Global Dispatches -- World News That Matters

477 EpisodesProduced by Mark Leon Goldberg

Journalists, policymakers, diplomats and scholars discuss under-reported news, trends and topics from around the world. Named by The Guardian as “One of 27 Podcasts to Make You Smarter” Global Dispatches is podcast about foreign policy and world affairs.

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A Progress Report on the Sustainable Development Goals

July 18th, 2019


In 2015, the world adopted the Sustainable Development Goals. These are 17 goals around improving health, welfare and the environment that members of the United Nations agreed to achieve by 2030. The "SDGs," as they are …

Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter

July 15th, 2019


Ash Carter served as President Obama's Secretary of Defense from 2015 to 2017. What made Ash Carter so unique among his predecessors was that by the time he became the Secretary of Defense, he'd already spent nearly 30 …

A Secretly Filmed Documentary Exposes A Dystopian Nightmare for Uighur Muslims in China

July 11th, 2019


Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang province of Northwestern China are living in a police state like no other on earth. Using counter-terrorism as a …

Why Turkey's Municipal Elections are of Global Significance

July 8th, 2019


When Reccep Tayyep Erdogan party, the AKP, won a landslide victory in Turkey's 2002 general elections he became a very different kind of Turkish leader from his predecessors. The AKP is a religious party in what was an …

What Political Science Teaches Us About the World Cup and World Peace

July 3rd, 2019


I've been following with glee the US Women's National Soccer Team's run in this year's World Cup. At time of recording, the United States was set to …

What Comes Next in the Escalating Crisis With Iran?

June 28th, 2019


Events are unfolding rapidly between the United States and Iran. At time of recording, it was reported that Trump ordered and then called off a …

Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher is a Rising GOP Foreign Policy Star

June 27th, 2019


Congressman Mike Gallagher is a Republican representing the eighth district of Wisconsin, which includes the city of Green Bay.

Congressman Gallagher has an interesting profile, which includes a PHD in International …

Better Know Kelly Craft, Trump's Pick for UN Ambassador

June 23rd, 2019


Donald Trump's pick to serve as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations is unlike any other previous nominee for the US-UN role. Kelly …

Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

June 19th, 2019


According to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization, an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed over 1400 …

The Hong Kong Protests

June 16th, 2019


The protests in Hong Kong represent a key turning point for China, Hong Kong, and the world.

Hong Kong is in the midst of the most significant protest movement since China assumed sovereignty in 1997.  These protests …

Protests in Sudan Enter a Dangerous New Phase

June 13th, 2019


Sudan is at a crossroads. In April, popular protests lead to the ouster of the country's longtime ruler, Omar al Bashir. He was toppled in a coup -- …

The Persecution of Christians in Iraq

June 9th, 2019

In 2003, before the US invasion of Iraq, there were an estimated 1.2 million Christians living there. Today, that number is less than 250,000 -- an eighty percent drop in less than two decades.   If this trend …

Life Stories, Anecdotes, and Advice from Renowned Foreign Affairs Professionals

June 7th, 2019


Over the course of six years of running this podcast, I have interviewed hundreds of astounding people who have lived fascinating lives and led storied careers in international affairs. This includes foreign ministers, …

What You Need to Know About Internally Displaced People Around the World

June 5th, 2019


According to the latest data, over 41 million people were internally displaced last year due to conflict and violence, according to a new report from …

How A Census Can Drive Sustainable Development in Africa

May 31st, 2019


In 2020 the West African Country of Ghana will conduct a census. This is a massive undertaking. Some 60,000 people will be deployed across the country in an effort to count every single person in Ghana.    

Last week, …

UN Correspondent Chat: Sherwin Bryce-Pease, South African Broadcast Corporation

May 29th, 2019


Sherwin Bryce-Pease is the United Nations Bureau chief for South African Broadcast Corporation, SABC News. We have a wide ranging discussion about happenings at the United Nations, including debates and discussions at …

Journalist Beth Gardiner Traveled the World to Report on Air Pollution

May 23rd, 2019


Air pollution results in the premature death of 7 million people around the world each year. It is a major global killer harming people in nearly …

Can Canada Change How the World Deals With Corrupt Foreign Officials?

May 19th, 2019


Several countries have laws on the books that enables governments to freeze the assets of corrupt foreign officials. Canada is one of those countries, and now one Canadian Senator is trying to take that law one step …

Intensifying Fighting in Syria Suggests a New Phase of the War

May 15th, 2019


Over the last several weeks an estimated 140,000 people have been displaced by escalating fighting in Idlib, Syria. 

Syrian regime forces, backed by Russia, have scaled up their attacks in what is the last part of Syria …

How to Eliminate the Global Problem of Online Child Abuse

May 10th, 2019


The spread of child sexual abuse material on the internet has grown at an exponential pace in the last fifteen years, since the advent of social …

A Crisis in Cameroon is Getting Worse

May 8th, 2019


There is an escalating humanitarian crisis in Cameroon where more than half a million people have been displaced by conflict. 

This conflict erupted in earnest in late 2017 and early 2018 in a series of attacks and …

Supriya Vani Interviewed Every Female Nobel Peace Prize Winner

May 3rd, 2019


My guest today Supriya Vani interviewed every living female Nobel Peace Prize winner for her 2018 book Battling Injustice: 16 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. 

In this conversation we discuss some common traits that she …

"How to Fix Democracy," with Michael Ignatieff

May 1st, 2019


Today's episode is a cross over promotion with the new podcast: How to Fix Democracy.

How to Fix Democracy is an interview series in which prominent …

How Big Data and Text Messaging Can Prevent Suicide Around the World

April 27th, 2019


According to the World Health Organization 800,000 people die due to suicide every year. My guest today, Bob Filbin is helping to pioneer a way to sharply reduce that number. 

Bob Filbin is the Chief Data Scientist of …

Libya is Lurching Toward a Full Scale Civil War

April 24th, 2019


Battles are raging in Tripoli between forces aligned with the UN-backed government and a renegade general named Khalifa Haftar. Haftar and his …

Cyclone Idai Devastates Mozambique, One Month On

April 19th, 2019


In mid march, Cyclone Idai struck southern Africa, ravaging parts of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Of these countries, Mozambique was hardest hit. The storm struck the port city Beira and surrounding areas, creating …

A Revolution in Sudan

April 17th, 2019


Some truly remarkable events are unfolding in Sudan, where protesters have secured the ouster of longtime ruler Omar al Bashir. After nearly thirty …

How a Social Entrepreneur is Revolutionizing Access to Medicines in Five African Countries

April 15th, 2019


Among the many barriers to quality healthcare in the developing world is the high cost of medicine. This is due, in part, to frequent disruptions in the supply chain. Customers who visit a pharmacy to purchase medicine …

How to Stop a Demographic "Youth Bulge" From Causing Widespread Unemployment

April 9th, 2019


South Africa is experiencing what demographers call a "youth bulge." This occurs when young people make up a very large percentage of the entire …

How Fear Distorts U.S. Foreign Policy

April 7th, 2019


The world has never been safer, wealthier or healthier. So why is it that our foreign policy is dominated by fear and inflated perceptions of threats …

How a Social Entrepreneur is Fighting Counterfeit Medicine in the Developing World

April 3rd, 2019


Not long ago, the social entrepreneur Bright Simons had a lofty goal of restoring social bonds between farmers and consumers. He tried to create a platform to pair organic farmers in Ghana with consumers of organic …

Egypt's Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is Looking More and More Like a Dictator-For-Life

March 29th, 2019


The White House confirmed that Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is to meet President Trump at the White House on April 9. The invitation to the White House was offered amid a deepening crackdown on human rights …

New Trends in Global Trade are Changing How Women Work in the Developing World

March 27th, 2019


Global trade is changing how women work.

Supermarkets and major brands source much of their materials and manufacturing in the developing world as part of a "Global Value Chain." This is a way of obtaining raw …

"It's Really Worrying Right Now." An Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is Not Under Control

March 22nd, 2019


The second worst Ebola outbreak in history is currently unfolding in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since August last year there have been …

Snakebites are a Global Health Problem

March 19th, 2019


Getting bitten by a poisonous snake is not just an individual injury -- rather it is now recognized as a global health hazard. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that between 80,000 and 136,000 people die …

UN Correspondent Chat, With Carole Landry of AFP

March 16th, 2019


Today's episode is the second installment of my new series "UN Correspondent Chat." As the name suggests, this series includes wide ranging conversations with in-house reporters at the United Nations who discuss what is …

CNN's Clarissa Ward Spent 36 Hours With the Taliban. This is What She Learned

March 14th, 2019


I caught up with CNN's Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward not long after she returned from reporting inside Taliban controlled territory …

Trump's "Remain in Mexico" Policy is a Fiasco

March 8th, 2019


In late January, the Trump administration began a pilot program on the border between Tijuana and San Diego in which migrants who claim asylum are sent back to wait in Mexico as their asylum claims are processed. This …

Is an "Arab Spring" Coming to Algeria?

March 6th, 2019


For the past several weeks Algeria has been rocked by mass protests that harken to the Arab Spring. The protests were triggered by the decision of …

North Korea: What's Next For Nuclear Diplomacy After the Trump-Kim Summit Ends in Failure

March 1st, 2019


"Sometimes you gotta walkaway,"   That is how Donald Trump described the failure of he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to come to an agreement during their summit in Hanoi, Vietnam.   So now that this meeting has …

A Crisis in Kashmir Threatens War Between India and Pakistan

February 27th, 2019


Tensions are rapidly escalating between India and Pakistan, following a suicide bombing in India controlled Kashmir that killed scores of Indian …

How "Energy Poverty" is Stifling Job Growth in the Developing World

February 23rd, 2019


Energy Poverty conventionally refers to the lack of household electricity. Over 1 billion people live without reliable sources of electricity -- but …

What Happens When Women Are Excluded From Peace Talks?

February 20th, 2019


As I am recording this, the United States is deep into negotiations with the Taliban over some sort of political arrangement that would enable the …

How Vaccines Fight Poverty

February 14th, 2019


We have known for years that vaccinations, including routine childhood vaccinations for diseases like measles, mumps and rubella prevent children from dying on a fairly massive scale. We also know that as a health …

Massive Protests in Haiti Spark a New Kind of Political Crisis

February 13th, 2019


Thousands of Haitians have taken to the streets in anti-government protests that quickly turned violent. Several people have been killed and a great …

New Research Shows How Countries Can Avoid the "Resource Curse"

February 10th, 2019

The riddle of how to avoid the so-called "resource curse" has bedeviled a generation of policy makers, economists and academics.   Resource curse …

The Co-Founder of Global Citizen Discusses the Future of Global Advocacy

February 6th, 2019


About a decade ago, Simon Moss co-founded Global Citizen with a few friends in Australia. It has since grown into a behemoth of global advocacy on issues related to ending extreme poverty around the world.

I've known …

Protests and Repression Returns to Zimbabwe

February 1st, 2019


Zimbabwe was rocked by protests in mid-January in the most significant public display of dissatisfaction with the government of Emerson Mnangagwa. …

What is Next for the US in Afghanistan?

January 30th, 2019


My guest today, Dr. Sharifullah Dorani is the author of the new book America in Afghanistan: Foreign Policy and Decision Making from Bush to Obama to …

UN Correspondent Chatter: Margaret Besheer of Voice of America

January 25th, 2019


Today's episode is the launch of a new series: UN Correspondent Chatter. From time to time I'll check in with an in-house reporter at the United Nations headquarters in New York to discuss the latest news, buzz, and …

Will Crisis in Venezuela Lead to a Civil War?

January 24th, 2019


On January 23rd, the 35-year-old head of the Venezuela's National Assembly Juan Guiado declared himself president of Venezuela, promising to would …

Coffee Is Being Threatened With Extinction Because of Climate Change

January 20th, 2019


Dr. Aaron Davis, has one of the greatest titles of anyone I have ever interviewed in the last four years of doing this podcast. He is head of coffee …

Election Fraud in the Democratic Republic of Congo

January 17th, 2019


The Democratic Republic of Congo held elections on December 30th that would mark the country's first peaceful transfer of power since its …

Will Protests in Sudan Bring Down the Genocidal Regime of Omar al Bashir?

January 12th, 2019


A protest movement in Sudan is posing the biggest challenge to the genocidal regime of Omar al Bashir in decades. The protests began just before Christmas, ostensibly over an increase in the price of bread and they …

What's Next for the World Bank After Jim Yong Kim's Sudden Resignation?

