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Viet Thanh Nguyen on trauma, displacement, and identifying as a refugee

Pulitzer prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen is the guest on this episode of Displaced, and talks to Grant and Ravi about his background, and the traumatic experience of being separated from his parents when he was 4 years old. He goes on to talk about the role of trauma in shaping the lives of refugees, and how that has informed his own work. They discuss the label 'refugee', and the place of refugees in America in this current moment. This is the last episode of Displaced in season 1....


Ann Mei Chang’s innovation playbook for the development sector

Ann Mei Chang talks to Ravi and Grant about her new book, ‘Lean Impact: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good.’ Her career spans both the private and public sector: she led USAID’s first-ever innovation hub, the Global Development Lab, and she spent almost a decade as senior engineering director at Google, before she left Silicon Valley for the State Department, where she was a senior advisor for women and technology. Ann Mei Chang shares her lessons learned through this...


David Miliband on politics, populism and the global refugee crisis

Ravi talks to David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee - and a long-time friend and colleague - during a special event recorded with a live audience at the New School’s Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility in New York City. Their wide-ranging conversation focuses on the politics of the refugee crisis: what a political solution looks like in Yemen; how to negotiate with states to keep borders open and widen rights to work; and whether the refugee crisis...


Patrick Fine explains integrated development

In order to solve any given problem, an understanding of its root cause is the first step. But when those roots are tangled up with other factors - a whole set of interrelated causes and contexts, they all have to be taken into account to design an effective solution. And if ‘everything is everything’, where should we begin in trying to solve complex problems in areas like health and education? Patrick Fine is CEO of FHI 360, and explains what ‘integrated development’ looks like in his...


Anne Richard on 'humanitarian diplomacy' and dealing with anti-refugee sentiment

The Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration operates with a 3 million dollar budget, and combines aid with diplomacy. Anne Richard served as the former Assistant Secretary of State for PRM from 2012 to 2017, and in this episode she talks about her experiences during those years, including how she worked with countries to accept more refugees, and implemented changes to refugee policy here in the U.S. under President Obama. She also discusses how those changes are being reversed or...


Nazanin Ash: The Trump administration is tearing apart U.S. refugee policy

Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a sharp reduction in the number of refugees the U.S. would take in over the next year: 30,000. Grant and Ravi talk to IRC colleague Nazanin Ash for some context on this dramatic shift. Nazanin is Vice President of Global Policy and Advocacy at the International Rescue Committee, and discusses the current administration’s approach to refugee admissions, and how it contrasts not just to previous administrations, but also to public support...


Stefan Dercon: how insurance could make humanitarian response faster and cheaper

Stefan Dercon is professor of economic policy at the University of Oxford, and is the former chief economist at the Department for International Development (DFID) in the UK, where he was involved in political discussions about how to shape aid. This episode is a deep dive into the financing model of humanitarian response, and how insurance instruments could change that model, and potentially reshape how we respond to crises. Displaced is produced by the Vox Media Podcast Network in...


Nancy Lindborg on what 'fragility' actually means

Almost a quarter of the world’s population now live in some form of fragility, and we talk often about fragile states and fragile contexts - but what does the term mean? Nancy Lindborg is the president of the United States Institute of Peace, and she explains why the definition of fragility matters so much to shaping foreign policy and humanitarian response. Displaced is produced by the Vox Media Podcast Network in partnership with the International Rescue Committee. Find our show notes...


Jeremy Konyndyk on the humanitarian business model

This episode looks at how humanitarian response works - the rules of the game, the players, their incentives - and how these elements impact lives of displaced people. Jeremy Konydyk calls this the ‘humanitarian business model,’ and as senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development and former director of USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, he has unique insight on that model and its flaws. He offers potential solutions, and also shares his experiences on leading...


Owen Barder: we need an alternative to refugee camps

"When people look back on our time they will wonder why we tolerated refugee camps for so long.” Owen Barder, Vice President at the Center for Global Development, talks in this episode about why we should abolish refugee camps, and what’s wrong with the humanitarian aid system more broadly. Barder talks about the alternatives to keeping displaced people in camps, and how to make the humanitarian system more simple, more focused, and serve the interests of displaced people receiving aid,...


