 2017


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James Goldgeier is the dean of the school for international service at American University. He's spent a career trying to bridge the gap between academic research and policy makers and he currently runs a program at American University appropriately called Bridging the Gap thats seeks to do just that. Jim is also a Russia expert-- and you might recall that he and I spoke about a month after the election to discuss Russia's key strategic goals during the Trump administration. We kick off this discussion along those same lines, but of course now armed with new information about the extent or Russian interference with the US election. 

I wanted to let you all know about another reward and offer available to premium subscribers of the podcast: a 75% discount off life and career coaching sessions with Alanna Shaikh. Alanna is a TED senior fellow, writer and longtime international development professional. She is also a trained career coach. If you think this is something that may benefit you become a premium subscriber to unlock that discount--which reduces the price of an a hour long coaching session from $145 to about $40. 



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What North Korea Wants


Wed, Mar 22, 2017


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Over the past several months, North Korea has engaged in a series of provocative nuclear and missile tests. It conducted nuclear tests in January and then September of last year along with several ballistic missile tests. And in 2017 alone there have been no less than 5 missile launches, most recently on March 6, when North Korea launched four missiles which landed off the coast of Japan. 

Meanwhile, later in March Secretary of State Tillerson traveled to the region, in his first big foray into the vexing regional diplomacy that so far has failed to stop North Korea from advancing its nuclear weapons programs. And while visiting the region, Tillerson promised to end the Obama-era strategy of strategic patience,  but has not yet articulated what kinds of policies would take its place. 
 
On the line with me to discuss the North Korea nuclear issue is Kelsey Davenport, who is the director for non-proliferation policy at the Arms Control Association. She discusses the strategic implications of the specific technologies that North Korea is testing, that is, why Pyongyang is conducting these kinds of tests. She also describes the policy options in the table for the Trump administration as is tries to confront North Korea's nuclear ambitions. And i must say, this conversation was very helpful to me personally and I suspect you'll learn a lot from it as well.


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Is Torture Making a Comeback?


Wed, Mar 15, 2017


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

These debates, which raged during the Bush administration, came roaring back just days into the Trump administration with word that a draft executive order covering many of these issues was circulating around the White House.  We kick off discussing that executive order before having a wider conversation about debates surrounding torture and also what to do with ISIS combatants captured on the battlefield. 

 

 



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Episode 143: Julie Smith


Fri, Mar 10, 2017


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Julie Smith is Senior Fellow and Director of the Strategy and Statecraft Program at the Center for a New American Security. recently left her post as a top national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. She takes me inside some of the key events, decisions and frustrations from her time in that senior policy making role.

Julie is a NATO and European policy expert who spent much of her formative years working in Europe, and Germany in particular. And we have some interesting digressions about NATO, the Balkans conflict and the relevance of German foreign policy.  

Go premium to unlock my conversation with Julie about the history of NATO and key debates shaping its future. 



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Episode 142: Jeremy Konyndyk


Thu, Mar 09, 2017


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Jeremy Konyndyk recently left his post as the top US global humanitarian relief official. Jeremy lead the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance at USAID during much of Obama's second term and we discuss how the US responded to some key disasters, including the ebola outbreak. 

Jeremy's been working in this field since the Balkans crises of the 1990s and I caught up with him just as he returned from a trip to northern Nigeria, which is currently beset by a major humanitarian crisis. We kick off discussing what he saw there before pivoting to discuss some of the major global crises in which his career has intersected.

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What We Mean When We Talk About "Foreign Aid"


Fri, Mar 03, 2017


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You may have seen news reports that the White House wants to substantially increase defense spending, and to offset those increases slash discretionary spending elsewhere. In particular the White House has signaled that foreign aid spending will be sharply reduced. 

Foreign aid is one of those issues that is pretty widely mis-understood by the general public; and I think fairly so, because its extremely complicated. I've spent over 10 years covering issues related to foreign aid and frankly I learn new and surprising things about foreign aid all the time.
 
So what do we actually mean when we talk about foreign aid? What are some of the real-world implications of a steep reduction of US foreign assistance? And what are the politics of it all? On the line with me to discuss these questions and more is Joel Charny, who is US director of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which is a large international NGO on the front lines of some major crises worldwide. He does a good job of walking me through the big picture questions surrounding foreign aid, but also some of the specific on-the-ground implications of what cuts would mean. He also discusses why this is a uniquely bad time to be cutting back on foreign aid. 
 
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Bonus Episodes! A Message from Mark


Thu, Mar 02, 2017


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

I've created two of these episodes already and many more are on the way.

Become a premium subscriber to unlock these episodes and get other rewards. Click here to become a Patron of the show. 

Other rewards include:

  • Complimentary subscription to my DAWNS Digest global news clips service--an email news clips service for the global affairs community. 
  • Join my email list that previews upcoming episodes so you can suggest questions to my guests
  • I'll mail you a Global Dispatches sticker. 
  • Other bonuses as they become available. 

Global Dispatches is totally unique and I need your support to sustain it. 

If this podcast is part of your weekly routine, become a premium member and support the show. You understand that there is no podcast out there like Global Dispatches. It is totally unique and it relies on you to become a sustainable social and media enterprise. 

Support the show through this secure platform --> Patreon.com/globaldispatches 

Sample the bonus episodes here.



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Episode 141: Joshua Landis


Fri, Feb 24, 2017


 Joshua Landis seemed destined to become one of America's foremost Syria specialists. He spent much of his childhood and adolescence in the middle east including Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. Landis describes how spending some formative years in Beirut both as a child during the height of Beirut's cosmopolitan boom and later in his twenties during the Lebanese civil war, shaped how he understood his  Syria civil war as it was unfolding. 

Joshua Landis is someone I have turned to for many years to help me make sense of events in Syria and the broader middle east. He started his blog Syria Comment over ten years ago and has since become an oft cited expert on Syria and the civil war. He's a professor at the University of Oklahoma where he directs the center for middle east studies. 



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


Thu, Feb 23, 2017


The United Nations did some extremely rare in February: agencies declared that a famine was ongoing in parts of South Sudan. More than 100,000 people are affected by this famine and childhood mortality rates are already surging there.

On the line with me to discuss why this famine declaration was made, what is means on the ground for the people affected by it and the humanitarian agencies trying to contain the damage is Steve Taravella, senior spokesperson for the World Food Program in Washington. And as Steve describes "famine" is actually a technical term -- it does not mean just having no food. Rather it is a threshold that is taken from a number of indicators that taken together mean that people are dying from starvation in extreme numbers. 

This famine declaration comes as the UN is also fighting intense food security crises in Yemen, Somalia and parts of Northern Nigeria. And Steve describes how this is really an unprecedented moment for relief organizations like his. 

 



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Episode 140: Molly Crabapple


Sun, Feb 19, 2017


Molly Crabapple is an artist and writer who combines those two crafts to produce cutting edge journalism on some key global topics. She’s reported and drawn from Guantanamo, worked with Syrian activists to depict scenes from inside ISIS strongholds, and most recently returned from refugee  encampments in Greece.

Molly is a contributing editor to VICE and her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, the New York Times, Newsweek and elsewhere. Her art is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  

She describes how she uses art in the service of journalism—something frankly that is unique and totally innovative. I’ve posted some images of her art to GlobalDispatchesPodcast.com so you can get a sense of her style. Her memoir Drawing Blood was published to critical in 2015.

This was a fun conversation. I’m a little out of my element when discussing art or the artistic process, but I loved learning a bit more about Molly. We kick off talking about recent trip she took to India as part of her book tour.



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Episode 139: Bathsheba Crocker


Wed, Feb 15, 2017


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

Bathsheba Crocker recently left her post as President Obama's Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs. She had served in various posts in the State Department for the entirety of the Obama administration and before that she worked in the office of the United Nations' special envoy for Tsunami Recovery and Relief-- and that "Special Envoy" was none other than Bill Clinton.

Since leaving her post, Sheba admitted says she has more time on her hands these days and you find her on twitter and also writing for foreign policy magazine's Shadow Government vertical. We kick off with a discussion about how the transition to the Trump administration is shaking up the state department.

---

 



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Is "Gross National Happiness" the New GDP?


Sun, Feb 12, 2017


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

The first day of the summit focused on the question of "happiness"-- that is, how can governments measure happiness and design policies that promote happiness?
 
The underlying premise is that happiness is more than a personal pursuit, but actually a public good. This is obviously on the fringes of public policy discourse in the United States and most other countries, but as one panelist, who is the Ecuadorian minister for Buen Vivar, pointed out: the pursuit of happiness was literally written into the founding documents of the United States.
 
These days other countries have taken the mantle of taking a serious look at the intersection of public policy and happiness. In addition to Ecuador, here in the UAE there is a minister for happiness, Slovenia has a similar position as well; and the government of Bhutan an indicator it calls "Gross National Happiness."
 
With me to discuss the intersection of happiness and public policy is economist Andrew Oswald who pioneered this line of study. We discuss how one actually measures and quantifies happiness in a way that's relevant to public policy and also some of the political implications of a happy verses a discontented population.
 
This is cutting edge stuff and I think intellectually very interesting. 


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


Wed, Feb 08, 2017


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

A number of recent reports have indicated an uptick in violence against the Rohingya -- including what appears to be the systematic use of rape and sexual violence. One of those reports was published by Human Rights Watch on February 6 and on the line with me to discuss the report and the broader situation of the Rohingya in both Burma and across the border in Bangladesh is Brad Adams, the Asia director of human rights watch. 
 
This is a fairly under covered story, but one in which I've tried to highlight on this podcast from time to time.  


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Episode 138: Dr. Larry Brilliant


Fri, Feb 03, 2017


Dr. Larry Brilliant starred in a 1960s film that was a total flop. The movie was called Medicine Ball Caravan and it was a sort of documentary that followed Larry and a bunch of other hippies as they followed the touring busses of acts like the Grateful Dead.
 
But despite the commercial failure of this film I would posit that it lead, though somewhat indirectly, to the global eradication of small pox. That's because after the filming ended, Larry kept the hippie caravan going until he reached India, and, while there, joined the World Health Organization's efforts to eliminate small pox from the country. It's a great story. 
 
Larry is now an epidemiologist with the Skoll Foundation and we have an absolutely fascinating conversation about his life and career, including how a chance encounter with Martin Luther King in 1962 forever changed his life. Many of these stories are included in his recently published memoir:  Sometimes Brilliant:The Impossible Adventure of a Spiritual Seeker and Visionary Physician Who Helped Conquer the World's Worst Disease. We kick off discussing the current threat from global pandemics before pivoting to his extraordinarily unique life story. 


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


Wed, Feb 01, 2017


By now,  you are well aware of President Trump's sweeping ban on migrants from seven Muslim majority countries; the indefinite suspension of refugees from Syria and the suspension of all refugee resettlement into the United States for at least four months. The executive order is, of course, the subject of intense debate and discussion here in the United States, but I wanted to get a sense of how this executive order is playing out in the region so I called up one of my favorite scholars and public intellectuals who studies the politics of the Middle East, Marc Lynch.
 
Marc describes how different countries are reacting to the executive order and the implications it has for both domestic politics in the Middle East and those countries' foreign policies. This is a useful conversation that puts into context the foreign policy and international relations implications of this executive order. If you have 20 minutes and want to understand what this policy means for Middle East, have a listen.  
 
 


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Episode 137: Princeton Lyman


Fri, Jan 27, 2017


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

 
We spoke the day that news broke that Donald Trump was readying an executive order that would severely curtail refugee resettlement to the US, including from a number of Muslim majority countries. Princeton served as the top US official for refugee issues during the George HW Bush administration so we kick off discussing how those potential restrictions fit into the history of US refugee resettlement policy.  
 
We then pivot to a longer conversation about his life and career, including his rather unique first name. It's a good story. A classic one, actually. 


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


Wed, Jan 25, 2017


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

 
As you can imagine, this policy is very much caught up in domestic US politics about abortion, but when Donald Trump signed the order re-instating the rule, his version of it went much, much farther than the George W. Bush administration or any republican administration since the Regan era. 
 
On the line with me to discuss the Global Gag Rule, it's history and impact on women's lives is Seema Jalan, the Executive Director of the Universal Access Project and Policy, Women and Population, at the United Nations Foundation.  She does an excellent job of explaining the policy why the Donald Trump version of it is a big departure from previous republican administrations and in fact  may affect every aspect of US global health assistance around the world. 


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


Mon, Jan 23, 2017


In many ways Ambassador Khalilzad was the ideal person with whom to speak at the dawn of the next republican administration. He served in senior positions in the Bush white house, including as ambassador to his native Afghanistan and Iraq and was also someone on the shortlist for Secretary of State as Donald Trump assembled his cabinet. We kick off discussing what to expect from Trump's foreign policy and how the new president will  approach  some of the myriad of challenges  around the world before pivoting to discuss his own fascinating personal story that took him from poverty in Afghanistan to the heights of power in Washington DC--stories I should note that are included in his recently published memoir: Then Envoy: From Kabul to the White House: My Journey through a Turbulent World"  
 
To set the scene for you a little bit, this event was taped in the event room of 1871, a tech co-working space. There were about 200 people in the crowd, most of whom were members of IVY: The Social University which organized the event. 
 
This episode is presented in partnership with IVY: The Social University. Through a robust curriculum spanning policy, entrepreneurship, social impact, and the arts — IVY members enjoy access to a lifetime of new experiences, friendships, and ideas. Whether it’s in-person talks with world-class leaders including Ambassador Cameron Munter, GE Chairman Jack Welch, and Pulitzer Prize Winner Nicholas Kristof; cultural expeditions to Cuba and Iceland; or tickets to the Opera or Ballet — IVY provides its members a lifetime of learning. Over the past three years, the IVY community has grown to 20,000 inspiring members in seven cities across the nation including New York, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Miami. Register on IVY.com to begin the application process (2 minutes, no commitment) — and you’ll receive a $100 event credit if you join IVY and mention GlobalDispatches in the referral section when registering.


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What's Next for the Israel and Palestine?


Wed, Jan 18, 2017


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

But what comes next? Are we living in the post-two state solution era? What does this mean for Palestinian rights? For Israeli security? For Israeli and Palestinian foreign policy? I put these questions and more to Michael Omer-Man, the editor in chief of the excellent 972 magazine.  If you have 20 minutes and want to learn what the future holds for Israel and Palestine, have a listen. 


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Episode 136: Karen Greenberg


Fri, Jan 13, 2017


Karen Greenberg has spent the last 15 years studying the intersection of national security, terrorism and civil liberties. She's currently the director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School.
 
She's authored several books on the subject including most recently Rogue Justice: the Making of the Security State. In 2009 she wrote the critically acclaimed Least Worst Place: Guantanamo's First 100 Days. We kick off discussing why was it that President Obama, having come to office eight years ago promising to shut down the Guantanamo prison, failed to do so. 
 
Karen is someone who has been on my radar since the early Bush years and the debate over the Patriot Act, but I was fascinated and interested to learn how her career in foreign policy and national security was really launched while working with dissidents from Eastern Europe during the Soviet era. It's a great conversation. Animated for sure. And I think you'll like it. 
 
Quick announcement before we start: if you are listening to this contemporaneously and are in Chicagoland come to a live recording of the podcast with special guest former US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad on January 19. Send me an email via the contact page on GlobalDispatchespodcast.com and I can get you a complimentary ticket! 


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


Fri, Jan 13, 2017


This is a special episode of the podcast sponsored by the Master of Arts in Social Innovation program at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego. This is a brand new program that seeks original thinkers who are looking to make a lasting impact in the world to join the inaugural class. On the line with me to discuss the program, including the curriculum, the faculty and the kind of experience and education students can expect is the dean of the Kroc school, Patricia Marquez.  Applications are due March 15. Learn more!



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Turkey is in Crisis


Wed, Jan 11, 2017


Turkey is in crisis. A number of terrorist attacks in recent weeks has rattled Turkish society, there is a persistent and ongoing crackdown on civil society, and President Erdogan is engineering constitutional changes to further consolidate power. 

On the line with me to discuss recent events in Turkey and offer some deeper context into the political situation and the future of US-Turkey relations is Elmira Bayrasli. She is an author and the co-founder of Foreign Policy Interrupted which seeks to amplify the voices of women in foreign policy debates and she was also my guest in episode 81.  I learned a great deal from this conversation and suspect you will as well.
 
Before we begin an announcement: On Thursday January 19th at 7pm I will be hosting a live taping of the podcast at the University of Chicago with former UN ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. If you are in Chicago and want to attend in person please send me an email via the contact page on GlobalDIspatchesPodcast.com. This is a ticketed event and the organizers have reserved tickets for my most loyal listeners so if you are interested, send me an email and I'll send you the registration info. 


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Episode 135: Maria J Stephan


Fri, Jan 06, 2017


Maria Stephan is a pioneering academic and public intellectual who studies authoritarian regimes and how they fall. She's the co-author with Erica Chenoweth of the groundbreaking and award winning book Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict which was a first-of-its kind study that offered empirical evidence that non-violent resistance is more effective than conflict and civil war in toppling oppressive regimes. She recently lead a study with the Atlantic Council showing that authoritarianism is on the rise globally and we kick off with an extended conversation about that study and how the recent US election fits into her overall thesis. 

Maria grew up in rural Vermont and we have a great conversation about the roots of her intellectual curiosity and how that took her to study and compare resistance movements around the world, including East Timor and Palestine.
 
 


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


Tue, Jan 03, 2017


On the line with me to preview the big stories, ideas, trends and crises and provocations that will set the agenda at the United Nations and beyond is Richard Gowen. He's a fellow with the European Council on Foreign Affairs and a regular guest of this very podcast. We have a lively conversation about Trump's relationship with the UN, the new incoming secretary general and more. 
 
We recorded this conversation in late December, before the big vote on Israel settlements into which the president elect weighed on twitter. So that vote does not factor into this conversation, but I would say that the big implication of that vote is that it's likely makes the UN more vulnerable to moves by the incoming congress to restrict or undermine US support for the UN, including the possible withholding of funding. If you want to read my full thoughts on that, check out UN Dispatch. For now though, here is Richard Gowen and I chatting about the big stories at the UN and around the world in 2017 


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Episode 134: Tom Periello


Tue, Dec 27, 2016


Tom Periello is President Obama's special envoy for the great Lakes Region of Africa. This includes the countries of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

Now, this is usually the part of the intro in which I briefly tease my guests career. But in Tom's case he's had many different careers. He's served in the United States Congress for one term representing Virginia, he was a human rights lawyer for the war crimes tribunal for Sierra Leone and he was a co-founder of the global grassroots advocacy movement Avaaz among other things. And in this conversation Tom describes how and why he's alternated between pursing positive social change at home and abroad. 
 
We kick off with a very topical conversation about the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And just to set the scene a bit: on December 19th, the second and constitutionally mandated final term of the president Joseph Kabila expired. He did not leave office. There have been subsequent protests on the streets of the capitol Kinshasa and elsewhere that left at least 20 people dead. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church, which is a societal pillar,has been trying to mediate a less violent resolution to this conflict. Tom discusses his role in this effort what the United States is doing to ensure the democratic transition of power in the DRC. 
 We then pivot to a longer conversation about his fascinating life and careers.


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What Russia Wants


Wed, Dec 21, 2016


Russia has successfully influenced the election here in the United States in its favor. It's side is winning the war in Syria. Crimea looks like it will remain in Russia for the foreseeable future and the NATO alliance may become weakened when Donald Trump takes office. 

This is pretty much springtime for Putin in Moscow. But what are Russia's grander ambitions? Why did they hack the US election? What do they want from the Middle East? From Europe and China? I put these questions and more to James Goldgeier, a Russia expert and the Dean of the School of International Studies at American University. James describes some of Putin's near term and longer term strategic goals and how a less contentious relationship with the USA--one not based on values, but on individual transactions -- may reshape Russian foreign policy and international affairs more broadly.

 



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Episode 133: Amy Costello


Sun, Dec 18, 2016


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

Amy was one of the first television reporters in Darfur during the midst of the genocide, a work for which she was Emmy nominated. She describes the kinds of scenes she saw and how that reporting project left a lasting impression upon her.We kick off in this holiday season discussing philanthropy and how individuals, perhaps you out there listening right now, can be an effective altruist by maximizing the impact of your charitable giving. 


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


Wed, Dec 14, 2016


President Elect Donald Trump has assembled a team of generals to fill key posts in his national security team. Former Army General Mike Flynn is his National Security Advisor, Marine General John Kelly has been tapped to serve as homeland security chief and of course recently retired marine general ames Mattis has been nominated as Secretary of Defense. 
 
Top military brass have served in civilian roles But never before have so many generals been tapped to serve at once and in top positions in the government. And this is out of the ordinary precisely because the American political system has historically shunned it for reasons that my guest Alice Hunt Friend describes. 
 
Alice Friend studies civil military relations--she's currently writing her PhD thesis on the topic. She's a former official in the Pentagon and is currently both a Senior Associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Adjunct Senior Fellow, Center for a New American Security. 
 
She offers what I find to be a very nuanced take on the kind of challenge or even threat to the American democratic system that is posed when the military takes on a greater role in civilian political life. She also discusses the kinds of policy implications that result from when generals are put in charge of civilian institutions. 


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Episode 132: Cameron Munter


Sun, Dec 11, 2016


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

We kick off with a brief discussion of the ways that Chinese domestic politics influence its foreign policy and what the future holds for US-Chinese relationship in the Trump era. And then of course, as we always do, we pivot to a longer conversation about his life and career with some fun digressions along the way. 



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Conditions are ripe for a genocide in South Sudan


Wed, Dec 07, 2016


There are some frightening warning signs that a genocide may erupt in South Sudan. The country has been at war with itself for the better of three years, ever since a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his Vice Preisident Riek Machar turned into an armed conflict between those two men. The conflict took on ugly sectarian dimensions--these men hail from different ethnic groups--and peace has been elusive. 
 
In recent weeks, however, it seems that the government of Salva Kiir is readying itself to commit ethnic-based mass atrocities for reasons that my guest Cameron Hudson explains. Cameron is the director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. He's also a former CIA officer with extensive background in the region. And in this episode, he explains what conditions are ripe for genocide in South Sudan are ripe. 


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Episode 131: Mark Tokola


Sun, Dec 04, 2016


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

We spoke a day after the Security Council passed new a sanctions resolution on North Korea following a nuclear test in September and we kick off discussing the implications of those sanctions before pivoting to a longer conversation about his globe-spanning career. Mark's last posting was to South Korea and we end with some discussion about the political upheaval underway there and whether or not my man Ban Ki Moon may run for president next year.
 
Mark is an alumnus of the Salzburg Global Seminar which is a podcast sponsor this month and at the top of the episode we also reference a seminar about North Korean human rights in which he participated 

 



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


Wed, Nov 30, 2016


Donald Trump's foreign policy and national security team is still taking shape. He has appointed Nikki Haley as his UN ambassador and Mike Flynn as his National Security Advisor. But at the time of recording, he has not picked a Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense. 
 
So how are you best able to interpret and understand the implications of those selections to American foreign policy? Thankfully, there is some is some emerging political science that speaks to the role of advisors in shaping national security policy, and on the line with me to discuss this research is Professor Elizabeth Saunders of George Washington University. 
 
Saunders has conducted a number of studies that speak to the circumstances in which cabinet picks and top advisors can shape public opinion and decision making on key foreign policy issues. We discuss her research and its implications for the Trump transition in this episode. And after you listen to this episode, you should have a fairly decent grounding in how to interpret the significance of these picks, no matter who the end up being.