January 9th, 2019


World Bank president Jim Yong Kim is stepping down at the end January. He made that announcement on January 7th, surprising most observers for the fact that he is resigning from his post with three years left in his …

The Migrant Route to Europe is Changing

January 4th, 2019


You would not really know it from the headlines, but more irregular migrants and refugees are arriving to Europe via Morocco than are arriving to …

A Crisis Between China and Canada Has Big Global Implications

January 2nd, 2019


On December 1st, a business executive named Meng Wanzhou was arrested while transferring through the Vancouver airport at the request of US authorities. Ms Meng is the CFO of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei and now …

A Decade Old War Crime is Causing Instability in Sri Lanka Today

December 26th, 2018


One of the worst mass atrocities in recent times took place in Sri Lanka during the final days of that country’s long civil war. In May 2009, tens of thousands of people were killed by Sri Lankan armed forces over the …

Better Know Heather Nauert, Donald Trump's Pick for UN Ambassador

December 20th, 2018


State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert is Donald Trump's nominee to serve as the next US Ambassador to the United Nations. If confirmed, she …

How Rivalry Between China and the United States Will Drive Global Development

December 16th, 2018


Massive infrastructure projects like the building of ports, roads and railways are becoming more and more commonplace in the developing world. According to my guest today, the reason we are seeing more of these projects …

Will The Yellow Vest Protest in France Bring Down Emmanuel Macron--and Europe With Him?

December 12th, 2018


A protest movement in France known as the Gilets Jaunes, or Yellow Vests, has become a political crisis for French President Emmanuel Macron. The …

What is the 'Global Compact for Migration?'

December 9th, 2018


Over 180 countries are endorsing what is known as the Global Compact for Migration. The text of this non-binding agreement was finalized over the summer, and countries are meeting in Marrakech Morocco on December 10th …

What Sham Elections in Bahrain Tell Us About the Middle East

December 6th, 2018

The Kingdom of Bahrain is the smallest country in the Middle East. It is an island in the Persian Gulf connected to Saudi Arabia by a causeway. And …

What You Need to Know About the Big UN Climate Conference, COP24

November 30th, 2018


Diplomats, scientists, advocates and other concerned parties are gathering in Katowice, Poland for a major international climate conference that is …

Some Cultures Tolerate Rule Breaking More than Others. Comparing them can teach us a lot about international relations

November 29th, 2018


Michelle Gelfand is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland and author of the new book Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and …

What You Need to Know About Slums Around the World

November 21st, 2018


My guest today, Diana Mitlin, is a professor of global urbanism at the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester.

Much of her work focuses on issues surrounding informal urban settlements, commonly …

In Donald Trump V. International Law, Who Is Winning?

November 16th, 2018


Harold Hongju Koh is one of the America's leading scholars of international law. He is the Sterling Professor of International Law at Yale Law …

South Sudan's High Risk, High Reward Peace Process

November 13th, 2018


On October 31, South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar entered the capitol city of Juba for the first time in two years to attend a peace ceremony. …

Under Reported Human Rights Catastrophe: Thousands of Refugees Languish in Libyan Jails

November 8th, 2018


In mid September, I was sitting next to the journalist Sally Hayden while attending a press briefing near the United Nations when phone started buzzing with WhatsApp messages.  Refugees and migrants stranded in a prison …

These Are the Foreign Policy Implications of the US Mid-Term Election Results

November 7th, 2018


As was expected, Republicans have held onto control of the Senate while Democrats have won a solid majority in the House of Representatives.  So …

The Top UN Humanitarian Official Discusses the Crisis in Yemen

November 2nd, 2018


Mark Lowcock is the top humanitarian official at the United Nations, serving as the Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and the UN's Emergency Relief Coordinator.  

When a manmade or natural disaster …

Macedonia May Get a New Name -- And this is a Very Big Deal for International Relations

November 1st, 2018


For 27 years, the question of what to formally call the country informally known as "Macedonia" has been a diplomatic thorn in the side of Europe and …

What Happens if the International Criminal Court Investigates American War Crimes in Afghanistan?

October 26th, 2018


The International Criminal Court is likely to open an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Afghanistan. …

How India Defeated Polio

October 23rd, 2018


The challenge was immense

About twenty years ago, India accounted for over 60% of all polio cases worldwide -- in fact it was considered a "hyper" …

Canada Goes to Pot

October 19th, 2018


On October 17 Canada became the second country in the world to legalize the recreational use of Cannabis. The first was Uruguay, which decriminalized Cannabis a few years ago. But Canada's move is arguably more …

Why the Latest Ebola Outbreak in the DRC is So Dangerous

October 18th, 2018


An ongoing Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has sickened over 250 people, and resulted in over 130 deaths as of October 18. Now, …

The State Sanctioned Murder of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi Will Shake International Relations

October 12th, 2018


 On October 2, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, seeking to retrieve some marriage documents relating to …

The Grand Strategic Failure of Trump's Foreign Policy

October 11th, 2018


My guest today Ivo Daalder served as the United States ambassador to NATO under President Obama from 2009 to 2013. He is now the president of the Chicago council on foreign relations and he is the co-author, with James …

Are Development NGOs Fit for Purpose?

October 5th, 2018


My guest today, Nicola Banks, is a lecturer in global urbanism and urban development at the University of Manchester. She has conducted some …

A Conversation with Kosovo's Foreign Minister

October 3rd, 2018


I met the Foreign Minister of Kosovo Behgjet Pacolli in a hotel lobby not far from the United Nations where the foreign minister had spent several …

How Facebook is Abetting Rodrigo Duterte's Drug War in the Philippines

October 1st, 2018


If you want a glimpse of a dystopian future in which authoritarian leaders harness the power of social media to carry out human rights abuses and …

How Better Data Can Fight Global Hunger

September 25th, 2018


Every year during UN Week there are a number of substantive and important issues discussed, new initiatives launched and new partnerships formed, typically around some big important global issues. It is a week in the …

UN Week is Here! These Are the Stories That Will Drive the Agenda

September 19th, 2018


All eyes turn to the New York and the United Nations as world leaders gather for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, better known UNGA. This is always the busiest week of the diplomatic calendar and on …

When UN Peacekeeping Works: The Story of the United Nations Mission in Liberia

September 14th, 2018


In this special episode of Global Dispatches Podcast we are bringing you the story of how UN Peacekeepers partnered with the people and government of Liberia to help transform the country from one of the bleakest places …

Unmasking the Elite Charade of "Changing the World"

September 12th, 2018


My guest today, Anand Giridharadas, is the author of the new book Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World. The book is a piercing examination of how the global elite have co-opted our mechanisms of …

The World is Experiencing a Dam Building Boom

September 7th, 2018


The world is experiencing a dam building boom. According to research by my guest today David Hulme there are plans underway around for the …

How the Return of Refugees to Syria Will Define the Next Phase of the Conflict

September 5th, 2018


1.5 million Syrian refugees are in Lebanon today. But as the fighting quells in areas of Syria, some of these refugees are considering returning home.    Who gets to return, the places to which they will return, and the …

There's New Evidence of China's Brutal Repression of its Uighur Population

August 29th, 2018


In mid-August a UN human rights body called the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said that up to 1 million ethnic Uighurs in China were imprisoned in massive internment camps.    Subsequent …

Remembering Princeton Lyman

August 24th, 2018


Ambassador Princeton Lyman passed away on August 24th at the age of 83.  In January 2017, he came on the podcast to discuss his remarkable life and career, which included serving as the US ambassador to South Africa …

A Final Showdown Looms in Syria. The UN Warns it Could be a "Bloodbath"

August 22nd, 2018


The Syrian war may be entering its final phase. Rebel fighters, from various factions, are now concentrated in Idlib, in northern Syria.  Idlib is the place to which civilians and members of armed groups were permitted …

This is How Nuclear War Breaks Out With North Korea

August 19th, 2018


On March 21, 2020 North Korea shoots down a South Korean civilian airliner, mistaking it for a US bomber. This sets off a series of events that leads to the launching 13 nuclear armed ballistic missiles towards the …

Dr. Vanessa Kerry Strengthens Health Systems Against Ebola and Other Threats

August 15th, 2018


Dr. Vanessa Kerry is the Co-founder and CEO of Seed Global Health. This is an international NGO that works in five sub-Saharan countries to bolster …

Fifteen Years Ago this Week, the UN Headquarters in Iraq Was Bombed

August 13th, 2018


On August 19th 2003 the United Nations headquarters in Iraq at the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, was hit with a truck bomb. At least 22 people lost their lives in this attack, including the UN's top official in Iraq, Sergio …

Journalist Robin Wright from 2014

August 9th, 2018


In 2014, I spoke with New Yorker writer Robin Wright about her life and career as a foreign affairs journalist.  

The 1998 US Embassy Bombings, Twenty Years On

July 30th, 2018


On August 7th, 1998 my guest today John Lange was the acting United States Ambassador to Tanzania when a truck bomb exploded outside the embassy in Dar es Salaam. He did not know it at the time, but this bombing was …

977 Days as the Hostage of Somali Pirates

July 29th, 2018


Michael Scott Moore spent 977 days as a hostage of Somali pirates. He is a journalist and in 2012 he set out for the Somali coast on a reporting trip …

How the World Regulates Twitter

July 27th, 2018


David Kaye, is the author of the UN's first ever report on the regulation of user generated online content. That is, how governments and companies …

Colombia Has a New President Who is Opposed to the Peace Deal

July 25th, 2018


Ivan Duque won a run-off election on June 17th to become the next president of Colombia. Duque is a right of center politician who has been a sharp …

The Inside Story of How the World Closed the Hole in the Ozone Layer

July 22nd, 2018


The year is 1985. Ronald Regan is president. Margaret Thatcher is prime minister of the United Kingdom. Michael Jackson, White Snake and George Michael are dominating the billboard charts. Back to the Future is a smash …

How Much Progress Are We Making Towards the Sustainable Development Goals?

July 18th, 2018


At the United Nations in mid-July officials gathered for an annual checkup on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs, as they …

These are the World's "Invisible" Countries

July 13th, 2018


Like me, my guest today Joshua Keating, loves maps. His new book "Invisible Countries: Journeys to the Edge of Nationhood" is about borders we see on maps and the borders we don't see. 

Josh Keating is a longtime …

Sunitha Krishan Rescues Girls from Sex Slavery

July 11th, 2018


Sunitha Krishnan literally rescues girls from sex slavery. She is the founder of the Indian NGO Prajwala which both physically removes girls from …

Crisis in Nicaragua

July 8th, 2018


Nicaragua is in the midst of a deepening political and security crisis. Over the last three months the government has been increasingly violent in …

An Interview with the Top UN Official in the Central African Republic

July 3rd, 2018


Parfait Onanga-Anyanga is the Special Representative of the Secretary General in the Central African Republic. This makes him the top UN official in CAR, which includes overseeing a UN Peacekeeping mission of over …

What We Know About Air Pollution Around the World

June 29th, 2018


The World Health Organization estimates that around 7 million people die every year from the air they breathe. Air pollution is a major killer around …

Peace Breaks Out Between Ethiopia and Eritrea

June 27th, 2018


Something truly remarkable in African history and global affairs occurred on June 26 when Eritrean leaders flew to the capitol of Ethiopia for peace …

Why Mary Robinson Fights For Climate Justice

June 22nd, 2018


Mary Robinson was the first female President of Ireland, serving from 1990 to 1997. She then served as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and …

Understanding Asylum Law in the United States in the Context of Family Separations at the Border

June 19th, 2018


My guest today, Kari Hong is an assistant professor at the Boston College law school and an expert on US asylum policy and law. As you can imagine, …

Tom Catena is a Hero Doctor of Sudan's Nuba Mountains

June 14th, 2018


For many years Tom Catena was the only doctor in the Nuba Mountain region of Sudan. This is an area on the border between Sudan and South Sudan. In 2011 it was the site of intense fighting between government forces and …

How to Make Sense of the Trump-Kim Summit

June 13th, 2018


When I last spoke with my guest today, Kelsey Davenport, the saber rattling between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un had reached a fever pitch. North Korea was launching nuclear and missile tests; the United States was …

A Bold Idea for UN Reform

June 10th, 2018


I spent the last weekend of May at a conference in Stockholm called the New Shape Forum. This was an ideas festival and prize competition and …

World Food Program Director David Beasley on the Food Emergenices North Korea and the Sahel

June 7th, 2018


My guest today, David Beasley is the executive director of the World Food Program. We caught up not long after he visited both the Sahel region of western Africa and from North Korea, where the World Food Program is …

What India Can Teach Indiana About Fighting Diabetes

June 1st, 2018


Amy Israel is the global health thought leadership and policy director for the health and pharmaceutical company, Lilly. 

