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Big World

News & Politics Podcasts

Big World shines a spotlight on complex ideas and issues that matter. Each episode features an expert from the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC, breaking down a big, important topic into small bite sizes.

Location:

United States

Description:

Big World shines a spotlight on complex ideas and issues that matter. Each episode features an expert from the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC, breaking down a big, important topic into small bite sizes.

Language:

English


Episodes
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Thirty Years after the Rwandan Genocide

4/1/2024
School of International Service professor Claudine Kuradusenge-McLeod joins Big World in this episode marking the 30th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. In 1994, a roughly 100-day massacre by Hutu militias targeting the Tutsi minority ethnic group resulted in the death of about 800,000 people, including Tutsis, moderate Hutus, and Twa. Kuradusenge-McLeod, who is a scholar-activist specializing in genocide studies, begins our discussion by describing, in broad strokes, the events that led up to the genocide in 1994 and what occurred during the 100 days (1:23). She also discusses the international response to the events of the genocide (5:26) and explains where relations between Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda stand today (8:49). What is life like for survivors of the genocide today, both within Rwanda and in the diaspora? (10:57) What has been President Paul Kagame’s impact on Rwanda since the genocide, and do people consider him a dictator? (15:59) Kuradusenge-McLeod answers these questions and analyzes whether or not justice has been served in the punishment of genocide perpetrators (26:43). To close out the discussion, Kuradusenge-McLeod discusses the state of human rights in Rwanda today (31:29) and explains the lasting impact of the genocide on the nation (33:37). In the “Take 5” segment (22:59) of this episode, Kuradusenge-McLeod answers this question: What are five things Rwanda needs to do to become fully democratic?

Duration:00:37:51

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Did the Woman, Life, Freedom Protests Change Iran?

3/1/2024
In this episode, School of International Service professor Shadi Mokhtari joins Big World to discuss the history of protests in Iran, the unprecedented international reaction to Mahsa Amini’s death, and the greater impact of the Woman, Life, Freedom protests. Over a year has passed since Mahsa Amini was detained and died in Iran after being detained by Iran’s morality police for improperly wearing a hijab in September 2022. Her death sparked massive protests around the world and was the catalyst for the Woman, Life, Freedom movement in Iran. Mokhtari begins our conversation by providing a brief background on Iran’s long history of protests (1:51). Mokhtari also describes the 2022 Woman, Life, Freedom protests (8:59) and discusses the key grievances raised by the protesters (16:33). How did the Iranian diaspora respond to these protests (18:04)? Did the protests help to unite Iranians or did it cause further divides (30:22)? Mokhtari answers these questions and more. Mokhtari ends our conversation by discussing how the Woman, Life, Freedom protests will be viewed in Iran in the future (33:38). In the “Take 5” segment (28:14), Mokhtari answers the question: What things would need to change before we see meaningful political change in Iran?

Duration:00:38:47

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Labor Strikes Back

2/1/2024
Organized labor is having a moment. In this episode, School of International Service professor Stephen Silvia joins Big World to discuss the evolution of the labor movement, the significance of the recent United Auto Workers strike and recent organizing attempts by both Starbucks and Amazon employees, and what the future holds for unions. Silvia, who researches comparative labor employment relations with a focus on the US and Germany, begins our conversation by discussing how union organizing has changed over the past few decades (1:50). Silvia also analyzes the importance of the recent UAW strike and resulting contracts with the Big Three automakers (3:47) and discusses efforts by the UAW to organize foreign-owned auto plants in the American South, as detailed in his recent book, The UAW’s Southern Gamble: Organizing Workers at Foreign Owned Vehicle Plants (8:22). What challenges will the UAW face surrounding electric vehicle manufacturing (19:27)? How will organizers confront declining union membership (25:02)? Silvia answers these questions and discusses how the “union avoidance playbook” can make organizing difficult at places like Amazon and Starbucks (26:53). Silvia ends our conversation by explaining why Gen Z is making unions cool again (28:42). In the “Take 5” segment (15:04), Silvia answers the question: What steps or practices are necessary for workers to have more of a voice in the workplace?