 



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


Tue, Nov 29, 2016


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President elect Donald Trump will nominate Nikki Haley to be his Ambassador to the United Nations. She is a rising star in Republican politics and currently serves as the governor of South Carolina. She was sharp critic of Trump during the primaries, yet he has picked her to represent him at the United Nations. 
 
On the line with me to discuss Nikki Haley, her political background, her personal story, and her place in South Carolina and national politics is Andy Shane the Colombia bureau chief of the Post and Courier newspaper in South Carolina. We have an in-depth conversation about the woman who will next lead the United States Mission to the UN and we discuss how some experiences she had as governor may suggest how she takes on her next role. 
 
Trump's cabinet is still taking shape and it's notable that he would pick his UN Ambassador position before his Secretary of State, but I think we have come to expect the unexpected from this president elect. One other political wrinkle that we did not discuss, but is on the minds of people who follow national politics is that there may be a senate seat in South Carolina opening up in 2019, and if so, political watchers speculate that she may vie for that position. So the thinking goes, this could be a good platform for which to run for president in 2024. Now this is a long way off, but it's what the chattering class is chattering about. 
 
 


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Episode 130: Tali Nates


Fri, Nov 18, 2016


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Tali Nates has a personal connection to Schindler's List. On it was the name of her father and uncle, whom Oskar Schindler saved from a Nazi extermination camp. 

She is now the director of the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Center in South Africa and we have a fascinating conversation about how the lessons of the Holocaust are applied and learned in post-Apartheid South Africa.
 
Tali was born in Israel and moved to South Africa before the end of Apartheid. She candidly describes the moral compunction she experienced during that era and how teaching Holocaust history to white south africans became a method of resistance. 
 
This episode is part of a series that is being created in partnership with the Salzburg Global Seminar, which is a forum and meeting space that brings together a cross section of global leaders to take on some of the big global challenges of the day. We kick off discussing her participation on one of the Salzburg sessions before turning to her own family history and contemporary work.

 



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What Does President Trump Mean for the Paris Climate Agreement?


Wed, Nov 16, 2016


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As Americans headed to the polls on election day, diplomats from around the world headed to Marrakech, Morocco for the first big global climate summit since the Paris Agreement last year. This was to be an important inflection point in the global effort to combat climate change. Just a week earlier the Paris Agreement officially entered into force after the requisite number of countries ratified it and this meeting in Marrakech would to fill in some key details and add some technical guidance to enable the implementation of the agreement. 

And then, Donald Trump was elected.
 
During the campaign he pledged to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and defund UN programs to combat climate change. So I was interested to learn the implications of the election on the ongoing negotiations in Morocco and this episode is in two parts.
 
First, I speak with Eliot Diringer of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, who I caught up the day after the election just as he was headed to Morocco. Eliot discusses the ways domestic politics here in the USA may affect climate negotiations and also recounts the history of American leadership (or lack thereof) in international climate diplomacy.  
 
Next, I speak with Hugh Sealy, a diplomat from Grenada who is a lead negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States, known as AOSIS in UN speak. I caught up with Hugh in Marrakech about a week after the election, and as you'll see he does not report that much has changed. He does though, also discuss the importance of American leadership and also offers some interesting insights into the role that small countries like his can play in these big negotiations. 
 
If you have not already done so, please check out the Patreon page I have created which is a way for you to support the show and also, if you are interested, take a deeper role in its production. Listeners who make a recurring monthly contribution through this platform can receive rewards for your support. So, for being a Global Dispatches premium subscriber you get a complimentary subscription to my DAWNS Digest global news clips service, sneak previews of upcoming episodes and the opportunity to have your questions posed to my guests, and also, if enough of you join the premium club I will launch a new podcast series, shaped by you, exclusively for. And stickers! Check it out. 


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Episode 129: Maina Kiai


Mon, Nov 14, 2016


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Maina Kiai has some profound insights into how governments abrogate the rights of people to freely assemble. He is a Kenyan human rights lawyer and activist who currently serves as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. His career was born in opposition to an oppressive government in Kenya and he discusses the kinds of tactics and strategies he used to advance human rights under an authoritarian government.He also recounts his role in helping to mediate during the disputed 2007 Kenya elections, which turned very violent and resulted in his life being in danger.

We kick off discussing the impact of a Trump presidency on human and civic rights around the world and in the United States. 

This is a great conversation, which I did leave feeling inspired.
 
---
 
I started a Patreon page! This is sort of like a KickStarter for internet content creators. If you make a recurring monthly contribution to the podcast I'll give you a complimentary subscription to my DAWNS Digest global news clips service; the chance to hear about upcoming shows and have your questions posed to my guests; access to a community forum; and if enough of you sign up, I will create a for-your-ears only podcast episode.  Learn more: https://www.patreon.com/GlobalDispatches 

 



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


Thu, Nov 10, 2016


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I'll get straight to the point. These are uncertain times. They are confusing times. We are entering the Trump era of American foreign policy. What does that mean for the world? For the ideals we care about? For the entire liberal international world order? 

I don't know.

But I am going to make a pledge to you right now: I will dedicate this podcast to exploring and explaining the implications of President Trump to foreign policy, international relations and global affairs.

These are uncharted waters into which we are all about to set sail.  And in times like this community is more important than ever. I am going to open up Global Dispatches and offer you a chance to share your experiences, anxieties, hopes and ideas for what the future will hold. I'll give you expanded opportunities to interact with my guests, with me, and with each other. 

But I need help to make this work so here's my pitch: I need to spend more time putting together great shows, building community, and less time hustling to cover costs. That's where you come in. I've created this page to give you an easy way to support the podcast and earn awesome rewards in the process. Together, we can build this into a powerful community and keep the podcast going strong in these uncertain times. 

Patreon is a platform used by many podcasters and "content creators." It is a way for you, dear listener, to become a Patron of the show. Several listeners suggested I create one, so here goes. 

The Rewards 


Contributors at the $10/month level or above will receive:

1) A complimentary subscription to my DAWNS Digest global news clips service. Every morning you will receive in your inbox an easy-to-skim summary of the most interesting and relevant news and opinion from around the world. It's a news clips service that major global NGOs, think tanks and government agencies wake up to in the morning. And it can be yours!

2) Sneak previews of upcoming episodes and the chance to pose questions to my guests. I'll let you know ahead of time about the topics I'm covering and individuals I'm interviewing. If you have a specific question you'd like me to ask, I'll work it into my interview.  

3) Bonus episodes! If 100 of you to become sustaining members of the podcast, I'll create a regular series for your-ears-only. It will be a looser kind of show than Global Dispatches and focus on the consequence of Trumpism inside the UN and global institutions more broadly. It will also cover the big events, ideas, politics and other happenings around the UN that may be off the radar. It should appeal to a general global affairs audience and UN-insiders alike. This is a special bonus for sustaining members, so we can tailor this special programming to your requests.  

4) Access to a community platform. This will be a space where we can have discussions about world events, about our lives and careers, or reflect on previous episodes. It can serve as a safe, private outlet where you can share whatever is on your mind with your fellow listeners. 

5) Swag! I'll mail you a sticker. Who doesn't love stickers?  As more and more people sign up, the swag will get awesomer. (Tote Bags! Mugs! Flashdrives!) 

-----

Why this? Why now? 

I've been writing on the Internets for 13 years --  as a blogger, twitter person and beyond. In all my projects over the years, I've never felt a deeper connection with my audience than through this podcast. There is an intimacy to this medium. I really cherish that. And based on the feedback I receive everyday, you do too.  

If the podcast is part of your daily routine, become a patron. It cannot keep going without your support.  Together we can turn this challenging election outcome into something positive--into an opportunity to learn and grow. 

Lots of Love,

Mark  

PS If you have any questions or concerns, contact me. 



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American Foreign Policy in the Age of Trump


Wed, Nov 09, 2016


Donald Trump will become president and commander-in-chief in January. I am pledging to you right now that I will dedicate myself and dedicate this podcast to helping you make sense of foreign policy and world affairs in the era of Trump.  

To that end, I caught up with Heather Hurlburt of the New America Foundation. Heather and I have a pretty wide ranging discussion about the implications of a Trump presidency for American alliances, for Syria, for the Iran nuclear deal and for the lives of some of the most vulnerable people on the planet.
 
We kick off discussing the kinds of personnel choices that President Elect Trump must take in the coming weeks which will be a very early sign of what kind of foreign policy president he will be. 
 
 


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How the UN is Fighting Hunger in Somalia


Sat, Nov 05, 2016


How the international community saves lives in conflict prone countries or insecure places is becoming increasingly relevant and important to global affairs. On the line to walk me through the nuts and bolts of one of these relief operations is Laurent Bukera, who runs the World Food Program's operations in Somalia. 

We have a pretty fascinating conversation about how a humanitarian agency like the World Food Program operates in profoundly difficult environments beset by insecurity and terrorism. 

Laurent walks me through some of WFP's operations in Somalia--that is how they deliver aid and some of the challenges of working in that country. And these challenges includes not only threats from terror groups like Al Shebaab, but more broadly extremely low levels of infrastructure development. To deal with some of these obstacles the WFP is rolling out some new technological innovations, which we discuss toward the end of this episode. 


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Why Hot Sauce Can Explain the US Election


Thu, Nov 03, 2016


Here we are days from the US election, so I thought to myself let's have a US focused episode that explains US culture and American politics and why Trump is facing such an uphill battle by talking about....hot sauce. 

Now, it's been widely reported--and I'm being completely serious here--that this is Hillary Clinton's favorite condiment. And full disclosure: I too love everything spicy. But it is also true that more Americans like spicy food than at any time in the history of this country.
 
On the line with me to discuss the political and cultural implications of Americans' growing appetite for spicy cuisine is Denver Nicks, author of the new book: Hot Sauce Nation: America's Burning Obsession. We discuss how spicy peppers became integrated into the mainstream of the American cuisine largely through public policy decisions that be traced to a profoundly important date in 20th century American history. The results on election day may be one more indication that spicy peppers and American elections are far more intertwined than we may think. 

 



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Episode 128: Brian Katulis


Sun, Oct 30, 2016


Brian Katulis is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress where his work focuses on US National Security and Foreign Policy. 

He's had a long career working and living in several middle eastern countries at key junctures in their history, including Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Egypt and we discuss many of these experiences in this conversation. We kick off discussing a new report he helped write about some of the key challenges facing the next administration as it navigates an ever evolving political and security landscape in the Middle East. 

 



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The Battle for Mosul


Wed, Oct 26, 2016


 Mosul is Iraq's second largest city, and in 2014 ISIS militants took the city as Iraqi army units fled. Now, a large scale military operation backed by the United States is underway to regain control of the city, which is situated in Northern Iraq. 

The fight to re-take Mosul may have profound domestic and regional political implications says my guest today Kirk Sowell, publisher of the Inside Iraqi Politics newsletter,  He argues in a recent piece published by the Carnegie Endowment that the operation to retake mosul is part of a broader power struggle between Turkey and Iraq. The conversation you are about to hear explains the political and diplomatic context in which this battle is taking place. 
 
If you believe, as Clausewitz said, that "war is the continuation of politics by other means" than it behooves all of us to understanding better the kind of regional, sectarian and even parliamentary politics at play in the battle for Mosul. 
 


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Is this the end of the International Criminal Court?


Fri, Oct 21, 2016


Late in the evening on October 20th news broke that South Africa is moving to withdraw from the International Criminal Court.

The ICC is the first permanent international court to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity and back in 2002 when it came to life, South Africa was a founding member.

In recent years the court has come under criticism by some African governments for holding a perceived bias against Africa, but until now no major country has withdrawn from the court after joining it. There is a fear that South Africa's withdrawal will spark an cascade of countries doing the same thing. If South Africa's withdrawal leads to a mass exodus, the ICC's jurisdiction around the world could be significantly shrunk. Maybe even fatally.
 
On the line with me to discuss these questions and more is David Bosco, associate professor of international studies at Indiana University's School of Global and International Studies. He is also author of the book Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics and someone I have looked to over the years to help me understand the ICC's role in international relations. 


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Episode 127: Sarah Chayes


Wed, Oct 19, 2016


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

These experiences in Afghanistan informed her prize winning book, Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security, which as the name suggests examines the corrosive effect of corruption in post conflict countries and beyond. 
 
We kick off talking about the problem of corruption before discussing Sarah's fascinating life and career. 
 
 


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Meet Antonio Guterres, the Next UN Secretary General


Sun, Oct 16, 2016


Last week the UN General Assembly Officially elected Antonio Guterres as the next UN Secretary General. Guterres is a well known figure around the UN and in global politics more broadly. From 2005 to 2015 he served as the UN High Commissioner for refugees and before that he served as Prime Minister of Portugal. 

His term begins on January 1st and I thought it would be useful and interesting to learn more about Guterres from two distinct perspectives.
 
This episode is in two parts. First, I speak with the Portuguese political commentator Pedro adao e Silva who discusses Guterres' political career in Portugal and more broadly the political context in which Guterres emerged as a national leader and political figure. We discuss some of the key moments of his term as Prime Minister and how his background and experience in the Portuguese revolution against a authoritarian regime may shape his performance as Secretary General.
 
Next, I speak with Michel Gabaudan, who is the president of the advocacy organization Refugees International. Gabaudan was a senior official at the UN Refugee Agency for many years and served in top positions while Guterres was in charge of it. He offers some perspective on Guterres' leadership style of a complex UN agency and shares some insights into his skill sets and how he interacts with powerful member states like the USA.  
 
I was so glad to get both perspectives. Guterres is someone who I've followed closely as the UN Refugee Chief. I've seen him speak on numerous occasions, and both Pedro and Michel do a good job helping me understand how someone who has been so outspoken, in the words of Michel "speaks truth to power" could still win the favor of the world's most powerful country.


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Beware the Global Superbug


Wed, Oct 12, 2016


At the United Nations last month there was a major meeting at the sidelines of the General Assembly about an issue called anti-microbial resistance. This meeting did not make much news outside the UN bubble, but it was arguably the single most meaningful thing to happen at the United Nations in months. 
 
Anti-microbial resistance is one of the worst global health crises in the world that gets the least amount of attention. The short story is that the antibiotics we use to treat common infections are becoming less and less effective. There are many reasons for this, including the overuse of antibiotics in livestock and the over-prescription of these drugs for humans. The implications of ever-increasing anti-biotic resistance is exceedingly profound for both the health and wealth of our entire planet. The foundation of modern medicine is in peril. 
 
On the line with me to discuss the problem of antibiotic resistance, its origins, and what the international community is doing to confront it is Elizabeth Tayler. She is with the World Health Organization and is one of the few people on the planet working day in and out to reverse this trend. Tayler does an excellent job of describing the root causes of anti-microbial resistance, its implications for modern medicine and what the global plan is to confront it.

 



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Episode 126: Charles Kenny


Mon, Oct 10, 2016


Charles Kenny is an optimist. He's the author of several book about global development, including Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding--And How We Can Improve the World Even More, which was widely hailed across the spectrum and personally endorsed by Bill Gates. 

Charles is a fellow with Center for Global Development where his work focuses on a wide array of topics, including the intersection of gender and development and we kick off with a discussion of some new research he's worked on about strategies to reduce the prevalence of female genital mutilation--otherwise known as FGM. (If you are not aware, FGM is the deliberate cutting of female genitalia, often as part of a traditional ceremony in a girl's adolescence. And Charles has researched policies in countries that helped to sharply reduce the number of girls subjected to this practice.) 

 
Charles was born in the United Kingdom to a British father and American mother. He traces the roots of his optimism to his charmed upbringing in academic communities around Oxford and Cambridge. He had a long career at the World Bank before settling into his perch at the Center for Global Development, from which he has written a couple of books--both of which we discuss. 
 
This is a great conversation--and we do have an interesting discussion about the problem of measuring country's well being exclusively by looking at its economic growth. 
 

 



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Why the Colombia Peace Deal Failed and What's Next


Wed, Oct 05, 2016


The 52 year civil war in Colombia between the government and the Marxist rebel group the FARC is the longest running conflict in the Western Hemisphere. But after years of painstaking negotiations, the conflict looked as if it is finally coming to an end. There is ceasefire, and a peace deal was signed in September between FARC's leader and the president of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos. 
 
The government promised to put the peace deal to a final vote among the people of Colombia in a popular referendum, and low and behold, when the vote was taken in early October voters rejected the deal.   
 
On the line with me to discuss the referendum results, the peace deal, and the implications of this failure to formally end this civil war is James Bargent, a freelance journalist based in Colombia. I caught up with James while he was in Medellin just days after the vote and he does an excellent job of describing the political climate that lead to this result, and games out scenarios for what happens next in this now quite tenuous peace process. A resumption of conflict is not out of the realm of possibility. 


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Episode 125: Scott Shane


Thu, Sep 29, 2016


Scott Shane is a veteran reporter with the New York Times.His latest book is titled Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President and the Rise of the Drone. It tells the story of Anwar al-Awlaki and President Obama's decision to kill him.

al-Awlaki was an American born man of Yemeni descent. He was a charismatic preacher who later moved to Yemen and joined an al Qaeda affiliate. In 2011 he was killed by a US drone strike, making him the fist American since the civil war to be deliberately assassinated by his own government. 

Scott Shane's book is a masterpiece that won the 2016 Lionel Gerber prize for best international affairs book. It's now out in paper back. And unlike most episodes where we spend the first 10 or fifteen minutes speaking about an author's new book before exploring their own life story, Scott and I spend the bulk of our conversation telling the remarkable and gripping story of al-Awlaki before talking about Scott's own career. 


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The Heroes of Syria


Wed, Sep 28, 2016


When a building is bombed, a group of volunteers known as the White Helmets rush to the scene to dig through rubble to find survivors. In a conflict known for its never-ending descent into depravity, this one group stands apart as true servants of humanity. 
 
On the line to discuss their work is Orlando von Einsiedel, who directed the new Netflix documentary "The White Helmets." The film follows members of the Aleppo contingent of the Syrian Civil Defense Corps as they go on rescue and training missions.
 
The White Helmets are unarmed and apolitical. But as Russia and Syrian forces have intensified the battle for eastern Aleppo, the White Helmets have increasingly been a target themselves. In the last week alone, four of their bases in Aleppo have been targeted and they are often the victims of a bombing strategy known as "double tap" in which a second bomb is unleashed on a civilian target just as rescue workers are arriving on the scene. 
 
In this conversation, director Orlando von Einsiedel -- whose credits include the documentaries Virunga and Skateistan -- describes the work of the White Helmets and his decision to make them the subject of his newest film.
 


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Episode 124: Sarah Sewall, Live!


Sun, Sep 25, 2016


I was in New York for the UN General Assembly and so was Under Secretary of State for civilian security, democracy and human rights Sarah Sewall. We taped this episode in front of a live audience organized by New York chapter of the group Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, YPFP.

Sarah Sewall kicks off telling some behind the scenes stories from her week at the UN and describing what it's like being a top US diplomat during the busiest week on the diplomatic calendar. We then discuss some of the substantive issues she is working on relating to countering violent extreemism and terrorism through diplomacy and development. She also recounts her ground breaking career path that lead her from her home in Maine to the highest reaches of foreign policy making. And finally, we take some questions from the audience.
 
This was taped live at the SLC Conference Center in mid-town Manhattan. 
 

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


Fri, Sep 16, 2016


The UN General Assembly kicks into high gear this week as world leaders flock to New York for the annual UN summit. There are many story lines for international affairs nerds to follow, and on the line with me to break them all down is Richard Gowen, a fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations. 
 
Richard and I offer a preview of the big stories, high drama, and possible moments of intrigue that are sure to be present at one of the most important weeks ever year for global affairs. 
 
Before we kick off, I have a special announcement--actually an invitation. I will be holding a live taping of Global Dispatches with Under Secretary of State Sarah Sewall and you are cordially invited to attend. She is the highest ranking State Department official dealing with human rights, terrorism, refugees, and other issues related to civilian security, rights, and democracy, and it should be a fantastic conversation that will include some audience participation.
 
The event is organized in conjunction with the group Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, is being held in New York on Wednesday, September 21st at 7pm at the SLC Conference center 15 W 39the st (near Bryant Park.) So, for those of you in the New York area, please come by. If you are planning to attend, you can RSVP here. http://www.ypfp.org/globaldispatches 

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


Wed, Sep 14, 2016


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World leaders gather at the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York next week. There will be much political drama and diplomatic storylines that I'll discuss in a later episode. But behind all the politics and drama are issues of substance -- and arguably the most important substantive issues on the table relate to the global refugee crisis. 

There will be two high profile summits at the UN related to refugees. The first is organized by the United Nations itself, called the "Summit for Refugees and Migrants." The second is being organized by President Obama and is the "Leaders Summit on Refugees."
 
Taken together, these two high level meetings at the UN have the potential to provide an important inflection point in the international community's attempt to address the largest global displacement crisis since World War Two. 
 
On the line to help me to help put these two summits in a broader context of how countries confront a growing refugee crisis and an ever increasing number of migrants around the world is Shannon Scribner, a humanitarian policy adviser for Oxfam. Shannon describes what these two distinct summits hope to accomplish, some of their benefits and weak points, and explains the exceedingly complex challenge of crafting a global strategy to confront this global problem. 
 


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How Yemen Became Mired in a Brutal Civil War


Fri, Sep 09, 2016


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The crisis in Yemen is getting worse by the day. Hospitals are being bombed, seemingly at a routine frequency; some 10,000 people have been killed; and extremist groups affiliated with Al Qaeda and ISIS have gained a foothold in parts of the country.   

Yemen is the region's poorest country. And, since the Arab Spring, it's also been one of the most unstable countries in the Gulf. In March 2015, a rebel group known as the Houthis consolidated control over the capitol city Sana'a and moved against the internationally recognized government of President Hadi. That brought in Saudi Arabia, which lead a US-backed military intervention in support of the beleaguered president. Meanwhile, UN backed mediation efforts proceeded haltingly and as of now there is really no end in sight to this conflict.
 
On the line with me to discuss the current situation in Yemen, the roots of the conflict, and potential opportunities to advance a peace process is Adam Baron, a visiting fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations. Adam goes pretty deep into the historic roots of instability in Yemen, which he traces to the early 1990s.
 
If you have 20 minutes and want to understand how the crisis in Yemen was able to devolve into the catastrophe it is today, have a listen. 
 
 


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


Thu, Sep 08, 2016


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Over the course of the last six weeks or so, I've received a series of increasingly urgent sounding press releases from various humanitarian organizations operating in the far northeastern region of Nigeria, called Borno state. 
 
In July, I received this from MSF saying (in all caps) "NIGERIA: CATASTROPHIC MALNUTRITION IN BORNO STATE...A major humanitarian operation is needed to save lives in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno state, where more than 500,000 people are living in catastrophic conditions" 

Also in July, I received an email from UNICEF saying, "An estimated quarter of a million children in Borno state, North-East Nigeria, face severe malnourishment and risk death"

And from Mercy Corps, in August: "An estimated 7 million people are in need of lifesaving aid in the worst affected areas in the northeast; of those, an estimated 2.5 million people are malnourished and lack access to food and safe drinking water." 

This leads me to conclude that the situation in Northeaster Nigeria and the broader Lake Chad basin is arguably the worst crisis in the world that receives the least amount of attention.

This crisis has been festering for several years as the Boko Haram insurgency gripped the region. But over the past year, Boko Haram has been on the retreat and much of Borno state and the surrounding region has been liberated from Boko Haram. 
 
So why now is this crisis seemingly coming to light.? 
 
