Africa

A Conversation with Ambassador Prudence Bushnell

In this episode, we speak with Ambassador Prudence Bushnell about her experience as a leading woman diplomat in the US foreign service. Amb. Bushnell provides an overview of the historical challenges for women in US diplomatic circles and offers an optimistic outlook for the future of women in US diplomacy. She also discusses her experience dealing with major African events, such as the Rwandan genocide and the US Embassy bombings in Kenya, as detailed in her new book: Terrorism, Betrayal, and Resilience: My Story of the 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings.

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Spotlight: Western Sahara

Western Sahara is a non-self-governing territory on the northwest coast of Africa. Bordered by Morocco, Mauritania, and Algeria, the former Spanish colony has been under dispute since 1976. Ethnic tensions continue to erupt between the native Sahrawi population and Moroccan immigrants, and Morocco maintains a large security presence in the territory.

In this episode, we take a deep dive into Western Sahara’s ongoing conflict and tensions with Morocco before discussing what the future might hold.

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Photo Credit: NASA

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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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

Ambassador Reuben Brigety on the African Union

Established in 2001, the African Union (AU) represents all African countries in the pursuit of economic development, human rights and security, and good governance. Africa is the youngest continent in the world with a booming population and several emerging economies, representing both immense potential and a serious challenge. 

In this episode, guest speaker Ambassador Reuben Brigety, the former US Ambassador to the African Union and current Dean of the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, discusses his experience representing the US within the AU.  Read More

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 near future. Read More

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, we discuss the history of the country, including its ancient role on the continent, its modern contemporary history in relation to politics and external influence. Then we will look at the emergence of terrorism in Mali, separatist movements, and French intervention. Lastly, we examine the future of the country and the role of the international community.

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 or additional income for a few months work, but often remain on cocoa farms through adulthood while being subjected to dangerous work environments. Cocoa farms, and sometimes even countries, are incentivized to use the cheapest possible means of labor in order to keep the price of cocoa globally competitive. Listen to this week’s episode for a discussion on the incentives driving these human rights abuses and why a boycott might be counterproductive.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in Africa. This episode explores the dam’s potential benefits, development hurdles, and controversy. Read More

The Horn of Africa

The Horn of Africa is one of the most complex, diverse, and conflict-afflicted regions in the world. While much of the region continues to be mired in violence and instability, it remains a nexus of global trading routes and is growing in geopolitical importance. The global community cannot ignore its fate.

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