Podcast

Democracy and Development in Rwanda

Rwanda has been lauded as a development success and a role model for Sub-Saharan Africa, but critics suggest that this development has come at the expense of healthy democratic governance. Kagame’s Rwanda is an excellent case study for a broader question in international development: does democratic change lead to development, or does development lead to democratic change? Can you have one without the other?

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Spotlight: Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej

This week, we  debut our Spotlight series. Unlike in our traditional round table discussions, the spotlight series will allow us to occasionally choose an interesting figure, location, or phenomenon to discuss. This episode’s figure is the world’s longest-reigning monarch alive: King Bhumibol Adulyadej. We start from his birth in the United States, move to his unexpected rise to the throne, and finally discuss his apotheosis.

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Illicit Oil Networks, ISIL, and the World

Most of us are familiar with ISIL’s use of oil smuggling, but how do they do it? Who facilitates and who buys the oil? What other regions around the world are also seeing oil smuggling. Some of them are closer to home than you might have imagined. Join us as we invite our good friend Siree Allers to discuss these questions and more.

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India’s Fence around Bangladesh

More and more countries are fencing off their borders in an attempt to curb illegal immigration and smuggling. In this episode, we talk about how India has fenced off almost its entire border with Bangladesh – one of the longest borders in the world. Why does India feel that it needs a fence? How does it impact the people living along the border, and what will the threat of climate change mean for the future? Is the fence even effective? Join us as we explore these questions and more!

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Mexico’s Drug Cartels

We’ve heard a lot about the drug wars in Mexico. We’ve even become familiar with the cartels that wage them- their names, territories and sagas given ample play in US media. But how much do we know about what drives the violence and keeps it aflame? In what ways are the cartels able to innovate in order to keep ahead of law enforcement on both sides of the US-Mexican border? Can law enforcement keep up with these ever-evolving organizations? If drug demand in the US were to vanish, how would the cartels cope? How much does corruption dilute successful cooperation between the United States and Mexico? Come join us for a chat about the ins and outs of Mexico’s Drug Cartels. Read More

Engaging North Korea

north korea photoNorth Korea is often called “The Hermit Kingdom” because of its isolation from the rest of the world, but is it really completely isolated? How much interaction does North Korea have with outsiders, and who does it interact with? What forms does this interaction take, and what does it accomplish? Can we see clearly enough into the country to assess the impact of this diverse spectrum of creative engagement? Join us as we chat with our guest Daniel Wertz, of the National Institute on North Korea (NCNK), about the realities of engaging North Korea.

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The World’s Syrian Refugee Crisis

refugees-crossing4 million Syrians are now refugees, and the war has displaced half of the country’s population. Should states take in more of those who are fleeing war, or are they right to close their borders? What could the influx of refugees mean for the future of the EU and for the political climate of EU member states? And, most poignantly, what is the depth of the humanitarian crisis? Join us as we explore these questions together.

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Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis

Gov. Alejandro García Padilla

Greece has received an overwhelming glut of attention over the summer for its financial woes, but the brewing debt crisis in Puerto Rico seems to have been underhyped. What consequences might Puerto Rico’s financial predicament have for the US? How has Puerto Rico’s unique status as a US Territory contributed to its economic stability? Could this debt quagmire change the conversation about the territory’s statehood potential? Join us as we delve into the causes, characteristics, and consequences of the Puerto Rican debt crisis.

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Introduction

Thanks for joining us! We’ll be launching our first episode next week, so subscribe now. Matters of State is a new podcast by young professionals in DC that will focus on under-reported aspects of issues in international relations. We also encourage you to get in touch with us on facebook, tweet us your show ideas @mattersOstate, poke us, or do whatever else you can do on the web these days. See you next week!