On the line with me with answer that very question, offer a grounds-eye perspective on this humanitarian crisis, and describe what can be done to mitigate it is Adrian Ouvry, a humanitarian advisor with Mercy Corps. He recently returned from Borno state and discusses why the levels of malnutrition currently experienced in this region may just be the tip of the iceberg. 

 

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Episode 123: Dr. Peter Hotez


Mon, Sep 05, 2016


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

That may soon change, thanks in part to the work of Dr. Peter Hotez. He is the founding dean of the first national school of tropical medicine in the United States, which is located at the Baylor College of medicine in Houston.  
 
Dr. Hotez is out with a new book called Blue Marble Health that offers evidence to support a provocative thesis that most of the global burden of these neglected tropical diseases can actually be found in the world's wealthiest countries, including the United States. It is poverty among wealth that enables these diseases to fester. And we kick off discussing this theory, before learning how a mild mannered researcher from the great state of Connecticut ends up becoming obsessed with hookworms. 
 

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An Important Message from Mark


Wed, Aug 31, 2016


Guys,

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

THANK YOU!

Mark 

 

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Episode 122: Clarissa Ward


Sat, Aug 27, 2016


Clarissa Ward is an award winning journalist who has covered conflict for over a decade, mostly in the Middle East. She is now with CNN and earlier this year she and a small crew snuck into rebel held territory in Syria, including the city of Aleppo from where she filed several intense and harrowing stories.  

In August, Clarissa was invited to a special meeting of the Security Council about the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo. We kick off discussing her Security Council briefing and latest reporting trip to Syria. 
 
Clarissa was born and raised in London, New York and Hong Kong and is a true polyglot. She discusses how and why she was drawn to journalism and how early experiences of covering conflict in Gaza and Lebanon shaped her later reporting covering the conflict in Syria.
 

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An Insane Drug War in the Philippines


Mon, Aug 15, 2016


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

It's a human rights disaster unfolding in real time and another indication that Duterte is a singularly unique--and some may say threatening -- individual in global affairs. 
 
My guest today Dr. Tom Smith of the University of Portsmouth at the Royal Airforce College Cranwel describes how Duterte, a long serving mayor of the city of Davao unexpectedly emerged as president of the Philippines in elections this year, and how he is applying harsh anti-crime tactics honed at the municipal level on a national scale.  
 
This is a war on drugs like no other on earth. 
 


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Episode 121: Greg Stanton


Fri, Aug 12, 2016


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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 in Mississippi in the 1960s. 
 
Greg is the founder of the NGO Genocide watch. His career as a genocide scholar and activist began in the 1980s as an humanitarian worker in Cambodia, and he recounts collecting evidence of war crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge. Greg served for many years in the State Department as well, including in Rwanda to help establish the war crimes tribunal following the 1994 genocide. We kick off discussing an ongoing genocide against the Yazidi people in Iraq and Syria.
 
The subject matter of this episode is pretty heavy and i just want to thank Greg for being so open and honest about the emotional challenges he's faced throughout his career.
 
As regular listeners know, we sometimes have some ads before the start of a show. Those ads are helpful, but they are inconsistent and I need consistency to be able to produce this show every week. To that end, I've put up a link on Global Dispatches podcast.com where you can make a financial contribution to the podcast; and for anyone who makes a recurring monthly contribution to the podcast I can mail a book, at random, from my personal collection of foreign policy books. If you are listening to this on iTunes you can go to that donation page right now by clicking here. THANK YOU! 


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Why the Battle for Aleppo is So Consequential


Wed, Aug 10, 2016


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

On the line with me to discuss the situation in Aleppo is Dave DesRoches, a professor at National Defense University. We discuss the strategic significance of Aleppo in the context of the civil war, that is, why fighting for control of the city of Aleppo is so consequential to the trajectory of the entire conflict; he describes the various fighting forces that are converging on Aleppo to participate in this fight, their disparate motives;  the role of the United States and Russia, and of course the dire humanitarian consequences of this particularly brutal fight. 


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Episode 120: Derek Chollet


Fri, Jul 29, 2016


Derek Chollet is the author of the new book The Long Game: How Obama Defied Washington and Redefined America's Role in the World. 

Derek served in a number of foreign policy positions in the Obama administration, including in the National Security Council, State Department and finally as an assistant secretary of defense for international security so this book serves, very much, as an insider's assessment of 7 years of Obama's foreign policy. 
 
We kick off with an extended discussion about his book and Obama's foreign policy more broadly before pivoting to a conversation about Derek's fascinating career path from a college town in Nebraska to the highest reaches of US foreign policy making. 

 



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El Nino Has Caused a Food Shortage in Southern Africa


Wed, Jul 27, 2016


There catastrophe is looming in southern Africa.

This year’s historically intense El Nino sparked a region-wide drought that has decimated harvests. The area was already prone to food insecurity, but the extreme nature of this El Nino is causing a humanitarian emergency not experienced in decades.

On the line with me to discuss the food crisis in Southern Africa are two officials from the US Agency for International Development, USAID: Dave Harden, the Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance and and Dina Esposito a deputy assistant administrator and Food for Peace director. 

The two officials discuss some of the root causes of the food crisis and its implications across a number of sectors. We discuss what the US and international response is looking like and why this crisis differs so substantially from a devastating famine that the region experienced 35 years ago.



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Arsalan Iftikhar Battles Islamophobia


Fri, Jul 22, 2016


Arsalan Iftikhar is the author of the new book Scapegoats: How Islamophobia Helps Our Enemies and Threatens Our Freedoms.

Arsalan is a human rights lawyer by training and was one of the original guests on this podcast a couple years ago, when he discussed his career and life journey that lead him to this line of work.

Arsalan is on TV a lot. And often times he get's the call after there has been some sort of terrible terrorist attack. To that end, we have an extended conversation about what it's like to be a

We discuss his new book, the different strains of islamophobia that can be found in Europe and the United States, and what his process is after there has been another mass murder event and he's called to talk about it on TV



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UN Secretary General Candidate Conversations: Helen Clark


Wed, Jul 20, 2016


Helen Clark is a candidate to become the next UN Secretary General. She’s the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, serving from 1999 to 2008 and is currently the head of the United Nations Development Program.

We spoke in mid-July as part of a series of conversations I’m having with the candidates in the race to replace Ban Ki Moon when his term expires at the end of this year.The goal with these candidate conversations is to learn how some of their past experiences might inform the kinds of decisions they would make as Secretary General, and so to that end Ms Clark discusses growing up on a farm in New Zealand in the shadow of World War Two; becoming politicized in high school and university around the anti-apartheid movement; her decision to enter politics and some of the big foreign policy decisions she took as Prime Minister.

This is a great conversation with one of the most high profile of the Secretary General candidates.



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Episode 118: Priscilla Clapp


Fri, Jul 15, 2016


Priscilla Clapp had a 30 year career in the state department, which ended in 2002 as the top US official in Burma. She also served in top positions in South Africa in the early 1990s during the transition from Apartheid and in Japan and Moscow. 

Clapp is the co-author with Mort Halperin of what I consider one of the most important books you can read about US foreign policy. It's called Bureaucratic Politics and Foreign Policy, and as the title suggests the book describes the role of the bureaucracy in shaping US foreign policy. We kick off with an extended conversation about that book, and then have another extended conversation about how Clapp, as the State Department official in charge of refugee programs in the late 1980s, used tools of bureaucratic politics to helped engineer the emigration of jewish refugees from Russia to the United States. 

This is a great conversation--a little longer than most--but well worth it.


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Congress Actually Does Something Good


Wed, Jul 13, 2016


If you follow US politics even just slightly you will probably be surprised to learn that Congress actually did something last week. And deeper still, the action they took was broadly in the service of humanity.  

Just after the July 4th holiday Congress passed the Global Food Security Act, which was a piece of legislation that will inform how the US government fights hunger worldwide. 
 
My guest today, Judith Rowland was deep in the trenches of the years long effort to pass this bill. She is the US government relations lead for the Global Poverty Project and we spoke just a few hours before the passage of this bill. 
 
Judith discusses what is contained in the bill, including the strengthening of a Obama administration program known as Feed the Future. And we also discuss how in such a polarized political environment, something like the Global Food Security Act could get passed. 

 



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Episode 117: Lauren Wolfe


Sun, Jul 10, 2016


Lauren Wolfe is an award winning journalist who covers sexual violence in conflict. She's the director of the Women Under Siege project, which is a journalistic endeavor founded by Gloria Steinem as part of the Women's Media Center to investigate how rape and gender based violence are used as tools of conflict. 

About a week before we spoke Lauren wrote an article in the Guardian about a Congolese militia that terrorized a small town in the eastern part of the country by systematically raping babies and toddlers. A day after the publication of this article, the militia leader was arrested. We kick off discussing that story. 
 
Lauren has spent the better part of her career in journalism reporting on trauma and she is currently a columnist for Foreign Policy. Among other stories, she covered 9-11 and its aftermath for the New York Times and Lauren opens up in a pretty profound way about she feels so compelled to cover violence and trauma.
 
This is a pretty heavy episode, though not without moments of humor. But it was a real honor to speak with her. 


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


Thu, Jul 07, 2016


On July 9, South Sudan commemorates its 5th independence day. And I say "commemorates" and not "celebrates" because there is not a whole lot to celebrate. The country has been mired in conflict since late 2013, when a political dispute between president Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar devolved into an armed battle and then full blown civil war.  

The consequences of this war for the people of South Sudan have been immense. Millions have been displaced, and though a peace deal was signed last year violence continues to flare up and the humanitarian situation is as dire as ever. 

On the line to discuss recent developments in South Sudan, the role of the United Nations Peacekeepers in the country, and the humanitarian situation is Noah Gottschalk, who is the senior humanitarian policy advisor at Oxfam. He does a good job of offering some broader context to understand how South Sudan has so unraveled in the last five years. 
 
If you have 20 minutes and want to understand the deep challenges that face the people of South Sudan on the country's 5th birthday --  and the leaders under whom they have been so ill-served --  have a listen. 


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The International Development Implications of Brexit


Thu, Jun 30, 2016


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

So, it would seem the fallout from Brexit could potentially be pretty profound for international development.
 
To go over these big issues, I caught up with Mikaela Gavas of Overseas Development Institute, which is a highly respected UK-based think tank that focuses on global development issues. Mikaela, in particular, works on Pan-European global development policies so she is able to offer some deeply nuanced insights into these questions. (Also, toward the end of the interview, Mikaela expresses some consternation that as a British expert on EU policy, she may soon loose some credibility with her continental peers.) 
 
If you are a global development nerd, Mikaela will give you a lot to chew on. If you are a more casual observer of internationals affairs, this conversation offers a good distillation of one way in which Brexit may have some profound global implications. 


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Episode 116: Stewart Patrick


Fri, Jun 24, 2016


Stewart Patrick is an international relations scholar with a background in studying human evolution. As you might imagine, that combination makes for some fascinating conversation.

Stewart is a Senior Fellow and Director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. He's a Rhodes scholar who has studied the intersection of the evolution of culture and international relations and we have some great digressions about how culture contributes to the creation of international norms and international law. 
 
In the early 2000s, he received a fellowship to serve on the policy planning staff of Colin Powell's State Department, and he discusses two big lessons he drew from that experience: the power of ideology to shape policy and how bureaucratic politics can influence big decisions. 
 
We kick off discussing his newest project, which is The Global Governance Report Card grades international performance in addressing a specter of current global challenges.    


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Trouble in the South China Sea


Wed, Jun 22, 2016


You've probably heard about the dispute in the South China Sea. And if you have heard about it, you are probably vaguely aware, as I was, that it involves disputed territorial claims between China and its neighbors, and that in defense of American allies in the region, the US navy is positioning military assets in the area. 

On this episode we go a bit deeper into this dispute, its origins, and broader global implications -- of which there are many. On the line to discuss it all is Gregory Poling, a fellow with the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  And we kick off discussing a case that the Philippines has brought against China at an international court of arbitration, the result of which is expected very soon.
 
 


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Episode 115: Jendayi Frazer


Sun, Jun 19, 2016


My guest today Jendayi Frazer was a top ranking African policy official in the Bush administration, serving both at the National Security Council and in the State Department. She was also the first female US ambassador to South Africa. 
 
Frazer grew up in a military family, and we discuss how her father's experience in the Vietnam war informed her own up bringing and understanding of the world at a young age. 
 
When Frazer was an undergraduate at Stanford, she struck up a friendship and mentorship with a young international relations professor there named Condoleezza Rice, who would eventually become her PHD advisor and boss at the National Security Council and State Department. 
 
We kick off discussing Frazer's newest project, which is working to establish commodity markets in Africa. And we spend the first 15 minutes or so discussing the role of commodity markets in African agricultural development before pivoting to a longer conversation about her life and career. 
 
This is a longer episode. But I think you'll find it pretty interesting and even entertaining. We have great digressions about African policy, Condi Rice, Nelson Mandela. AIDS relief and more!


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


Wed, Jun 15, 2016


I caught up with my guest today, Arms Control Association president Daryl Kimball from his hotel in Vienna. Daryl, along with hundreds of diplomats around the world were gathered for the 20th anniversary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

 
This is a treaty that bans the testing of nuclear weapons and establishes a global monitoring system to ensure that no one can secretly test a nuclear bomb. The treaty was signed by the USA and most countries on the planet back in 1996, but it has not been ratified by some key countries, including the United States, and accordingly has not formally entered into force. 
 
Despite that, Daryl Kimball explains how the CTBT has become a very effective treaty over the past two decades, in particular through deployment of a system of monitoring stations around the world that can detect anomalous seismic activity and radioactive discharge into the atmosphere. We also discusses the implications of the continues non-ratification of the treaty by the USA.


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Episode 114: Marc Lynch


Sun, Jun 12, 2016


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

We spend about the first 20 minutes or so talking about his new book, The New Arab Wars: Anarchy and Uprising in the Middle East, which explores the Arab Spring and its fallout through the prism of international relations and regional politics.  

Marc discusses how he became interested in the middle east through an internship early in college, and the evolving nature of one of his key research subjects over his career, the relationship between media and politics in the Middle East. And of course, stick around until the end for his musings on how international relations theory can explain rivalries in hip hop.


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The Worst Dictatorship You Have Never Heard Of


Wed, Jun 08, 2016


The Gambia is a tiny country in western Africa. It's a narrow sliver on the ocean, surrounded by Senegal. It has a population of under 2 million, and according to my guest today, Jeffrey Smith, it is the worst dictatorship you have never heard of. 

Smith is a human rights researcher, now a consultant to human rights activists in Africa through his firm Vanguard Africa. In this conversation he describes the politics of repression in Gambia and how the deteriorating situation there is having profound regional, and even global consequences. Indeed, I was surprised to learn that The Gambia as small as it is, is actually a major source of refugees crossing the Mediterranean to Europe.  We also discuss a foiled coup plot that was planned in the United States by Gambian-Americans. 
 
The Gambia is obviously not much in international headlines so I was glad to be able to shine a spotlight on this really under covered story. Even if you have barely heard of the Gambia or if you follow African politics closely, I think you will appreciate this conversation.  
 
 


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Episode 113 Shelly Culbertson


Mon, Jun 06, 2016


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

Culbertson has had a career in government and is now with the Rand Corporation, where she specializes in education and development in the Middle East. We discuss her interesting career path and some of the fascinating stories from her book and travels throughout the middle east.
 
If you are interested in comparative politics and the Middle East, you'll love this conversation. I certainly learned a lot from her and the book is a great resource. 


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Should the Rio Olympics Be Cancelled over Zika?


Thu, Jun 02, 2016


Over the past week, a number of scientists and bio-ethicists expressed deep concern that holding the Olympics this summer in Rio de Janeiro could enable the Zika virus to spread far and wide. 
 
I caught up with one of the world's leading experts on Zika, Dr. Peter Hotez and put the question to him. Dr. Hotez has a lot of credentials. Among other affiliations, he is dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of medicine, where he is also a professor of pediatrics and molecular & virology and microbiology, and president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute.  He describes why these fears are overblown and unfounded. Instead, he argues that we should really be focusing our attention on the spread of Zika to the Caribbean and Southern United states. 
 
In this conversation, Dr. Hotez explains to us laypeople why Rio is actually no longer a hotbed for Zika. (It's science, but it's easily understandable). He also explains why dithering in congress over providing funding for mosquito control could have potentially catastrophic consequences for people living in the Gulf of Mexico. 


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Episode 112: Owen Barder


Mon, May 30, 2016


Thirty years ago, while still in high school, Owen Barder was was living in Ethiopia. His father was a career diplomat and at the time was serving as the British Ambassador. This was in the mid 1980s,  at the height of a famine that would kill hundreds of thousands of people. Owen describes how witnessing that famine up close compelled him to a career in economics and global development. 

Owen served as an economist in several high ranking posts in the British government, but in the early 1990s he took a job advising the newly inaugurated government of Nelson Mandela to help draft South Africa's first post-apartheid budget. And we have a fascinating conversation about the behind-the-scenes he witnessed. 
 
Owen is currently with the Center for Global Development and a professor at the London School of Economics. 
 
I caught up with Owen just as he returned from the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, which is a UN-backed conference to improve the way humanitarian aid is delivered and we kick off with a brief discussion of his big takeaways from that summit, which was a pretty big deal for the UN and broader global affairs community.  


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Venezuela is on the Verge of Collapse


Thu, May 26, 2016


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

 
Fransisco Toro is the proprietor of the blog Caracas Chronicles and co-authored the Atlantic piece, with Moises Naim, who many of you probably know and was a guest on this very show last year. The piece very succinctly describes the causes and consequences of Venezuela's collapse and begins with an very telling anecdote about toilet paper.
 


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Episode 111: Jennifer Harris


Sun, May 22, 2016


Jennifer Harris has devoted much of her career to studying what she calls "geo-economics," -- the  ability of countries to shape world politics, diplomacy, and global affairs more broadly through the deployment of economic means. She's a Council on Foreign Relations Fellow and co-author, with Robert Blackwill, of the new book War By Other Means: Geoeconomics and Statecraft.

Jennifer grew up near an artillery range in Oklahoma and became fascinated with economics from a young age. She was a Rhodes Scholar and worked in the State Department under both Condoleeza Rice and Hillary Clinton. And it was working in the Clinton State Department that Jennifer lead the development of Secretary Clinton's Economics and Statecraft agenda, which was rolled out in 2011. And towards the end of the interview we discuss what it was like working with Hillary Clinton, who more likely than not will be the next US president. And we also have an illuminating conversation about the bureaucratic politics that goes into crafting a new kind of foreign policy agenda. 


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


Wed, May 18, 2016


Senator Chris Murphy wants to change a bedrock relationship in US foreign policy. 

In April this year he introduced legislation to restrict arms sales to Saudi Arabia over that country's conduct in the war in Yemen. The Saudi-led air campaign is both causing inordinate civilian casualties in Yemen and not doing much to counter the active ISIS or Al Qaeda branches in the country. Senator Murphy discusses how this legislation hopes to reign in Saudi Arabia's military campaign, which in the view of Senator Murphy is becoming increasingly inimical to American interests. 

 
Our discussion of Yemen leads to an extended conversation about the US-Saudi alliance, the terms of which Murphy is very transparently trying to change from his perch in the Senate.
 
We recorded this conversation before the US Senate voted, unanimously, on May 17th, to enable the family members of 9-11 victims to possibly sue the kingdom of Saudi Arabia for any potential liability they may hold--a move which was opposed by the White House.  But I do think this conversation helps set the context for that vote. 
 
Senator Murphy is a Connecticut Democrat on the progressive end of the spectrum, who has launched a website, chanceforpeace.org in which he's attempting to fundamentally shift the terms of the national security conversation in DC. The Saudi arms sales legislation seems to be one manifestation of his foreign policy vision. 
 
Foreign policy watchers will be interested in hearing Senator Murphy's critique of US middle east policy. And for international relations students out there, this conversation offers a fascinating insight into how individual legislatures can influence US foreign policy. 

 



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Episode 110: Calestous Juma


Sun, May 15, 2016


Calestous Juma is a prolific author who focuses on the intersection of society, science and international development. 
 
He is a professor and director of the Science, Technology and Globalization project at the Belfer Center for Science and International affairs at Harvard. 
 
Calestous grew up in flood prone village on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya and in this episode he describes how his upbringing inspired his interest in understanding the relationship between nature, economic development, and technological change. We kick off discussing his forthcoming book, out in July, titled Innovation and Its Enemies: Why People Resist New Technologies--which includes, among other things, a fascinating discussion about what this history of margarine can teach us about the future of global development. 
 
This conversation was a delight, Calestous tells some great stories and offers some intriguing insights about trends in global development. And if you are not already, you should definitely follow him on twitter @Calestous. And I'm @MarkLGoldberg.


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


Wed, May 11, 2016


The international humanitarian system is stretched beyond capacity. In fact, it's fair to say it is broken.

The inability of the international community to confront multiple manmade and natural disasters, like the crisis in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, ebola in west Africa and the earthquake in Nepal is a profound contributor to insecurity around the world.There are more people displaced around the world than there has been at any time since World War Two; donors are not committing enough money to provide for the basic needs of people affected by sudden crises, and the international community is not doing a sufficient job of preventing the outbreak of conflict, ending current conflicts, or mitigating the effects of natural disasters.

These failures and proposed solutions to these ongoing challenges are the subject of the first ever World Humanitarian Summit, which kicks off in Istanbul in mid May. This is a UN backed affair, which includes participation of member states, civil society and the private sector. And one participant is on the line with me today to discuss some of the problems and solutions that this conference hopes to address.

Shannon Scribner is Oxfam America's Humanitarian Policy Manager, and in this conversation she offers an insightful preview of what to expect from this conference, some of the more controversial debates about the role of humanitarian relief and international development that this conference has already sparked, and how a first-ever world humanitarian summit can help mend a broken humanitarian system.



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


Sat, May 07, 2016


I caught up with my guest today, The US Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack just after he left the stage at the Climate Action Conference in DC. This was a two day UN backed conference with representatives from local and national governments, the business sector, civil society, NGOs and philanthropies gathered to discuss strategies to implement the Paris Agreement. 
 
Some quick background: the cornerstone of the Paris Climate Agreement are a set of commitments by each government to take certain actions or meet specific goals, and taken together these pledges can meaningfully alter the current climate change trajectory. 
 
That is, of course, if these commitments and pledges are actually implemented. And the point of this conference was to bring together stakeholders from disparate sectors to make the commitments of the Paris Accord a reality. 
 
Enter the US Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. He details the specific actions that USDA is taking to implement the US government's commitments at Paris. And those are technically pretty interesting, but what I found enlightening in his comments is that it suggests there is a bureaucratic shift underway at USDA to mainstream climate imperatives throughout the department. 
 
This shift at USDA is likely one manifestation of a trend we are seeing throughout the US government in which the imperatives of confronting climate change are being mainstreamed throughout the whole of government. It's not just the EPA or department of energy or interior. Rather, every branch of government is taking this on in their own differentiated way. And that is, I think, a pretty interesting shift that we are living through.  


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


Wed, May 04, 2016


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

The idea they seek to test is called the Universal Basic Income. There are some communities around the world that offer this in some form, but never before has this idea been tested over an extended period of time in the developing world. 
 
Give Directly announced this new experiment a few weeks  ago and it's caught the attention of the international development community and those of us in the media who follow these things. Paul explains what they hope to accomplish with this experiment, how it will actually work, and what implications it has for the global effort to combat extreme poverty. 


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Episode 109: Tom Nagorski


Sat, Apr 30, 2016


Tom Nagorski is a longtime TV editor reporter and producer for ABC news and is currently an executive vice president at the Asia Society.