Alix Zwane on what philanthropists can learn from venture capitalists

In this episode, we speak to Alix Zwane who is the CEO of the Global Innovation Fund – an organization that invests in generating and growing products and services that help people on less than $5 a day. During the conversation, Zwane talks about the weaknesses of traditional philanthropy, the challenge of delivering financial returns and social impact, and the solutions she’s invested in that she’s most excited about. Displaced is produced by the Vox Media Podcast Network in partnership...


Paul Skidmore on the radical transformation to education in fragile states

Education in low- and middle-income countries is becoming increasingly private: as many as one in four young Africans could be enrolled in some form of private education by 2021. Paul Skidmore is CEO of the Rising Academies Network, which is part of this sea change in education, and which started its first school in Sierra Leone in the height of the Ebola outbreak in 2014. In this conversation, Skidmore discusses how he built his network of schools, the lessons he's learned, and why the...


David Halpern on revolutionizing policy through behavioral science

David Halpern is the Chief Executive Officer of the Behavioural Insights Team in the UK - unofficially known as the ‘Nudge Unit'. In this episode, we dive into how behavioral science works to change people’s behavior and how small tweaks can actually create massive change. This is the episode to listen to to understand how behavioral science can help prevent malnutrition, reduce inter-group conflict, generate savings for retirement, and help NGOs and government craft more effective policy....


Rachel Glennerster’s insights on the randomization movement

No conversation about social impact is complete without an understanding of randomized control trials, or RCTs. In this episode, we delve into what they are and how they measure impact with Rachel Glennerster, the new chief economist at the Department for International Development (DFID) in the UK. In an episode recorded in London, Glennerster gives her insights on the randomization movement, and also talks about the divide between academics and policy makers, and why it’s important that...


Geoff Mulgan on how collaboration between humans and machines can help solve the world’s biggest problems

Geoff Mulgan, head of the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) talks about what he calls ‘Collective Intelligence’: how machines and humans can collaborate to solve problems -- like dealing with epidemics, predicting war and conflict, or collecting data during natural disasters. Displaced is produced by the Vox Media Podcast Network in partnership with the International Rescue Committee. Find our show notes here: www. rescue.org/displaced. Rate and review...


Chris Elias on the radical progress we’ve made in global health

Chris Elias is the president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program, which spends $4 billion a year on health and poverty programs. With great power comes great responsibility, and a set of tough decisions on which of the world's many crucial health problems they can strategically invest in. In this conversation, Chris talks about how they make these decisions, assess and take on risk, and work with the private sector to generate breakthrough health solutions for...


Jan Egeland on how to broker the world’s most challenging peace agreements

Jan Egeland is one of the world’s most experienced peace negotiators, having worked on the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Peace Accords, as well as mediation efforts in South Sudan, Uganda, Guatemala, and now in Syria. He is currently the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, one of the largest humanitarian organizations in the world. This is the episode to listen to if you want to understand how to broker a peace deal. They unravel the complex questions of who to invite to the...


Kanika Bahl pulls back the curtain on innovation in aid

This episode is a taping from a live recording at Devex World in Washington DC, where Grant and Ravi talked to Kanika Bahl, CEO of Evidence Action. 'This interview gets into the nuts and bolts of how to innovative in aid, how to take solutions developed in one place to new contexts, and how to scale them to many contexts while maintaining quality. They discuss the perils and promises of how lessons from the development sector apply to humanitarian contexts and what we should expect of...


Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, on innovation and failure

As a social entrepreneur and founder of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani is uniquely placed to talk about innovation - and the role of failure in that process. She talks to Ravi and Grant about creating ideas, taking them to scale, and the culture of ‘failing fast’, and what that looks like when you’re running a global non-profit. Displaced is produced by the Vox Media Podcast Network, in partnership with the International Rescue Committee. For more on the show: www.rescue.org/displaced....


Wilmot Collins on being a refugee mayor in a pro-Trump state

Wilmot Collins is mayor of Helena, Montana, and in this episode, he tells Ravi and Grant about his journey from Liberia, and the harrowing story of how he left the country. He went on to resettle in Montana, and last year won the mayoral election to become the state’s first black mayor in over 100 years. He talks about how he deals with anti-refugee sentiment, and why his experiences have led him to advocate for refugees in the national conversation around resettlement. Displaced is...