In that role, she's …

Kristine McDivitt Tompkins was one of the largest private landowners in the world before she gave it away

May 30th, 2018


Kristine McDivitt Tompkins made history earlier this year when she completed what is said to be the largest ever transfer of land from a private entity to a government.

In a ceremony in Chile with President Michelle …

A New Ebola Outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo

May 24th, 2018


The ebola outbreak ongoing the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most severe ebola outbreak since the 2014 calamity in west Africa that killed …

A Conversation With Michael Møller, Director General of the UN Offices in Geneva

May 23rd, 2018


I was a bit skeptical when my guest today told me that every person on the planet, in any 24 hour period, is somehow impacted by the work of the UN …

How Shipping Containers Explain the Conflict in Yemen

May 18th, 2018


For this episode, I wanted to explore a different way to understand the crisis in Yemen.   Yemen has two main ports, Hodeidah to the north, on the …

Understanding the Gaza Protests

May 16th, 2018


It's been a tumultuous week in Israel and Palestine. On the same day that the United States formally opened its embassy in Jerusalem, dozens of …

How Colonialism Explains HIV in Africa

May 11th, 2018


Around the world the HIV rates for men and women are more or less equal. Except, that is, in sub-saharan Africa which is the only region in the world where the HIV rates for women are substantially higher than that of …

The Demise of the Iran Nuclear Deal and What Comes Next

May 9th, 2018


No journalist covered the ins and outs of the negotiations over the Iran nuclear deal as closely as Laura Rozen. She is a reporter with the middle east news website Al Monitor and in the negotiations that lead up to the …

Can Dr. Tom Frieden Save 100 Million Lives?

May 4th, 2018


Dr. Tom Frieden lead the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2009 to 2017. He now has a new role: President and CEO of Resolve to …

China's Foreign Policy is at a Turning Point

May 2nd, 2018


My guest today, Elizabeth Economy, is the author of the new book The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State. The book examines the …

A Past Podcast Guest is Reportedly Tapped for a Top State Department Post: Listening Back on the Paula Dobriansky Interview

April 27th, 2018


In the hierarchy of the State Department the Secretary of State, of course, sits on top. Below the Secretary of State is the Deputy Secretary of State and below the Deputy Secretary is the number three post at the state …

How the US Can Get Its Multilateral Groove Back

April 25th, 2018


My guest today, Paul Stares, is the author of the new book Preventative Engagement. How America Can Avoid War, Stay Strong, and Keep the Peace.

The …

Venezuelans are fleeing their country in record numbers. This is Latin America's worst-ever refugee crisis

April 20th, 2018


Latin America is experiencing its worst-ever refugee crisis. By most estimates, several thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing the country every single day.  In recent weeks the pace and scale of this refugee crisis has …

The View From Europe

April 18th, 2018


We are in a period of profound domestic turmoil here in the United States. I clearly don't need to run down the list of everything out of the …

Episode 190: Suzanne DiMaggio

April 16th, 2018


Suzanne DiMaggio specializes in what is called Track Two diplomacy with countries that have limited or no diplomatic relations with the United Stats. In practice, this has meant that she's spent countless hours over the …

What happened to Iraq's Oil Wealth?

April 12th, 2018


What happened to Iraq's oil wealth? That is the central question of the book: Pipe Dreams: The Plundering of Iraq's oil Wealth by my guest today Erin Banco.  

Erin Banco is an investigative reporter at the Star Ledger

Episode 189: Steve Coll

April 5th, 2018


My guest today is the renowned journalist Steve Coll. He is a staff writer at the New Yorker, dean of the Colombia School of Journalism and former …

Bosnia is Vladimir Putin's Next Target

April 4th, 2018


A few weeks ago I was having lunch with a former high ranking US diplomat whose work focused on Russia and Europe. I asked him where he thought Vladimir Putin might target next to sow instability and without missing …

Episode 188: Bangladeshi Immigrant Rais Bhuiyan Survived a Hate Crime and Fought to Save from Execution the Man Who Shot Him

March 30th, 2018


On September 21, 2001, Rais Bhuiyan was working behind the counter at a gas station outside Dallas, Texas when a man named Mark Stroman walked in brandishing a sawed-off shotgun.

Stroman was a self-proclaimed white …

Palestinian Refugees are about to Face Yet Another Crisis

March 29th, 2018


The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, known as UNRWA, is facing a crisis. This is the humanitarian agency that provides relief for Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. This …

I Started My Career as a Journalist Covering John Bolton. Here is What I have Learned (special episode)

March 27th, 2018


I got my start in journalism covering John Bolton when he was the US Ambassador to the United Nations.  At the time, I was a reporter for the …

Episode 187: Wanjira Mathai

March 23rd, 2018


Wanjira Mathai is a Kenyan environmental and civic leader. She is the chair of the Wangari Mathai Foundation, which is named after her mother who won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.   Much of Wanjira's work focuses on the …

A Successful End to the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Liberia

March 20th, 2018


By the end of this month the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Liberia will no longer exist. The mission, known as UNMIL, is closing shop after nearly 15 years in operation, and its closing this is a major …

Episode 186: Maggy Barankitse saved thousands of children in the wake of a genocide

March 18th, 2018


Maggy Barankitse is the founder of Maison Shalom, an orphanage and school that was created in Burundi in the wake of the Civil War there in the …

Meet Mike Pompeo

March 14th, 2018


I am still catching my breath over the news that Rex Tillerson was fired and CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been nominated as his replacement as Secretary of State. That happened, of course, just days after a South Korean …

Episode 185: Joseph Kaifala

March 11th, 2018


Joseph Kaifala was just a child when civil war broke out in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The war came to his town in 1989 and as a seven-year-old was …

How Democracies Can Defend Themselves from Disinformation Campaigns

March 7th, 2018


As the United States enters its next election cycle, our democracy is still extremely vulnerable to disinformation campaigns from Russia. Other …

Episode 184: Noubar Afeyan

March 2nd, 2018


Noubar Afeyan is a business leader, entrepreneur and philanthropist. In 2015, along with other decedents of survivors of the 1915 Armenian genocide, he co-founded the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.  This initiative, as …

Why We Lie About Aid

February 28th, 2018


My podcast guest today Pablo Yanguas is a research fellow at the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester. He is the author of …

Episode 182: Sulome Anderson

February 23rd, 2018


Sulome Anderson was in utero when her father, the journalist Terry Anderson, was kidnapped in Beirut. She met him for the first time as a six year …

The Conflict in Syria Enters a New Phase

February 21st, 2018


The conflict in Syria has entered a new phase. ISIS has been defeated, yet in many ways the war is metastasizing.

In places like Eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus, the war is as brutal as ever. After days of …

Episode 181: Djibouti Democracy Activist Daher Ahmed Farah

February 16th, 2018


Djibouti is the only country in the world that hosts military bases for both the United States and China. The US base, Camp Lemmonier, hosts US special forces and its only a few kilometers from China's only military …

Why American Funding for the United Nations is a Bargain

February 15th, 2018


It's budget season in Washington, DC. And this year (like last year) the White House has requested massive cuts to foreign affairs spending in …

Episode 180: Anote Tong, Former President of Kirabati

February 12th, 2018


To the people of Kiribati, climate change is an existential threat.  This is an Island nation in the pacific -- it is a string of atolls about …

Olympic Truce? Not! Emerging Political Science Shows Us that International Sports Are Actually Bad for World Peace

February 7th, 2018


All eyes turn to South Korea for the start of the Winter Olympics this week.

There is always a political political component to this Olympics and …

Hate Speech is on the Rise in Poland

February 2nd, 2018


Last week, the Polish Senate passed a law that would make it a criminal offense to claim that Poland was complicit in Nazi crimes. The Israeli …

Episode 179: Max Boot

January 31st, 2018


Max Boot is a foreign policy commentator and historian. Just this week he was named a contributing writer to the Op-ed page of the Washington Post.

Donald Trump's Nuclear Weapons Policy is Radically Different from His Predecessors

January 25th, 2018


You've may of the Doomsday Clock. This is a rubric created by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists at the dawn of the nuclear age to demonstrate how …

A Crisis in Cameroon is Forcing Anglophones to Flee the Country

January 24th, 2018


Over 10,000 people have fled from English speaking regions of Cameroon to neighboring Nigeria in recent weeks. They are escaping an ongoing crackdown by Cameroonian security forces against a movement that is demanding …

Mexican Towns Are Taking Security Into Their Own Hands

January 21st, 2018


Tancintaro, Mexico claims to be the "avocado capital" of the world, selling one million dollars worth of the fruit per day. But what makes Tancitaro …

A School in India is Trying to Disrupt the Caste System

January 17th, 2018


Shanti Bhavan is a school in the Tamil Nadu state of southern India that serves children from the Dalit community. These are the some of the poorest …

Episode 178: Lidia Bastianich is a celebrity chef, and a refugee

January 15th, 2018


Lidia Bastianich is a chef, restauranteur, cookbook author, TV personality, entrepreneur and for the purposes of this conversation, most importantly …

Episode 177: Robert Malley is the new head of the International Crisis Group

January 10th, 2018


Robert Malley is the new president and CEO of the International Crisis Group. He took over on January 1st. The International Crisis Group, of course, …

What Big Data Can Teach Us About Terrorism

January 5th, 2018


At the very end of last year I had the opportunity to moderate a panel at the United States Institute of Peace that served as the launch of a new report called the Global Terrorism Index. 

This is a one-of-its kind …

Big Protests are Sweeping Across Iran

January 3rd, 2018


Iran is in the midst of its most significant protest and popular uprising since 2009, when the so-called Green Revolution was quashed by the …

Episode 176: Daniel Webb

December 31st, 2017


Since 2013, the government of Australia has enforced a policy of sending any refugee or migrant who arrives who arrives by boat to detention centers …

After a Vote, The United States Finds itself Isolated at the UN. (Plus: A 2017 UN Year-in-Review)

December 22nd, 2017


On Thursday, December  21 the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning the United States' decision to recognize Jerusalem …

Meet the US Youth Observer to the UN

December 19th, 2017


Munira Khalif is the US Youth Observer to the United Nations. This is a position created in partnership between the State Department and the United Nations Association of the United States to help give youth a voice in …

The International Committee for the Red Cross Plays a Unique Role in International Affairs

December 15th, 2017


The International Committee for the Red Cross/Red Crescent, otherwise known as the ICRC, is a singularly unique international organization. It was …

Episode 175: Dr. Mozhdeh Ghasemiyani is a Psychologist who Escaped a Genocide

December 13th, 2017


Dr. Mozhdeh Ghasemiyani is a psychologist with Doctors without Borders. She is a Kurdish refugee to Denmark and recently delivered a TED Talk …

Trump's Jerusalem Gamble

December 6th, 2017


The United States will formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol and intends to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv — thus, decreed President …

Episode 173: Dr. Joanne Liu, Head of Doctors Without Borders / MSF

December 1st, 2017


Dr. Joanne Liu is the International President of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), otherwise known as Doctors without Borders. She is a Canadian Pediatrician by training and has been with MSF for almost her entire career. …

Episode 172: Agnès Marcaillou Leads the UN's Bomb Squad

November 29th, 2017


Agnès Marcaillou is the director of the United Nations Mine Action Service. This is the UN agency that helps clear mine fields, defuse IEDs and clean up unexploded ordinance around the world. It is the UN Bomb Squad. 

Zimbabwe and the fall of Robert Mugabe, Explained

November 19th, 2017


Zimbabwe has had exactly one leader in its entire 37 year history as an independent country. That was, until November 14th Robert Mugabe was deposed in an apparent coup.

What happens next is still very much in the air. …

Can ISIS Face Justice for the Atrocities They Have Committed?

November 16th, 2017


Over the last several weeks, ISIS has been systematically losing territory. Its last stronghold in Iraq, the city of Hawija, was liberated in early …

Episode 170: Peter W. Galbraith

November 13th, 2017


Peter Galbraith helped uncover and confront two genocides. As a staffer in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the 1980s, Peter compiled evidence of Saddam Hussein’s genocide against the Kurdish people. Later, as …

The Crisis in Yemen Takes A Turn for the Worse

November 8th, 2017


Saudi Crown Price Mohammad bin Salman consolidated power in a pretty dramatic fashion by detaining would-be rivals and diminishing other power …

How Trump's Radical Approach to "Sovereignty" is shaping International Relations

November 6th, 2017


Donald Trump's approach to sovereignty is not unique in American history. There is a longstanding political tradition that seeks no compromise with …

The International Relations of California

November 2nd, 2017


If California were a country, it would be the sixth largest economy in the world. Its population is greater than countries like Poland and Canada. 

