Podcast

International Relations of the Amazon

The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest, covering 40% of South America and spanning eight countries and one territory across the continent. It is home to a broad array of languages and cultures that must find a way to ensure a peaceful coexistence.

In this episode, we explore the international relations of the eight countries of the Amazon. We also discuss how these states oversee their portions of the Amazon and govern the rainforest’s inhabitants. In closing, we examine the future of the Amazon, both in its role as a vital climate regulator and as a source of some of the world’s most important natural resources.

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The Heart of Nuba: A Conversation With Doctor Tom Catena

In this episode, we speak with Dr. Tom Catena, the current Chair of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, about his work at the Mother Mercy Hospital in the Nuba Mountain region of Sudan.

The people of Sudan’s Nuba Mountains have long been marginalized by the government of Sudan under the regime of Omar Al-Bashir. Since the region rebelled against Sudan’s rule in 2011, Nubians have lived under constant fear of government violence.

Dr. Catena provides insights into the current conflict, his work to provide medical assistance to those suffering in the region, and how localized aid can offer much-needed support to the Nuba Mountain region and other conflict-ridden areas.

You can find out more about Dr. Catena’s work by watching his documentary, The Heart of Nuba.

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Spotlight: Lesotho

In this episode, we look into the history and current affairs of Lesotho, a country roughly size of Maryland that is landlocked in South Africa.

Much of Lesotho’s history and culture has been shaped by its mountainous terrain, which historically served as a fortress from outside threats. Today,  the Lesotho highlands play an integral part in the local Sotho culture.

However, Lesotho currently faces several challenges, including low life expectancy, water security concerns, tepid economic growth, and a high HIV/AIDS prevalence.

This Spotlight Episode explores the history, culture, and key issues Lesotho faces today.

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Olympic Terrorism

The Olympic Games have long been a symbol of sportsmanship and national pride. However, they can also be a target of terrorism. In this episode, we explore case studies of how organizations and nations have attempted to commit acts of terrorism in the context of Olympic Games. We will also examine how future Olympic hosts are working to ensure the safety and security of their upcoming Games.

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Featured photo credit: AP

Spotlight: Papua New Guinea

In today’s episode, we put a spotlight on the island nation of Papua New Guinea. PNG, bordering Indonesia and Australia on the edge of the south Pacific ocean, is defined by its diversity. Incredibly rich in resources and cultures, Papua New Guinea faces unprecedented challenges that many other nations do not face. In this episode, we discuss how PNG’s cultural and political makeup internally challenge any efforts for it to fit into international society.

Why Nations Fail

Professor Robinson joins us for a candid discussion about his book, ‘Why Nations Fail’. In it, he makes the case that the key differentiator between countries is “institutions.” Nations thrive when they develop “inclusive” political and economic institutions, and they fail when those institutions become “extractive” and concentrate power and opportunity in the hands of only a few.

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Uncontacted Peoples

How far do the limits of modern society reach? What is “modern society,” and who belongs to it? What happens when states, organizations, and other members of the “connected world” come into contact with groups that may have little intersection with it? Should these groups be actively protected, thoroughly researched, or simply left alone? Follow along with us as we wrestle with these questions and more during this week’s episode, “Uncontacted Peoples.”

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Emergency Warning Systems

Emergency warning systems are used by countries across the world to alert citizens about a variety of incidents, from natural disasters to military threats. Modern emergency warning systems are taking advantage of new technologies such as text messaging to ensure warnings reach the broadest possible audience. These systems, however, vary in their effectiveness and are vulnerable to human error and even malicious interference.

In this episode, we look into the history of emergency warning systems, provide examples of how these systems have been leveraged across various countries, and discuss their level of effectiveness in ensuring citizen safety.

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Ethiopia and Eritrea’s Sudden Peace

Ethiopia and Eritrea have been in near constant tension over the past several decades. In recent months, however, the two countries have ended their state of war and are working toward full normalization of relations.

In this episode, we explore the history of conflict and tension between Ethiopia and Eritrea and then discuss the recent successful peace overtures between the two countries. Lastly, we examine whether or not the recent peace between these two nations is sustainable.

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Photo Credit: Ministry of Information of the State of Eritrea

Bride Trafficking

The term “mail order brides” does not often invoke similar connotations to human trafficking, but bride trafficking is just that. Victims of this trade are forced to marry men they don’t know from foreign countries that are sometimes thousands of miles away from their homes and families. While it is worth noting that this industry isn’t exclusive to women, women and girls make up the majority of most cases.

People are trafficked for marriage, sex, and labor in virtually every country.  In this episode, we focus on bride trafficking in some of the countries where it is most prevalent. Marriage brokers provide men in developed countries with services to find women for marriage, often from developing countries. Sources for these brides often come from the Philippines, Vietnam, or Cambodia. In all of these source countries, marriage brokers are illegal.

China is one major destination of trafficked brides. Due to numerous demographic issues such as China’s one child policy, Chinese men source brides from countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, or even Ukraine. North Korea serves as a unique source for women in bride trafficking, as refugee flows coming out of North Korea provide a supply of exploitable women.

India is another common location for trafficked brides, most sourced internally. Young women or girls in India are often tricked or coerced, sometimes by family members, into marrying men from provinces in India with severe gender imbalances in the local populations. Other times, men from Middle Eastern countries travel to India for “contract” marriages, where men marry young girls for a limited period of time, before divorcing them upon return to their home countries. Contract marriages can also be permanent, where men will bring their Indian brides to their home countries. 

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