World Affairs Today


World Affairs TODAY
is a public information service of the World Affairs Council - Washington, DC.  The program, recorded in front of a live audience in Washington, DC, focuses on a major global issue and foreign policy topic.  Speakers include U.S. and foreign government officials, foreign policy experts, authors, journalists, economists, Nobel Laureates, and global business leaders.  The program reaches an international and national audience on demand through our YouTube channel.

To see more episodes of World Affairs TODAY, visit our YouTube Channel.


Episode 1101: “Pragmatism vs. Policy: The US Approach Towards Refugees,” Foreign Policy Series – scheduled to air 9/4/16
For months Americans have watched as refugees from Syria & Iraq streamed into Europe, desperately seeking respite from the violence of war in their countries. The recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Nice, and throughout Europe and the Middle East awakened fears that potential attackers could disguise themselves as refugees, carrying out similar attacks in other places, including the United States. Leaders and politicians have called into question the US policy of accepting refugees. What is the US policy and process of accepting refuges?  Do they pose a security threat?  Is banning refugees a realistic option to preventing attacks in the United States?  What does the process of screening consist of? WAC-DC hosted a distinguished panel to explore this difficult topic.

Episode 1102: His Excellency Hamdullah Mohib, Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United States, Ambassador Series – scheduled to air 9/11/16
Dr. Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States joined the World Affairs Council-Washington, DC to discuss his country’s transformation, US-Afghan bilateral relations, and regional security challenges. At only 32 years old, Ambassador Mohib took up his post in Washington in September 2015. As a refugee multiple times throughout his life—following the Soviet invasion, the civil war with the Taliban, and the American intervention—Ambassador Mohib feels strongly about keeping hope alive within the people of Afghanistan. He represents a country where 75% of the population is younger than 35 years old. Ambassador Ronald Neumann, former US Ambassador to Afghanistan and current president of the American Academy of Diplomacy, served as discussant.

Episode 1103: “Of Referendums and Recalls - Political and Economic Crisis in Venezuela,” Foreign Policy Series – scheduled to air 9/18/16

Venezuela has seen three years of economic decline, made acute with the fall in world oil prices. Exports and imports of goods have plummeted and citizens endure long lines to purchase basic, and increasingly scarce, items such as food and medicine. The government has instituted rolling blackouts to conserve energy including instituting a two-day work week to save energy. The opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) has presented a petition with 1.85 million signatures in favor of a referendum to recall President Maduro.  However, with the National Electoral Board slowing MUD’s efforts and the Supreme Court blocking the parties, it is unclear if efforts to remove Maduro will be effective. Will the recall referendum be allowed to proceed?  If not, will the opposition protests continue to remain peaceful? Or will both sides turn to the barracks to arbitrate the standoff?  WAC-DC hosted expert panelists to discuss the dire crisis in Venezuela.

Episode 1104: John Perkins – “The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,” Author Series – scheduled to air 9/25/16
International aid programs from the IMF and World Bank, backed by its wealthier member states such as the United States, have helped developing countries advance towards their goals in several ways. They have addressed humanitarian, economic, and military needs. Yet there remains a controversy over the efficiency of these programs and the intentions of their backers. The World Affairs Council-Washington, DC hosted John Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. A follow-up to his 2004 book, Mr. Perkins details economic practices he alleges keeps rich countries rich and poor countries poor; and how he sees these permeating the United States. A former Chief Economist at an international consulting firm, Mr. Perkins has advised the World Bank, United Nations, IMF, US Treasury Department, Fortune 500 corporations, and state leaders in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Episode 1105: General Michael Hayden – “Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror,” Author Series – scheduled to air 10/2/16

In the nearly 15 years since the 9-11 terrorist attacks, America has worked to address the security challenges of asymmetrical warfare in the 21st century. In the evolution of their strategy to face new threats, United States intelligence agencies have been criticized for adopting practices that appear to violate international law as well as rights to privacy. On the other side, defenders argue that the new global threats require less conventional, more effective methods to protect America’s political, economic, and security interests. Defending is not enough to defeat the threats they say. What, if any, balance can be achieved? The World Affairs Council-Washington, DC hosted General Michael Hayden, author of Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror and the former Director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Episode 1106: His Excellency Lukman Faily, Ambassador of Iraq to the United States, Ambassador Series – scheduled to air 10/9/16

In one of his last on-the-record public appearances as Iraq’s top diplomat in the United States, Ambassador Lukman Faily shared his perspectives on US-Iraqi bilateral relations, the road to peace and stability in Iraq, and whether he thinks Iraq should be partitioned into three states: Sunni, Shia and Kurdish Iraq. Prior to his three-year posting in DC, Ambassador Faily served as Iraq’s Ambassador to Japan, he actively opposed Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, led the Iraqi exile community in the United Kingdom, and he continues to aid organizations focused on the Iraqi diaspora. Jessica Ashooh, Deputy Director of the Middle East Strategy Task Force, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, Atlantic Council, served as discussant.

Episode 1107: Sasha Chanoff – “From Crisis to Calling,” Author Series – scheduled to air 10/16/16
Tens of thousands of people are fleeing their countries due to violent domestic conflicts to find new homes elsewhere – sometimes with tragic consequences. The UN Refugee Agency has declared that worldwide displacement levels are at their highest levels ever recorded. Receiving countries are struggling to cope with the waves of refugees, recognizing the humanitarian needs but lacking, or not allotting, the resources necessary to address the crisis. How can countries and international institutions best respond to the crisis? What should the action-guiding principles be in these critical moments? Sasha Chanoff, author of From Crisis to Calling, joined the World Affairs Council-Washington, DC to discuss the complex issue of the refugee crisis and finding our moral center in these tough decisions. Chanoff’s story outlines the struggles he faced in refugee camps in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while he was there to evacuate a group of refugees.

Episode 1108: Nicolas Pelham – "Holy Lands: Reviving Pluralism in the Middle East,”  Author Series – scheduled to air 10/23/16

The Middle East is often characterized by eternal conflict among various sectarian and ethnic groups. Governments are sometimes seen as oppressive, advancing one ethnic group while suppressing others. However, by tracing the region’s history, we can see that this wasn’t always the case; and at points in history the Middle East was even more tolerant than in parts of Western Europe. What of the past can we learn about the future of the Middle East? Can the indigenous pluralism of before be revived? The World Affairs Council-Washington, DC hosted Nicolas Pelham, author of Holy Lands Reviving Pluralism in the Middle East to deliberate the cultural and political complexities of the Middle East and explore whether tolerance and pluralism within societies can resolve sectarian struggles.

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