 
Tom's career as a journalist spans some of the major world events of the last three decades, including the dissolution of the Soviet Union and its aftermath, the first Gulf War, the war in the Balkans, Somalia, the second Gulf War, and many many other events. We discuss what it was like reporting on these events and witnessing some world historic moments from behind the camera. 
 
This is a wide ranging conversation with Tom telling some fascinating stories from his career, but we kick off discussing the diplomatic relevance of Yao Ming, who was recently nominated for the NBA hall of fame.

.



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Haitians in the Dominican Republic Face Statelessness


Wed, Apr 27, 2016


On the island of Hispaniola, which is shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti, there is an ongoing and overlooked human rights and humanitarian catastrophe. In recent years, the government of the Dominican Republic has taken measures to essentially strip ethnic Haitians of Dominican citizenship. New legal statutes have the potential to render about 500,000 people stateless. (For context and comparison's sake that is roughly the equivalent of the number of asylum applicants in Germany stemming from the Syrian refugee crisis)
 
The roots of discrimination against Haitians in the Dominican Republic run deep, but these citizenship laws are relatively new. On the line with me to discuss this largely overlooked humanitarian crisis in the western hemisphere is human rights researcher Ryan Bacci. He explains the contours of these laws, their human rights and humanitarian implications on the ground, and offers some important historical context to understand how this kind of discrimination could be enshrined into a country's constitution. 

 



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Episode 108: Kevin Rudd


Sun, Apr 24, 2016


Kevin Rudd is the former prime minister of Australia who knows China far better than most western leaders. He served from 2007 to 2010, and then again in 2013. These days, among other things, he's president of the Asia Society Policy Institute. 

I got to know the prime minister a little bit earlier this year when he moderated a panel on which I was a speaker. The panel was for the Independent Commission on Multilateralism which is putting together a set of policy recommendations for the next Secretary General. Rudd leads that commission and we kick off with a brief discussion about it hopes to accomplish before pivoting to longer conversation about Rudd's upbringing and career as a diplomat in the Australian foreign service.  
 
Kevin Rudd is a fluent mandarin speaker and he discusses how and why he became enthralled with China at a very young age. We discuss his first postings as young diplomat and how he decided to make the leap from diplomat to politician. 
 
 


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UN Secretary General Candidate Conversations: Srgjan Kerim


Wed, Apr 20, 2016


My guest today Srgjan Kerim is a diplomat with the soul of an artist, who wants to become the next UN Secretary General. Karim is the former foreign minister of Macedonia, was an official in the Federal government of the former Yugoslavia and also served as president of the UN General Assembly back in 2007-8. 

He's a self described citizen of the world. He was born in Macedonia, but spent much of his formative years in Germany and has lived at various times all over the world. We discuss his unique upbringing, some of his academic work in development economics, and his experience during the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia.  And, not least, he discusses how to create gorgeous photographs using a blackberry device. 


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UN Secretary General Candidate Conversations: Vesna Pusic


Mon, Apr 18, 2016


Vesna Pusic is the former foreign minister of Croatia and a candidate to become the next UN Secretary General. She's a sociologist by training. Politician and diplomat by practice and I caught up with her one day after she participated in hours of questioning by UN member states  in what was essentially a very public job interview for the position of Secretary General

Pusic grew up in Zagreb in a household of intellectuals in the aftermath of World War Two, which was particularly brutal in Croatia where Nazi collaborators carried out acts of genocide and persecution. She became ensconced in academia and later turned to politics. In her twenties, she started the first feminist NGO in Yugoslavia, and she discusses that experience.
 
This conversation is part of our UN Secretary General candidate conversations. Stay tuned for more in depth conversations with the individuals who wish to be the next leader of the United Nations

 



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Who Will Be the Next UN Secretary General?


Thu, Apr 14, 2016


Something extraordinary took place at the United Nations this week. For twenty hours, over three days, each candidate in the race to become the next UN secretary general submitted themselves to hours of questioning by member states and civil society.

This was a radical departure from how things were done previously. For the past 70 years, the Secretary General was picked pretty much behind closed doors by the five veto wielding members of the Security Council. It was a totally un-transparent process, sometimes you did not even know who was in the running.

This time around, that is not quite how things are going down. For one, there are actually declared candidates--9 so far. And each of these candidates faced two hours of questioning by member states, forcing them to go on the record on some hot button global issues.
 
And it was all webcast! I watched nearly all of it.
 
I would be lying to you if I said that it was all riveting political theater. But for UN nerds like me and my guest Richard Gowen the novelty of it all offered some insights into the inner-workings of the United Nations, what individual countries prioritize in deciding who to back for Secretary General, and a glimpse into the diplomatic acumen of the candidates' in the hot seat.
 
So, because these hearings were new, and different and genuinely exciting for UN watchers like Richard and I, this episode is in two parts. We first spoke before the hearings even began about our expectations for this event and discussed what we would be looking out for. Then, on Thursday afternoon, just as the hearings were wrapping up, we spoke again about some of the highlights from the week and any tea leaves that could be read into both the questions that the member states asked and the answers given.
 
For anyone who wants to learn what these public job interviews for the position of UN Secretary General can tell you about the UN and international relations more broadly, have a listen.
 


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UN Secretary General Candidate Series: Danilo Turk


Sun, Apr 10, 2016


Danilo Turk is the former president of Slovenia and one of eight currently declared candidates to be the next United Nations Secretary General. He was president from 2007 to 2012 and also served as his country's ambassador to the UN for many years. 

Turk was born in 1952, just seven years following the Nazi occupation of Slovenia. He shares how his mother's experience of being sent to a forced labor camp at the age of 14 affected his own childhood. That included an intense focus on eduction. By the time he was 14, Turk was devouring the greek classics, like Thucydides. By 18 he was in law school, discovering concepts of human rights. 
 
We have an extended conversation about the intellectual curiosity that lead Turk to human rights law and what it was like being a human rights legal scholar in the former Yugoslavia, which was then a communist country. We discuss his role during Slovenia's 1991 secession from the former Yugoslavia and the brief war that ensued, and the tactics he used as Slovenia's first ambassador to the UN to introduce this new country to the world. 
 
I caught up with Dr. Turk at his hotel room in Dakar, Senegal, where he was chairing a conference about the intersection of water and peace. We kick off with a brief discussion about that issue. 
 
In the next several months, the world will select the next Secretary General of the United Nations. There are so far eight candidates to succeed Ban Ki Moon, and this conversation is part of a special podcast series in which the candidates discuss the big moments in their lives and careers that helped to shape their own worldview. The idea here is to introduce the candidates' personal and professional histories into the public discourse and hopefully illuminate how past experiences may guide their decision making as Sec Gen. 
 
 


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A New, Old Crisis in Western Sahara


Wed, Apr 06, 2016


Ban Ki moon visited a refugee camp in Algeria that is home to people displaced by conflict in Western Sahara and he uttered remarks that created a diplomatic maelstrom.

Ban referred to the quote "occupation" of Western Sahara, by the government of Morocco. 
 
Morocco responded with a massive government sponsored protest in the streets of Rabat, and also ceased cooperation with a UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara, including evicting civilian members of that mission. It has also threatened to pull its own troops from UN peacekeeping missions worldwide.
 
All because of a word.
 
With me to put this current diplomatic crisis into the larger context of the decades old dispute over the proper status of western sahara is Fiyola Hoosen-Steele. She is not a disinterested observer of this crisis. As the UN representative of the diplomatic advisory firm Independent Diplomat, she works with political representatives of the Western Saharan indepdeence movement, known as the Frente Polisario. She explains the roots of the conflict in Western Sahara and the current diplomatic obstacles to its resolution.  


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Episode 104: Mary Fitzgerald


Fri, Apr 01, 2016


Mary Fitzgerald is an Irish journalist who for the better part of five years has covered Libya, including the fall of Gaddafi, Libya's fractured politics, and the the rise of ISIS. Mary got her start in journalism covering the conflict in Northern Ireland and she discusses how she applies what she learned studying that conflict to help her better understand Libya.  

We kick off with an extended discussion about the current political situation in Libya, which is complicated, but fascinating, and Mary does an excellent job of breaking it all down. 
 
I've made this point before, but I do think that Libya is going to be one of the most important foreign policy crises facing the United States and Europe next year, particularly as the next president takes office. And this conversation offers a great way to understand the drivers of conflict in Libya.

 



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Meet the Next Big Global Environmental Treaty


Wed, Mar 30, 2016


Work started at the United Nations this week on the next big global enviromental treaty. The treaty would create rules of the road for management of the high seas. This would include provisions to create marine sanctuaries and other mechanisms to preserve sea life and biodiversity. 

On the line to discuss this new treaty (which does not yet have a name) is Elizabeth Wilson of the Pew Charitable Trusts. She explains the problems that this new treaty aspires to solve, how it would fit into already existing treaties, like the Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the process and politics surrounding the crafting of this treaty and its eventual ratification. 



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Anna Day 3:28:16, 12 54 PM


Mon, Mar 28, 2016


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

Anna recounts that experience in pretty vivid detail. But getting arrested in Bahrain is just the latest challenge that Anna has faced while trying to tell stories from the middle east. She was one of the first western journalists to detail the rise of ISIS in Syria, and before that she was one of the first American journalists in Tahrir square as the Egypt Arab Spring began. 
 
If you are interested in learning more about the situation in Bahrain, I actually served as the publisher of an e- book by the journalist Elizabeth Dickinson about Bahrain, called Who Shot Ahmed, A Mystery Unravels in Bahrain's Arab Spring, that tells the story of the murder of a young activist and his family's quest for justice. 


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After Brussels, A Disasterous Deal for Refugees


Thu, Mar 24, 2016


The attacks in Brussels this week are accelerating an already heated conversation in Europe about the unrelenting movement of refugee from the Middle East to the continent. 

The attacks on Tuesday came just days after the EU sealed a highly controversial agreement with Turkey in which refugees arriving to the greek islands would be expelled back to Turkey.
 
This agreement is highly maligned by the United Nations and refugee advocates for reasons I discuss with a UN official and a refugee advocate. This episode is in two parts. First, I speak with Melissa Flemming,  a spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency, also known as UNHCR. She offers a grounds eye view of how this new deal is affecting the work of the UN Refugee Agency on the Greek Islands and explains why UNHCR is refusing to collaborate in the implementation of this agreement. 
 
Next, I speak with Michel Gabaudan, president of Refugees International, who discusses the details of the deal and does a good job of putting it in a larger context of global refugee policy. 

 



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Episode 102: Somini Sengupta


Sun, Mar 20, 2016


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

Somini was born in Calcutta, but came to the Canada and then the USA at a young age. She joined the New York Times in the mid 1990s and she tells some powerful stories from her reporting in Africa in the early 2000s, including Liberia, Congo and Darfur.  We kick off discussing her new book, and a term she coined to describe India's youth generation, the "noonday children." 


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How the Islamic State Came to Libya


Wed, Mar 16, 2016


The Islamic state is seemingly on the ascent in Libya. It controls territory, including the coastal city of Sirte, and over the past several weeks it has launched a series of spectacular attacks in Libya and Tunisia. 

This episode goes pretty deep into the weeds of the origins of the Islamic State in Libya and its current strategic goals. On the line is Aaron Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Phd candidate and proprietor of Jihadology.net. Aaron explains how The Islamic State in Libya can trace its start to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq in the mid 2000s, and how through a series of contests it muscled out other jihadist groups in Libya to become a potent and destabilizing force for the entire region. 


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Episode 101: Thomas Fuller


Sun, Mar 13, 2016


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

We discuss some of Fuller's other reporting from the region, including an incredible story last year in which he helped track down a boat full of Rohingya migrants stranded in the Andaman Sea.
 
This is a great episode. Fuller describes how he got started in journalism, some adventures from his early career working at the International Herald Tribune in France and how and why he feels such a deep bond with South East Asia. 
 
 

 



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How to Choose an International Relations Graduate School and Masters Degree Program


Wed, Mar 09, 2016


Are you considering an International Affairs or International Relations Master's degree? Do you know how to pick the IR graduate degree program that is right for you? And how can you pay for your Master's degree in International Relations?  

Today, we have a special episode of the podcast dedicated to answering all your questions about Master's degrees in International Relations and related fields of international affairs more. I speak with three people who bring a different perspective on many questions that go into making a very big life decision. 

First up, I speak with Anthony Arend, a professor and dean at Georgetown and director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service Program, which is always one of the top ranked programs in the country. Our conversation lasts about 25 minutes and he gives a great overview of the kinds of programs that are available not only at Georgetown but at other major graduate schools across the country. He offers a useful breakdown of the kinds of questions a prospective student consider when deciding what master's degree in international affairs programs to apply to.

Next up, I speak with a current International Relations masters degree student from UMASS Boston who discusses his program, it's advantages and disadvantages. And finally, I speak with a recent graduate of a very specialized master's degree program in Europe. 

As regular listeners know this is a departure from the kinds of shows that this podcast is known for. We generally post two kinds of episodes: longform interviews with policy makers, academics, journalists and others leaders in international affairs who share stories from their lives and careers. Those usually post on Monday. And on thursday, we publish shorter interviews with think tank types or experts about something topical and in the news.

But not today. Today, we are talking all about graduate school and Masters degree programs in international affairs. 

I want to note that this episode comes at the suggestion of many listeners who have emailed me over the past several months asking me suggestions and advice about graduate school. And a few people asked me to put together this very episode on graduate schools in international relations and I was totally happy to oblige.  

This episode also comes on the heels of show I posted last year about How to Get a Job at the United Nations.  (Also requested by a listener!)

 So if you have any suggestions or requests for episodes, or want to get in touch with me for any reason, use the contact button at the top of the page or hit me up on Twitter @MarkLGoldberg



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Episode 100: Ashish Thakkar


Sun, Mar 06, 2016


Ashish Thakkar is an African entrepreneur who started his business at the age of 15 having just escaped from the Rwanda genocide. That business, the Mara Group, is now a multi-billion dollar enterprise headquartered in Dubai and with operations in 22 African countries. 

I met Ashish a few weeks ago at a conference in Dubai and learned just enough about his personal story to know that I needed to speak with him for a podcast episode. It's an intense story not only of his own escape from the Rwandan genocide, but his parents in the 1970s were forced to flee Idi Amin's Uganda.  

Ashish tells much of his family history and the story of the founding of the Mara Group in his new book The Lion Awakes: Adventures in Africa's Economic Miracle. Ashish is also the founder of the Mara Foundation, the work of which we discuss, and he was recently named the chair of the UN Foundation's Global Entrepreneurs Council.


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The War Crime of Cultural Destruction


Wed, Mar 02, 2016


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

Now, one of the people who allegedly orchestrated this destruction is sitting in a jail in the Hague, possibly awaiting trial. This is not only first time that an individual is being charged with the crime against humanity of destroying cultural heritage, but it is the first time that a jihadist is facing ICC prosecution.
 
On the line with me to discuss the facts of this case and its broader significance to the International Criminal Court and global human rights more generally is Mark Kersten. He's a post doctoral fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.


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Episode 99: Raj Shah


Fri, Feb 26, 2016


Dr. Raj Shah served as the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, from 2010 to 2015. He was just 36 years old when he was appointed to this cabinet-level position, and less than a week into his tenure a massive earthquake struck Haiti. President Obama turned to raj to coordinate the US Government's response.

We discuss how he came to terms with that responsibility. We also have a very interesting discussion about his childhood growing up the son of immigrants from India, and how that compelled him to a career in global health and development. That career really started at the Gates Foundation. He was one of very early employees of the Gates Foundation where he helped designed a financing mechanism that to this day is helping to fund vaccines around the world. 
 
Raj is the co-author, with Michael Gerson, of a chapter about USAID and foreign aid in the new book "MoneyBall for Government," and we kick off discussing his contribution to that chapter. 


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The Global Implications of Apple V FBI


Wed, Feb 24, 2016


By now you have probably heard of the legal and public relations battle between the FBI and Apple. In short, the FBI is trying to force Apple to unlock the phone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. Apple is unwilling to comply, saying that doing so could endanger the privacy of every iPhone user, everywhere. 

This dispute will play itself out in the US legal system. But the result will have profound international implications. On the line to discuss the global consequences of this dispute is David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur for the Freedom of Expression and a clinical professor of law at the University of California, Irvine. 
 
David Kaye recently wrote a report in his role as UN Special Rapporteur that assesses the relationship between encryption technologies, the varying policies of governments around the world towards encryption, and the protection of human rights. Encryption, he argues, is a key protector of the freedom of expression around the world, for reasons we discuss in this episode. 

 



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Episode 98: Susan Benesch


Sun, Feb 21, 2016


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

Susan had a career as a journalist, covering conflict in Latin America in the 1980s and 1990s and then, after experiencing some profound physical and emotional turbulence, she switched careers and became a human rights lawyer, working among other places at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.


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Burundi is in a Tailspin


Thu, Feb 18, 2016


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

 
The world is pretty aware of this. But the international community seems unable to stop Burundi from sliding into deeper conflict. Why?
 
I put that question to Dr. Cara Jones, an associate professor at Mary Baldwin College. Dr. Jones offers some concise background on the history of this conflict and explains why observers are so concerned that this may spiral out of control and have profound implications not just for Burundi, but for the entire region. If you have twenty minutes and want a deeper and nuanced understanding of the crisis in Burundi, what the international community is trying to do to stop it, have a listen.


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From the World Government Summit in Dubai


Thu, Feb 11, 2016


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

It's been an interesting few days, and I two interviews from the summit for you, which reflect the dual tracks of this conference. 
 
 
First up is Princess Sarah Zeid, who is a long time UN employee and humanitarian worker (whose spouse is the Jordanian diplomat and royal and current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.) She is spearheading efforts in the UN system and beyond to sharpen the international community's focus on providing maternal and reproductive health in humanitarian emergencies. Up to now, this is not something that the international community has done very well, for reasons she explains.  And she discusses candidly the very personal reason that she decided to take on this cause.
 
Next up, i speak with Justin Hall Tipping, a venture capitalist who is investing in nano-technology in the clean energy space. We have a discussion about the potential of nano technology to revolutionize things like access to clean water and clean energy, and what it will take to realize some very promising scientific discovery
 
So, like I said, two somewhat different issues, but all under the rubric of this confernece and both interesting. Have a listen! 


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Episode 97: Michelle Mays


Mon, Feb 08, 2016


Michelle Mays is a nurse with Doctors without Borders, better known of course as MSF. She has worked in conflict zones, post conflict zones and generally very intense situations around the world to deliver health care and other services to vulnerable people.

MSF has a reputation in the humanitarian community for being the first to arrive and last to leave often times dangerous situations, and its been in the news recently for the fact that its hospitals have been bombed in Yemen, by Saudi forces and Afghanistan by Americans.

Michelle started her career as a nurse in Baltimore with an itch to work globally. We discuss some of her deployments in recent years, including to Haiti after the earthquake and to a remote part of India. We kick off discussing her most recent deployment to South Sudan.



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The Syrian Humanitarian Crisis Enters a New Phase


Wed, Feb 03, 2016


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

And that is going to cost a great deal of money. About $9 billion to be exact. And the way that money is raised is through appeals to donors--basically like a charity whose major contributors are governments around the world. 
 
On the line today to discuss this London conference and the major global challenge of mounting an appropriate humanitarian response to this overwhelming crisis is the UK's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Peter Wilson. We discuss some specific aspects of the humanitarian response to this now 5 year old crisis, like, for example providing access to education for displaced children and opportunities for employment for refugees abroad. We also discuss the larger challenge of mounting a humanitarian response when so many of the belligerents are ignoring basic tenants of the laws of war, and we also discuss the current political peace process underway in Geneva.


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Episode 96: Raymond Baker


Sun, Jan 31, 2016


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

This is a fascinating conversation about an interesting, though little appreciated aspect of the global fight against corruption. We kick off discussing the problem of illicit financial flows more broadly and one big cause of this problem more specifically, which is what he terms "mis-invoicing."  You'll learn a lot about the history of the fight against global corruption from listening to this episode. 
 


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The Coming Zika Crisis


Wed, Jan 27, 2016


Earlier this week the World Health Organization warned that a mosquito borne viral disease known as Zika was fast spreading throughout the Americas. That includes the United States, which it will likely reach sooner rather than later. 

On the line to discuss Zika and its larger public health implications is one of the world's leading experts in tropical diseases, Dr. Peter Hotez.  He is the  Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine Baylor College of Medicine in Houston; The's the Endowed Chair in Tropical Pediatrics Texas Children's Hospital and President of the Sabin Vaccine institute, the work of which we discuss in this conversation.  

This is an absolutely fascinating conversation about a topic that is clearly on many people's radars right now. We discuss how and why this disease is spreading, the lessons drawn from the ebola outbreak that can be applied to this situation, and how poverty and inequality in the USA might exacerbate the Zika outbreak? 
 
 


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


Fri, Jan 22, 2016


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

 
She's had a fascinating career. She started out specializing in Soviet studies and took a turn working as an analyst in the CIA before getting her PhD and launching her career studying china and the environment. 
 
We kick off this conversation discussing  China's decision to join the consensus at the Paris Climate Talks, and we have an extended conversation about some pressing, yet under the radar ecological and environmental challenges that China is struggling to deal with.


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The Psychology of Drone Strikes


Wed, Jan 20, 2016


Drone strikes are an increasingly common feature of modern warfare; and there have been numerous discussions in the academic literature and beyond about the effectiveness of drones strikes, the morality of the policy, and the larger implications of the United States' growing reliance on drone strikes as part of a broader counter-terrorism strategy.  
 
But for all this debate, there has been very little research into the psychology that surrounds drone strikes. Now, two academics out of George Washington University are compiling some exceedingly interesting and politically relevant research into the psychological forces that are shaping America's drone policy. 
 
Julia McDonald and Jacqueline Schneider recently published a fascinating paper in the Journal of Conflict Resolution that examines the relationship between a president's tolerance for risk and his (or possibly her) preference for using drones. They are also in the midst of research into why soldiers in combat prefer, or not, manned vs unmanned air support; and the conditions under which the general American public is more or less likely to support drone strikes. 
 
It's cutting edge and cross disciplinary research and just fascinating stuff. On the line with me to discuss this research and its broader implications is the co-author of these studies, Jacqueline Schneider, a pHD candidate in residence at the institute for conflict and security studies at George Washington University.  Enjoy! 

 



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Episode 95: Dan Byman


Mon, Jan 18, 2016


Dan Byman was fresh out of school when he took a job as an analyst for the CIA. Byman was a generalist, and they put him on a backwater Persian gulf desk in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Then Saddam invaded Kuwait and the US led a massive military operation to evict the Iraqi army from Kuwait. His memos suddenly had an audience at the highest reaches of government. 

That experience led Byman to a career studying the Middle East and global terrorism. He's the author of numerous books on international terrorism and is Director of Research at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. But most importantly for me, he was the director of the Security Studies program at Georgetown University eight years ago when I was a student there. 
 
We have a great conversation about his fascinating career in and out of government, which includes serving on the 9-11 Commission. We also discuss terrorism more broadly and the international relations of the Middle East. We kick off with a brief discussion about what seems to be the weakening alliance between Saudi Arabia and the USA.


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Rwanda is on a Dangerous Path


Wed, Jan 13, 2016


The journalist Anjan Sundaram is the author of the new book Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship. The book details how the creeping authoritarianism of the Rwandan government has silenced the free press, even as that government is treated as a darling of the international community for its impressive economic gains following the genocide. 