Duration:00:37:26

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How Do We End "Lies about Black People"?

1/2/2024
Can you think of a stereotype or lie you’ve heard about Black people? Do you know how or when that stereotype came to be? In this episode, SIS professor Omekongo Dibinga joins Big World to discuss his new book, Lies About Black People: How to Combat Racist Stereotypes and Why it Matters, and explain how we can improve on our antiracist journeys. Dibinga begins our conversation by explaining the original idea and his research and writing process for the book (2:14), then moves to discussing how lies and stereotypes gain power in people's minds (4:28). Dibinga also explains why he doesn’t use the term “BIPOC” (7:55) and why reexamining our vocabulary is so important (9:44). Where did the ‘Black people can’t swim’ stereotype come from (12:19)? How have whitewashed, revisionist versions of history detracted from our knowledge of our authentic history and experiences as Americans (20:02)? Dibinga answers these questions and more. To close out the discussion, Dibinga shares why celebrating and acknowledging Black history and achievements is so important (28:45). In the “Take 5” segment (17:55) of this episode, Dibinga answers this question: What are five ways that people can identify preconceived notions and work to improve on their anti-racist journey?

Duration:00:30:33

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Will Climate Shock Cause Climate Change Action?

12/1/2023
Does throwing tomato soup at a famous painting force the world to respond to climate change? In this episode, Dana Fisher, School of International Service professor and director of American University’s Center for Environment, Community & Equity, joins Big World to discuss the evolution of climate activism, the demographic of people participating in climate protests, and the goal of more radical climate action. Fisher, whose research interests include climate activism, environmental stewardship, and climate politics, begins our conversation by explaining the evolution of climate activism over the past few decades (1:38) and discussing the rise of the “radical flank” of climate activists (5:25). Fisher also defines the term “climate shock” (10:00) and explains what happens when climate shocks are no longer shocking (13:16). What is motivating the population of people currently participating in climate activism (14:33)? Can we expect any significant actions or agreements coming out of COP 28 this month (20:02)? Fisher answers these questions and explains why she believes international climate conferences are not worth the carbon footprint, particularly if you are not a delegate involved in negotiating (21:52). To close out the discussion, Fisher gives our listeners a preview of her forthcoming book, Saving Ourselves: From Climate Shock to Climate Action (27:15). In the “Take 5” segment (17:37) of this episode, Fisher answers this question: What are five climate policies you'd like to see adopted in the United States?

Duration:00:32:40

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Why are Rohingya and Ukrainian Refugees Treated Differently?

11/1/2023
In this episode, School of International Service professor Tazreena Sajjad joins Big World to discuss the difference in global responses to Rohingya and Ukrainian refugees. Sajjad, an expert on refugees and forced displacement, begins our discussion with a brief overview of the history of the Rohingya refugee crisis (2:53). Sajjad also discusses life inside the refugee camps in Bangladesh (7:26) and explains how other countries and international aid organizations are working to help Rohingya refugees (11:19) displaced from Myanmar. Why is there a disparity in media coverage of the Rohingya and Ukrainian refugee crises (16:13)? How are international aid dollars being spent, and who decides which refugees receive this aid (25:08)? Sajjad answers these questions and discusses the impact of geographical proximity and geopolitical importance when it comes to assisting refugee groups (27:58). To close out the discussion, Sajjad asks our listeners to consider both the public perceptions and lived realities of both the Rohingya and Ukrainian refugees (33:23). In the “Take 5” segment (19:23) of this episode, Sajjad answers the question: How can countries and international organizations better work to support refugees from all situations and ensure that resources and aid are shared more equally among those threatened groups who need it the most?