Episode 169: Farida Nabouremba, Democracy Activist in Togo

October 27th, 2017


Farida Nabourema spoke from an undisclosed location in West Africa, out of fear for her personal safety. Farida is a prominent Togolese activist and …

How Tunisia Became the Only Real Arab Spring Success Story

October 25th, 2017


Safwan Masri set out with a simple question: of all the countries caught in the turmoil of the Arab Spring, how is it that Tunisia was the only …

Episode 168: 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Beatrice Fihn

October 20th, 2017



Exactly two weeks to the day before this interview, Beatrice Fihn received a phone call from Norway. It was the Nobel Committee informing her …

This Supreme Court Case Could Have a Big Impact on US Foreign Policy

October 18th, 2017


A case that is pending before the Supreme Court of the United States could have profound implications for human rights and corporate social …

Episode 167: Alexis Okeowo

October 16th, 2017


Alexis Okeowo is a staff writer for the New Yorker whose debut book was published earlier this month. The book,  A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa has been getting rave …

Will Trump Destroy the Iran Nuclear Deal?

October 11th, 2017


President Trump is widely expected to decertify the Iran Nuclear Deal.

But what decertification actually mean? And will this action destroy the Iran Nuclear Deal? On the line with me to discuss these questions and more …

Can UN Peacekeepers Prevent the Central African Republic from Descending Deeper into Conflict?

October 6th, 2017


The Central African Republic is facing some serious challenges right now.

Four years ago, the country was on the brink of genocide after the longtime strongman Francois Bozize was ousted in an armed rebellion. The …

What the Kurdish Independence Referendum Means for the Middle East

October 4th, 2017


People in Kurdish region of Iraq have voted overwhelmingly for independence in a popular referendum that took place in late September. No country in …

Episode 166: Ambassador Keith Harper

September 29th, 2017


When Keith Harper was confirmed as President Obama's Ambassador to the Human Rights Council he became the first American-Indian to achieve the rank of Ambassador. The longtime attorney for native American rights soon …

Trump's New Travel Ban Has One Historic Precedent: The Chinese Exclusion Act

September 27th, 2017


The Trump administration this week announced sweeping new restrictions on travelers from eight countries:  Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen

Days later, the administration formally …

The Challenge of Getting Refugee Children in Quality Schools

September 21st, 2017


Amid all the pageantry, hoopla and media circus that is UN week in New York there is always some interesting and substantive work being done on important global issues. Sometimes these issues are not on top of the …

The United Nations and Donald Trump Get to Know Each Other

September 16th, 2017


World leaders gather at the United Nations this week for the annual summit at the United Nations General Assembly. This is always one of the big highlights of the international diplomatic calendar and it will be all the …

Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar

September 13th, 2017


Nearly 400,000 ethnic Rohingya have fled Myanmar across the border to Bangladesh. By the time you listen to this, that number will almost surely be much higher. 

Since late August, security forces from the government of …

Episode 164: John Shattuck

September 8th, 2017


John Shattuck is the former US Ambassador to the Czech Republic, former President of the Central European University, and served as the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy Human Rights and Labor During the …

Can the International Community Do Hurricane Response Better?

September 7th, 2017


With Houston still reeling from Hurricane Harvey, Irma causing massive havoc in the Caribbean, and more storms on the way, I thought it would be …

Episode 163: Helene Cooper is a pulitzer prize winning journalist and refugee from Liberia

September 1st, 2017


Helene Cooper is the Pentagon correspondent for the New York Times. She is also the author of the new book "Madame President: The extraordinary journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf" which is a biography of the Liberian …

Cutting Edge Research Finds a Link Between the Cost of Getting Married and the Outbreak Violent Conflict

August 30th, 2017


My guest today, Hillary Matfess of Yale, has discovered that there is a link between bride prices and violent conflict.     She is the co-author of a …

Senator Sam Nunn Explains How a New "Fuel Bank" Can Curb Nuclear Proliferation

August 25th, 2017


In Kazakstan this week, the international atomic energy agency is opening a new facility that will serve as a bank for low enriched uranium.    This …

Poland is Fighting for its Democratic Life

August 19th, 2017


Poland is in the midst of a democratic backslide. The country's politics is dominated by the far right Law and Justice Party, which has embarked on a …

Can North Korea Be Stopped?

August 15th, 2017

Tensions are very clearly escalating on the Korean Peninsula, with the North making unrelenting progress on their nuclear and ballistic missile …

*** Special Episode *** Your Questions About Careers in International Affairs, Answered

August 9th, 2017


After receiving dozens of emails from podcast listeners asking for career advice, I decided to put together this special episode in which your …

Somalia is Caught in a Conflict-Climate Change Nexus

August 4th, 2017


Somalia is ground zero for an emerging trend in global affairs-- the nexus between climate change and conflict. My guest today, journalist Laura Heaton  spent years reporting on how climate change and conflict feed off …

Everything You Know About Sweatshops is Wrong

July 26th, 2017


Chris Blattman is a development economist who routinely conducts experiments to test ideas related to reducing poverty and improving the well being of people living in poorer countries. His latest experiment takes on …

An Unprecedented Coalition of NGOs Has Formed to Fight a Global Food Emergency

July 19th, 2017


On July 17 a very rare thing happened in the world of humanitarian relief. Eight organizations that typically compete for donor dollars joined forces …

Peace Breaks Out in Colombia

July 14th, 2017


On June 27th, FARC rebels turned over the last of their weapons to the United Nations in a ceremony attended by both the leader of FARC and President Juan Manuel Santos. This officially marked the end of a over 50 year …

Episode 160: Wendy Pearlman is an academic who studies the Middle East in an unusual way

July 12th, 2017


Wendy Pearlman is an academic who studies the Middle East, but also writes popularly focused narratives that examines everyday life of people caught …

Episode 159: Eric Schwartz, former top State Department official who ran US refugee programs

July 7th, 2017


Eric Schwartz served as the top refugee policy official in the Obama administration as the Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and …

This Could Be Africa's Next Big Crisis

June 30th, 2017

Conflict is escalating in one region of the Democratic Republic of Congo and this conflict  has the potential to become one of Africa's next big crises.    At issue is a brewing situation in a region of DRC called …

How the Supreme Court's Ruling on Trump's Travel Ban Will Impact Refugees Around the World

June 28th, 2017


The Supreme Court has issued a preliminary decision on Trump’s travel ban–and this decision could have a profound impact on refugees around the …

Episode 157: Jeffrey Smith Helped Bring Down a "President for Life"

June 23rd, 2017


My guest today Jeffrey Smith helps topple dictators for a living. His organization, Vanguard Africa, is very new but they already have one success …

The Latest World Population Facts and Figures Were Just Released

June 22nd, 2017

Pop Quiz: do you know how many people are in the world right now?    The answer is 7.6 billion.    That data point and much more are contained in a …

Episode 156: Greg Stone -- Ocean Scientist, Explorer and Advocate

June 16th, 2017

Gregory Stone once lived underwater for 30 days. He is an ocean scientist and author who has spent a career studying and advocating on behalf of our oceans. He's now with an executive vice president with  Conservation …

Episode 155: Marietje Schaake, Member of the European Parliament

June 14th, 2017


Marietje Schaake was under 30 years old when she first joined the European Parliament as a representative from the Netherlands in 2009. She candidly …

Episode 154: Hans Binnendijk

June 9th, 2017


Hans Binnendijk is a senior fellow at the Center for Transatlantic relations and a longtime DC foreign policy insider. He served in top posts in the …

Saudi Arabia moves against Qatar and we now have yet another crisis in the Middle East

June 7th, 2017


There is yet another crisis in the middle east. This week, Saudi Arabia and its close allies in the region moved against Qatar, cutting off sea and …

What You Need to Know About the Paris Agreement Pullout

June 2nd, 2017

Donald Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement   In the wake of this decision, I wanted to get a sense of the …

What you need to know about the world's "Internally Displaced"

May 31st, 2017


One overlooked aspect of the global conversation on conflict, disaster and humanitarian affairs is internal displacement and the plight of internally displaced people, or IDPs. Like refugees, IDPs have been forced from …

Episode 153: Sharon Weinberger

May 26th, 2017


Sharon Weinberger is the author of the new book The Imagineers of War:The Untold Story of DARPA. DARPA, for the un-initiated, stands for the Defense …

What Political Science Can Teach Us About the Killing of Journalists

May 24th, 2017


We are nearly six months into the year and already 9 journalists have been killed in 2017, including 4 in Mexico alone. That figure comes from reporters without borders and is part of a larger data set that my guest …

Episode 152: Jill Filipovic

May 19th, 2017

Jill Filipovic is author of the new book The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness. She is a Nairobi based journalist, but we caught up while she was on book tour in her hometown of Seattle.    Jill is someone I've …

Trump's First Foreign Trip: Here's What to Know

May 17th, 2017


As I'm typing, the White House is busy doing damage control over revelations that Donald Trump revealed sensitive information to the Russians when he …

Episode 151: James Walsh

May 12th, 2017


Dr. James Walsh of MIT is a nuclear security security expert and one of the few Americans who have travelled to both Iran and North Korea for talks on nuclear issues. To this day, Jim meets frequently with North Korean …

Meet Emmanuel Macron, the Surprising New President of France

May 10th, 2017

By now, of course, you are well aware that Emmanuel Macron won a stunning election victory in France, besting by huge margins the far right candidate Marine Le Pen. But if you are like me, you probably did not know too …

Episode 150: Lisa Palmer

May 5th, 2017


Lisa Palmer is author of the new book Hot Hungry Planet: The Fight to Stop a Global Food Crisis in the Face of Climate Change. As the title suggests, …

Yemen, Already Beset by Civil War, is Now Facing Famine

May 3rd, 2017

Millions of people in Yemen are facing a potential famine. The country was already the poorest in the region and for the last several years has been beset by a civil conflict stoked by key regional players. And now, one …

Episode 149: Marcus Bleasdale

April 28th, 2017


The internationally acclaimed and award-winning photojournalist Marcus Bleasdale has a spread in the latest issue of National Geographic magazine …

What's Next for Afghanistan

April 26th, 2017

When I reached Ahmad Shuja in Kabul the country was still reeling from the deadliest single Taliban attack since the start of the insurgency nearly …

Episode 148: Laurie Adams

April 21st, 2017


Laurie Adams is president of the NGO Women for Women International which works with women survivors of war. She has had a long career in the NGO sector and as an activist, including many years with Oxfam in various …

The Venezuela Crisis, explained

April 18th, 2017

Venezuela is at yet another crisis point.  The government of Nicolas Maduro is facing steep opposition from the very people that swept Maduro's …

What Political Science Can Teach Us About the Syria Strikes

April 12th, 2017

Micah Zenko has researched whether or not limited airstrikes -- like the kind Donald Trump ordered on Syria last week -- actually achieve their …

What's Next for the US-China Relationship?

April 5th, 2017


Xi Jinping is headed to Mar-a-Lago for his first big meeting with Donald Trump.

The US-China relationship is arguably the most consequential bi-lateral relationship in the world so naturally this trip is garnering a lot …

These Are the Smugglers Who Make Mass Migration Possible

March 29th, 2017


Despite wide attention to the global refugee and migrant crisis, there has been little research of one key group that facilitates the movement of migrants: the smugglers themselves. 

In brand new book published by …

What North Korea Wants

March 22nd, 2017


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Over the past several months, North Korea has engaged in a series of provocative nuclear and missile tests. It conducted nuclear tests in January …

Episode 142: Jeremy Konyndyk

March 9th, 2017


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Jeremy Konyndyk recently left his post as the top US global humanitarian relief official. Jeremy lead the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance at USAID …

What We Mean When We Talk About "Foreign Aid"

March 3rd, 2017


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You may have seen news reports that the White House wants to substantially increase defense spending, and to offset those increases slash discretionary …

Bonus Episodes! A Message from Mark

March 2nd, 2017


I've started to roll out special bonus episodes for premium subscribers. I'm calling these "Background Briefings." Through interviews with experts, …

For the first time in six years, a famine has been declared

February 23rd, 2017


The United Nations did some extremely rare in February: agencies declared that a famine was ongoing in parts of South Sudan. More than 100,000 people are affected by this famine and childhood mortality rates are already …

Episode 139: Bathsheba Crocker

February 15th, 2017


Diplomacy runs in her family. Sheba Crocker and her father Chester Crocker are the first parent-child combination to have both served as assistant secretaries of state. Crocker-the-elder was a noted Africa specialist …

Is "Gross National Happiness" the New GDP?

