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Episode 34: Milena Zajović - Are You Syrious?

Have you ever watched a humanitarian crisis unfolding on the news and witnessed the subsequent failure of leaders to lead, and thought to yourself, "I wish I could get some friends together and just do something to make this better?" That's what Milena and a few of her friends in Croatia did when the largest refugee crisis to hit Europe since World War 2 came to their borders in the Summer of 2015. That initial impulse lead to the creation of Are You Syrious?, a nonprofit that focuses on...


Episode 33: Faisal Saleh - Bringing Palestine to the US

Faisel Saleh was born the 11th of 11 children in the West Bank town of El Bireh after his parents fled from their home near Jaffa (near Tel Aviv) during the 1948 war. Those events created the state of Israel and what 700,000 Palestinians and their millions of descendants refer to as “The Nakba”, or the catastrophe. Faisal come to the US in 1969 to pursue his education, later becoming a successful entrepreneur. Last year he founded the Palestine Museum US, in Woodbridge, Connecticut, the...


Episode 32: Adel Hashem - On the Ground in Yemen

We hear very little about the war that is taking place in Yemen, which is now in its fifth year. And we hear even less about this war in the words of Yemeni’s themselves, and far less still from those who are still in Yemen. This episode represents a small effort to address this disparity. Adel Hashem is the director of Human Needs Development in Sana’a, and organization that is working on the ground to deliver food, medical, and education support to the Yemeni people. Though the war in...


Episode 31: Out of Options - Syrian & Yemeni in Malaysia

While much has been written about the "refugee crisis" coming to Western shores, we rarely hear about the long standing crises across the Global South, where 85% of the world's forcibly displaced people's have been forced to seek refuge. Hashed had to flee Yemen after his father was killed, and what followed was an odyssey that has taken him from Djibouti, to India, to Malaysia, where his struggle is far from over. Hassan is from Syria, and he also wound up in Malaysia, after his work visa...


Episode 30: Fatma Naib - FGM

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a non-medical procedure that involves partial or radical removal of young women’s genitalia, and while widely practiced in parts of Africa and the Middle East, is neither limited to these regions nor defined by theology or religion. The practice is typically linked to a right of passage, sexual purity, or as a marker of cultural identity (or all three), and its impact on the lives of tens of millions of women is both cruel and often deadly. The UN is...


Episode 29: Maria Pisani - Malta & the Mediterranean Route

Dr. Maria Pisani is a Maltese citizen, lecturer, former head of office for the International Organization for Migration on Malta, and co-founder and director of Integra Foundation. As the EU’s smallest and southern-most member state Malta has long been on the front lines of one of the busiest and the deadliest migratory path on earth, where more than 14,000 people have lost their lives since 2014, attempting the crossing from North African shores to the EU. We discuss Malta’s role in this...


Episode 28: Murhula Zigabe - Democratic Republic of the Congo

The DRC remains an enigma to many in the West, and for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s the lack of coverage, the singular focus on violence and poverty, or the silent bigotry that informs many Western attitudes towards the fortunes of Africans more generally, many of the roots causes of the people’s suffering continues to go ignored while aid money pours in, resources pour out, and little changes to improve the lives of the people. Morhula is one example of many stories that we don’t hear...


Episode 27: Assil Alnaser - Protester. Prisoner. Student. Syrian.

This month marks the 8th anniversary of the popular demonstrations in Syria that ultimately led to the war. Assil's story takes us from the early days of those protests to her harrowing experiences as a prisoner, and then her escape and her struggles to find a home and a future in Jordan and Turkey, and later in the US, where she was subjected to the "Muslim Ban" twice after winning a scholarship. Assil's story provides a needed reminder of how the conflict in Syria started, it forces us to...


Episode 26: Mahfud Mohamed Lamin - Western Sahara

In 1975 Spain ended its nearly century-long colonization of Spanish Sahara, leaving the territory to be overtaken by Moroccan and Mauritanian forces. Under the leadership of the POLISARIO front the Sahrawis continued their guerilla war for self determination. In 1979 Mauritania withdrew and Morocco moved in to claim the rest of the territory now known as Western Sahara. The war continued until 1991, until a UN-brokered ceasefire with the promise of a referendum on independence for Western...


Episode 25: Kimberly Walters - Researching Sex Work

Kimberly completed her PhD research in India, and her current project focuses on humanitarian interventions into the lives of women who sell sex in South India. We examine the competing narratives, political interests, and funding priorities that distinguish campaigns for the rights of sex workers from those that focus on abolition and rehabilitation. And we discuss how the very institutions which are supposed to be rescuing women from trafficking end up incarcerating, exploiting, and...