Duration:00:35:08

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Netanyahu and Democracy in Israel

10/2/2023
In this episode, Guy Ziv, School of International Service professor and associate director of American University’s Meltzer Schwartzberg Center for Israel Studies, joins Big World to discuss democracy in Israel, the political longevity of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and current protests over Netanyahu’s attempts to limit the power of Israel’s highest court. Ziv, who teaches courses on US foreign policy, international negotiations, US-Israel relations, and Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, begins our discussion by explaining how Netanyahu is a “political magician” (2:02). Ziv also analyzes the parallels between Netanyahu’s ongoing corruption trial and the indictments against former US President Donald Trump (6:03) and discusses the results of Israel’s November 2022 election, in which Netanyahu led a far-right coalition to win the majority of the 120 seats in Israel’s legislature, the Knesset (11:44). Why was the judicial overhaul plan passed by the Knesset in July so significant (14:19)? How are less conservative segments of the Jewish population in Israel responding to Netanyahu’s efforts to weaken Israel’s judiciary (19:18)? Ziv answers these questions and discusses recent tensions in Israel’s military caused by the judicial overhaul plan (25:22). To close out the discussion, Ziv gives our listeners a preview of his upcoming book titled Netanyahu vs the Generals: The Battle for Israel’s Future (28:41). In the “Take 5” segment (22:17) of this episode, Ziv answers the question: What are five policy recommendations for the Biden administration in terms of its response to the Netanyahu government’s controversial actions?

Duration:00:34:35

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Disinformation, Part 2: the US

9/5/2023
In this episode, SIS professor Samantha Bradshaw joins Big World to discuss the spread of disinformation online in the US. Over the last decade in the United States, disinformation is a topic that has dominated discussions surrounding elections, political campaigns, COVID-19, and more. Bradshaw, who is a leading expert on new technologies and democracy, begins our discussion by explaining her definition of disinformation (1:41) and overviews the factors that have contributed to the rise of disinformation in the US over the last decade (2:41). Bradshaw also identifies the kinds of groups who primarily spread disinformation in the United States (5:40). Are people being targeted with disinformation roughly equally, or do disparities exist between racial and ethnic groups (8:41)? What does Bradshaw think about the methods social media companies are using to combat the spread of disinformation (11:55)? Bradshaw answers these questions and discusses her research into Russian trolling operations (15:16) and press freedom (24:03) before rounding out the episode with some thoughts on disinformation and AI (27:00). In the “Take 5” segment (18:53), Bradshaw answers the question: What five policies would you want to see enacted in the US to address disinformation?

Duration:00:32:24

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Disinformation Part 1: India

8/1/2023
“Disinformation” and “misinformation” are two words we often hear, but how many people know what those words mean? How do we identify disinformation? How is it spread? The disinformation issue is not unique to the US, as countries around the world are facing the consequences of the spread of false and sometimes even harmful information. In this episode of Big World, SIS professor Sumitra Badrinathan joins us to discuss disinformation and misinformation in India (1:17) and the ways in which the spread of disinformation in India is both similar and different to the ways disinformation spreads in the US. Badrinathan explains her definition of disinformation (1:25) and shares why she uses the term “misinformation” when discussing her work (2:42). She also describes how different types of disinformation and misinformation, such as health and political misinformation, affect both India and the world (3:38). How does India’s status as the world’s most populous country affect the spread of misinformation (6:37)? How do social media and messaging apps like WhatsApp contribute to the spread of misinformation (9:14)? Badrinathan answers these questions and discusses the impact of misinformation on political outcomes in India (20:33). The podcast concludes with Badrinathan’s comments on foreign influence in the spread of disinformation and misinformation in India (23:46). During our “Take Five” segment, Badrinathan shares five ways that researchers and academics have worked to counter global misinformation (13:46).