February 12th, 2017


Greetings from the World Government Summit in Dubai! This one of those big international conferences (think: World Economic Forum in Davos) that is hosted by the government of the United Arab Emirates. It focuses on …

Crimes Against Humanity in Burma are Ongoing (and terribly under-covered)

February 8th, 2017


Crimes against humanity are ongoing in Burma and they are being committed by the state against the Rohingya people. This is a minority community in Burma that has historically faced intense discrimination, but there was …

Episode 138: Dr. Larry Brilliant

February 3rd, 2017


Dr. Larry Brilliant starred in a 1960s film that was a total flop. The movie was called Medicine Ball Caravan and it was a sort of documentary that …

How the Middle East is Reacting to Trump's Travel Ban

February 1st, 2017


By now,  you are well aware of President Trump's sweeping ban on migrants from seven Muslim majority countries; the indefinite suspension of refugees from Syria and the suspension of all refugee resettlement into the …

Episode 137: Princeton Lyman

January 27th, 2017


Princeton Lyman was a long serving US Diplomat who has become one of the leading experts on African politics and policy. He most recently served as …

Trump Just Re-Instated the "Global Gag Rule." Here's what that means.

January 25th, 2017


On his third day on office President Trump signed a memorandum re-instating what is known as the "Global Gag Rule" or sometimes alternatively as the …

Live from Chicago! Zalmay Khalilzad: former UN ambassador and GOP Foreign Policy Insider

January 23rd, 2017


In many ways Ambassador Khalilzad was the ideal person with whom to speak at the dawn of the next republican administration. He served in senior positions in the Bush white house, including as ambassador to his native …

What's Next for the Israel and Palestine?

January 18th, 2017


The Two State Solution--the idea that a sovereign, secure and independent Palestine can co-exist with a sovereign secure and independent jewish state …

Episode 136: Karen Greenberg

January 13th, 2017


Karen Greenberg has spent the last 15 years studying the intersection of national security, terrorism and civil liberties. She's currently the …

Sponsored: Get a Master of Arts in Social Innovation from the University of San Diego

January 13th, 2017


This is a special episode of the podcast sponsored by the Master of Arts in Social Innovation program at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at …

Turkey is in Crisis

January 11th, 2017


Turkey is in crisis. A number of terrorist attacks in recent weeks has rattled Turkish society, there is a persistent and ongoing crackdown on civil society, and President Erdogan is engineering constitutional changes …

Episode 135: Maria J Stephan

January 6th, 2017


Maria Stephan is a pioneering academic and public intellectual who studies authoritarian regimes and how they fall. She's the co-author with Erica Chenoweth of the groundbreaking and award winning book Why Civil …

Here are the big stories that will drive the global agenda in 2017

January 3rd, 2017


On the line with me to preview the big stories, ideas, trends and crises and provocations that will set the agenda at the United Nations and beyond is Richard Gowen. He's a fellow with the European Council on Foreign …

What Russia Wants

December 21st, 2016


Russia has successfully influenced the election here in the United States in its favor. It's side is winning the war in Syria. Crimea looks like it …

Episode 133: Amy Costello

December 18th, 2016


Amy Costello is a veteran reporter who now hosts the excellent Tiny Spark podcast that investigates what goes right and what goes wrong in philanthropy, including global philanthropy and the NGO sector. At the very end …

Trump has Assembled a "Team of Generals." So What's the Problem?

December 14th, 2016


President Elect Donald Trump has assembled a team of generals to fill key posts in his national security team. Former Army General Mike Flynn is his National Security Advisor, Marine General John Kelly has been tapped …

Episode 132: Cameron Munter

December 11th, 2016

Cameron Munter was the US Ambassador to Pakistan when US Special forces conducted the midnight raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. He watched the raid live and hours later was dealing with the diplomatic fallout.     …

Conditions are ripe for a genocide in South Sudan

December 7th, 2016


There are some frightening warning signs that a genocide may erupt in South Sudan. The country has been at war with itself for the better of three …

Episode 131: Mark Tokola

December 4th, 2016


Mark Tokola is the vice president of the Korea Economic Institute of America. He's a long serving American diplomat with postings around the world …

What Political Science Can Teach Us About Trump's Cabinet Picks

November 30th, 2016

Donald Trump's foreign policy and national security team is still taking shape. He has appointed Nikki Haley as his UN ambassador and Mike Flynn as …

Better Know Nikki Haley, the next US Ambassador to the UN

November 29th, 2016


--- Support the podcast and join our premium subscribers club! --->    President elect Donald Trump will nominate Nikki Haley to be his Ambassador to the United Nations. She …

Episode 130: Tali Nates

November 18th, 2016


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Tali Nates has a personal connection to Schindler's List. On it was the name of her father and uncle, whom Oskar Schindler saved from a Nazi extermination …

Episode 129: Maina Kiai

November 14th, 2016


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Maina Kiai has some profound insights into how governments abrogate the rights of people to freely assemble. He is a Kenyan human rights lawyer and …

A Personal Note -- My Pledge to You -- Build Community -- Earn Rewards

November 10th, 2016


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I'll get straight to the point. These are uncertain times. They are confusing times. We are entering the Trump era of American …

American Foreign Policy in the Age of Trump

November 9th, 2016


Donald Trump will become president and commander-in-chief in January. I am pledging to you right now that I will dedicate myself and dedicate this …

How the UN is Fighting Hunger in Somalia

November 5th, 2016


How the international community saves lives in conflict prone countries or insecure places is becoming increasingly relevant and important to global …

Why Hot Sauce Can Explain the US Election

November 3rd, 2016


Here we are days from the US election, so I thought to myself let's have a US focused episode that explains US culture and American politics and why …

Episode 128: Brian Katulis

October 30th, 2016


Brian Katulis is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress where his work focuses on US National Security and Foreign Policy. 

He's had a …

The Battle for Mosul

October 26th, 2016


 Mosul is Iraq's second largest city, and in 2014 ISIS militants took the city as Iraqi army units fled. Now, a large scale military operation backed …

Is this the end of the International Criminal Court?

October 21st, 2016


Late in the evening on October 20th news broke that South Africa is moving to withdraw from the International Criminal Court.

The ICC is the first permanent international court to prosecute war crimes and crimes against …

Episode 127: Sarah Chayes

October 19th, 2016


Sarah Chayes was a reporter for NPR working in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. Then, in early 2002 she decided to give up her career in journalism to help rebuild the country. She joined the NGO world, …

Meet Antonio Guterres, the Next UN Secretary General

October 16th, 2016


Last week the UN General Assembly Officially elected Antonio Guterres as the next UN Secretary General. Guterres is a well known figure around the UN …

Beware the Global Superbug

October 12th, 2016

At the United Nations last month there was a major meeting at the sidelines of the General Assembly about an issue called anti-microbial resistance. This meeting did not make much news outside the UN bubble, but it was …

Episode 126: Charles Kenny

October 10th, 2016


Charles Kenny is an optimist. He's the author of several book about global development, including Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding--And How We Can Improve the World Even More, which was widely hailed …

Why the Colombia Peace Deal Failed and What's Next

October 5th, 2016


The 52 year civil war in Colombia between the government and the Marxist rebel group the FARC is the longest running conflict in the Western …

Episode 125: Scott Shane

September 29th, 2016


Scott Shane is a veteran reporter with the New York Times.His latest book is titled Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President and the Rise of the Drone. It tells the story of Anwar al-Awlaki and President Obama's …

The Heroes of Syria

September 28th, 2016


When a building is bombed, a group of volunteers known as the White Helmets rush to the scene to dig through rubble to find survivors. In a conflict …

Episode 124: Sarah Sewall, Live!

September 25th, 2016


I was in New York for the UN General Assembly and so was Under Secretary of State for civilian security, democracy and human rights Sarah Sewall. We taped this episode in front of a live audience organized by New York …

UN Week Is Here! These Stories Will Drive the Global Agenda at the UN General Assembly

September 16th, 2016

The UN General Assembly kicks into high gear this week as world leaders flock to New York for the annual UN summit. There are many story lines for …

Here's How the International Community Is Trying to Solve the Global Refugee Crisis

September 14th, 2016



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World leaders gather at the annual United Nations General Assembly in New …

How Yemen Became Mired in a Brutal Civil War

September 9th, 2016



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The crisis in Yemen is getting worse by the day. Hospitals are being bombed, …

This is the worst crisis in the world that gets the least amount of attention

September 8th, 2016



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Over the course of the last six weeks or so, I've received a series of …

Episode 123: Dr. Peter Hotez

September 5th, 2016


Dr. Peter Hotez is one of the world's leading experts on so-called Neglected Tropical Diseases. These are a set of diseases, often times parasitic, …

An Important Message from Mark

August 31st, 2016



I need your help. I need you to support the show. If you can afford it, then please click the link below and make a contribution. I--literally--can do this without you. Or, to put this another way, I can't keep …

An Insane Drug War in the Philippines

August 15th, 2016


The new bombastic and brash president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte is undertaking a war on drugs like no other country on earth. In the last few months, hundreds of alleged drug offenders have been killed on the …

Episode 121: Greg Stanton

August 12th, 2016



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Greg Stanton has spent a career researching and fighting genocide. He speaks …

Why the Battle for Aleppo is So Consequential

August 10th, 2016


There is a catastrophe underway in the Syrian city  of  Aleppo. The city has been at the center of fighting since the civil war broke out in 2011, but in recent weeks the battle for Aleppo has become much more intense. …

Episode 120: Derek Chollet

July 29th, 2016


Derek Chollet is the author of the new book The Long Game: How Obama Defied Washington and Redefined America's Role in the World. 

Derek served in a …

El Nino Has Caused a Food Shortage in Southern Africa

July 27th, 2016


There catastrophe is looming in southern Africa.

This year’s historically intense El Nino sparked a region-wide drought that has decimated harvests. The area was already prone to food insecurity, but the extreme nature …

Arsalan Iftikhar Battles Islamophobia

July 22nd, 2016


Arsalan Iftikhar is the author of the new book Scapegoats: How Islamophobia Helps Our Enemies and Threatens Our Freedoms.

Arsalan is a human rights lawyer by training and was one of the original guests on this podcast a …

UN Secretary General Candidate Conversations: Helen Clark

July 20th, 2016


Helen Clark is a candidate to become the next UN Secretary General. She’s the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, serving from 1999 to 2008 and is currently the head of the United Nations Development Program.

We spoke …

Episode 118: Priscilla Clapp

July 15th, 2016


Priscilla Clapp had a 30 year career in the state department, which ended in 2002 as the top US official in Burma. She also served in top positions in South Africa in the early 1990s during the transition from Apartheid …

Congress Actually Does Something Good

July 13th, 2016


If you follow US politics even just slightly you will probably be surprised to learn that Congress actually did something last week. And deeper …

Episode 117: Lauren Wolfe

July 10th, 2016


Lauren Wolfe is an award winning journalist who covers sexual violence in conflict. She's the director of the Women Under Siege project, which is a …

The World's Newest Country Turns Five Years Old and There's Not Much to Celebrate

July 7th, 2016


On July 9, South Sudan commemorates its 5th independence day. And I say "commemorates" and not "celebrates" because there is not a whole lot to …

The International Development Implications of Brexit

June 30th, 2016


Both the European Union and the United Kingdom are important players in international development. In fact the EU is the single largest foreign aid provider; and the United Kingdom's own aid programs, run by the …

Episode 116: Stewart Patrick

June 24th, 2016


Stewart Patrick is an international relations scholar with a background in studying human evolution. As you might imagine, that combination makes for …

Trouble in the South China Sea

June 22nd, 2016


You've probably heard about the dispute in the South China Sea. And if you have heard about it, you are probably vaguely aware, as I was, that it …

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Turns 20. It's an anniversary worth celebrating

June 15th, 2016


I caught up with my guest today, Arms Control Association president Daryl Kimball from his hotel in Vienna. Daryl, along with hundreds of diplomats …

Episode 114: Marc Lynch

June 12th, 2016

If you follow the Middle East at all, you've probably read the works of my guest today, Marc Lynch.   Marc publishes widely and in a wide variety of …

The Worst Dictatorship You Have Never Heard Of

June 8th, 2016


The Gambia is a tiny country in western Africa. It's a narrow sliver on the ocean, surrounded by Senegal. It has a population of under 2 million, and …

Episode 113 Shelly Culbertson

June 6th, 2016


In her new book The Fires of Spring my guest today Shelly Culbertson travels to six countries in the Middle East and North Africa to describe for …

Should the Rio Olympics Be Cancelled over Zika?

