Up to one billion people live in slums around the world and the numbers are only expected to rise.[1. The number of people living in slums varies widely from source to source, but the UN has reported up to one billion. There is greater consensus on the fact that the numbers are rapidly increasing. http://www.un.org/en/globalissues/briefingpapers/cities/vitalstats.shtml] In this episode, we look at what drives the rapid urbanization around the world, how it leads to overcrowded slums and informal housing, and what can be done to improve the lives of the people living in these overcrowded areas.
Did you ever think that animals (and other lifeforms for that matter) could be trafficked like they were illegal drugs? In fact, some of the same people, networks, routes and tactics are involved in this massive illicit trade. Join us as we discuss the motivations, methods, and consequences of wildlife trafficking in this week’s episode.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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
North 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.
4 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.