In 2009, Anjan took a job teaching journalism in Rwanda. He soon saw that something was amiss. His students were harassed, beaten and one colleague murdered. Other journalists were simply co-opted into the state propaganda machine. After speaking with Anjan for this interview, it's hard not to conclude that suppression of dissent in Rwanda is putting that country on a very dangerous path. 

 
This is a fascinating conversation and I suspect that this book will get a great deal of attention in foreign policy and human rights circles.
 
We kick off discussing the history of President Paul Kagame, and his recent controversial decision to amend the constitution to permit him to stay in office, theoretically until 2034. I have a link to the book on GlobalDispatchesPodcast.com, so do check that out. 


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Episode 94: Marcy Hersh understands the plight of female refugees


Mon, Jan 11, 2016


Marcy Hersh recently returned from a research trip to the Balkans, where she followed refugee women and girls as they made their way through Europe. Marcy is a senior advocacy officer with the women's refugee commission, and we kick off our conversation discussing what she witnessed on that trip and the broader struggles that are unique to female refugees around the world. 

Marcy has had a long career in humanitarianism. Including a stint in Haiti just after the earthquake. But she started off as an english teacher abroad. We discuss what compelled her to teaching, to international affairs, to feminism  
 
And how reading Simone de Beauvoir on a desolate outer atoll of the Marshal Islands gave her a new perspective on her life and career. 


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


Wed, Jan 06, 2016


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

On the line with me to discuss the likely candidates for the next secretary general and the diplomatic intrigue that will surround this whole process and provide a great deal of subtext for diplomacy at the UN this year is Richard Gowan. If you are a regular listener to this podcast you'll be well aquatinted with richard, I believe this is this his third time of the show. 
 
He is a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and the Center for International Cooperation and teaches at Colombia. He's also out with a new piece in The American Interest taking a look at US priorities at the UN during Obama's last year in office. and at the end of this conversation we discuss that piece. 
 
But we kick off and devote most of this episode to the big question of who will replace Ban Ki Moon and how that selection will be made. And start by discussing what's known in UN circles as the so-called "Bulgarian Primary"

 



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Episode 93: Dennis Ross


Sun, Jan 03, 2016


My guest today, Dennis Ross is an American diplomat best known for his role as the key mediator and facilitator of some of the most important Palestinian and Arab-Israeli peace agreements of the 1990s. He was Bill Clinton's middle east envoy during the height of the peace process and prior to that he served on then secretary of state James Bakers policy planning team. 

He's had a long career in foreign policy, but he started out as a political organizer in the 1960s, working on a number of campaigns. That career was devastated and upended on June 6, 1968 when at a rally attended by the young Dennis Ross, his candidate, Robert Kennedy, was assassinated. 
 
We discuss his journey in public service, including some high highs and ultimate disappointment of failing to secure a lasting Palestinian-iSraeli peace deal. We kick off though discussing his newest book: Doomed to Succeed: The US-Israeli relationship from Truman to Obama." 


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An Update From Mark


Wed, Dec 30, 2015




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Episode 92: William Perry


Sat, Dec 19, 2015


William Perry was the 19th Secretary of Defense, serving in the Clinton administration from 1994 to 1997. But in 1962, he was a 35 year old mathematician working in the defense industry and living in California. And one day in October, his phone rang. It was the deputy director of the CIA who summoned him immediately to Washington, DC. He needed Perry to analyze photos of missile systems captured by a U2 spy plane flying over Cuba. And for 13 days in October, he did just that--believing everyday was going to be his last.  

That story is how Secretary Perry begins his new book My Journey on the Nuclear Brink, and it's where we start our conversation. William Perry is now 88 years old and a professor emeritus at Stanford University. And in the conversation you are about to hear, we discuss his childhood growing up in the great depression, his deployment to Japan following the end of World War Two; and his subsequent work as a cold warrior and how he learned to loathe the bomb. 
 
We have really interesting digressions about the morality of nuclear weapons, of the firebombing of Tokyo, and why young people these days need more deeply fear nuclear weapons.

 



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The Paris Agreement


Wed, Dec 16, 2015


The Paris agreement that was adopted on December 12 was a triumph of diplomacy.  It is also a affirmation of idealism in international relations -- that the anarchy of the international system can be transcended to find global solutions to global problems.  
 
And the fact international community found a way to push the needle in the right direction on as complex an issue as climate change makes other global challenges suddenly seem a little less daunting.
 
The Paris Agreement itself is profoundly inventive document. On the line to discuss some of the finer points of contention in the agreement, how they were resolved and why certain countries like India played a key role in crafting final outcome, is Neil Bhatiya, a policy associate with the Century Foundation. 
 
We discuss some of key questions that the agreement addresses, like how can the international community verify compliance with the accord and how the question of so-called "climate finance" will work. We also discuss the role of the United States in helping shape the final outcome. 
 
If you are fascinated by diplomacy, want a closer look at the big issues that were up for negotiation and understand what comes next, have a listen! 


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Episode 91: Lee Hamilton


Sat, Dec 12, 2015


Lee Hamilton was a member of the United States Congress from 1965 to 1999, and in the entirety of his 34 years in Congress, he served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, eventually becoming the committee chair. He's served on more national advisory board and commissions that I could possibly mention, but the big ones include the 9/11 Commission and the Iraq Study Group

In November 2015, just a couple weeks before we recorded this interview,  he was honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom  for having been  "one of the most influential voices on international relations and American national security over the course of his more than 40 year career."

And in this episode we discuss much of that career and beyond. Hamilton reflects on his childhood, growing up the son of a methodist minister, the influence of his first trip abroad, which was to Germany as a student in the early 1950s; and how a trip to Vietnam as a congressman in the late 1960s convinced him to oppose the war.

We have a great conversation about the role of congress in shaping US foreign policy, and the many lessons he's learned over the course of his career. We kick off talking about some fun conversations he had with fellow Medal of Freedom recipients.



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Why Are So Many Eritreans Are Fleeing Their Country?


Wed, Dec 09, 2015


After Syrians and Afghans, the largest nationality of people who are fleeing as refugees to Europe are Eritreans. And the vast majority of Eritreans who are fleeing to Europe are young people between the ages of 18 and 24 who are escaping an oppressive system of compulsory national service. 

National service itself is not a problem. Lots of liberal democracies have some of draft or conscription. But the System of national service in Eritrea takes this to the extreme and has become a system of forced labor and population control. 
 
Amnesty International recently published a report called Just Deserters: Why Indefinite National Service in Eritrea has Created  Generation of Refugees that explores in depth the human rights abuses of this system and its implications for global security. On the line with me today is the report's lead author Claire Beston. 
 
We discuss how this system works, why so many young Eritreans are fleeing the country, and why countries in Europe are turning a blind eye to this major driver of refugees to their shore.
 
This is a very interesting conversation about how policy decisions by one small and brutally repressive government can have profound repercussions around the world. 


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Episode 90: Emma Sky


Mon, Dec 07, 2015


Emma Sky was an Arabist, working at the British Council in 2003 when the United Kingdom joined the US led invasion and occupation of Iraq.  Though she strongly opposed the war, she opted to join the coalition provisional authority, which administered Iraq after the fall of Saddam. Here's why
 
She served as the top coalition official in the-oil rich and ethnically diverse province of Kirkuk, and later returned to Iraq as the top civilian advisor to advisor to general Ray Odierno as they managed what's now known as the Sunni Awakening. She tells stories from those experiences in the episode you are about to hear. She also has them down in her new memoir called The Unraveling.
 
Sky had an unusual upringin. She was raised by a single mom who worked at an all boys school. So young emma sky's formative years very much included being the only girl in the room, and she discusses how that experience affected her later on in life.
 
We kick off with a discussion about the current state of affairs in Iraq and Syria, before pivoting to a longer discussion about her life and career, which includes a long stint in Israel at the height of the peace process in the 1990s and its unraveling.


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Why the Paris Climate Talks Are a Political Tipping Point


Thu, Dec 03, 2015


Unlike any other global climate or environment conference I've covered over the years, civil society and the activist community this time around is genuinely enthused about the Paris Climate Talks. Cautious optimism, or at the very least, not gloom and doom, seems to be prevailing mood. 

 
I asked the leader of one of the most important and largest global climate activist organizations, May Boeve of 350.org, why that is. And her reply is interesting and telling. May says that we are in the midst of a political tipping point in the international debate about climate change and Paris is one manifestation of this historic moment. 
 
I caught up with May while she was in Paris during the first week of the talks, and we discusses some of the issues she was following closely as the talks enter a more technical phase. But we have a longer conversation about the role of activism in bringing delegates to this point and what the activist community has planned for after paris. 
 
For those of you interested in the particulars on the Paris talks, you will be sure to get a lot out of this conversation. But even if you are less interested in the minutia of climate politics, this episode offers a fascinating insight into the role of civil society and activisms in shaping the outcome of a major international negotiation. The role of civil society in the Paris climate talks is sure to be the subject of PhD thesis for decades to come. This conversation shows you why. 


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Episode 89: Katie Meyler


Tue, Dec 01, 2015


My guest today Katie Meyler is the founder of the NGO More than Me, which provides schooling and counseling to adolescent girls in Monrovia, Liberia. Katie founded the NGO in 2009, but during the Ebola outbreak last year it transformed into a community hub in the West Point neighborhood of Monrovia, which was the hardest hit neighborhood in the hardest hit city in the hardest hit country by the outbreak.
 
And we have a powerful discussion of why she opted to stay put in Liberia during the Ebola crisis, even though she became symptomatic. And how she dealt with all the death and despair that was surrounding her. 
 
Katie grew up poor in a very wealthy town in New Jersey and she discusses how service trips with her church first exposed her to extreme poverty around the world. She tells an ultimately inspiring story about the founding of More than Me and how with the partnership of the government of Liberia, she is trying to replicate the success of More than Me in other parts of the country. We kick off though, discussing a new resurgence of Ebola in Liberia several months after the country was declared Ebola free.


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Episode 88: Rabia Chaudry


Fri, Nov 20, 2015


Rabia Chaudry is best known for bringing the irregularities surrounding the murder conviction of Anand Syed to the attention of This American Life reporter Sarah Keonig, who then turned the saga in into the wildly popular Serial podcast. 

But Rabia is a well known in national security circles for her work to train law enforcement on countering violent extremism and for her legal work on behalf of individuals wrongfully targeted by law enforcement. She is the founder of the Safe Nation Collaborative, is a former New America Foundation and Truman National Security Fellow, and is soon starting a project with the US Institute of Peace.
 
We have a great conversation that is particularly timely in amidst a new wave of anti-Muslim sentiment in the USA in the wake of the Paris attacks. We discuss her own family's story of immigration; how growing up in rural towns, often the only person of color, shaped her worldview, and how the September 11th attacks and its aftermath inspired her to a career in public policy. 


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


Wed, Nov 18, 2015


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

Here with me to discuss the diplomatic implications of the paris attacks is Ambassador Christopher Hill. He is the former US Ambassador to Iraq (among many other places) and was a lead US negotiator during the Balkan conflict. He's now the Dean of the Korbel school at the University of Denver and was on Episode 29 of this very podcast to discuss his life, career, and his memoir Outpost. 
 
I caught up with Ambassador Hill just as he was leaving for Dayton, Ohio to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Dayton peace accords which ended the Balkan civil wars. We have a very interesting conversation about the kinds of lessons that can be drawn from the Dayton experience and applied to international diplomacy on Syria. 

 



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


Fri, Nov 13, 2015


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

On the line with me to discuss Grant is his biographer, Adam Fifield. Fifield describes how Grant spearheaded what is now known as the "child survival revolution" in the 1980s that lead to, among other things, the quadrupling  of worldwide childhood immunization rates."  And Fiefield vividly describes how Grant accomplished this achievement and many others on behalf of children of the world, often times through sheer force of nature. 


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Paris Climate Talks: What You Need to Know


Wed, Nov 11, 2015


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

For those of you who are less steeped in the complexities of climate diplomacy, this episode is a useful primer to the Paris talks. But as our conversation progresses we go deeper and deeper into the weeds, so there's good fodder for you climate wonks as well. 



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Episode 87: Robert Pape


Sun, Nov 08, 2015


Robert Pape is a scholar at the University of Chicago probably best known for two important studies, both of which we discuss in detail. In the mid 1990s Pape wrote Bombing to Win which called into question big assumptions about the efficacy of airpower. In the mid 2000s, he wrote Dying to Win which was the first big examination of the logic and motivates of suicide bombing campaigns; and his conclusion was somewhat intuitive. 

Pape comes from very a humble background, raised by a single mom who valued her son's education above all else, and we go pretty deep into his personal background and journey from modest beginnings in Erie, Pennsylvania to the heights of academia. We start off though, discussing a question he's been thinking about recently: do suicide terror attacks spike during Muslim holidays? 
 
You are going to love this episode. And if you are the kind of IR nerd who loves learning a bit about the life story of academics, check out my conversations with Bob Jervis, Stephen Walt, James Fearon Christine Fair, Joseph Nye and Laura Seay among others. You can find them all at http://GlobalDispatchesPodcast.com. 
 
 


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Playing the Devil's Advocate In International Relations


Thu, Nov 05, 2015


"Red Teaming" is a concept that can trace its origins to the year 1234 when Pope Gregory the IX created the position of Devils Advocate to vet Papal cannonizations. In more modern times, the process has been increasingly used by militaries, the foreign policy bureaucracy and even the private sector to question assumptions and challenge groupthink. 
 
My guest today, Micah Zenko, is a Council on Foreign Relations fellow who has written what is arguably the first and definitely the most comprehensive examination of Red Teaming; its history and modern applications. It's called "Red Team: How to Succeed by Thinking like the Enemy" and I think it;s a supremely interesting investigation into a little studied aspect of national security and foreign policy making.


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Episode 86: Robert Jervis


Sun, Nov 01, 2015


Robert Jervis is on every international relations syllabus. He is probably best known for his book "Perception and Misperception in International Politics," which was a groundbreaking work that applied principles of cognitive psychology to international relations. He traces the origin of this book to a specific moment of his childhood. 

In addition to Perception and Misperception we also discuss at length the origins of Jervis' first book, "The Logic of Images in International Relations," which is also a part of the International Relations theory cannon. Jervis also discusses the influence of his family, growing up in new york in a highly political environment, how the Vietnam war reduced his own hawkish inclinations, and his work with the CIA. But first, we talk time travel and IR theory. Enjoy! 


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What Russia Wants from Syria


Wed, Oct 28, 2015


Less than a month ago, Russia began a military operation in Syria that is ongoing to this day. Russia's direct military involvement in Syria adds a complicated layer to an already complex conflict. On the line to discuss Russia military and political strategy for Syria, and the implications of this military action for the longer term prospects of a internationally negotiated resolution to this conflict is Michael Kofman, who is an analyst at the CNA Corporation and Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
 
Kofman offers some clearheaded analysis of the political implications of Russia's military intervention and does an excellent job of unpacking some of the complexity of the current state of the Syrian conflict. 
 
This episode is sponsored by World Politics Review, which provides uncompromising analysis of critical global trends to give policy makers, business people, and academics the context they need to have the confidence they want. The good people at World Politics Review are offering Global Dispatches Podcast listeners a two week free trial and then a 50% discount on an annual subscription. To redeem this offer go to about.worldpoliticsreview.com/dispatches And I'll post a link on Global Dispatches Podcast.com  


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Episode 85: Bill McKibben


Fri, Oct 23, 2015


Bill McKibben started out as a journalist, and in 1989 wrote the first book for a general audience about climate change. It was a blockbuster hit, so he wrote more books and articles about the environment, climate and humanity's relationship with the natural world. But at some point, Mckibben realized that writing was not going to be enough--he needed to take action. In this episode, one of America's best known climate change activists and writers describes his evolution toward activism. He traces his own personal and intellectual background from childhood to founding one of the most impactful environmental activist organizations in the world.  



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The Foreign Policy Implications of Canada's Elections


Tue, Oct 20, 2015


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

We spoke the morning after the elections and have a great and truly interesting conversation about the discrete changes we can expect in Canadian foreign policy -- and how those changes may affect international relations and global affairs more broadly. We discuss what's called "Middle Power Diplomacy" in academic circles, Canada's role in Climate politics, and why Washington, DC may be none too pleased with some of the changes to come.  
 
This is a timely and interesting conversation. Enjoy! 


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Episode 84: Felice Gaer


Fri, Oct 16, 2015


 

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

 
Felice has had a very long career in human rights, and we trace the origins of her commitment to human rights from an early age, and more recently to her work on the Committee Against Torture. We kick off our conversation with about a 15 minute conversation about the UN's evolving posture on women's rights and LGBT rights. Gaer tells an interesting story about how an early bureaucratic decision about the structure of the UN's Economic and Social council enabled the integration of women's rights into the broader UN human rights agenda.


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


Wed, Oct 14, 2015


So we had a scare. But all ends well. 
 
This episode is in two parts. First, you'll hear directly from my amazing wife about giving birth in our family car. It's a crazy story. Then, I speak with Dr. Luc de Bernis Senior Maternal Health Advisor at the UN Population Fund who puts our experience in a larger global health context. We discuss various interventions to reduce maternal and newborn mortality around the world, including the deployment of what the World Health Organization calls "Skilled Birth Attendants."  
 
I've reported on health systems and maternal and new born health for years and visited clinics and hospitals in Bangladesh and several countries in sub-saharan Africa, but it wasn't until my wife gave birth in our old car that I truly appreciated the role of a skilled birth attendant in ensuring the safety and health of mother and child. 


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


Fri, Oct 09, 2015


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



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Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Victor Ochen Survived the LRA


Tue, Oct 06, 2015


The Nobel Peace Prize is announced on October 9. In March this year, Victor Ochen was nominated for the 2015 prize by the same organization the nominated previous laureates, Martin Luther King, Jr, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter and Dag Hammarskjold

Victor Ochen may not be a household name. But that may soon change. He is the founder of the peace and reconciliation NGO African Youth Initiative Network, which is active in Northern Uganda. He was the first Ugandan and youngest African ever nominated for the prize. 

Victor has a powerful personal story. He grew up in IDP camps fleeing LRA violence and even lost his brother to the LRA. But throughout it all he maintained a commitment to peace and justice. In this episode, Victor discusses his nomination, tells stories from a childhood in conflict, and explains why he started an NGO. 

This is an edited repost of Episode 53



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Episode 83: Stephen Rapp


Sun, Oct 04, 2015


Stephen Rapp recently stepped down after serving for six years as the US Ambassador- at-Large for War Crimes Issues. Prior to that he served as a prosecutor for the Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal, where he lead the team of prosecutors in the famous case against a radio station accused of fomenting genocide. He also headed the Sierra Leone War Crimes Tribunal when it secured a conviction against former Liberian president Charles Taylor.

When Rapp was a 21 year old intern in Washington, DC he was pistol whipped and left for dead in the trunk of his own car. He describes how that experience shaped his commitment to victims rights and the rule of law, why he decided to run for public office in his native Iowa, and how he made the transition from a US Attorney to a UN war crimes prosecutor.  



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


Wed, Sep 30, 2015


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

This is a re-post of Episode 32, published last year. 



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Introducing the Brand New Sustainable Development Goals


Wed, Sep 23, 2015


UN Week kicks off on a high note on Friday, with the opening of a special summit on the Sustainable Development Goals. Pope Francis will be one of the first to address the summit on Friday morning. President Obama is helping to close the session on Sunday. In between are over 150 speakers, mostly heads of state. 

The SDG summit is a very big deal for the United Nations, and quite possibly for all of humanity. It is the culmination of over two years of negotiations over what should replace the Millennium Development Goals, which expire at the end of this year.  

The SDGs — or, the “Global Goals,” as the advocacy community has taken to calling them — are an aspirational set of 17 goals and 169 targets that every country on the planet is pledging to work toward from now until 2030.

The top goal is nothing less than the total eradication of extreme poverty (as defined by people living on $1.25 per day), and each of the goals have embedded in them principles of environmental sustainability.

 It’s a massively ambitious agenda and if it’s achieved, life for most of the 8 billion on earth in 2030 will be vastly improved.

On the line with me to discuss these goals, their likelihood of success and, importantly, how we can measure progress is John McArthur. He is a fellow at Brookings at with the United Nations Foundation and has been studying the SDGs since their inception.  This is a great conversation, and nicely sets up not just the coming few days at the UN, but also the coming few years of a new international development agenda in pursuit of these global goals.



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Episode 82: Arwa Damon


Fri, Sep 18, 2015


Arwa Damon is a senior international correspondent for CNN. Since joining CNN during the Iraq war, she's covered important stories in the Middle East and throughout the world. Most recently, she reported on the refugee crisis in south eastern Europe, and we kick off our conversation discussing her experience covering that story.  

She has a very interesting personal history, growing up in a bi-cultural household and spending most of her adolescence in Turkey. Her mother was born in Syria; and her grandfather was briefly Prime Minister of Syria in the late 1940s, before he was assassinated.

Earlier this year, Damon founded a non-profit, called INARA, that facilitates medical care for children severely injured in conflict zones. 
 
This  conversation gets pretty heavy, which I think is a reflection of the kinds of stories that Damon has covered throughout her career. 


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UNGA Games


Thu, Sep 17, 2015


The UN Summit kicks off next week in New York! This is always the most exciting time of year for us UN nerds. And between the Pope and Putin, this UNGA promises to be a very interesting one.

 

Here with me to break down what to expect at the UN in the coming weeks and how make sense of it all is Richard Gowan. We discuss the big stories, the overlooked stories, and political intrigue that will accompany the 70th UN General Assembly.

 

Gowan is a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and also with the Center on International Cooperation, where he was previously research director.  He is a columnist for World Politics Review, which is sponsoring this episode.


World Politics Review provides uncompromising analysis of critical global trends to give policy makers, business people, and academics the context they need to have the confidence they want. The good people at World Politics Review are offering Global Dispatches Podcast listeners a two week free trial and then a 50% discount on an annual subscription. To redeem this offer go to about.worldpoliticsreview.com/dispatches



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Episode 81: Elmira Bayrasli


Mon, Sep 14, 2015


Elmira Bayrasli is the author of the new book "From the Other Side of the World: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs, Unlikely Places." She is also the co founder of Foreign Policy Interrupted, which seeks to amplify the voice of female foreign policy experts-- and she's a former assistant to Madeleine Albright. 

 We kick off discussing the new book, which transitions nicely to a conversation about her experience growing up the child of Turkish immigrants and how she got her start working in foreign policy.
 
If you are a regular listener to the podcast--thank you! Our community of listeners has been growing pretty dramatically in recent weeks, I think largely due to word of mouth--so thank you again for spreading the world. And As always, feel free to reach out to me via twitter @MarkLGoldberg or you can send me an email via GlobalDispatchesPodcast.com. And if you are new to the podcast, welcome! We post one of these longer interviews with foreign policy thought leaders every monday. Go to the website to check out our robust archives.

 



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Why Do Countries Build Walls?


Wed, Sep 09, 2015


Why do countries build fences and walls at their border and under what conditions are those walls and fences likely to work as intended? These questions are obviously topical right now, with the US-Mexico border a hot button issue in the US presidential election; and the Syrian refugee crisis dominating discussion the Europe  

But fences and their effectiveness have largely remained off the radar of any rigorous academic study. Until now. In the most recent edition of the journal International Security, political scientists Ron Hassner and Jason Wittenberg of UC Berkeley compiled what is the first-ever dataset of what they called "fortified boundaries" constructed between countries since 1945. 
 