June 2nd, 2016


Over the past week, a number of scientists and bio-ethicists expressed deep concern that holding the Olympics this summer in Rio de Janeiro could …

Venezuela is on the Verge of Collapse

May 26th, 2016


Venezuela is on a rapid and precipitous decline. You might even say, as my guest today Francisco Toro wrote in a recent piece in the Atlantic that Venezuela is falling apart. Between food, fuel, medicine and commodity …

Episode 111: Jennifer Harris

May 22nd, 2016


Jennifer Harris has devoted much of her career to studying what she calls "geo-economics," -- the  ability of countries to shape world politics, …

How One Senator is Trying to Change the US-Saudi Relationship

May 18th, 2016


Senator Chris Murphy wants to change a bedrock relationship in US foreign policy. 

In April this year he introduced legislation to restrict arms …

Episode 110: Calestous Juma

May 15th, 2016


Calestous Juma is a prolific author who focuses on the intersection of society, science and international development.    He is a professor and …

How to Fix a Broken Humanitarian System -- The World Humanitarian Summit Has Some Ideas

May 11th, 2016


The international humanitarian system is stretched beyond capacity. In fact, it's fair to say it is broken.

The inability of the international …

How Tom Vilsack and the US Department of Agriculture are Taking on Climate Change

May 7th, 2016


I caught up with my guest today, The US Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack just after he left the stage at the Climate Action Conference in DC. …

What Would Happen if You Offered People Living in Extreme Poverty a Guaranteed Basic Income?

May 4th, 2016


Paul Niehaus is undertaking a radical experiment. His organization, Give Directly, wants to find out would happen if people living in extreme poverty …

Episode 109: Tom Nagorski

April 30th, 2016


Tom Nagorski is a longtime TV editor reporter and producer for ABC news and is currently an executive vice president at the Asia Society.

  Tom's career as a journalist spans some of the major world events of the last …

Haitians in the Dominican Republic Face Statelessness

April 27th, 2016

On the island of Hispaniola, which is shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti, there is an ongoing and overlooked human rights and humanitarian …

Episode 108: Kevin Rudd

April 24th, 2016


Kevin Rudd is the former prime minister of Australia who knows China far better than most western leaders. He served from 2007 to 2010, and then again in 2013. These days, among other things, he's president of the Asia …

UN Secretary General Candidate Conversations: Srgjan Kerim

April 20th, 2016


My guest today Srgjan Kerim is a diplomat with the soul of an artist, who wants to become the next UN Secretary General. Karim is the former foreign …

UN Secretary General Candidate Conversations: Vesna Pusic

April 18th, 2016


Vesna Pusic is the former foreign minister of Croatia and a candidate to become the next UN Secretary General. She's a sociologist by training. …

Who Will Be the Next UN Secretary General?

April 14th, 2016


Something extraordinary took place at the United Nations this week. For twenty hours, over three days, each candidate in the race to become the next UN secretary general submitted themselves to hours of questioning by …

UN Secretary General Candidate Series: Danilo Turk

April 10th, 2016


Danilo Turk is the former president of Slovenia and one of eight currently declared candidates to be the next United Nations Secretary General. He was president from 2007 to 2012 and also served as his country's …

A New, Old Crisis in Western Sahara

April 6th, 2016


Ban Ki moon visited a refugee camp in Algeria that is home to people displaced by conflict in Western Sahara and he uttered remarks that created a diplomatic maelstrom.

Ban referred to the quote "occupation" of Western …

Episode 104: Mary Fitzgerald

April 1st, 2016


Mary Fitzgerald is an Irish journalist who for the better part of five years has covered Libya, including the fall of Gaddafi, Libya's fractured …

Meet the Next Big Global Environmental Treaty

March 30th, 2016


Work started at the United Nations this week on the next big global enviromental treaty. The treaty would create rules of the road for management of …

Anna Day 3:28:16, 12 54 PM

March 28th, 2016


The last time I saw Anna Day we were both attending a conference in Dubai. That was just last month, in February. I hopped a plane back to the United States. She went to Bahrain, and was promptly arrested with her crew. …

After Brussels, A Disasterous Deal for Refugees

March 24th, 2016


The attacks in Brussels this week are accelerating an already heated conversation in Europe about the unrelenting movement of refugee from the Middle East to the continent. 

The attacks on Tuesday came just days after …

Episode 102: Somini Sengupta

March 20th, 2016


My guest today Somini Sengupta is the United Nations correspondent for the New York Times. She's the author of the new book The End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India's Young which tells the story of a huge demographic …

How the Islamic State Came to Libya

March 16th, 2016


The Islamic state is seemingly on the ascent in Libya. It controls territory, including the coastal city of Sirte, and over the past several weeks it …

Episode 101: Thomas Fuller

March 13th, 2016


Thomas Fuller was the longtime Southeast Asia correspondent for the New York Times. He's now based in San Francisco, but his last posting from the …

Episode 100: Ashish Thakkar

March 6th, 2016


Ashish Thakkar is an African entrepreneur who started his business at the age of 15 having just escaped from the Rwanda genocide. That business, the …

The War Crime of Cultural Destruction

March 2nd, 2016


On March 1 a man named Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi  made an appearance at the international criminal court in the hague, and in so doing earned the dubious distinction of being the first person to ever appear at the ICC for …

Episode 99: Raj Shah

February 26th, 2016


Dr. Raj Shah served as the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, from 2010 to 2015. He was just 36 years …

The Global Implications of Apple V FBI

February 24th, 2016


By now you have probably heard of the legal and public relations battle between the FBI and Apple. In short, the FBI is trying to force Apple to unlock the phone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. Apple is unwilling …

Episode 98: Susan Benesch

February 21st, 2016


Susan Benesch is the founding director of the Dangerous Speech Project. And in this role she has helped to create a set of guidelines that helps …

Burundi is in a Tailspin

February 18th, 2016


Burundi is in a tailspin. It has been for the last year since President Pierre Nkurinziza decided to run for a constitutionally dubious third term in …

From the World Government Summit in Dubai

February 11th, 2016


I'm coming to you from World Government Summit this week, which is a conference dedicated to ideas and technologies to make government work more …

Episode 97: Michelle Mays

February 8th, 2016

Michelle Mays is a nurse with Doctors without Borders, better known of course as MSF. She has worked in conflict zones, post conflict zones and generally very intense situations around the world to deliver health care …

The Syrian Humanitarian Crisis Enters a New Phase

February 3rd, 2016


The United Kingdom plays host to a major conference this week intended to raise money and political support for the Syrian humanitarian disaster. …

Episode 96: Raymond Baker

January 31st, 2016


Raymond Baker was a newly minted Harvard Business School graduate working in Nigeria in the 1960s when he discovered that foreign businesses were …

The Coming Zika Crisis

January 27th, 2016


Earlier this week the World Health Organization warned that a mosquito borne viral disease known as Zika was fast spreading throughout the Americas. That includes the United States, which it will likely reach sooner …

Episode 95: Elizabeth Economy, and China's environmental challenges

January 22nd, 2016


Elizabeth Economy has for decades studied something that used to be considered somewhat obscure, but today is very much in vogue: the relationship …

The Psychology of Drone Strikes

January 20th, 2016

Drone strikes are an increasingly common feature of modern warfare; and there have been numerous discussions in the academic literature and beyond …

Episode 95: Dan Byman

January 18th, 2016


Dan Byman was fresh out of school when he took a job as an analyst for the CIA. Byman was a generalist, and they put him on a backwater Persian gulf …

Rwanda is on a Dangerous Path

January 13th, 2016

The journalist Anjan Sundaram is the author of the new book Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship. The book details how the creeping authoritarianism of the Rwandan government has silenced the free press, even as …

Episode 94: Marcy Hersh understands the plight of female refugees

January 11th, 2016


Marcy Hersh recently returned from a research trip to the Balkans, where she followed refugee women and girls as they made their way through Europe. …

Decision 2016: Who Will Become the Next UN Secretary General?

January 6th, 2016


Happy New Year everyone! And what an interesting an exciting year this will be for the United Nations because the new year marks the semi-official kickoff of the race to select the next UN secretary general.Ban Ki …

The Paris Agreement

December 16th, 2015


The Paris agreement that was adopted on December 12 was a triumph of diplomacy.  It is also a affirmation of idealism in international relations -- that the anarchy of the international system can be transcended to find …

Why Are So Many Eritreans Are Fleeing Their Country?

December 9th, 2015


After Syrians and Afghans, the largest nationality of people who are fleeing as refugees to Europe are Eritreans. And the vast majority of Eritreans who are fleeing to Europe are young people between the ages of 18 and …

Episode 90: Emma Sky

December 7th, 2015


Emma Sky was an Arabist, working at the British Council in 2003 when the United Kingdom joined the US led invasion and occupation of Iraq.  Though she strongly opposed the war, she opted to join the coalition …

Why the Paris Climate Talks Are a Political Tipping Point

December 3rd, 2015


Unlike any other global climate or environment conference I've covered over the years, civil society and the activist community this time around is genuinely enthused about the Paris Climate Talks. Cautious optimism, or …

Episode 89: Katie Meyler

December 1st, 2015


My guest today Katie Meyler is the founder of the NGO More than Me, which provides schooling and counseling to adolescent girls in Monrovia, Liberia. …

Will the Paris Attacks Lead to a Dayton-Style Peace Plan for Syria?

November 18th, 2015


Could the horrible attack in Paris might provide the kind of exogenous shock to the international system that could unstick international diplomacy …

The Life and Times of James P Grant, former UNICEF Director, as told by his biographer

November 13th, 2015


James P Grant is not a household name. But he most certainly should be. Grant lead UNICEF from 1979 until his death in 1995, and as Nick Kristof once …

Paris Climate Talks: What You Need to Know

November 11th, 2015

The Paris Climate talks kick off in just a few short weeks. On November 30, president Obama and many other heads of state are going to start weeks of negotiations that if all goes according to plan, will usher in a new …

Playing the Devil's Advocate In International Relations

November 5th, 2015


"Red Teaming" is a concept that can trace its origins to the year 1234 when Pope Gregory the IX created the position of Devils Advocate to vet Papal cannonizations. In more modern times, the process has been …

What Russia Wants from Syria

October 28th, 2015


Less than a month ago, Russia began a military operation in Syria that is ongoing to this day. Russia's direct military involvement in Syria adds a …

The Foreign Policy Implications of Canada's Elections

October 20th, 2015


The Liberal party in Canada, lead by Justin Trudeau, son of Pierre, shocked the world with a big, big win in hotly contested national elections. The Liberal ascent ends a near decade in power for the conservative …

Episode 84: Felice Gaer

October 16th, 2015


Felice Gaer has served on the UN Committee Against torture since 1999, making her the longest serving American elected to a UN Human Rights body. Though there is little power vested in the independent experts who …

My Wife Gave Birth to our Son in the Passenger Seat of our Toyota So This Episode Is About Maternal and Newborn Health

October 14th, 2015


So we had a scare. But all ends well. 
This episode is in two parts. First, you'll hear directly from my amazing wife about giving birth in our family car. It's a crazy story. Then, I speak with Dr. Luc de Bernis Senior …

Christine Fair, a scholar of South Asian Security, speaks openly about sexual harassment in the IR field

October 9th, 2015


Christine Fair is a respected scholar of South Asian politics and security. But her career path has been tough, with unnecessary obstacles in her …

Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Victor Ochen Survived the LRA

October 6th, 2015


The Nobel Peace Prize is announced on October 9. In March this year, Victor Ochen was nominated for the 2015 prize by the same organization the nominated previous laureates, Martin Luther King, Jr, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy …

Civil Rights Icon, UN Ambassador, Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young (Repost)

September 30th, 2015


Andrew Young is a civil rights icon who was with his friend Martin Luther King Jr when Dr. King was assassinated in 1968. In this interview, Young …

Introducing the Brand New Sustainable Development Goals

September 23rd, 2015


UN Week kicks off on a high note on Friday, with the opening of a special summit on the Sustainable Development Goals. Pope Francis will be one of the first to address the summit on Friday morning. President Obama is …

UNGA Games

September 17th, 2015


The UN Summit kicks off next week in New York! This is always the most exciting time of year for us UN nerds. And between the Pope and Putin, this UNGA promises to be a very interesting one.


Here with me to break …

Episode 81: Elmira Bayrasli

September 14th, 2015


Elmira Bayrasli is the author of the new book "From the Other Side of the World: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs, Unlikely Places." She is also the co …

Why Do Countries Build Walls?

