Episodes

Zoos in Conflict Zones

One of the many stories that go untold in conflict zones is the fate of zoos and their animals. There are concerns for the animals’ safety as well as for humans if predatory animals escape. In this episode, we explore just a few examples of efforts to safeguard zoos during war.

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The Nicaragua Canal

The Panama Canal’s opening in 1914 transformed global trade and fostered economic development in Panama. Today, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Chinese financier Wang Jing are trying to emulate its success by constructing a canal through Nicaragua.

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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 from Stanford 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,...

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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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Human Rights and the Chocolate Industry

Nearly 70% of the world’s cocoa comes from western Africa, in countries such as Ghana and the Ivory Coast. In order to fill the global demand for chocolate, thousands of small cocoa farms often rely on slavery and child labor. Children ranging in ages from 5-16 are sent by their families with promises of education...

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Understanding National Debt

Managing national debt is a significant issue that every country in the world must face. While media outlets often report on national debt with forecasts of doom and gloom, it is important to understand that national debt is very complex, and the effects of which, both good and bad, are numerous and far-reaching. What is...

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Myanmar and Mobile Phones

Myanmar is experiencing one of the world’s fastest rollouts of mobile phones. What are the political, social, and economic effects of the smartphone revolution in Myanmar?

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Governments in Exile

What is a government, and what are the essential elements for statehood? To what extent can sovereignty be disentangled from jurisdiction over territory? In this episode, we approach these enduring questions by focusing on a unique and under-appreciated player in the international community: governments in exile. We explore the causes of governments in exile, their...

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Unorthodox Illicit Financing

The global illicit trade and financing market is worth hundreds of billions of dollars, with smugglers and financiers engaging in unorthodox illicit dealings with goods like cigarettes and medicine. Several global initiatives have tried to stem the growing trend of illicit trade and financing to protect legitimate businesses and customers. Listen as we analyze a few...

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H.E. Omar Arouna, Ambassador of Benin to the United States

[su_quote cite=”Ambassador Omar Arouna”]People need to watch Benin — the future of Africa will go through Benin.[/su_quote] This episode originally aired in May 2016. Join us on our first installment of Conversations with Ambassadors as we sit down for a chat with Omar Arouna, the then Ambassador of the Republic of Benin to the United States, Mexico, and...

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