Duration:00:25:10

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Disability Rights are Human Rights

7/5/2023
This July marks 33 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed — a landmark law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, communications, and government resources. The ADA is meant to protect people with disabilities from discrimination in everyday life, and the law’s signing made the US the first country in the world to adopt a declaration of equality for persons with disabilities. The legacy of the ADA has included increased activism and policy gains for persons with disabilities worldwide. In this episode of Big World, SIS and Kogod professor Derrick Cogburn joins us to discuss the ongoing legacy of the ADA (2:12), noting that disability policy was once a bipartisan issue in the United States but is no longer. He also describes disability policy as emanating from three imperatives: moral, economic, and legal (4:37). Cogburn explains the importance of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (6:28), explaining that the US is not among the more than 180 countries who have ratified the convention, despite then-President Barack Obama signing the CRPD (8:28). He also describes global disability movements (9:42) and discusses frameworks like the New Urban Agenda, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the Sendai Framework, all of which incorporate disability policy. What are some policy shifts in the realm of online accessibility over the last decade (20:23)? What are the ramifications of untapped potential when spaces, either physical or online, are not accessible to people with disabilities (29:32)? Cogburn answers these questions and discusses shifts in activists’ approach to creating disability policy goals in recent years. The podcast concludes with Cogburn’s comments about how the inclusion of persons with disabilities can have many positive impacts on our world (33:29). During our “Take Five” segment, Cogburn shares the five disability policies he would want to see instituted globally (16:39).

Duration:00:35:25

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Politics, Religion, and Diplomacy in Pakistan and India

6/1/2023
Together, Pakistan and India account for nearly a quarter of the world’s population. The two nations and their peoples also have made innumerable contributions to the world’s great religions, history, and culture. In this episode of Big World, SIS professor Akbar Ahmed joins us to talk about the interfaith dynamics within and between India and Pakistan; their global roles and influence; and his own influential career as a diplomat, scholar, and author. Ambassador Ahmed briefly explains the origins of his career, including how an experience as a child influenced both his life and his future commitment to interfaith dialogue (3:25). He discusses his three decades of experience in the Pakistani civil service and the impact of that time on his views about peace (7:10). Ahmed gives his thoughts on the state of Pakistan’s democracy and his hopes for the nation’s future (9:41). Reflecting on his arrival in the US and Washington, DC, the week before September 11, 2001, Ahmed talks about how and why the tragic events of that day impressed upon him the importance of interfaith dialogue (11:56). He also answers the question: was there ever a moment, post-9/11, in which he was afraid to be a Muslim living in America (18:35)? What kind of productive interfaith dialogues are happening within India (21:33)? Can interfaith dialogue help ease tensions between India and Pakistan (24:41)? Is Hindu nationalism, at its core, divorced from the actual tenets of Hinduism (26:36)—and are extremist versions of religions always similarly out of step with their own foundational beliefs? Ambassador Ahmed answers these questions while also explaining how he got his students heavily involved in the various projects he’s produced over the years (31:29). Finally, what does he think will be his legacy (34:54)? During our “Take Five” segment, Ambassador Ahmed shares the five things he believes people and nations can do to improve interfaith relations inside and outside of their borders (29:05).

Duration:00:35:56

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Classified Documents 101

5/1/2023
Classified information is utilized by nearly every agency in the government, but what happens when that information is leaked or mishandled? After classified documents were discovered in the private residences of both former and current presidents, and classified Pentagon documents were leaked online, classified documents and their handling have become a hot topic of discussion. In this episode of Big World, former FBI intelligence analyst Jorhena Thomas, SIS/MA ’04, joins us to discuss the classification process, document handling, security clearances, and more. Thomas discusses the type of information that get classified and the different classification levels (2:45). She also walks us through the classification process (5:24) and discusses who gets to decide what information is classified (6:00). Recent leaks have raised questions and concerns over security clearances, including: how does one get a security clearance in the first place (7:40)? Once a document is classified, how long does it stay that way (11:52)? What is proper handling protocol for classified documents (17:43)? Closing out the episode, Thomas discusses why some government agencies may “overclassify” documents (20:47) and explains the tear-line process of declassifying documents in part (23:19). During our “Take Five” segment, Thomas shares five things that listeners should know about classified documents (13:33).