September 9th, 2015


Why do countries build fences and walls at their border and under what conditions are those walls and fences likely to work as intended? These questions are obviously topical right now, with the US-Mexico border a hot …

Episode 80: Jina Moore

September 4th, 2015


When Jina Moore was in Middle School she became intensely curious about the Holocaust, reading about everything she could on the subject. That …

The Refugee Crisis Comes to Europe's Doorstep

September 2nd, 2015


The Syrian refugee crisis has finally made it to Europe's doorstep. Over the past several weeks, masses of refugees have made their way to southeastern Europe, mostly en route to Germany and other countries in northern …

Episode 79: Juliana Barbassa

August 30th, 2015


My guest today, Juliana Barbassa is a journalist and the author of the new book Dancing with the Devil in the City of God: Rio di Janeiro on the …

This Gay Syrian Refugee Risked it All

August 26th, 2015


Earlier this week the UN Security Council did something it's never done before: it held a meeting specifically focusing on violence directed against …

The Worm Wars!

August 19th, 2015

"Worm Wars" is shorthand for an ongoing scientific debate about the efficacy of de-worming programs; that is, programs supported by governments and non profits to stop the transmission of parasitic worms. This debate …

A New Ebola Vaccine Has Profound Global Implications

August 13th, 2015


There is a new ebola vaccine. And it works spectacularly well. A recent paper in the Lancet demonstrated of the 7,600 people in Guinea who received …

Colombia's FARC Insurgency May Be Coming to an End. But Can the Peace Hold?

August 5th, 2015


The FARC Insurgency in Colombia has been raging for fifty years. And now, after a long peace process, it may soon be coming to a formal end. But even …

South Sudan is in a Freefall

July 29th, 2015


South Sudan is in a tailspin. On July 9, the country commemorated its 4th anniversary of independence but it was hardly a celebration. Since December …

Episode 74: Jessica Jackley

July 27th, 2015


Jessica Jackley co-founded Kiva and revolutionized micro-lending. Her new memoir Clay, Water, Brick tells the story of the founding of Kiva and her …

What Obama's Ethiopia Visit Says About His Africa Policy

July 26th, 2015


This is a special bonus episode of Global Dispatches. Mark speaks with Prof Laura Seay about the implications of President Obama's decision to visit …

Obama's Kenyan Homecoming

July 22nd, 2015


President Obama is visiting Kenya this week. This is his first trip to his father's country of birth since becoming president, and people in Kenya are certainly treating it like a homecoming. 

Here with me to discuss …

The IAEA and Iran

July 15th, 2015

The nuclear deal with Iran is essentially grand bargain: Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear program in exchange for a gradual easing of international and national sanctions. But as President Obama is fond of saying, the …

An Update....And A Question for all You Global Dispatchers

July 13th, 2015


Taking a break this week. Instead, I wanted to give you all an update on where things are going with the podcast. Let me know what you think.  

Can a UN Conference in Ethiopia Solve the Riddle of Financing International Development

July 8th, 2015


A hugely consequential UN conference kicks off in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia next week. It has has not gotten a tremendous amount of media attention, but it is pretty big deal for most of the world. At the heart of this …

Episode 72: Anand Gopal

July 2nd, 2015


Anand Gopal's first book, "No Good Men Among the Living: America, The Taliban and The War through Afghan Eyes," was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer …

UN Peacekeeping is Facing Some Big Challenges. Can It Adapt?

July 2nd, 2015


A panel of independent experts recently published an exhaustive and hotly awaited report on the future of UN Peacekeeping The panel was lead by Jose Ramos Horta, the Nobel Laureate and former president of East Timor--a …

Episode 71: Stephen Morrison

June 29th, 2015

Stephen Morrison is the Senior Vice President and Director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies …

The UN Charter Turns 70 Years Old. Here is How it Came to Life

June 24th, 2015


The UN Charter turns 70 years old on June 26. This is the founding treaty that created the United Nations and in this episode you will learn the …

Episode 70: Paula Dobriansky

June 21st, 2015


Paula Dobriansky served as Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs for pretty much the entire George W Bush administration. Prior to …

A Fugitive from the International Criminal Court Escapes from South Africa

June 17th, 2015


Earlier this month, the African Union held a summit in South Africa. Among the attendees was Omar al Bashir, the president of Sudan. This was somewhat surprising because Bashir is wanted on charges of war crimes and …

Episode 69: Kakenya Ntaiya

June 11th, 2015


When Kakenya Ntaiya was a teenager in her small Kenyan villiage, she made a deal with her father. She would undergo a public circumcision ceremony if …

Can ISIS Be Contained? The White House is Betting On It

June 10th, 2015


It was a year ago this week that the Iraqi city of Mosul--the second largest city in country--fell to ISIS. The loss of Mosul sparked a …

Episode 68: Olivier Bancoult and Chagossian Exile

June 7th, 2015


The Chagos Archipelago is a group of islands situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean. You may have heard of the largest of these Islands, Diego Garcia, because it is home to a strategically important US military …

What Air Conditioners Can Teach Us About International Development

June 3rd, 2015

What's the relationship between air conditioning, air temperature and income levels? In other words, at what income level and in what climate zones …

Episode 67: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

June 1st, 2015


Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is a journalist and fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who in April published the book Ashley's War, which tells the …

Why Most Foreign Aid Does Not Go To the Poorest Countries

May 27th, 2015


Here's a statistic that may surprise you: most foreign aid does not go to the poorest countries on earth. In fact, only about 30% of official development assistance from donor governments goes to the 47 least developed …

The Rohingya Refugee Crisis

May 20th, 2015


A dangerous game of human pingpong is underway in the Adaman Sea between Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Thousands of Rohingya, a Muslim minority primarily from Myanmar, are adrift at sea. Not only is no …

Episode 65: Jean-Marie Guéhenno

May 15th, 2015


 Jean-Marie Guéhenno is the president of the International Crisis Group and long serving head of UN Peacekeeping. He comes from an interesting background--his father was a well known French intellectual whose experience …

Burundi on a Knife's Edge

May 13th, 2015


Burundi is in the midst of a deepening political crisis that has many observers extremely worried about the prospects of mass violence. Dozens of …

Epsiode 64: Reza Aslan

May 8th, 2015


Reza Aslan is arguably the most influential scholar of religion in America today. He's best known for mixing it up with the likes of Bill Maher …

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Means Business

May 6th, 2015


The advent of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, sometimes called a Chinese-led rival to the World Bank, is one of the most genuinely interesting developments in global affairs. Thought not yet operational, it is …

Episode 63: Albina du Boisrouvray

May 3rd, 2015


Albina du Boisrouvray is a French countess who sold her family heirlooms to start an anti poverty NGO. She was born into one of the wealthiest …

Nepal Dodges a Bullet

April 30th, 2015


Two years ago, I asked a top UN expert in disaster to describe the one scenario that keeps him up at night. Without hesitation he said that an …

Episode 62: Fareed Zakaria

April 27th, 2015


Fareed Zakaria shares stories about his upbringing in India and the influence of his die-hard pro-American mother and Indian nationalist father. He discusses his intellectual journey from a middle class childhood in …

Earthquake in Nepal: "Our Nightmare Scenario," says UN Official

April 25th, 2015


An earthquake in Katmandu may become one of the terrible natural disasters of our era. 

In 2013, I spoke with Jo Scheuer of the United Nations Development Program. He is an expert in disaster risk reduction so I asked …

Inside the Fight Against Malaria

April 22nd, 2015


Humanity is winning the fight against Malaria, but we still have a long way to go. Since the advent of the Global Fund, the Millennium Development Goals and the President's Malaria Initiative, death and illness rates …

Episode 61: Juliette Kayyem

April 20th, 2015


Juliette Kayyem is a practitioner and scholar of security studies. She's a former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, civil right attorney, …

Palestinians in Syria: Stuck in "The Deepest Circle of Hell"

April 15th, 2015


When the Yarmouk refugee camp outside Damascus was overrun by ISIS, a bad situation got much worse. Ban Ki moon called it "the deepest circle of hell" and UN humanitarian agencies are struggling to help people escape …

Yemen is a Hot Mess

April 8th, 2015


Yemen is the latest country in the region to collapse. Shi'ite rebels have taken control of much of the country and Saudi Arabia has launched a …

Episode 59: Caryl Stern

April 6th, 2015


Caryl Stern is the president and CEO of the United States Fund for UNICEF. This is the big fundraising arm (think "trick or treat for UNICEF") of one of the most important humanitarian organizations in the world. Caryl …

The Iran Nuke Deal-- How the Inspections Will Work

April 2nd, 2015


International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors are going to play a critical role in any final deal with Iran. But who are these inspectors? What do …

Episode 58: Victor Ochen

March 30th, 2015


Victor Ochen grew up in displaced persons camps in Northern Uganda, fleeing from the Lord's Resistance Army. He emerged from that difficult situation …

The Nigeria Elections

March 25th, 2015


Nigerians go to the polls on March 28 in consequential elections that could decide the future of Africa's largest democracy. Incumbent Goodluck …

Episode 57: Jessica Stern

March 23rd, 2015


Jessica Stern was a mid level National Security Council staffer when Hollywood literally came calling. Nicole Kidman portrayed a fictionalized …

Israeli Elections--What Happened and What it Means for Peace

March 18th, 2015


Benjamin Netanyahu secured a substantial victory in the Israel's elections this week. The consequences of this right wing victory will be profound …

Episode 56: Todd Moss

March 15th, 2015


Todd Moss is a true international development wonk. He's also the author of a critically acclaimed novel--a thriller called The Golden Hour that …

Guinea Worm Disease is Tantalizingly Close to Global Eradication

March 11th, 2015


Guinea Worm eradication is near. Guinea Worm is a waterborne disease that affects only the poorest of the poor people on the planet. But after millennia of inflicting pain and suffering in Asia and Africa, the disease …

Why Healthcare Systems in the Developing World Need a Shot in the Arm

March 5th, 2015


The ebola crisis demonstrated that countries with very weak health care systems are extremely vulnerable to a preventable disease outbreak. Now that …

Episode 55: Sarah Margon

March 1st, 2015


Sarah Margon is the Washington director of Human Rights Watch. She's spent her career fighting for human rights in Africa and beyond, but took a somewhat circuitous path to get there. In this episode, Margon recounts a …

What We Know About What We Don't Know About International Development

February 16th, 2015


How good are the data that drives international development policies? It turns out, not that great. This week's episode comes in two parts. In part …

A Stunning Turn of Events in Sri Lanka

February 16th, 2015


Sri Lankans stunned the world--and probably themselves--when they voted to oust a quasi-autocrat from power. In January, a politician named …

Episode 53: Leila Zerrougui

February 14th, 2015


Leila Zerrougui is the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. It's her job to help free child soldiers and ensure …

Migrant Ship Disasters in the Mediterranean

February 12th, 2015


There is a tragedy unfolding in the Mediterranean sea. Migrants trying to reach an Italian island off the coast of Libya are dying by the boatload, …

Measles Around the World

February 4th, 2015


The measles outbreak in the United States is an aberration. Since 2000, measles cases have declined substantially around the world thanks to a worldwide effort known as the Measles and Rubella Initiative. Its goal is to …

Episode 51: Ambassador Susan Jacobs

February 2nd, 2015

Ambassador Susan Jacobs is the Special Advisor for Children's Issues at the State Department. She has the distinction of being the first sitting US government official to be Mark's guest. Ambassador Jacobs describes her …

Boko Haram and the Nigerian Elections

January 28th, 2015


The Boko Haram insurgency is intensifying precisely as Nigerians prepare to go the polls in hotly contested elections. Earlier this month, the group …

Episode 50: Trita Parsi

January 25th, 2015


Trita Parsi is the founder of the National Iranian American Council. He tells Mark the story of his family's escape from Iran to Sweden during the …

Obama in India

January 22nd, 2015


President Obama visits India this week. This means that for the first time in history, a US President will visit India twice while in office. Tanvi …

Can We Really End Extreme Poverty?

