73 episodes

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.

Big World Big World

    • News
    • 4.9 • 29 Ratings

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.

    Thirty Years after the Rwandan Genocide

    Thirty Years after the Rwandan Genocide

    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?

    • 37 min
    Did the Woman, Life, Freedom Protests Change Iran?

    Did the Woman, Life, Freedom Protests Change Iran?

    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?

    • 38 min
    Labor Strikes Back

    Labor Strikes Back

    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?

    • 37 min
    How Do We End "Lies about Black People"?

    How Do We End "Lies about Black People"?

    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?

    • 30 min
    Will Climate Shock Cause Climate Change Action?

    Will Climate Shock Cause Climate Change Action?

    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?

    • 32 min
    Why are Rohingya and Ukrainian Refugees Treated Differently?

    Why are Rohingya and Ukrainian Refugees Treated Differently?

    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?

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
29 Ratings

29 Ratings

henryswaifu143 ,

Great information, educational

I appreciate how this podcast focuses on a variety of topics from national to international leveled issues. I also enjoy the structure of the interviews and that they are not super long. It is a great, easy way to gain information and become more aware of situations. As a future SIS student, I am excited to meet these individuals in person to ask more on these issues. Great podcast.

patsgirl129 ,

Great listening!

This podcast does a great job of distilling some of the more complex issues in international affairs ((e.g. the defense budget, human migration) through one on one interviews-not an easy task! Lol forward to more episodes.

lrhhrl ,

Tried it for a few months but can’t keep going

Very good topics which should intrigue foreign policy followers or expats (like me). But the guests are insanely biased and liberal. I tried to keep listening but after 4-5 episodes, sadly I am done. I guess everyone involved in this podcast is drinking from the same koolaid but without any diversity of thought, what’s the point?

Top Podcasts In News

Serial
Serial Productions & The New York Times
The Daily
The New York Times
Up First
NPR
The Tucker Carlson Podcast
Tucker Carlson Network
The Ben Shapiro Show
The Daily Wire
Pod Save America
Crooked Media

You Might Also Like

Planet Money
NPR
Reuters World News
Reuters
Life Kit
NPR
Foreign Policy Live
Foreign Policy
The Ezra Klein Show
New York Times Opinion
Fresh Air
NPR