Duration:00:25:18

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Why We Talk About Corruption

5/1/2023
Whenever we hear the word corruption, we always think that it’s others who are corrupt; it’s never the people we support, and it’s certainly never us. In this episode of Big World, SIS professor Malini Ranganathan and AU’s College of Arts and Sciences professor David Pike join us to talk about corruption, the stories we tell about it, and the narratives to which we cling. Professors Ranganathan and Pike discuss the inspiration behind their recent book, “Corruption Plots,” and explain why the story is so important now (2:01). Ranganathan walks us through defining what exactly “corruption talk” is and how it differs from actual corruption (4:39). Pike describes the meaning behind the book’s title and explains the ways in which the multiple connotations of the word “plots” make up different aspects of the co-authors’ research expertise (6:32). Since the book itself is comprised of a multitude of stories, Ranganathan (8:40) and Pike (11:25) give their favorite anecdote and memory from their on-the-ground research. Pulling from his own discipline, what does Pike think fiction can teach us that real-life fieldwork cannot (13:29)? Ranganathan also describes what Operation Clean the Nation was and how understanding it can teach us about corruption narratives (18:35). Why do social difference and inequality matter in the study of corruption (21:49)? And how does corruption apply to the middle class (25:12)? What is the relationship between corruption and capitalism, and are there economic systems that do a better job of preventing systemic corruption (27:48)? During our “Take Five” segment, Professors Ranganathan and Pike share the five things they would tell anti-corruption agencies (15:14).

Duration:00:31:15

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NATO Expansion Past, Present, and Future

4/3/2023
Since its inception in 1949, NATO has expanded both its size and role to keep up with a changing world. Its initial role as a counterweight to the Soviet Union was both reenforced and updated when Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. In this episode of Big World, SIS professor and former dean Jim Goldgeier joins us to discuss the enlargement and role of NATO from its inception to today. Professor Goldgeier discusses the thought process behind his latest book about NATO enlargement and explains what he hoped to accomplish by bringing together a group of scholars with diverse opinions and viewpoints (2:12). He also walks us through pivotal moments related to NATO’s enlargement in the 1990s (5:43), including Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s warnings to President Bill Clinton (8:30). Was there ever a moment when Russia might have joined NATO (10:49)? And moving into the 2000s, what was the rhetoric within Russia about NATO (13:28)? Does Russian President Vladimir Putin truly believe that pro-democracy protests borne of popular uprisings are really just puppet protests engineered by the US and other NATO countries (16:10)? Professor Goldgeier answers these questions and describes Russia’s aggression toward Georgia and Ukraine since 2008 (20:01) and the impact of NATO enlargement as it grew ever-closer to Russia’s borders (23:26). During the Trump administration, some Americans began to buy into the rhetoric that NATO was obsolete. So what should Americans understand about the continued importance of NATO (25:40)? Closing out the episode, Goldgeier discusses why the likely prospect of Sweden and Finland joining NATO doesn’t seem as problematic in the eyes of Putin as when countries once part of the former Soviet Union have desired to join (29:58). During our “Take Five” segment, Professor Goldgeier shares the policies and practices he would institute for the transatlantic community (17:44).

Duration:00:32:16

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Who Really Controls the Military?

3/1/2023
The United States military is the most powerful in the world; it is ordered from within by a strict hierarchy—people in uniform—and from without by civilian leadership, or people in suits. The Joint Chiefs of Staff bridge the gap between the military and executive branches to maintain the balance between military and civilian leadership. In this episode of Big World, SIS professor Sharon Weiner joins us to discuss the roles of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Professor Weiner discusses her new book “Managing the Military” (2:46) and explains the history of the JCS’s policy of public disagreement (4:41). She discusses how Robert McNamara shaped the practices of the JCS (time) and talks about the impact of the Goldwater-Nichols Act (9:55). Why does an increase in so-called “jointness” increase the power of the chairman of the JCS (12:03)? Will we see another chairman as powerful and influential as Colin Powell again (14:07)? Why was it so shocking when current JCS chairman Gen. Mark Milley appeared in a certain famous photo with former President Trump (27:37)? Weiner answers these questions and discusses the importance and impact of the public and political image of the chairman and the JCS (28:35). The episode concludes as Weiner examines who really manages whom and how the government and military exert their leverage over one another (32:03). During our “Take Five” segment, Weiner shares five policies and procedure that would improve military and civilian relations (20:57).