Ron Hassner is on the line with me to discusses their study and the implications of some of their key findings, including the fact that we are in the midst of a fortified boundary building boom and why the religion of a country seems to make a difference in whether or not the country decides to build a border fence. 
 


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Episode 80: Jina Moore


Fri, Sep 04, 2015


When Jina Moore was in Middle School she became intensely curious about the Holocaust, reading about everything she could on the subject. That curiosity improbably led a girl from a small town in West Virginia to become pen pals with the woman who hid Anne Frank. 

These days, Jina is based in Nairobi, Kenya and is the the international women's rights correspondent for Buzzfeed, where she's covered key stories, including the ebola outbreak. On a personal note, she is someone whose reporting I've come to rely on to have a deeper and more textured understanding of important global issues.   
I love this episode and I think you will too. Her own story is just so fascinating and I encourage you to follow her work on Buzzfeed. As always, you can go to globaldispatchespodcast.com to peruse our archives where we have lots of great conversations like the one you are about to hear. You can also send me an email or hit me up on twitter @MarkLGoldberg; love hearing from you guys--keep the emails coming. 

 



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The Refugee Crisis Comes to Europe's Doorstep


Wed, Sep 02, 2015


The Syrian refugee crisis has finally made it to Europe's doorstep. Over the past several weeks, masses of refugees have made their way to southeastern Europe, mostly en route to Germany and other countries in northern Europe. After four years of conflict, the Syrian refugee crisis is suddenly a crisis for Europe.

 

Here with me to discuss the implications of this refugee flow is Ellen Laipson of the Stimson Center. We have a fascinating discussion about how the conflict in Syria and Iraq is manifesting itself on the streets of Europe and how the scale of the outmigration from the middle east to Europe resembles the wave of Irish escaping the potato famine to the USA in the 1850s

This episode is being brought to you by World Politics Review, which provides uncompromising analysis of critical global trends to give policy makers, business people, and academics the context they need to have the confidence they want. The good people at World Politics Review are offering Global Dispatches Podcast listeners a two week free trial and then a 50% discount on an annual subscription. To redeem this offer go to about.worldpoliticsreview.com/dispatches ; or click the link on GlobalDispacthesPodcast.com



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Episode 79: Juliana Barbassa


Sun, Aug 30, 2015


My guest today, Juliana Barbassa is a journalist and the author of the new book Dancing with the Devil in the City of God: Rio di Janeiro on the Brink. 

We have a great conversation about the current political upheaval in Brazil; how preparations for the 2016 summer Olympics are changing the character of Rio; and why corruption in Brazil's political system is seemingly so endemic.
 
Juliana had a nomadic upbringing. She is Brazilian, but spent much of her childhood overseas in the middle east and Texas, where she developed a bug for journalism. We discuss her life and career, including her time covering key immigration debates in the USA in the 1990s and 2000s; and her writing of this interesting new book about Rio. 
 
If you want to learn more about the most important city in one of the most interesting countries on earth, have a listen. 

 



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This Gay Syrian Refugee Risked it All


Wed, Aug 26, 2015


Earlier this week the UN Security Council did something it's never done before: it held a meeting specifically focusing on violence directed against LGBT people. The council called two witnesses, both of whom are gay men caught up in the conflict in the Middle East. The first witness was an Iraqi who spoke to the Council by phone. He spoke anonymously and from an undiclosed location because he was marked for death by ISIS.

The second witness was Subhi Nahas, a gay Syrian refugee now living in the USA. A day after addressing the Security Council, Subhi spoke with me. 
 
The episode you are about to hear is in two parts. First, you'll hear Subhi's story and how he fled Syria once Al Qaeda's affiliate, Jabat al-Nusra, took over his town. Next, you will hear from Neil Grungras, the founder of the Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration, which happens to employ Subhi. Neil helps put the situation of LGBT refugees and asylum seekers in a broader global context. 
 
This is a powerful episode, and a profound reminder that marginalized communities deserve our support. 


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Episode 78: Kenna


Mon, Aug 24, 2015


Kenna Zemedkun is a critically acclaimed musician and producer who's collaborated with the likes of Pharrel Williams and Justin Timberlake. He's also a pathbreaking social entrepreneur who, as of now, is the world's first one-for-one artist. Kenna has a new album coming out, Songs for Flight, and embedded into the production of the album is a novel profit sharing scheme in which NGOs and non-profits benefit directly from sales. 

Kenna has had a fascinating life and career. He was born in Ethiopia in the mid 1970s, just as the country began to unravel. He eventually landed in Virginia Beach, where along with his high school friends Chad Hugo and Pharell Williams, he began to make waves in the music industry and...far beyond. He featured prominently in Malcom Gladwell's 2005 book "Blink," about the science of first impressions.
 
This is a really fun and interesting conversation. We discuss his family's escape from Ethiopia and how that experience traces directly to the roots of his own committment to social justice. And we talk music! 
 


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The Worm Wars!


Wed, Aug 19, 2015


"Worm Wars" is shorthand for an ongoing scientific debate about the efficacy of de-worming programs; that is, programs supported by governments and non profits to stop the transmission of parasitic worms. This debate has become exceedingly heated in recent weeks after new research called into question old research about a key claim that de-worming programs increased school attendence.
 
This largely academic debate offers key insights into the role of research in influencing international development and global health agendas.  
 
The debate gets very complicated, very quickly. Here to help me make sense of it all and explain its larger relevance to international development is my old pal Tom Murphy. Tom is a correspondant for the website Humanosphere and also the co-founder along with...me of DAWNS Digest.
 
 

 



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Episode 77: Carne Ross


Sun, Aug 16, 2015


Carne Ross is the founder of a fascinating firm called Independent Diplomat, a non-profit that provides diplomatic services to marginalized groups around the world. He was a long serving member of the British foreign service, mostly covering the middle east and Iraq before he resigned in 2004 after giving secret testimony to a British inquiry investigating the botched intelligence about Iraq's WMD program.

His testimony was rather damning, earning him quite a few enemies in the British government. That incident made Carne a public figure.

In this episode, Carne Ross discusses his long career in the foreign service, over which the author Salman Rushdie has a rather unique influence for reasons you will see!



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A New Ebola Vaccine Has Profound Global Implications


Thu, Aug 13, 2015


There is a new ebola vaccine. And it works spectacularly well. A recent paper in the Lancet demonstrated of the 7,600 people in Guinea who received the vaccine, not one person contracted the virus. This 100% effectiveness rate is unheard of. 

 
Dr. Jeremy Farrar is on the line to discuss the implications of this vaccine for the fight against ebola.  He is a professor of tropical medicine and director of the Welcome Trust, a philanthropy that supports medical research. We discuss how the vaccine trial was conducted, how the results can be analyzed and what an effective vaccine might mean for the global fight against ebola. Dr. Farrar has also very prominently called for the creation of a global vaccine fund to spur the development and deployment of vaccines to counter fast emerging epidemics. And we have a lively conversation about this proposal.


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Episode 76: Liz Sly


Fri, Aug 07, 2015


Journalist Liz Sly is the Beirut bureau chief for the Washington Post. She is one of my favorite and go-to-reporters for news and context about Syria and the broader middle east. We kick off discussing the current situation in Beirut, which has seen a massive influx of Syrian refugees. We also spend a good amount of time discussing the situation in Syria, before pivoting to a longer conversation about her life and career. 

Sly is a veteran journalist who has reported from around the world. We discuss how she got her start, why she was so attracted to beirut in the 1980s, and what it was like covering some of the biggest global stories of the last 30 years, including reporting from Rwanda just after the April 1994 genocide.
 
This is avery interesting conversation, definitely heavy at times, but certainly worth your attention. 


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


Wed, Aug 05, 2015


The FARC Insurgency in Colombia has been raging for fifty years. And now, after a long peace process, it may soon be coming to a formal end. But even though a peace deal may be signed, whether or not that results in a meaningful improvement for the lives of people in rural Colombia is a key determinant of whether or not peace can be sustained. 

That is the argument of my guest James Bargent, a freelance journalist in Colombia who has a piece in World Politics Review discussing the prospect of a peace dividend in poor, rural outposts of Colombia over which FARC has historically exerted a great deal of influence. We have a very interesting conversation about the history of this insurgency, the peace process, the challenge of coca eradication and the complex relationship between impoverished farmers, FARC guerrillas and the government. 
 
This episode is being brought to you by World Politics Review, which provides uncompromising analysis of critical global trends to give policy makers, business people, and academics the context they need to have the confidence they want. The good people at World Politics Review are offering Global Dispatches Podcast listeners a two week free trial and then a 50% discount on an annual subscription. To redeem this offer go to about.worldpoliticsreview.com/dispatches 


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Episode 75: James Fearon


Sun, Aug 02, 2015


James Fearon is on every international relations syllabus. He is a professor at Stanford and widely known for his research into conflict and war. He uses game theory to explain the outbreak of international conflict, and along with his colleague David Laitin he's undertaken groundbreaking research into the structural factors that make the outbreak of civil war more likely.

Fearon discusses his research and career path, which started in Kenya in the early 1980s and he eventually led to a PHD program at Berkeley where he studied under one of the great IR theorists of all time, Kenneth Waltz. 
 
This conversation is pretty laden with international relations theory, but I did my best to keep it accessible to non-experts as well. Even if you have just a passing interest in IR you will still gain a lot from this conversation. We start off with a conversation about Iraq and Syria.


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South Sudan is in a Freefall


Wed, Jul 29, 2015


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

Here to help explain how things went so badly, so quickly for this young country is Rebecca Hamilton. She's the author of the book Fighting for Darfur and professor at Columbia University's Law School.  Rebecca does a great job explaining the wider regional context of this conflict; and also showing how a government that was once championed by the USA fell out of favor with the Obama administration. 
 
 


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Episode 74: Jessica Jackley


Mon, Jul 27, 2015


Jessica Jackley co-founded Kiva and revolutionized micro-lending. Her new memoir Clay, Water, Brick tells the story of the founding of Kiva and her own personal journey from a religious family in Pittsburgh to becoming a successful social entrepreneur. This is a great conversation about personal development, entrepreneurship, starting Kiva--and then figuring out how to handle its explosive growth. 

Also: a podcast milestone! Jessica, and her husband Reza Aslan, have become the first wife and husband team to appear independently on this show. My conversation with Reza is episode 64.


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What Obama's Ethiopia Visit Says About His Africa Policy


Sun, Jul 26, 2015


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



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Obama's Kenyan Homecoming


Wed, Jul 22, 2015


President Obama is visiting Kenya this week. This is his first trip to his father's country of birth since becoming president, and people in Kenya are certainly treating it like a homecoming. 

Here with me to discuss the symbolic and political relevance of this historic trip is Wycliffe Muga, the Weekend Editor of the Star Newspaper in Kenya. 
 
Wycliffe and I have a rather lively conversation about what this trip means to ordinary Kenyans, what impact it might have on the Presidency of Uhuru Kenyatta (who recently had war crimes charges against him dropped by the International Criminal Court) and why Obama may disappoint some distant relatives from his father's family village. 
 
This is both a great curtain raiser to his trip. Muga it does a very good job of putting Obama's visit to Kenya in its proper context. 


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Episode 73: Moises Naim


Sun, Jul 19, 2015


Moises Naim is an all around big thinker, author, commentator, longtime editor of Foreign Policy magazine, former World Bank Executive  and a former cabinet minister in Venezuela.  

His family fled Libya in the 1950s and settled in Venezuala, where Naim struggled in high school, but excelled in university. We discuss his family history, his path from Caracas to MIT then back again, and about the big books, individuals and experiences that shaped his worldview from a young age.
 
HIs most recent book is called the End of Power, and in January this year Mark Zuckerberg picked it as the innagural book of his book club, inviting his 30 million facebook fans to discusses it. 
 
This is a great conversation with a versatile thinker. Enjoy! 


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The IAEA and Iran


Wed, Jul 15, 2015


The nuclear deal with Iran is essentially grand bargain: Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear program in exchange for a gradual easing of international and national sanctions. But as President Obama is fond of saying, the agreement is not based on trust. It's based on verification. And the entity responsbile for verifying Iran's compliance with the nuclear accord is the International Atomic Energency Agency.
 
Here with me to discuss how the IAEA will go about this mission is Tom Colina, policy director of the Ploughshares fund. We discuss the diplomatic pressures under which the IAEA will operate and the technical tools at inspectors' disposal. We also discuss the personality of its executive director Yukia Amano, a Japanese diplomat who is suddenly one of the most important and consequential players in Middle East diplomacy
 
(For those of you really interested in the history of the IAEA and also want more mechanics on how inspections work, I recommend you check out my April interview with Thomas Shea, a former IAEA nuclear weapons inspector. We recorded that interview just as the Framework Agreement, which lead to this final agreement, was being negotiated.)

 



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


Mon, Jul 13, 2015


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



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


Wed, Jul 08, 2015


A hugely consequential UN conference kicks off in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia next week. It has has not gotten a tremendous amount of media attention, but it is pretty big deal for most of the world. At the heart of this conference is one very big question: can the idealism embedded in principles of sustainable development actually be paid for? Who will pony up the funds? And how?
 
The conference is officially called the "Third International Conference on Financing for Development"  The decisions and announcements made at this conference will have a profound effect on whether or not the world can fulfill the promises of the Sustainable Development Goals, including eradicating extreme poverty by 2030. 
 
Here to put the conference in context, and explain what official and unofficial outcomes might look like is Minh-Thu Pham of the United Nations Foundation. We discuss the big points of convergence and contention between countries as they were negotiating the outcome document of this conference, and we have a deeper discussion of how this conference signals a profound shift away from thinking about international development as driven primarily by foreign aid. 
 
This conference has the potential to revolutionize how the international community, local stakeholders and the private sector implement the Sustainable Development Goals. It is the first of three big conferences in 2030 that will shape the international development and climate change agenda for a generation. 


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Episode 72: Anand Gopal


Thu, Jul 02, 2015


Anand Gopal's first book, "No Good Men Among the Living: America, The Taliban and The War through Afghan Eyes," was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize. And deservedly so. This book is easily one of the best and most important foreign policy books of the last decade and certainly the most enlightening book written about the Afghan War. 

As its title suggests, Gopal offers a rarely seen perspective on the US-led intervention in Afghanistan by profiling individuals--both civilian and Taliban -- and by telling the story of shifting alliances in a region in southern Afghanistan. 

Gopal discusses how he went about reporting these amazing stories; what compelled him to travel to Afghanistan on a whim in 2008; and how his complexion both helps and complicates his reporting in Afghanistan and in the Middle East.
 
I think you can tell I was so thrilled to speak with Anand. If you have not already done so, definitely read his book. You'll look at the Afghan war--and perhaps even interventionism--in a totally different way.


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


Thu, Jul 02, 2015


A panel of independent experts recently published an exhaustive and hotly awaited report on the future of UN Peacekeeping The panel was lead by Jose Ramos Horta, the Nobel Laureate and former president of East Timor--a country where peacekeeping played a key role in its turbulent early ears.

The report was a pretty big deal in UN circles. Its release provides a good inflection point to discuss UN peacekeeping, the big challenges it faces, and how current trends in global security are going to force the UN to adapt.

My guest today, Richard Gowan, is a columnist at World Politics review and an editor of the Global Peace Operations review. He is one of my favorite UN pundits and I am thrilled to have him back on the podcast to discuss this new report and all things UN Peacekeeping.  UN and peacekeeping nerds will love this one. 

This episode is sponsored by World Politics Review, which provides uncompromising analysis of critical global trends to give policy makers, business people, and academics the context they need to have the confidence they want. The good people at World Politics Review are offering Global Dispatches Podcast listeners a two week free trial and then a 50% discount on an annual subscription. To redeem this offer go to about.worldpoliticsreview.com/dispatches.



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Episode 71: Stephen Morrison


Mon, Jun 29, 2015


Stephen Morrison is the Senior Vice President and Director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. He's had a long and fascinating career working on development, human rights and health issues around the world. His PhD work focused on the political economy of countries that bordered apartheid South Africa and spend much of the 1980s and 1990s working on African issues in Congress and for the clinton administration. We discuss the origins of the Eritrean-Ethiopian conflict, and his experiences working in the Horn of Africa during a pretty turbulent time. Later, he started USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives and served in Bosnia during the height of the civil war, where he had a few very close calls... Enjoy!

 



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


Wed, Jun 24, 2015


The UN Charter turns 70 years old on June 26. This is the founding treaty that created the United Nations and in this episode you will learn the fascinating and legitimately entertaining history of that document and of the 1945 San Francisco Conference that produced it.

Ban Ki Moon and a number of international dignitaries are visiting San Francisco this week to commemorate the occasion, so I caught up with the writer Stephen Schlesinger, author of Act of Creation: The Founding of the United Nations who tells some great stories about the ideas, inspirations and personalities that created the document we now know as the United Nations Charter.

This conversation is in part a historiography of the UN Charter and a history of the San Francisco Conference. You’ll learn the odd reason why San Francisco was picked to host the conference; hear the curious etymology of the term “The United Nations”; and learn some of the big drama that unfolded as delegates tried to put the final touches on the charter. At one point, you’ll even picture Winston Churchill in the buff (it’s an important part of the story. Trust me!)

UN nerds, history aficionados and international affairs enthusiasts will love this episode.



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Episode 70: Paula Dobriansky


Sun, Jun 21, 2015


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

 

 

 



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A Fugitive from the International Criminal Court Escapes from South Africa


Wed, Jun 17, 2015


Earlier this month, the African Union held a summit in South Africa. Among the attendees was Omar al Bashir, the president of Sudan. This was somewhat surprising because Bashir is wanted on charges of war crimes and genocide by the International Criminal Court. And South Africa, as a member of the ICC, is treaty bound to arrest fugitives like Bashir. 

But South African authorities did not arrest him. So a local human rights group pressed their case in a South African court, which issued an injunction ordering Bashir to stay put pending the resolution of the case. 
 
That's when things got weird. With the complicity of the South African government Bashir was allowed to escape the country. He's now back in Sudan. 
 
And on the line with me to discuss what exactly happened and what the consequences might be for the ICC and its relationship with African governments is Mark Kersten. He's the creator of the excellent Justice in Conflict blog and a researcher focusing on the ICC. 


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Episode 69: Kakenya Ntaiya


Thu, Jun 11, 2015


When Kakenya Ntaiya was a teenager in her small Kenyan villiage, she made a deal with her father. She would undergo a public circumcision ceremony if he let her stay in school. 25 years later, Ntaiya holds advanced degrees from universities in the USA and is a public champion for girls' education and an advocate against female genital mutilation. In this episode you will hear the amazing story of how a woman who was born into poverty in a Massai village defied what was traditionally expected of her in pursuit of an education. She now runs a highly regarded school for girls in her home town and is a respected international leader for girls' education. She's received accolades for her work, including being nominated as a CNN hero a couple of years ago. Her TED talk is great. 



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


Wed, Jun 10, 2015


It was a year ago this week that the Iraqi city of Mosul--the second largest city in country--fell to ISIS. The loss of Mosul sparked a re-examination of US policy toward Iraq and ISIS. And just this week, the White House announced that it was sending over 400 military advisers to an Iraqi base that is on the front lines of the fight. On the line with me to discuss the evolution of US strategy to counter ISIS in Iraq is Dr. Steven Metz. He does a very good job articulating that the White House is betting on a strategy of containment--and that this is probably their best option even though they wont publicly admit as such. Metz describes what this strategy looks like; and identifies the big drawbacksof this strategy 

Metz is a columnist for World Politics Review, which is sponsoring this episode. The good people at World Politics Review are offering Global Dispatches Podcast listeners a two week free trial and then a 50% discount on an annual subscription. To redeem this offer go to about.worldpoliticsreview.com/dispatches.  



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Episode 68: Olivier Bancoult and Chagossian Exile


Sun, Jun 07, 2015


The Chagos Archipelago is a group of islands situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean. You may have heard of the largest of these Islands, Diego Garcia, because it is home to a strategically important US military base. However, the story of how this base came to being is rather sordid. And the plight of the thousands of inhabitents who were expelled from their homeland to make room for this base is utterly tragic. 
 
Today's episode is a little different than what you may be used to from a typical monday episode of Global Dispatches Podcast. I have two guests today--each bringing a different perspective to one vastly overlooked affront to human rights that has been ongoing for the last 50 years. 
 
I first speak with David Vine an associate professor at American University and author of a book about the Chagossian exile called Island of Shame. We discuss the history of Diego Garcia, why the US military considers the base is so strategically important, and what's become of the Chagossian population since their expulsion.
 
Next I speak with Olivier Bancoult, who at the age of 4 was banished from his homeland. Like many Chagossians, he now lives in Mauritius. He tells me his life story and we have an absolutely fascinating and somewhat tragic conversation about how a people who have been banished from their homeland adapt and find ways to preserve their cultural heritage.  


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What Air Conditioners Can Teach Us About International Development


Wed, Jun 03, 2015


What's the relationship between air conditioning, air temperature and income levels? In other words, at what income level and in what climate zones do people opt to purchase A/C? The answer to these questions could have a profound implication on the quality of life of people in the developing world and also seriously strain fragile energy grids and contribute significantly to global carbon emissions. But the question was not seriously studied...until now. 
 
On the line is Lucas Davis who is co-author with his University of California colleague Paul Gertler of a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that examines the relationship between climate, income and air conditioning in Mexico. What they find is both fascinating on its own and also deeply consequential to discussions about international development and climate change in other warm and rapidly developing countries (think India, which is currently in the midst of a heatwave). 
 
This is a very interesting study of a niche topic with exceedingly profound implications--all of which are discussed in this episode! 

 



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Episode 67: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon


Mon, Jun 01, 2015


Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is a journalist and fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who in April published the book Ashley's War, which tells the story of a group of female soldiers who accompanied special forces during missions in Afghanistan. In this conversation, Mark and Gayle discuss how these units were created and take a deep dive into the history of the role of women in the US military. Gayle has had a very interesting career as a journalist and as an MBA who studied entrepreneurship in the developing world. We discuss some of her big scoops and how she became so attracted to Afghanistan.  Enjoy! This was an interesting conversation. As always, feel free to send me an email via GlobalDispatchesPodcast.com or hit me up on twitter with your suggestions of people to interview or topics to cover. 

 


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Why Most Foreign Aid Does Not Go To the Poorest Countries


Wed, May 27, 2015


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

On the line with me to discuss these questions and more is Sara Harcourt of the One Campaign, which recently released a comprehensive report that crunches some of the data on foreign assistance and makes the case that more aid should be directed to the poorest countries, and that developing countries as a whole need to commit a greater proportion of their own GDP to health and education. 
 
If you are into data and global development--and who isnt?--you'll love this episode. 


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Episode 66: Ambassador Nicholas Burns


Fri, May 22, 2015


Nicholas Burns is one of America's most decorated diplomats. He began his career in the foreign service as an intern in Mauritania in the early 1980s. By the time he retired in 2008, he had served as the US Ambassador to NATO and the Undersecretary of State of Political Affairs. Needless to say, he's got some great stories to tell. Now at Harvard, Ambassador Burns reflects on how is career intersected with some of the key inflection points of US foreign policy over the last 30 years, including the end of the cold war, 9-11, the US Invasion of Iraq and the Arab Spring. 



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The Rohingya Refugee Crisis


Wed, May 20, 2015


A dangerous game of human pingpong is underway in the Adaman Sea between Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Thousands of Rohingya, a Muslim minority primarily from Myanmar, are adrift at sea. Not only is no country taking them in, but Navies have pushed back boats that have made it into harbor.

