Podcast

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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Take a look at some of our favorite articles that we came across while researching this topic:

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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Take a look at some of the book reviews on “Why Nations Fail”:

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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Take a look at some of our favorite articles that we came across while researching this topic:

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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National Apologies

Around the world, governments and nation-states have issued–and continue to issue–national apologies to victimized communities, populations, or countries. These apologies are often contentious and can cause ripple effects that influence foreign or domestic policies.

In this episode, we discuss what qualifies as a “national apology,” look at why national apologies are issued, and examine whether or not they achieve their intended goals.

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Take a look at some of our favorite articles that we came across while researching this topic:

Water Scarcity

In this episode, we examine the growing issue of water scarcity that has begun to plague cities and regions around the world. From California to Cape Town to Sao Paulo, we assess the causes and effects of water scarcity, and also discuss what to expect in the future.

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Take a look at some of our favorite articles that we came across while researching this topic:

Photo Credit: Zaian