January 14th, 2015


In September delegates at the United Nations will decide upon a set of Sustainable Development Goals to replace the Millennium Development Goals, which are expiring. The SDGs will almost certainly set an audacious goal: …

Stories that will Drive the Agenda at the United Nations in 2015

January 8th, 2015


2015 will be a big year for the United Nations. Richard Gowan of New York University and host Mark Leon Goldberg discuss the debates, events, and …

Name Your Favorite Foreign Policy Book of All Time

December 24th, 2014


This is a special edition of Global Dispatches Podcast for the holidays! Leave me a voicemail at 202 780 5166 and tell me what book about the world …

How the Pope Helped Seal the Cuba Deal

December 18th, 2014


Pope Francis and the Vatican played a key role in brokering the historic resumption of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States. This …

Episode 45: Aaron David Miller

December 14th, 2014


Aaron David Miller has been at the center of nearly every major Arab-Israeli peace initiative since the late 1980s. The historian and Middle East …

An Ebola Fighter Speaks

December 10th, 2014


Time Magazine named Ebola Fighters as their 2014 Persons of the Year. Mark spoke with one of these health care workers, Dr. Joia Mukherjee of …

Episode 44: Samantha Nutt

December 7th, 2014


Dr. Samantha Nutt is the founder of War Child, a group that assists children and their families in conflict affected countries around the world. Prior to founding War Child, Samantha Nutt was a humanitarian worker and …

High Stakes Diplomacy at the Climate Change Talks in Lima, Peru

December 3rd, 2014


Delegates from around the world are in Lima, Peru for the latest round of international climate talks, known as "COP20." The climate change conference is not getting a tremendous amount of media attention, but it's …

Episode 42: Howard French

November 24th, 2014


The journalist Howard French spent a career covering West Africa and China for the New York Times. He stumbled into journalism somewhat accidentally while living in the Ivory Coast and has reported from the Liberian …

The Geopolitical Implications of an Iran Nuclear Deal

November 20th, 2014


The USA and Iran may remake the geopolitics of the Middle East with a successful outcome of a nuclear deal. Failure to reach a nuclear agreement …

Episode 41: Kori Schake

November 17th, 2014


Kori Schake is a Republican foreign policy advisor who served in various positions in the George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush …

The Rohingya of Myanmar

November 12th, 2014


The Rohingya are a religious and ethnic minority in Myanmar that faces horrid abuse and discrimination by Burmese authorities. As the politics of …

Episode 40: Tom Hart

November 10th, 2014


Tom Hart was at the center of the biggest international development debates of the last 15 years. Now serving as the US Director of the ONE Campaign, Hart lobbied for forgiving the debt of the world's poorest countries …

The Foreign Policy Implications of the U.S. Midterm Elections

November 5th, 2014


The foreign policy implications of the U.S. midterms could be profound. How might Republican control of the U.S. Senate affect the on-going and …

Episode 39: Erica Chenoweth

November 3rd, 2014


Erica Chenoweth is a pioneering academic whose ground breaking study on strategic non-violence demonstrated that movements that use non-violent …

What Ebola Reveals About Americans' Understanding of Africa

October 23rd, 2014


The ebola outbreak and its importation to the United States has unleashed a wave of panic in the United States that reveals the paucity of Americans' …

Episode 37: Anneke Van Woudenberg

October 20th, 2014


Anneke Van Woudenberg first came to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997 on a drunken dare. The rest is history. In this episode, the famed human rights investigator discusses her life and career working for human …

The Sustainable Development Goals--What You Need to Know

October 16th, 2014


The Millennium Development Goals are expiring in 2015 and they will be replaced by the Sustainable Development Goals. This is a big year for international development--and humanity -- as complex diplomacy is underway at …

In an historic first, a president faces charges at the International Criminal Court

October 9th, 2014


For the first time in the history of the world, a sitting head of state is attending his trial for crimes against humanity. The head of state is Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta. The venue is the International Criminal …

Episode 35: Scott Guggenheim

October 6th, 2014


Scott Guggenheim is the most influential development expert that you've never heard of. The writer Rebecca Hamilton sits in for Mark today and interviews Guggenheim about his pioneering model of community driven …

Somaly Mam, in her own words

October 2nd, 2014


Somaly Mam is on the line today. She is the Cambodian anti-sex trafficking activist who came to prominence a few years ago as celebrities in the west rallied around her and her organization. That all came crashing down …

How the UN Helps Fight Terrorism

September 23rd, 2014

The Security Council will hold an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, chaired by President Obama, dedicated to stemming the flow of foreign fighters …

The Big UN Climate Summit

September 17th, 2014


Hundreds of world leaders are descending on the United Nations for a one day meeting on climate change. This is a big deal for the United Nations, for diplomacy, and possibly for the planet. So who is showing up and …

Episode 33: Ruth Messinger

September 15th, 2014


Ruth Messinger cut her teeth in New York City politics. She was a long serving member of the city council and one-time candidate for Mayor. She made …

The Crisis in the Central African Republic

September 11th, 2014


The Central African Republic is far from the headlines these days, which is unfortunate. Things are bad, but there's a potential that the situation may improve in the coming weeks as the current African Union-led …

Obama's Syria Dilemma

September 4th, 2014


It looks increasingly likely that the United States will expand its military operations against ISIS to Syria. Mark speak with William McCants of the Brookings Institution about the prospects and pitfalls of a US-led …

Episode 31: Amb. Michael Guest

September 2nd, 2014


Michael Guest is a trailblazer. In 2001 he became the first out-gay senate confirmed United States ambassador. In 2007 his long and distinguished career in the foreign service was cut short when he resigned after …

The Fear of Ebola

August 28th, 2014


In many ways, the fear of ebola is more deadly and consequential than the virus itself. Jina Moore of BuzzFeed just returned from a reporting trip to …

An Update for All You Global Dispatchers

August 25th, 2014


Hi all-

No interview this week. Rather, after 30 longform interviews I thought it was a good time to take a quick break and update you all on where I want to take this podcast. 



South Sudan's Looming Famine

August 21st, 2014


South Sudan is quite possibly on the verge of famine. The conflict that erupted in December shows little signs of abating. The peace process is halting and in the meantime the humanitarian situation is growing …

Sex Slaves in Iraq

August 14th, 2014


The United Nations released a grave warning this week that some 1,500 women have been captured as sex slaves by the Sunni extremist group that is rampaging through parts of Iraq and Syria. Mark speaks with Zainab Hawa …

Episode 29: Chris Hill

August 11th, 2014


Chris Hill was born into the foreign service...and he stayed there. He has served as Ambassador to Iraq and as the lead American negotiator in the six party talks on North Korea's nuclear program. Ambassador Hill sits …

The International Criminal Court's Palestine Problem

August 7th, 2014


The Palestinian Authority may ask to join the International Criminal Court, potentially paving the way for war crimes charges to be brought against both Israelis and Palestinians. Mark speaks with international law …

Episode 28: Nancy Birdsall

August 4th, 2014


The international development pioneer and founder of the Center for Global Development is on the line this week. Nancy Birdsall tells Mark about how she got her start in international development in the 1960s and how …

Why this Ebola Outbreak is Out of Control

July 31st, 2014



An Ebola outbreak in west Africa has claimed more than 600 lives. Mark Leon Goldberg speaks with Gregory Hartl of the World Health Organization who …

How to Negotiate a Gaza Ceasefire

July 24th, 2014


As the conflict in Gaza drags on, there's a renewed diplomatic effort to secure a ceasefire. Mark speaks with Michael Hanna of the Century Foundation …

Episode 26: Helene Gayle

July 21st, 2014


CARE CEO Helene Gayle is on the line this week. The medical doctor from upstate New York tells Mark how she became the head of one of the largest international humanitarian relief NGOs on the planet. And prior to her …

HIV/AIDS - How Humanity is Winning the Fight

July 17th, 2014


In the fight between humanity and the AIDS virus, humanity is winning. That is the top line conclusion you can draw from the newest global data about HIV/AIDS from the United Nations. Erin Hofhelder of the ONE Campaign …

A Child Migrant's Perspective

July 10th, 2014


There is a refugee crisis in the USA. Since October over 50,000 children and tens of thousands of families have streamed across the southern border of the United States. What is compelling this surge in migration, …

Live from the UN 2014, Part 2

July 7th, 2014


It's a special edition of the podcast today! I have a number of officials from the United Nations on the show. These interviews were conducted on location at the United Nations. Each conversation lasts about 10 minutes …

Inside the Iran Nuke Talks

July 3rd, 2014


All eyes are on Vienna as delegations from the United States, Germany, France, the UK, Russia and China meet with Iranian officials in a final push to secure a comprehensive agreement over Iran's nuclear program. They …

Turkey's Strategic View of the Iraq Crisis

June 26th, 2014


Turkish foreign policy is always a fascinating case study. As the sunni insurgency in Iraq is gaining steam, how are Turkish foreign policy elites …

Live from the UN, 2014 (Part 1)

June 23rd, 2014


Something different on the podcast this week! I recent sat down with a number of officials at the United Nations as part of Talk Radio Day 2014. This is an annual event hosted by the United Nations Foundation in which …

A UN View of the Iraq Crisis

June 19th, 2014


From the perspective of the United Nations, the crisis in Iraq cannot be disaggregated from the crisis in Syria.

In this special edition of Global Dispatches, I speak with the United Nations Deputy Secretary General Jan …

Dying for the World Cup

June 12th, 2014



In 2022 Qatar will host the World Cup. Migrant workers, mostly from Southeast Asia, are living in harsh conditions and dying in large numbers as …

Egypt After the Counter Revolution

June 5th, 2014


Egypt's ex Army Chief Abdel Fatah al Sisi won election this week (with an astounding 96% of the vote!) The ascent of this Mubarak-era military functionary speaks to the profound failure of Egypt's 2011 Arab Spring …

What Obama Left Out of His Big Foreign Policy Speech

May 29th, 2014


President Obama's commencement address to West Point Graduates this week was billed by the White House as a major foreign policy address. But there …

Why Libya is Suddenly on the Verge of Civil War

May 22nd, 2014


Libya today is arguably closer to a full blown civil war than at any time since the fall of Muammar Ghaddafi in 2011. A renegade general named …

The Foreign Policy Implications of India's Elections

May 15th, 2014



The largest excerise in democracy in the history of humanity is coming to an end. Narendra Modi will cruise to victory, but what does his ascent mean for India's relationship with Pakistan, China, the USA and the …

What Boko Haram Wants

May 2nd, 2014


Boko Haram is in the news for all the wrong reasons. A series of audactious attacks, including the kidnapping of hundreds of school girls, has …

Episode 15: Laura Turner Seydel on Philanthropy and Captain Planet

December 2nd, 2013


The scion of Ted Turner is forging a new philanthropic path, focusing on reproductive health and environmental issues. She talks to Mark Leon …

Episode 14: Douglas Ollivant on Iraq's Violent Death Spiral

November 1st, 2013


Iraq is in the midst of an unrelenting descent into violence. Every day brings news of another bombing or attack that leaves scores of people dead. …

Episode 13: Gary Bass

October 17th, 2013


The historian Gary Bass has penned a new book that is getting rave reviews. The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide tells the story of the muted American response to a human rights and …

Episode 12: Mark Montgomery

August 1st, 2013


Mark Leon Goldberg speaks with the demographer and economist Mark Montgomery about global population trends. It turns out that adolescent girls in …

Episode 10: Live from the UN, Volume II

July 10th, 2013


Doing things a little differently this week. Mark conducts a series of back-to-back-to-back interviews with experts from around the United Nations. Interesting, wonky discussions were had! Here are the interviewees in …

Special World Refugee Day Edition

June 20th, 2013


In this special edition of Global Dispatches, Mark Leon Goldberg interviews Shelly Pitterman of the UN Refugee Agency. Today, June 20th, is World …

Episode 8: Suzanne Nossel

June 19th, 2013


Mark Leon Goldberg speaks with Suzanne Nossel, author of the influential Foreign Affairs article "Smart Power." Nossel served as a deputy assistant …

Episode 7: Live from the UN, Vol I

June 12th, 2013


We are doing something a little different  today. Instead of one in depth interview, Mark chats with several experts who work for various arms of the United Nations. 

Here's the set up: The UN Foundation invited a …

Episode 6: PJ Crowley, former State Department Spokesperson

June 5th, 2013


On the line this week is PJ Crowley, the former Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. Mark and PJ talk about the role of public diplomacy …

Episode 4: Arsalan Iftikhar, "The Muslim Guy"

May 22nd, 2013


You probably know him as "The Muslim Guy." Arsalan Iftikhar is a civil rights lawyer and popular media commentator who fights daily against …

Episode 2: Laura Seay, aka @TexasinAfrica

May 8th, 2013


In this week's episode, I talk with Dr. Laura Seay who you probably know better as @TexasinAfrica. I learn how the daughter of a preacher from a cotton farming community near Lubbock became one of America's most …

Episode 1: Heather Hurlburt

April 30th, 2013


Executive Director of the National Security Network Heather Hurlburt kicks off the new podcast series. She discuses why Syria is a such a vexing …

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