Duration:00:33:20

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Europe Veers Toward Nationalism

2/1/2023
The continent of Europe has been home to every conceivable type of government over thousands of years, with democracy being the dominant force since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Yet, with the elections of far-right politicians across the continent in recent years, the landscape has changed. In this episode of Big World, SIS professor and Transatlantic Policy Center co-director Garret Martin joins us to evaluate what this shift toward right-wing nationalism might mean for the future of European democracy. Professor Martin defines far-right nationalism (2:27) and explains its difference from the mainstream conservatism that functions within democratic norms (4:48). He discusses how Brexit has changed politics and the internal dynamics of political parties in the United Kingdom (6:17). He also talks about the results of Sweden’s most recent general election and the new right-wing majority bloc (8:00). What effect does American support for right-wing leaders like Polish president Andrzej Duda and Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán have on European politics (11:25)? How has the war in Ukraine further complicated relationships and intercontinental politics among European countries (21:36)? Martin answers these questions and discusses what we can expect from Italy’s new government, led by far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (24:55). The episode concludes as Martin examines both the extent to which this surge of right-wing parties threatens European democracy (29:13) and also current measures the European Union is taking to put pressure on countries that act undemocratically (31:04). During our “Take Five” segment, Martin shares five ways in which Europeans—whether officially, as in the European Union, or unofficially at the individual citizen level—can act to safeguard democracy (15:48).

Duration:00:34:54

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Can the US Win the Technology War?

1/3/2023
The United States has been the leader in digital technology and innovation for decades. However, in recent years, the race between countries to control this space has become closer than ever. In this episode of Big World, SIS professor Daniel Gerstein joins us to explore the global technology war and the power that comes from being its winner at every stage. Gerstein discusses his new book “Tech Wars: Transforming US Technology Development” (1:25) and how the US rose to the top of the global technology and innovation race (2:31). He explains how US innovation has benefitted the rest of the world (5:28) and the US government's role in technological innovation (10:04). How are innovations like airplanes, medical equipment, smartphones, and the internet regulated (13:04)? What are the dangers of unregulated social media sites (22:02)? Gerstein answers these questions and discusses the importance of collaboration and evaluation to tackle data privacy and free speech concerns online (25:16). The episode concludes as Gerstein shares his thoughts on whether China and the US can ever have a symbiotic technology relationship (26:32). During our “Take Five” segment, Gerstein forecasts five innovation trends as the US continues to compete in the global technology war (17:14).

Duration:00:31:12

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AIDS, COVID, and the Politics of Public Health

12/1/2022
December 1 is World AIDS Day, and January 2023 marks 20 years of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which provides for groundbreaking AIDS treatment, prevention, and research. In this episode of Big World, SIS dean Shannon Hader, an expert in infectious diseases and epidemiology and a global leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS, joins us to explore how the AIDS response informed policies during the outbreak of COVID-19 and how politics impacts the public perception of public health crises. Dean Hader discusses how PEPFAR’s monumental achievements have influenced public health policy (3:22) and how PEPFAR continues to garner bipartisan, bicameral support from Congress, even throughout a time of intense political division (5:43). She explains how blame and shame are not sustainable or effective responses to an infectious disease (11:30). She also talks about the dangers of putting the goals of disease prevention and treatment in opposition to one another (13:23). How did the HIV community respond to the emergence of the COVID-19 virus (17:07)? While with UNAIDS, how did Hader help advise public health officials on how to protect human rights amid a crisis (18:51)? Hader answers these questions and discusses the importance of data in making sound decisions and targeting resources (21:01). The episode concludes as Hader shares how her impressive career in public health prepared her to lead a top-10 international relations school (27:17) and what she hopes to accomplish while at SIS (31:20). During our “Take Five” segment, Hader shares the five steps she would recommend to governments around the world to create and sustain positive forward momentum on AIDS research, prevention, and treatment (22:29).