Episode 24: Isra Chaker - Muslim in America & Refugees

Isra Chaker is a force of nature, and we were lucky to get a few minutes to interrupt her whirlwind of advocacy, public speaking, and campaign organizing on issues ranging from Islamophobia and bullying, to refugees and asylum seekers, to the so-called “Muslim Ban” imposed by the current US administration. We talk about her experiences growing up as a Muslim in the US in the aftermath of September 11, and how she confronted the bullying she faced in school and the role this played in setting...


Episode 23: Meena Menon - Reporting India

Meena Menon is the author of three books, and her reporting career has seen her covering a broad range of topics in India, and also took her to Islamabad, Pakistan as the correspondent for The Hindu. We discuss her experiences as an Indian reporting from Pakistan as well as India-Pakistan relations, the suicides of tens of thousands of Indian farmers since the 1980’s and the colonial legacy of the cotton industry, the 1992-93 sectarian riots in Mumbai, and her thoughts on the upcoming...


Episode 22: Eli Loomis - Traditional Survival Skills

“Know more. Carry less.” That’s the philosophy behind the Boulder Outdoor Survival School where Eli teaches traditional and primitive survival skills (the knowledge and techniques used by indigenous peoples as opposed to military training). For its most intense course, BOSS takes students out on a 28-day trek through the Utah desert, where they learn to forage and survive with little more than a knife and a blanket. Eli also spent two seasons conducting marine biology research in...


Episode 21: Anonymous in Iran

We hear a lot about Iran in the Western press and from Western politicians, but we rarely seem to hear from the Iranian people themselves. This week’s episode is the first of what we hope are many efforts to try and correct that omission. Our guest is a young woman who is a documentary photographer from Tehran. Be sure to check the post for this episode on the Latitude Adjustment website for more resources. You'll also find instructions for how you can answer her question from the end of...


Episode 20: Txell Donyate - Catalonia Crisis

Txell is an Italian, French, English, Spanish, Catalan and Finnish linguist. And while she’s lived in Barcelona since 2014, she’s originally from the Comunidad Valenciana just to the south of Catalonia. She offers a unique outsider/ insider perspective on the independence movement in Catalonia. In October of 2017 the regional government of Catalonia held a referendum and then declared independence from Spain. This measure was quickly stopped by the central government in Madrid which invoked...


Episode 19: Bruno Morán - No Name Kitchen

Bruno is from Asturias, Spain, and is a co-founder of No Name Kitchen, an NGO that provides food, sleeping bags, basic necessities, and a community space for refugees in transit along the Serbian and Bosnian borders with Croatia. In addition to providing basic services, No Name Kitchen has also become a primary point of contact for those who have been pushed back from the Croatian border, and as a result the organization has found itself involved in documenting and sharing the growing...


Episode 18: Abdul Saboor - Afghanistan

Abdul worked with the US military in Afghanistan before having to flee the country after receiving death threats and having several friends and family members killed by the Taliban. What followed was an overland odyssey across Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, the Balkans, and back and forth across the EU, until he was able to claim asylum in France, where he currently lives. Along the way he endured prison, forced labor, beatings, deportations, and kidnapping. His is one of the more remarkable...


Episode 17: Rosine Hounakey - Togo & Human Trafficking

Rosine is from Togo, but was trafficked to the US at 13 years old and forced to work for free on both coasts of the US, and later into a coerced marriage, until she was freed with her two young sons as the result of an ICE raid when she was 17 years old. Rosine then had to go through foster care in various American cities, waking up at 5am every day to take her kids to school before completing high school herself, after years with no formal education, having taught herself English along the...


Episode 16: Yaari Walker - Yupik Alaskan

Yaari is a member of the Yupik tribe, and originally from the town of Savoonga, on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. She now resides in Anchorage, Alaska, where, in addition to being an activist, author, and entrepreneur, she works at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Yaari has been on a journey, as a survivor of physical abuse, substance abuse, and incarceration, to recovery, writing a book, starting a business in Native Medicinals, activism, and going back to college to study Psychology. We...


Episode 15: Cory Lee - Wheelchair World Travel

Cory Lee started Curb Free With Cory Lee, a travel blog for people who use wheelchairs and with accessibility needs. So far he's been to 6 continents and also tours as a public speaker. Aside from accessible travel we talk about Spinal Muscular Atrophy, the importance of self-advocacy, educating the public about wheelchair access, working for Obama's inaugural committee, navigating the complex relationships with caregivers, college life, riding a specially adapted camel, why Washington, DC...