development

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

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:

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”:

Afghanistan, Poppy, and Saffron

Afghanistan is the world’s largest supplier of heroin and opium. The Afghan government, United Nations, and other international stakeholders have tried endlessly to prevent Afghan farmers from growing poppy, the plant used to produce heroin, but farmers often find themselves in a situation where they are threatened with violence, or left with little means for income. Read More

Landmines and Unexploded Ordnance

Special guest Jamie Franklin, Executive Director of Mines Advisory Group America, joins us for a discussion on the post-war effects of land mines and campaigns to eliminate them.  Read More

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.

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? Read More

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]

benin_mapThis 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 the Organization of American States (OAS).

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Universal Basic Income

What is universal basic income (UBI)? In this episode explore why people like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk are advocating for UBI while others argue against it. Read More

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