It is a wretched situation of almost unconscionable cruelty. And at the center of it all are human trafficking gangs who operate modern day slave camps from the jungles of Thailand. On the line today to discuss the Rohingya refugee-at-sea crisis is Sornata Reynolds of Refugees International. She discusses why discrimination and persecution of this group in Myanmar is the root cause of the crisis, and why the policies of neighboring countries like Bangladesh are making it work. She describes how criminal gangs sell these vulnerable people into slavery and what the international community--including you and I --can do to stop this situation from getting worse.  



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Episode 65: Jean-Marie Gu?henno


Fri, May 15, 2015



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

Gu?henno is out with a new book that details these experiences and more. The Fog of Peace: A Memoir of International Peacekeeping in the 21st century was published this month by Brookings Press. Gu?henno is a true scholar practitioner.  This is a great episode.  



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Burundi on a Knife's Edge


Wed, May 13, 2015


Burundi is in the midst of a deepening political crisis that has many observers extremely worried about the prospects of mass violence. Dozens of people have been killed and tens of thousands of people have fled in recent weeks. At time of publication, there's been a reported coup attempt. 

Journalist Jonathan Rosen is on the line from Kigali, Rwanda where he is reporting on the evolving situation. He explains the roots of the conflict, its proximate causes, and makes a compelling case that the main sources of tension are political and not ethnic. Still, given its bloody history the prospects of ethnic violence are not at all remote. If you have 20 minutes and want a deep and textured understanding of the crisis, why it matters for international relations, and what can be done to mitigate it, have a listen to this interview. 

This episode is brought to you by World Politics Review. The online magazine is offering Global Dispatches Podcast listeners a two week free trial and 50% off the price of an annual subscription. Go to http://about.worldpoliticsreview.com/dispatches/ to redeem this offer. 



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Epsiode 64: Reza Aslan


Fri, May 08, 2015


Reza Aslan is arguably the most influential scholar of religion in America today. He's best known for mixing it up with the likes of Bill Maher and explaining the basics of the academic study of religion to ignorant Fox News hosts. His books "Zealot" about Jesus and "No God But God" about Islam were both best sellers. In this episode Reza recounts his family's escape from Iran during the Revolution and tells the story of his conversion to evangelical Christianity in high school. Reza and host Mark Leon Goldberg talk the academic study of religion, religious experiences and rituals. Reza describes how 9-11 inadvertently thrust him into the limelight; and how "new atheists" get religion wrong. This is a great episode with lots of wonky academic study of religion talk. 



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The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Means Business


Wed, May 06, 2015


The advent of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, sometimes called a Chinese-led rival to the World Bank, is one of the most genuinely interesting developments in global affairs. Thought not yet operational, it is being formed despite the strong opposition of the USA. The creation of the AIIB, with many US allies joining as founding partners, reflects the rise of China, waning American global influence, the declining relevance of international institutions created after World War Two, and the ways in which political polarization in the USA is influencing global affairs. Or does it? Scott Morris of the Center for Global Development is on the line to discuss the the new bank and why it matters to international development and international relations.  This is a super interesting conversation about a key development in global affairs. 



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Episode 63: Albina du Boisrouvray


Sun, May 03, 2015


Albina du Boisrouvray is a French countess who sold her family heirlooms to start an anti poverty NGO. She was born into one of the wealthiest families in the world and was a successful film producer when her son, a rescue pilot, died in an helicopter accident in Mali. She then sold most of her possessions and devoted her fortune to fighting AIDS and extreme poverty. Her NGO, FXB International, uses an unconventional and holistic approach to fighting poverty village by village. In this episiode, Albina discusses her truly unique life story and describes why the methodology that FXB has used to uplift communities has been so successful. Albina's story is wild, heartfelt and inspiring. 



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Nepal Dodges a Bullet


Thu, Apr 30, 2015


Two years ago, I asked a top UN expert in disaster to describe the one scenario that keeps him up at night. Without hesitation he said that an intense earthquake in Kathamndu would be a monumental catastrophe that could kill as many as 250,000 to 400,000 people. He was not alone in this estimation. I'd heard humanitarian relief workers say the same thing.

On Saturday, April 25 a massive earthquake struck Nepal. And while the damage and destruction is immense and tragic, it was not the cataclysm he predicted. Why was that? How was this nightmare scenario avoided?

This week, I caught back up with that same expert, Jo Scheuer of the United Nations Development Program, as he was on his way to Nepal to survey the damage. In the conversation below, he explains how a combination of good luck and preparation helped to limit the scale of the destruction. He further describes the lessons Nepal's experience can teach the international community about how to invest in sustainable development that takes into account a region's risk for natural disaster.

This is obviously a timely conversation for the fact that we focus on the events in Nepal. But the long term lessons of what happened are also exceedingly important to the international development community and beyond. Have a listen.



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Episode 62: Fareed Zakaria


Mon, Apr 27, 2015


Fareed Zakaria shares stories about his upbringing in India and the influence of his die-hard pro-American mother and Indian nationalist father. He discusses his intellectual journey from a middle class childhood in India to getting getting a PHD at Harvard and becoming the editor of Foreign Affairs magazine at the age of 28. This is a great exploration of the intellectual development of one of the most prominent and oft-cited global affairs analysts of his generation. Fareed Zakaria is out with a new book, "In Defense of a Liberal Education" in which he writes a full throated paean to the values and virtues of the liberal arts. Mark and Fareed kick off with a discussion about his new book before discussing Fareed's own education, his family history and the big turning points of his life and career. Enjoy! 



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


Sat, Apr 25, 2015


An earthquake in Katmandu may become one of the terrible natural disasters of our era. 

In 2013, I spoke with Jo Scheuer of the United Nations Development Program. He is an expert in disaster risk reduction so I asked him what disaster scenario keeps him up at night? Without hesitating he said that an earthquake in Katmandu Valley could bring death and destruction even worse than the Haiti earthquake.  He was sure an earthquake would strike — and that the international community was racing the clock to prepare for it. He explained why that region is so vulnerable and what the UN, the local government and international NGOs were doing to mitigate the risk.



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Inside the Fight Against Malaria


Wed, Apr 22, 2015


Humanity is winning the fight against Malaria, but we still have a long way to go. Since the advent of the Global Fund, the Millennium Development Goals and the President's Malaria Initiative, death and illness rates have dropped precipitously around the globe. Now, talk of total worldwide eradication is not as preposterous as it may seem. This is the message that Martin Edlund of Malaria No More has for the policy community ahead of World Malaria Day on April 25. Despite the progress, though, he argues that there are still big challenges ahead -- particularly the spread of drug resistant Malaria in the Mekong Delta. This is a great episode for anyone who wants to learn why a disease that haunted humanity for millennia is now on the ropes.



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Episode 61: Juliette Kayyem


Mon, Apr 20, 2015


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

This is a great conversation with someone who has had a varied and distinguished career in public service.  

 



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


Wed, Apr 15, 2015


When the Yarmouk refugee camp outside Damascus was overrun by ISIS, a bad situation got much worse. Ban Ki moon called it "the deepest circle of hell" and UN humanitarian agencies are struggling to help people escape from the encampment. On the line to discuss these efforts is Richard Wright of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which is a humanitarian agency for Palestinian refugees in the middle east. Wright relays the current situation in Yarmouk, describes the UN's ongoing efforts to navigate between warring factions and the government, and tells the story of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who have been caught up in the Syrian civil war. 



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Episode 60: Andrew Mack


Sun, Apr 12, 2015


Andrew Mack coined the term "asymmetric warfare." Before that he was a diamond prospector in colonial Sierra Leone. And before that he lived in Antarctica. Needless to say, Andrew Mack packs a lot of wild stories into this episode. Andrew is the founder of the Human Security Report which is a well regarded semi-annual report that takes a look at broad trends in peace and conflict and makes a convincing, if counter-intuitive, argument that global conflict is on the decline. Andrew discusses the origins of the Human Security Report inside Kofi Annan's office and then reflects on his rather circuitous career path. Fun stories ensue! 

 



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Yemen is a Hot Mess


Wed, Apr 08, 2015


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

On the line today to discuss the underlying causes of the conflict, help understand the exact nature of Iran's role in this crisis, and recommend ways that Yemen can avoid a death spiral is April Longley Alley of the International Crisis Group. If you have 15 minutes and want a textured understanding of what's happening in Yemen--and why--have a listen. 

 



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Episode 59: Caryl Stern


Mon, Apr 06, 2015


Caryl Stern is the president and CEO of the United States Fund for UNICEF. This is the big fundraising arm (think "trick or treat for UNICEF") of one of the most important humanitarian organizations in the world. Caryl Stern's mother escaped the Holocaust at a young age and that experience loomed large over her childhood and eventual career trajectory. In this episode, Mark and Caryl discuss UNICEF's work and funding streams, the role of philanthropy in international development and how a woman with no background in international development became the leader of a $670 million international philanthropy.  



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The Iran Nuke Deal-- How the Inspections Will Work


Thu, Apr 02, 2015


International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors are going to play a critical role in any final deal with Iran. But who are these inspectors? What do they do? What can't they do? Mark speaks with former IAEA inspector Thomas Shea who offers a grounds-eye view of what a robust inspection regime looks like. Dr. Shea also puts the potential inspections of Iran's program in the broader context of the IAEA's history of its work on behalf of international peace and security. We don't yet know what the Iran nuclear deal might look like. But if a deal is struck, the IAEA will be the lynchpin that holds it all together. This episode gives you an excellent perspective of how these inspections actually work. 



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Episode 58: Victor Ochen


Mon, Mar 30, 2015


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



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The Nigeria Elections


Wed, Mar 25, 2015


Nigerians go to the polls on March 28 in consequential elections that could decide the future of Africa's largest democracy. Incumbent Goodluck Jonathan is facing a tight race with Muhammdu Buhari. Security, Boko Haram and a slugging economy are all dominating the campaigns. Meanwhile, Boko Haram and fear of election related violence abounds. Mark speaks with journalist Dayo Olopade about the significance of the elections, what ordinary Nigerians are thinking when they go to the polls, and why fears of violence may be overblown. If you have 15 minutes and want a sophisticated take on elections in one of the world's largest democracies, have a listen. 



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Episode 57: Jessica Stern


Mon, Mar 23, 2015


Jessica Stern was a mid level National Security Council staffer when Hollywood literally came calling. Nicole Kidman portrayed a fictionalized version of her work as a nuclear security analyst in the Clinton White House in the film "The Peacemaker" (also starring George Clooney). Stern's academic and professional life have taken some interesting turns. In the 2000s she published groundbreaking research on what motivates individuals to commit violent acts of terror, and she did so by speaking to actual terrorists. Stern recently published a new book called ISIS: State of Terror that takes a deep dive into the historic origins of the so-called Islamic State. This is a great episode with fun and fascinating stories from a long time national security wonk. Enjoy. 



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


Wed, Mar 18, 2015


Benjamin Netanyahu secured a substantial victory in the Israel's elections this week. The consequences of this right wing victory will be profound both for Israeli politics and the prospects for a negotiated two state solution (which just became much dimmer).

On the line to discuss what happened in Israel and how it will affect Israel's future and the peace process is Joel Brunold of the Alliance for Middle East Peace. Brunold is an astute observer of Knesset politics and a powerful voice for an enduring peace between Palestinians and Israelis. He breaks down the election results and explains precisely how this will damage the Two State Solution. With the peace process stalled, Brunold offers one idea imported from Northern Ireland that supporters of the Two State Solution may rally around. 

If you have 15 minutes and want to understand what happened in Israel and what it means for the peace process, have a listen



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Episode 56: Todd Moss


Sun, Mar 15, 2015


Todd Moss is a true international development wonk. He's also the author of a critically acclaimed novel--a thriller called The Golden Hour that examines the dysfunction of the American foreign policy bureaucracy through riveting storytelling. In this episode, Moss discusses how fiction can be a useful tool for examining real-world truths about how US foreign policy is made. Moss also discusses his unique path from studying stock markets in West Africa to becoming a novelist, which includes stints at the World Bank and State Department. He has not quit his day job, though. Todd studies trade and economics of west Africa from his perch at the Center for Global Development while writing sequels to his novel. This is a fun episode that will satisfy policy nerds and fiction lovers a-like. 



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Guinea Worm Disease is Tantalizingly Close to Global Eradication


Wed, Mar 11, 2015


Guinea Worm eradication is near. Guinea Worm is a waterborne disease that affects only the poorest of the poor people on the planet. But after millennia of inflicting pain and suffering in Asia and Africa, the disease is tantalizingly close to being wiped off the face of the earth. 30 years ago there were millions of cases worldwide. In 2014, there were just 126. This decline is thanks in large part to Jimmy Carter and the the work of the Carter Center, which launched a Global Eradication Program in the 1980s. On the line today is Adam Weiss of the Carter Center who discusses Guinea Worm Disease, how its transmitted, how this amazing decline has occurred, and what needs to be done to eradicate it once and for all. 

 



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


Thu, Mar 05, 2015


The ebola crisis demonstrated that countries with very weak health care systems are extremely vulnerable to a preventable disease outbreak. Now that the crisis is on the wane, organizations are taking stock of how to build better health systems--the nuts and bolts of how people access the care they need. To that end, Save the Children released a new report this week that ranks 72 poor countries based on the relative strength of their overall health system. Mark speaks with CEO Carolyn Miles about the new Health Access Index, what countries can do to move up it, and why universal healthcare for people in the developing world is a perfectly achievable goal. This is Miles' second appearance on the podcast. In episode 16 she tells Mark about her remarkable life story and career path that lead her to Save the Children. 



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Episode 55: Sarah Margon


Sun, Mar 01, 2015


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



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


Mon, Feb 16, 2015


How good are the data that drives international development policies? It turns out, not that great. This week's episode comes in two parts. In part 1, Mark speaks with Morten Jerven, author of "Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about it?" who offers an excellent overview of the situation. Next, Mark speaks with one person who is actively trying to solve this problem in one discreet way. Mayra Buvinich is a senior fellow with the United Nations Foundation who helped start Data2X, which is a collaboration that seeks to improve the quality of data and statistics about women and girls in the developing world.  



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Episode 54: Stephen Walt


Mon, Feb 16, 2015


Stephen Walt is one of America's best known international relations theorists. He's probably most famous for his "Balance of Threat" theory, which was published in his groundbreaking study "The Origins of Alliances." In this episode, Walt discusses growing up in Northern California; recounts his intellectual development in high school and university; and tells the story of his "a-ha!" moment during writing the "Origins of Alliances." This is a lively conversation and a great deep dive into the intellectual development of one of America's leading foreign policy scholars. Syria, "The Israel Lobby," and more are discussed. Enjoy!  



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A Stunning Turn of Events in Sri Lanka


Mon, Feb 16, 2015


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

 



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Episode 53: Leila Zerrougui


Sat, Feb 14, 2015


Leila Zerrougui is the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. It's her job to help free child soldiers and ensure that children are spared from the worst effects of war and conflict. In this episode, Zerrougui describes how she recently helped secure the release of child soldiers in South Sudan and reflects on her work to protect children around the world. Zerrougui was born in conflict: she grew up in Algeria during the war for independence and served as a juvenile court judge during Algeria's civil war in the 1980s and 1990s before moving to a career with the United Nations. This is a great conversation. 



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Migrant Ship Disasters in the Mediterranean


Thu, Feb 12, 2015


There is a tragedy unfolding in the Mediterranean sea. Migrants trying to reach an Italian island off the coast of Libya are dying by the boatload, and Europe is turning a blind eye. Just this week, the UN Refugee Agency estimated that over 300 people have died already this year taking this perilous journey. Meanwhile, an Italian search and rescue operation that saved thousands of people last year has been shelved. John Dalhuisen of Amnesty International is on the line to discuss this crisis, what Europe and Italy could be doing to stop it, what is compelling these migrants to make this dangerous journey, and why this ongoing tragedy is about to get much worse. 



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Episode 52: Jan Egeland


Mon, Feb 09, 2015


Jan Egeland fights disasters--natural and manmade. Currently the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council and was formerly the top humanitarian emergency official at the United Nations, Egeland discusses his career on the front lines of the world's most urgent humanitarian crises. Jan Egeland and Mark kick off with a discussion about the crisis in Syria and its global humanitarian consequences, then pivot to a discussion about Egeland's fascinating life and career. (And yes, the Ylvis parody video is discussed!) 

 



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Measles Around the World


Wed, Feb 04, 2015


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



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Episode 51: Ambassador Susan Jacobs


Mon, Feb 02, 2015


Ambassador Susan Jacobs is the Special Advisor for Children's Issues at the State Department. She has the distinction of being the first sitting US government official to be Mark's guest. Ambassador Jacobs describes her office's work on inter-country adoptions and custody disputes and when these issues rise to the level of high diplomacy. Ambassador Jacobs was one of the very first married women to be allowed to enter the US foreign service. She discusses what it took to break that barrier as she entered a long and distinguished career--including a stint at the US ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. It's a lively discussion with a foreign service pro. Enjoy! 

 



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Boko Haram and the Nigerian Elections


Wed, Jan 28, 2015


The Boko Haram insurgency is intensifying precisely as Nigerians prepare to go the polls in hotly contested elections. Earlier this month, the group pulled off their deadliest attack to date (though the media was consumed by the Charlie Hebdo attacks). So why is Boko Haram stepping up their attacks now? What effect might it have on the prospects of another term in office for President Goodluck Jonathan? What can the international community do to help beat back this insurgency? And what are the other big campaign issues on the table in Africa's largest democracy?  Alexander Thurston of Georgetown University answers these questions and more. 



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Episode 50: Trita Parsi


Sun, Jan 25, 2015


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



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Obama in India


Thu, Jan 22, 2015


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



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Episode 49: C. Christine Fair


Mon, Jan 19, 2015


C. Christine Fair is one of academia's brightest and most respected South Asia analysts. In this great episode of the Global Dispatches Podcast, Dr. Fair discusses her unique career path and speaks candidly about navigating around sexual harassers. Dr. Fair has sharp elbows and an ever sharper sense of humor. I don't say this often, but this is a must-listen episode. You'll learn a lot about Pakistan. You'll learn even more about how to effectively overcome sexual harassment. 



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Can We Really End Extreme Poverty?


Wed, Jan 14, 2015


In September delegates at the United Nations will decide upon a set of Sustainable Development Goals to replace the Millennium Development Goals, which are expiring. The SDGs will almost certainly set an audacious goal: to totally of eradicate extreme poverty by 2015. Is that even possible? And what will it take to get there? In this episode, host Mark Leon Goldberg gets two distinct perspectives on the substance and process behind the Sustainable Development Goals. First up is John McArthur of the Brookings Institution and United Nations Foundation who discusses the big picture of why we need a common international development agenda. Next is Amina Mohammad, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General in charge of spearheading the UN system around setting these goals. This is a great episode, published in conjunction with a day of social media action to raise awareness about the SDGs and big stakes ahead in 2015. 



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Episode 48: Admiral James Stavridis


Mon, Jan 12, 2015


Admiral James Stavridis was the former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and is currently the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He was the head of NATO during the Libya intervention; and served in top policy positions at the Defense Department before assuming his post at Fletcher. Adm. Stavridis  recounts his personal and intellectual journey to become a highly decorated Naval officers and a widely respected scholar of international relations. 



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


Thu, Jan 08, 2015


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



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Episode 47: Chris Blattman


Sun, Jan 04, 2015


The economist Chris Blattman is a pioneering researcher best known for testing whether giving money directly to extremely poor people can yield positive results for international development. Blattman discusses how these cash transfer programs work, his groundbreaking research into the economic effects of child soldiers in Uganda, and the circuitous route he took to becoming one of the best respected international development economists. 

 



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Name Your Favorite Foreign Policy Book of All Time


Wed, Dec 24, 2014


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



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Episode 46: Robin Wright


Sun, Dec 21, 2014


Robin Wright is one of her generation's greatest foreign affairs journalists. The award wining journalist and analyst has reported from around the world and collected some incredible experiences along the way. In this episode of Global Dispatches, Wright shares some of her most poignant moments from early in her career, including one near death experience and many larger than life moments, including an improbable encounter with Mohammad Ali. She recounts these stories, reflects on what sparked her curiosity about the world, and discusses how she broke into international affairs journalism. 

 



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How the Pope Helped Seal the Cuba Deal


Thu, Dec 18, 2014


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



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Episode 45: Aaron David Miller


Sun, Dec 14, 2014


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



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An Ebola Fighter Speaks


Wed, Dec 10, 2014


Time Magazine named Ebola Fighters as their 2014 Persons of the Year. Mark spoke with one of these health care workers, Dr. Joia Mukherjee of Partners in Health, literally as she was en route to Sierra Leone. They discuss why ebola cases are on the decline in Liberia, but not seemingly in Sierra Leone; why the fear of ebola is still much deadlier than the disease itself; why we need to invoke human rights language into any discussion about health care disparities in poor countries; and what lessons the international community needs to draw from this outbreak. This was a powerful, informative and exceedingly timely conversation with an experienced frontline healthcare worker. 

 



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Episode 44: Samantha Nutt


Sun, Dec 07, 2014



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



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


Wed, Dec 03, 2014


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



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Episode 43: Gareth Evans


Fri, Nov 28, 2014


Gareth Evans will forever be known as the godfather of the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect. The former foreign minister of Australia was also a pioneer in the practice of middle power "niche diplomacy," and in this episode of the Global Dispatches Podcast Gareth Evans traces his personal and intellectual journey from a working class family in Australia to becoming one of his generation's greatest intellectuals and statesmen. Evans and host Mark Leon Goldberg kick off with a discussion of some of the big issues facing the UN Security Council then pivot to a longer conversation about Evans' intellectual development, including powerful moments that shaped his worldview from an early age.  

 



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Episode 42: Howard French


Mon, Nov 24, 2014


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



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The Geopolitical Implications of an Iran Nuclear Deal


Thu, Nov 20, 2014


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



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Episode 41: Kori Schake


Mon, Nov 17, 2014


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



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The Rohingya of Myanmar


Wed, Nov 12, 2014


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



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Episode 40: Tom Hart


Mon, Nov 10, 2014


Tom Hart was at the center of the biggest international development debates of the last 15 years. Now serving as the US Director of the ONE Campaign, Hart lobbied for forgiving the debt of the world's poorest countries in the late 1990s, and in the early 2000s he helped pass the world's largest program to combat HIV/AIDS. In this episode. Hart tells the genesis story of the Jubilee Campaign, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. And "Genesis" is apt--Tom grew up in Alaska the son of an Episcopal minister and became the Washington, D.C. lobbyist for the Episcopal church. It's a very interesting story, accessible and interesting for wonks and non-wonks alike. 

 

 

 



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


Wed, Nov 05, 2014


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

  



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Episode 39: Erica Chenoweth


Mon, Nov 03, 2014


Erica Chenoweth is a pioneering academic whose ground breaking study on strategic non-violence demonstrated that movements that use non-violent tactics when fighting for the over-through of a regime are twice as likely to succeed as movements that use violence as a tactic. Her book, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Non-Violence, co-authored with Maria J. Stephan, provides an authoritative study of how and when non-violent movements succeed in their goals of overthrowing a regime. Chenoweth discusses her book, some of the current movements she is studying and tells Mark how growing up in Dayton, Ohio to helped propel her to a career in international relations.  

