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Undercurrents is a new podcast series from Chatham House. Agnes Frimston and Ben Horton interview Chatham House experts about the critical underlying issues which are shaping modern society.

Undercurrents is a new podcast series from Chatham House. Agnes Frimston and Ben Horton interview Chatham House experts about the critical underlying issues which are shaping modern society.
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Undercurrents is a new podcast series from Chatham House. Agnes Frimston and Ben Horton interview Chatham House experts about the critical underlying issues which are shaping modern society.




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Episode 14: Sustainable Energy for Refugees, and Australian Foreign Policy

The average refugee camp has a lifespan of 18 years, but in most cases the infrastructure in place is designed for temporary emergency responses. One area this particularly affects is energy provision, with the majority of refugees reliant on burning wood. On top of this, many humanitarian agencies are dependent upon costly and damaging diesel fuel to power their relief efforts. The Moving Energy Initiative at Chatham House believes that renewable energy solutions can improve the health...


Episode 13: India's Billionaires, and Sexual Exploitation in the UN

India is the world’s largest democracy, with more than one billion people and an economy expanding faster than China’s. But the rewards of this growth have been far from evenly shared, and the country’s top 1% now own nearly 60% of its wealth. James Crabtree's new book The Billionaire Raj explores the dynamics behind the rise of a new class of Indian billionaires. Ben met up with James, and Champa Patel from the Asia-Pacific Programme, to discuss inequality, corruption and capitalism in...


Episode 12: Trump's Visit to the UK, and Japanese Foreign Policy in Asia

President Trump is visiting the UK this week in between summits with NATO and Russian President Putin. Agnes discusses the UK-US special relationship and European responses to the current President with Leslie Vinjamuri (Head of the US & Americas Programme) and Hans Kundnani (Senior Research Fellow in the Europe Programme). Another country adapting its foreign policy approach in light of an increasingly unpredictable US is Japan. A new special issue of International Affairs explores Japan's...


Episode 11: New Approaches to Peace Building, and Gender-Inclusive Growth at the G20

Alistair Burt MP is Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. In a recent speech at Chatham House he launched a new report from the government's Stabilisation Unit on new approaches to resolving armed conflicts. Drawing on examples from conflicts as diverse as Libya and Colombia, the report explores how deal making and peace building can reduce conflicts around the world. Agnes spoke with Alistair after the speech to find out more. Despite the success and...


BONUS Episode: How Can Political Elites Reconnect With Voters?

In this bonus episode we bring you a recording of a roundtable from the 2018 Chatham House London Conference. This annual event brings together policy-makers, academics and business figures from around the world to London to discuss key global issues. Undercurrents hosted a breakfast roundtable as part of the conference, focusing on how elites can re-engage with their publics. A panel of experts from six different countries joined Ben and Agnes to share their views on questions...


Episode 10: Artificial Intelligence in International Affairs, and Women Drivers in Saudi Arabia

Technology driven by artificial intelligence is developing rapidly, but the political spectrum is not responding fast enough. Agnes discusses machine learning, the profusion of cat photos on the internet and public-private partnerships in AI regulation with Jacob Parakilas from the US and Americas Programme. In 2017 the government of Saudi Arabia lifted the ban on women driving, to international acclaim. In the run-up to this policy becoming reality however Saudi women's rights activists...


Episode 9: Digital Subversion in Cyberspace, and Oleg Sentsov's Hunger Strike

Since ancient times states have attempted campaigns of subversion against their rivals. Sir David Omand, former Head of GCHQ, argues that cyberspace provides a multitude of new possibilities for interfering abroad. Ben met Sir David to discuss Russian interventions, fake news, foreign policy frenemies and jihadist social media. After the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Ukrainian activists have faced harsh penalties for criticizing Russian actions in the region. Agnes met Nikolay and Tatyana...


Episode 8: Ronan Farrow on Diplomacy

Ronan Farrow is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was previously a foreign policy advisor to Hillary Clinton. In his new book, War on Peace, Farrow traces the decline of US diplomacy over the past 30 years, drawing on conversations with every surviving Secretary of State. This week Agnes met up with Farrow to discuss the waning reputation of career diplomats, how foreign leaders should deal with the Trump administration, and how new technology is transforming the art of...


Episode 7: Libya's war economy, and is the United Nations still relevant?

The United Nations has been going since 1945, and is the basis for most international cooperation. But in this disruptive political environment, is it still relevant? This week, Ben speaks to UN expert Thomas Weiss to find out. Since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the situation in Libya has disappeared from international headlines. Seven years on, a new report by Tim Eaton explores the chaotic war economy that has developed in the vacuum. He speaks to Agnes about smuggling, tribal...


Episode 6: Tribes of Europe Update, and the International Women's Rights Agenda at the UN

This week Agnes meets Thomas Raines and Matthew Goodwin of the Europe Programme to revisit their research on the political Tribes of Europe in light of recent elections across the continent. Then, recording in San Francisco, Ben speaks to Rebecca Sanders from Cincinnati University about her recent article in International Affairs, which sheds light on conservative efforts to disrupt the women's rights agenda at the United Nations. Read the Chatham House reports: Europe's Political...


Episode 5: Chokepoints in Global Food Trade, and How the Internet is Changing Language

In this week's episode Ben speaks to Laura Wellesley, a Research Fellow in the Energy, Environment and Resources Department at Chatham House, about her recent report assessing vulnerabilities in the global food trade. Then Agnes mediates a debate about how the internet is transforming the English language between journalist Marie Le Conte and The World Today editor Alan Philps. Read the Chatham House report: Chokepoints and Vulnerabilities in the Global Food Trade Read The World Today...


Episode 4: Illegal Hospital Detentions in Africa, and LGBTQ+ Rights in Lebanon

This week, Ben speaks to Rob Yates, Head of the Universal Heath Coverage Policy Forum in the Centre on Global Health and Security at Chatham House. They discuss the widespread practice of detaining hospital patients in their wards if they cannot afford to pay their medical bills, an illegal policy affecting thousands in Africa and South Asia. Then, Agnes learns about the growth in activism around LGBTQ+ rights in Lebanon from Nicole El Khawaja, a Programme Coordinator with the Middle East...


Episode 3: Duterte’s War on Drugs, and European Security

In this week’s episode, Ben speaks to Champa Patel about President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs in the Philippines, and the prospects for the preliminary examination launched recently by the International Criminal Court. Agnes then discusses UK defence policy and wider European security with Andrew Dorman, who also gives an insight into publishing with International Affairs. Read the Expert Comment In Examining the Philippines’ Drug War, the ICC Takes a Positive but Challenging...


Episode 2: The Calabrian Mafia, and Transatlantic Relations

This week, Agnes speaks to Helen Fitzwilliam about a new Italian judge-led project to relocate the wives and children of the Calabrian mafia family, the ‘Ndrangheta. Ben then interviews Xenia Wickett about her recent report on transatlantic relations. Read the article Escape from the Mafia: an Italian Judge’s Radical Plan Read the report Transatlantic Relations: Converging or Diverging? Department/project US and the Americas Programme, Transatlantic Rift: The State of US-Europe...


Episode 1: Cybersecurity, and Liberal World Order

In this new podcast series, Agnes Frimston and Ben Horton interview Chatham House experts about the critical underlying issues which are shaping modern society. The first episode features Patricia Lewis, Head of the International Security Department at Chatham House, on cybersecurity for nuclear weapons systems; and Inderjeet Parmar, Head of Politics and International Relations at City University, on the future of the US-led liberal world order. Read the research paper: Cybersecurity of...