Lost Nuclear Materials

As the world turns its focus toward nuclear proliferation issues in North Korea and Iran, the international community faces another critical threat: the loss or theft of nuclear materials. This episode explores security risks of lost or stolen nuclear materials, provides case studies to illustrate the threat, and details how countries are addressing this problem.

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Conflict in South Sudan

South Sudan has been plagued by a brutal civil war that has killed thousands and displaced millions, with violence threatening to spill into neighboring countries, Meanwhile, the international community has failed to work with the competing factions to agree to a sustainable peace agreement, as there is little hope for any lasting peace in the...

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Michael McFaul, former Ambassador to Russia

Michael McFaul, former Ambassador to Russia, joins us for a conversation about his time serving during the Russian reset, what it’s like to be the target of a Russian disinformation campaign, and his new book, From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia. McFaul served for five years in the Obama administration, first as...

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Tourism in North Korea

North Korea is notoriously isolated, but Daniel Wertz explains that the Hermit Kingdom in fact welcomes tourism – or at least tourist dollars. In this episode, our guest helps us understand what tourism looks like in North Korea and discusses the moral questions regarding tourism to the country.

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Spotlight: Mali

Following the death of three US soldiers in Nigeria, there has been a re-examination of the relationship between terrorism, Western intervention, and African nations. Given that Africa is seen as a strategic priority in preventing the spread of terrorism, we examine the history, current state, and future of Mali in this context.  Throughout the show,...

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Spotlight: Belarus

Today’s episode will feature a spotlight on Belarus only recognized as a country since 1991. Sandwiched between Russia and the European Union, Belarus is known as “Europe’s Last Dictatorship.” Its president, Alexander Lukashenko has held this position since being the first “democratically” elected president in 1994. Since then, Belarus has faced a sensitive diplomatic environment,...

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Behind The Mic

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by our members are their personal opinions and do not reflect the official policy or position of their employers or any agency of the U.S. government. None of us participate in Matters of State as representatives of any government entity or our employers.

Kevin Fairdosi

Director
I’m a native of Texas, where I studied French and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas. I came to DC for a MA program in international affairs, and stayed here for work in refugee affairs. My academic interests include refugee/immigration policy, conflict resolution, international security,  and foreign languages. I love to travel – to learn about and experience different cultures. I’m passionate about the power of cultural exchange to build international bridges and to foster international understanding.

Lacey Bruske

Moderator
I received my MA in international affairs from GWU’s Elliott School.  I have worked at the Department of Justice as an advocate for victims of sex trafficking and a legal assistant on drug trafficking crimes. I graduated from Utrecht University in The Netherlands with a BA in International Law and Foreign Relations. My travels have taken me throughout Europe, but I hope to broaden my scope to South America soon. My academic interests include organized crime and trafficking of weapons, drugs and people.

John Blaha

Outreach
 I received my MA in international affairs from The George Washington University’s Elliott School. I  serve as Matters of State’s  Director of Outreach and also contribute regularly on episodes. Originally from Central Texas, I earned a BA in linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. I lived in South Korea for nearly three years, teaching English on Jeju Island before studying Korean in Seoul. My academic and professional interests are international security and East Asian affairs.

Bobby Shields

Contributor, Writer

I received my MA from the George Washington University’s Elliott School, where I studied Security Policy with a dual focus on cybersecurity and energy security. I am a regular contributor on episodes and also write show notes for the podcast. Prior to attending GW, I worked as a legal assistant for the government contracts practice of a DC law firm. I earned my BA in Political Science and Economics from the University of Notre Dame.

Jean-Bernard Latortue

Contributor, Writer
 I also received my MA in international affairs from GW’s Elliott School.  I focus on nuclear policy and international security studies. Before enrolling in the MA program, I also worked on Capitol Hill and for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, DC. I  am a contributing writer to the International Affairs Review. I received my BA in History and Political Science from St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida. 

Lindsey Spanner

Public Relations, Social Media

I received an MA in Global Communication from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. Currently, I work in communication and new business development at an international development consulting firm. My specific areas of interest include gender and social inclusion, indigenous populations, and communication for development, with a regional focus on Latin America and the Caribbean.