 



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How to Get a Job at the United Nations


Wed, Oct 29, 2014


How to get a job at the United Nations? It's a question I put to a longtime United Nations staff member, who explains the best ways to land a job at the UN. Steven Siqueira has worked at the United Nations for over a decade in various capacities in New York and around the world. He discusses the UN's quota system for allocating jobs based on nationality; the benefits and drawbacks of arriving as an early career verses mid career professional; the parallel ways to enter the UN system; and why people who have their heart set on working for the United Nations ought to think of it as a long term career goal. 

This episode of Global Dispatches Podcast was inspired by listeners who asked me to cover this topic. If you have any recommendations of topics to cover or guests to interview please get in touch. 



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Episode 38: Nicholas Kristof


Mon, Oct 27, 2014


Nicholas Kristof is on the line! The New York Times columnist discusses growing up in rural Oregon with a father who escaped near certain death in a World War Two prison camp. Kristof tells Mark how he got his start in journalism and discusses some of the big assignments of his career, like the Tiananmen Square massacre and the genocide in Darfur. You'll hear some fascinating stories from someone who you've no doubt read for years. They kick off with a discussion of A Path Appears, the new book by Kristof and his co-author and wife Sheryl WuDunn.  

 



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What Ebola Reveals About Americans' Understanding of Africa


Thu, Oct 23, 2014


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



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Episode 37: Anneke Van Woudenberg


Mon, Oct 20, 2014


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

 



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The Sustainable Development Goals--What You Need to Know


Thu, Oct 16, 2014


The Millennium Development Goals are expiring in 2015 and they will be replaced by the Sustainable Development Goals. This is a big year for international development--and humanity -- as complex diplomacy is underway at the United Nations to finalize what's called the "Post 2015 Development Agenda."  

Here with me to discuss the process of creating the Sustainable Development Goals, the substance of those goals and the key points of contention is Minh Thu Pham of the United Nations Foundation. This is a super helpful discussion for anyone who cares about international development, global do gooder and diplomacy. Have a listen! 

 

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Episode 36: George Mitchell


Mon, Oct 13, 2014


Most people know George Mitchell for overseeing successful peace talks in Northern Ireland and his celebrated tenure in the United States Senate. He's led an incredible life. He grew up in Maine in relative poverty, and emerged as one of his generations greatest politicians and peacemakers. Mitchell discusses his life story with Mark, including how a military posting in post-war Berlin led to law school in Washington, DC, and how his fellow mentor and Mainer Edmund Muskie helped launch his political career. Sen Mitchell and Mark kick off with a conversation about his work as President Obama's special envoy for Middle East peace. This was a great episode.  

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


Thu, Oct 09, 2014


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

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Episode 35: Scott Guggenheim


Mon, Oct 06, 2014


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

 

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Somaly Mam, in her own words


Thu, Oct 02, 2014


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

So what is the real story? I don't know. The point of this interview was not to engage in a back and forth with Somaly about whether or not she fabricated claims about past. Rather, I was interested in learning what she is up to now, and how this controversy has affected her personally and her work rescuing girls from the sex trade. To be honest, I'm not sure I succeeded. It was a tough interview. I'll let you decide. Please feel free to direct your criticisms and critiques (or, if you like it, your approbation) of this interview to me personally, via @MarkLGoldberg

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Episode 34: Joseph Nye


Mon, Sep 29, 2014


Joseph Nye is on the line today. You probably know him best for "soft power," but the international relations theorist has a long history of trailblazing research and analysis. Arguably one of the most influential academics of the last half century, Nye tells Mark about how he got his start. (It begins in east Africa, academically, at least.) Nye discusses growing up in New Jersey, his career in and out of government service, and his "a-ha!" moment on "soft power."  It's a great episode with a top-notch thinker. They kick off with a discussion about the international relations theory that underpins Putin's moves in eastern Ukraine.  Have a listen! 

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How the UN Helps Fight Terrorism


Tue, Sep 23, 2014


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

 



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The Big UN Climate Summit


Wed, Sep 17, 2014


Hundreds of world leaders are descending on the United Nations for a one day meeting on climate change. This is a big deal for the United Nations, for diplomacy, and possibly for the planet. So who is showing up and what countries are snubbing the conference? What will be discussed? And how will this affect ongoing negotiations to construct an internationally binding climate change agreement? Mark speaks with Elliot Diringer of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions who helps put this historic meeting at the United Nations in the larger context of international climate change diplomacy. This is a very useful conversation for understanding the diplomatic contours of arguably the single most important issue facing humanity today.

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Episode 33: Ruth Messinger


Mon, Sep 15, 2014


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

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The Crisis in the Central African Republic


Thu, Sep 11, 2014


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

 

 

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Episode 32: Andrew Young


Sun, Sep 07, 2014


It was an honor to have civil rights icon Andrew Young on the show. Our conversation spans from Andrew Young's early childhood to his appointment as United States Ambassador to the United Nations by Jimmy Carter. Young discusses growing up in a diverse New Orleans neighborhood in a middle class family, how he became a close friend and confident of Martin Luther King, Jr, witnessing his friend's assassination, and his enduring commitment to non-violence. Young was the first African American US Congressman from the deep south since reconstruction and served as Mayor of Atlanta during the 1980s.  He's lead an absolutely remarkable life. Prepare to be inspired.  

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Obama's Syria Dilemma


Thu, Sep 04, 2014


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

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Episode 31: Amb. Michael Guest


Tue, Sep 02, 2014


Michael Guest is a trailblazer. In 2001 he became the first out-gay senate confirmed United States ambassador. In 2007 his long and distinguished career in the foreign service was cut short when he resigned after failing to secure the kind of benefits and rights for his family that are routinely granted to heterosexual spouses. 

Amb. Guest tells Mark about his long career working European and NATO policy during the height of the Cold War and as the Soviet Union disintegrated. He discusses how growing up the son of a Southern Baptist preacher helped shape his worldview and describes his path to the foreign service. They kick off with a discussion of the ways in which the Obama administration has mainstreamed LGBT rights into the US foreign policy and human rights agenda. Have a listen! 

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The Fear of Ebola


Thu, Aug 28, 2014


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

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An Update for All You Global Dispatchers


Mon, Aug 25, 2014


Hi all-

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

 

 



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South Sudan's Looming Famine


Thu, Aug 21, 2014


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

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Episode 30: Jeffrey Sachs


Sun, Aug 17, 2014


Jeff Sachs is on the line this week! The famed economist and anti-poverty activist talks to Mark about his up-bringing in turbulent Detroit, why he gravitated towards economics in college, his experience helping countries transition from communism to market economies, and how he become devoted to global health and development.     

They recorded the conversation at the 500 day mark until the Millennium Development Goals are due. These are set of eight international development targets agreed to in 2000 that countries around the word committed to acheive by 2015. At the top of the interview, Jeff Sachs discusses how the MDGs were a game changer for the international community. It's a great conversation. Have a listen! 

 

 

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Sex Slaves in Iraq


Thu, Aug 14, 2014


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

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Episode 29: Chris Hill


Mon, Aug 11, 2014


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

These stories are all fresh in his mind. Ambassador Hill just completed his highly anticipated memoir, to be published this fall. Have a listen!

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The International Criminal Court's Palestine Problem


Thu, Aug 07, 2014


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

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Episode 28: Nancy Birdsall


Mon, Aug 04, 2014


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

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Why this Ebola Outbreak is Out of Control


Thu, Jul 31, 2014


 

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

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Episode 27: Daniel Drezner


Mon, Jul 28, 2014


Daniel Drezner is on the line this week. You probably know him through his robust social media presence and as a long time blogger for Foreign Policy and the Washington Post. Now at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, Drezner talks with Mark about his life in and out of academia and how he first became interested in the global political economy as a young boy witnessing long lines at the gas station in the 1970s. It's a fun conversation with interesting diverstions along the way. 

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How to Negotiate a Gaza Ceasefire


Thu, Jul 24, 2014


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

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Episode 26: Helene Gayle


Mon, Jul 21, 2014


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

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HIV/AIDS - How Humanity is Winning the Fight


Thu, Jul 17, 2014


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

 

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Episode 25: Joseph Cirincione


Mon, Jul 14, 2014


 

Joseph Cirincione is on the line this week. The nuclear policy wonk and activist discusses Iran, Bush's troubled non-proliferation record and why the jury is still out on President Obama's nuclear legacy. He tells Mark about his first memories of living under the threat of nuclear war and how his life and career has tracked the ups and downs of American nuclear policy. It's timely conversation, kicked off with a brief discussion of the Iran nuclear talks, and a timeless conversation about the history of America and the bomb. Enjoy! 

 

 

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A Child Migrant's Perspective


Thu, Jul 10, 2014


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

 

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Live from the UN 2014, Part 2


Mon, Jul 07, 2014


It's a special edition of the podcast today! I have a number of officials from the United Nations on the show. These interviews were conducted on location at the United Nations. Each conversation lasts about 10 minutes or so and focuses on some aspect of my interviewees work. Enjoy! 

In order of appearence: 

Richard Wright, UNRWA (Palestinian Refugees agency)

George Papagiannis, UNESCO

Valere Mantels, Office of Disarmament Affairs, Weapons of Mass Destruction Branch

Sarah Crowe, UNICEF

Gary Fowlie, The International Telecommunucations Union

Silke von Brockhausen, UN peacekeeping mission to Sierra Leone

Warner Schmidt, UN Capital Master Plan (renovatin the UN building) 

 

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Inside the Iran Nuke Talks


Thu, Jul 03, 2014


All eyes are on Vienna as delegations from the United States, Germany, France, the UK, Russia and China meet with Iranian officials in a final push to secure a comprehensive agreement over Iran's nuclear program. They have until July 20 to come to terms. 

The negotiations are complex and the issues vexing. But one thing is certain: if an agreement is struck it could change international relations in the entire Middle East and even the world. Here to take us inside the negotiations is veteran journalist Laura Rozen. She sets the scene for what to expect in Vienna in the coming days. I also speak with Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association who breaks down the wonky key points of negotiation in an easily digestible way. 

I think you'll enjoy this episode. This is a hugely significant moment for Obama's foreign policy legacy, the Middle East, and the cause of non-proliferation. Have a listen. 

 

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Episode 23: Jillian York


Mon, Jun 30, 2014


Jillian York is on the line this week. She is the online freedom of expression activist, writer and thinker, now with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Jillian tells Mark how she was in the right place at the right time to help the world understand how social media was propelling the Arab Spring Protests.  



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Turkey's Strategic View of the Iraq Crisis


Thu, Jun 26, 2014


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

Be sure to check out Prof. Fishman's blog, Istanbul-New York-Tel Aviv

 

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Live from the UN, 2014 (Part 1)


Mon, Jun 23, 2014


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

Here's the first batch of interviews. Look out for part two in the near future. 

 

John Ashe, President of the General Assembly

Courtenay Rattray, Jamaica's Ambassador to the UN

Le Hoai Trung, Vietnam's Ambassador to the UN

Kurt Chesko, UN Mine Action Service

Andrew Hudson, UN Development Program

Chris Whatley, United Nations Association of the USA

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A UN View of the Iraq Crisis


Thu, Jun 19, 2014


From the perspective of the United Nations, the crisis in Iraq cannot be disaggregated from the crisis in Syria.

In this special edition of Global Dispatches, I speak with the United Nations Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliason who shares his deep concern that ISIS's offensive in Iraq and Syria's escalating conflict could plunge the entire region into sectarian war.

I also speak with Bettina Luescher, spokesperson for the World Food Program, who discusses the UN's humanitarian response to the Iraq and Syria crises. Have a listen. Look out for more of these conversations from the United Nations on Monday.



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Episode 21: Ambassador Thomas Pickering


Mon, Jun 16, 2014


 

Amb Thomas Pickering has had a front row seat to some of the most important foreign policy events of the last 50 years. The career foreign service officer and widely respected diplomat served as US Ambassador to the United Nations, Israel, Jordan, Russia, India, among others places. He speaks with Mark about the faltering Israel-Palestine peace process, his role in shaping US policy during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and an awkward phone call with President-elect George H.W. Bush, who tapped him to serve as US Ambassador to the UN during the run-up to the Gulf War.  

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Dying for the World Cup


Thu, Jun 12, 2014


 

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

 

 

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Episode 20: Jessica Tuchman Mathews


Mon, Jun 09, 2014


Jessica Tuchman Mathews is on the line this week. The longtime head of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and foreign policy trendsetter discusses the crisis in Ukraine, growing up with a famous mother, her unconventional path from molecular biology to foreign policy; and how two of her Foreign Affairs articles forever changed how we think about the world. 

It's a great conversation!  Have a listen and let me know what you think. 

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Egypt After the Counter Revolution


Thu, Jun 05, 2014


Egypt's ex Army Chief Abdel Fatah al Sisi won election this week (with an astounding 96% of the vote!) The ascent of this Mubarak-era military functionary speaks to the profound failure of Egypt's 2011 Arab Spring revolution. 

Who is al-Sisi? Why did the Muslim Brotherhood and Mohammed Morsi fail so spectacularly? And what can prevent Egypt from lurching from one political crisis to the next? Here to provide the context for Morsi's fall, al Sisi's rise and What It All Means is Issandr al Amrani of the International Crisis Group. If you have 20 minutes and what to understand what's going on in Egypt, have a listen. 

 

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Episode 19: Louise Arbour


Mon, Jun 02, 2014


International Crisis Group chief Louise Arbour is on the line this week. Ms Arbour is a true human rights pioneer, perhaps best known as the war crimes prosecutor who served Slobodan Milosevic his indictment for genocide. In this episode, she tells Mark about her amazing journey from law school in Quebec to the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda -- and how one dark episode of Canadian history propelled her to fight governments who abuse their citizens.

 

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What Obama Left Out of His Big Foreign Policy Speech


Thu, May 29, 2014


President Obama's commencement address to West Point Graduates this week was billed by the White House as a major foreign policy address. But there were some conspicuous absences from the talk. What was notable about this speech? And how does this fit into Obama's overall foreign policy legacy? Here to put the talk in context is Matt Duss of the Center for American Progress.  

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Episode 18: Zalmay Khalilzad


Tue, May 27, 2014


 

Zalmay Khalizad is on the line this week. The Afghan native served as US ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations under George W. Bush.

Ambassador Khalilzad discusses coming to the USA at the age of 15, how a chance encounter in grad school changed his career path, and how he helped shape US policy during the Iran-Iraq war. The conversation kicks off with a discussion of Afghan president Hamid Karzai's legacy and America's legacy of violence in Iraq.  

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Why Libya is Suddenly on the Verge of Civil War


Thu, May 22, 2014


Libya today is arguably closer to a full blown civil war than at any time since the fall of Muammar Ghaddafi in 2011. A renegade general named Khalifa Haftar is on the March, seeking to upend an Islamist controlled parliament. Who is this man, what does he want, and why are conditions ripe for a civil war? Mark speaks with journalist Marine Casalis who puts the unfolding situation in Libya in some context.

 

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Episode 17: Gov. Bill Richardson


Mon, May 19, 2014


Bill Richardson is a former UN ambassador, governor, presidential candidate, member of congress and energy secretary. But throughout it all he's had a second career: hostage negotiator. Richardson discusses how he developed a reputation as the "undersecretary for thugs"; his visits to hostile countries to secure the release of political prisoners; and how a famed African dictator almost bludgeoned him with a cane. 

 

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The Foreign Policy Implications of India's Elections


Thu, May 15, 2014


 

The largest excerise in democracy in the history of humanity is coming to an end. Narendra Modi will cruise to victory, but what does his ascent mean for India's relationship with Pakistan, China, the USA and the rest of the world? Mark speaks with Tanvi Madan of the Brookings Institution about the foreign policy implications of India's elections. 

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Episode 16: Save the Children CEO Carolyn Miles


Mon, May 12, 2014


Save the Children is one of the largest international aid and relief organizations in the world. CEO Carolyn Miles speaks with Mark about her unconvential path to relief work, which included studying animal behavior, a stint selling credit cards in Asia and opening a boutique coffee chain in Hong Kong. 

Because this was published on Mother's Day, they kick off with a discussion of Save the Children's report on unsafe motherhood around the world.  Have a listen! 

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What Boko Haram Wants


Fri, May 02, 2014


Boko Haram is in the news for all the wrong reasons. A series of audactious attacks, including the kidnapping of hundreds of school girls, has provoked international outrage. But why would Boko Haram launch such an attack? Who are these people, what do they want, and how can they be defeated? 

Mark Leon Goldberg catches up with Jacob Zenn of the Jamestown Foundation who offers insight, context and an explanation for the Boko Haram insurgency. Have a listen. 

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Episode 15: Laura Turner Seydel on Philanthropy and Captain Planet


Mon, Dec 02, 2013


The scion of Ted Turner is forging a new philanthropic path, focusing on reproductive health and environmental issues. She talks to Mark Leon Goldberg about growing up a Turner, her focus on reproductive health issues, and how Captain Planet shaped a generation of environmentalists.  

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Episode 14: Douglas Ollivant on Iraq's Violent Death Spiral


Fri, Nov 01, 2013


Iraq is in the midst of an unrelenting descent into violence. Every day brings news of another bombing or attack that leaves scores of people dead. This has been the case for the past several months, and it only seems to be getting worse.

I speak with Douglas Ollivant of the New American Foundation who helps put this current wave of violence in context. Ollivant served as a military officer in Iraq, then served on the Iraq team at the National Security Council under both President Bush and Obama. Ollivant offers an indepth analysis of what is driving this violence, what can be done to stop it and the regional implications (read: Syria) of it all. Have a listen.

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Episode 13: Gary Bass


Thu, Oct 17, 2013


The historian Gary Bass has penned a new book that is getting rave reviews. The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide tells the story of the muted American response to a human rights and humanitarian catastrophe that befell Bangladesh in the wake of its separation from Pakistan in the early 1970s. 

Gary and I talk about his story, what made this particular genocide "forgotten", and how one goes about researching history like this.  Have a listen!

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Episode 12: Mark Montgomery


Thu, Aug 01, 2013


Mark Leon Goldberg speaks with the demographer and economist Mark Montgomery about global population trends. It turns out that adolescent girls in the developing world hold a tremendous amount of demographic power. 

 

 

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Episode 11: Kenneth Roth


Thu, Jul 18, 2013


The longtime executive director of Human Rights Watch is on the line this week. Kenneth Roth discusses some of the world's most ignored human rights crises; how his father's experience fleeling Nazi Germany propelled him to a career in human rights; and how the human rights movement is evolving as global centers of power shift. 

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Episode 10: Live from the UN, Volume II


Wed, Jul 10, 2013


Doing things a little differently this week. Mark conducts a series of back-to-back-to-back interviews with experts from around the United Nations. Interesting, wonky discussions were had! Here are the interviewees in order of appearance. 

Sarah Crowe, UNICEF

Jo Scheuer, UN Development Program expert on disaster risk reduction

Dan Sheppard, Department of Public Information, specializing on climate issues.

Randy Rydell, UN Office for Disarmament Affairs

Andrew Rudd, UN Habitat

Roland Rich, UN Democracy Fund

Mahar Nasser, Creative Community Outreach

Boaz Paldi, UN Development Program

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Episode 9: Mia Farrow


Wed, Jul 03, 2013


The acclaimed actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador talks to Mark about her work for children in conflict zones around the world. Mia Farrow traces her committment to humanitarian causes from an early age and dicusses the role of celebrity in bringing to light the suffering of vulnerable people in oft-ignored parts of the world. Oh, and she also tells a crazy story about the time she beat up a man beating a woman on the side of the road in Chad! It's a great conversation. 

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Special World Refugee Day Edition


Thu, Jun 20, 2013


In this special edition of Global Dispatches, Mark Leon Goldberg interviews Shelly Pitterman of the UN Refugee Agency. Today, June 20th, is World Refugee Day and earlier this week the UN High Commission for Refugees released a report showing that the global number of displaced persons has reached a 20 year high. Pitterman discusses this report, describes the UN Refugee Agency's work in Syria, and explains how the Syria emergency is complcating other humanitarian efforts around the world. 



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Episode 8: Suzanne Nossel


Wed, Jun 19, 2013


Mark Leon Goldberg speaks with Suzanne Nossel, author of the influential Foreign Affairs article "Smart Power." Nossel served as a deputy assistant secretary of state during president Obama's first term, and has served in leadership roles in high profile human rights NGOs. Suzanne tells Mark about how familty connections to South Africa shaped her dedication to human rights; how a cold call to Richard Holbrooke lead to a career in public service; and what American leadership can accomplish at the United Nations.  

 

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Episode 7: Live from the UN, Vol I


Wed, Jun 12, 2013


We are doing something a little different  today. Instead of one in depth interview, Mark chats with several experts who work for various arms of the United Nations. 

Here's the set up: The UN Foundation invited a number of talk radio hosts to broadcast from inside the United Nations headquarters in New York and arranged for UN experts to stop by the broadcast room.  I couldn't fit every single interview into one podcast, so look out for a future "Live from the UN Volume 2."

On this program, in order of appearance, we have:

Paul Heslop from UN Mine Action Service--the real life Hurt Locker.

Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict on her remarkable career fighting for women's rights.

George Papagiannis, UNESCO. On the USA's self-defeating policy toward UNESCO

Jos Vandaveer, Chief of Immunizations, UNICEF. Why vaccines can save the world.

Khalid Malik, UNDP. What the New Human Development report tells us about the Global South; and why China's remarkable rise is not going to end anytime soon.

 

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Episode 6: PJ Crowley, former State Department Spokesperson


Wed, Jun 05, 2013


On the line this week is PJ Crowley, the former Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. Mark and PJ talk about the role of public diplomacy in US foreign policy, PJ's long career in the Air Force, and how speaking out against the treatment of accused Wikileaker Bradley Manning marked the end of his public service. 



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Episode 5: Octavia Nasr, Reporter and ex-CNNer


Wed, May 29, 2013


Octavia Nasr is on the line this week. The longtime CNN personality discusses how she cut her teeth reporting from the dangerous frontlines of Lebanon's civil war; how women's movements are shaping post-Arab Spring countries; and how a Tweet led to her being fired from CNN after 20 years of service. 



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Episode 4: Arsalan Iftikhar, "The Muslim Guy"


Wed, May 22, 2013


You probably know him as "The Muslim Guy." Arsalan Iftikhar is a civil rights lawyer and popular media commentator who fights daily against widespread bigotry facing Muslim Americans. In our conversation we discuss the how the child of immigrants from Pakistan got into this line of work, how the Bush administration officially sanctioned discrimination against Muslim Americans, and why Barack Obama refuses to set foot in an American Mosque. 



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Episode 3: Dodge Billingsley, Filmmaker


Wed, May 15, 2013


This week's guest is the filmmaker Dodge Billingsley. We discuss his new documentary about the political and cultural challenges of Korean unification; his time spent embedded with Chechen rebels; and the movies that that shaped his worldview. 



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Episode 2: Laura Seay, aka @TexasinAfrica


Wed, May 08, 2013


In this week's episode, I talk with Dr. Laura Seay who you probably know better as @TexasinAfrica. I learn how the daughter of a preacher from a cotton farming community near Lubbock became one of America's most influential Africanists. We talk about how activism around Africa (think: Kony 2012 and 'conflict minerals') often has nefarious consequences on the ground; how the DR Congo can get back on its feet; and, speaking of feet, why she cringes at the sight of TOMS shoes.



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Episode 1: Heather Hurlburt


Tue, Apr 30, 2013


Executive Director of the National Security Network Heather Hurlburt kicks off the new podcast series. She discuses why Syria is a such a vexing dillemma for Obama; how different generations of policy hands drew separate lessons from the Iraq War; why Russian studies ought be back in vogue; and how the Boston Red Sox shaped her worldview. Have a Listen! 



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