Duration:00:35:57

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Border Battles in Eurasia

11/1/2022
When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, its republics were established as countries with internationally recognized borders. But borders are only as stable as the people within them will allow them to be. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has seemingly opened the floodgates for revisiting old conflicts and tensions, sparking border clashes among other former Soviet republics in the region known as Eurasia. In this episode of Big World, SIS professor Keith Darden, an expert on Eurasian politics, joins us to explain the (literal) lay of the land, why tensions are so high, and why each of these border conflicts is unique. Professor Darden discusses how the post-Soviet borders were settled (2:00) and explains the rationale for Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea (4:14). He talks about why Russia invaded Ukraine and how the different, recently annexed regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson can be viewed as “historically Russian” (11:32). How has Russia’s invasion of Ukraine impacted the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region (13:37)? Why have Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan disputed their shared, semi-undemarcated border since it was established (22:15)? Darden answers these questions and discusses the impact of demographics and geography on these current border clashes. The episode concludes as Darden shares his thoughts about Putin’s future role in the region and the future of borders and border clashes in Eurasia more broadly (28:30). During our “Take Five” segment, Darden shares policies and procedures he would enact to create and settle international borders more effectively (17:30). Keith Darden discusses how the post-soviet borders were settled (2:00) and explains the rationale for Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea (4:14). He talks about why Russia invaded Ukraine and how different regions that have been recently annexed can be viewed as historically Russian (11:32). How has Russia’s invasion of Ukraine impacted the border conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan (13:37)? Why have Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan disputed their shared border since it was established (22:15)? Keith answers these questions and discusses the impact of demographics and geography on these current border clashes. The episode concludes as Keith shares his thoughts on Putin’s role in the future of the region, and what the future of border clashes in Eurasia may look like (28:30). During our “Take Five” segment, Keith shares five policies or procedures he would enact to create and settle international borders more effectively (17:30).

Duration:00:31:04

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How are Political Prisoner Swaps Negotiated?

10/3/2022
Taking hostages and prisoners is not a new occurrence; people have been taken hostage by those seeking to gain a political upper hand for thousands of years. What is new today is that more US hostages currently are being held by foreign governments than by terrorist or militant groups. Some of the most recent, high-profile political prisoner cases are those of WNBA star and US citizen Brittney Griner and US citizen Paul Whelan. They have both been detained in Russian prisons, and with these wrongful detention cases featured so prominently in the news, many questions have arisen about prisoner swaps and how the process works. In this episode of Big World, our guest is Professor Danielle Gilbert, a Rosenwald fellow at Dartmouth College, Bridging the Gap fellow, and hostage diplomacy expert. Dani Gilbert discusses how the US determines wrongful detentions (2:20) and explains the difference between a hostage and a political prisoner (4:45). She talks about why Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan are being held in Russia and how they may be used as leverage by Russia in a negotiation process (6:05). She also explains how the US decides whom to offer in a prisoner swap and the reasons why some political prisoners get left behind in these deals (8:09). How have past US-Russia and US-Soviet prisoner swaps shaped relations, and do current tensions make a swap more difficult (13:30)? How does outside involvement and media coverage help or hinder prisoner swaps (22:47)? Dani answers these questions and discusses the impact of political prisoner swaps on both the families of the prisoners and the governments that are involved. The episode concludes as Dani shares her thoughts on the likelihood of an agreement between the US and Russia in which Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan are released together (28:13). During our “Take Five” segment, Dani shares the five policies she would enact to protect political prisoners around the world and help expedite the repatriation process (18:46).

Duration:00:30:26