The longest running independent international affairs podcast features in-depth interviews with policymakers, journalists and experts around the world who discuss global news, international relations, global development and key trends driving world affairs.
Named by The Guardian as "a podcast to make you smarter," Global Dispatches is a podcast for people who crave a deeper understanding of international news.
Are We Facing a Global Development "Traffic Jam?"
There is a global development pileup on the horizon. In 2024 and 2025, about a dozen funding pools that support global development and global health are due for replenishment. These replenishments are essentially fundraisers for entities like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), and the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), among many, many others.
A new report from the Center for Global Development warns that these fundraisers may all be competing with each other for similar pools of money—and doing so at a time of contracting foreign aid budgets and pivotal elections in key donor countries.
One of the authors of that report, Clemence Landers, joins me for a conversation about the causes and consequences of a potential replenishment traffic jam. We kick off discussing what we mean by a "replenishment" in Global Development speak. Clemence Landers also makes the point that of these fundraisers, the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) is arguably the most consequential. IDA is the branch of the World Bank that provides grants and very concessional loans to support the development priorities of the lowest-income countries. The World Bank president is seeking a major replenishment this December.
Better Know Tom Perriello, Biden's New Sudan Envoy
On February 26, the State Department announced that Tom Perriello will be the new US Special Envoy for Sudan. "Special Envoy Perriello will coordinate the U.S. policy on Sudan and advance our efforts to end the hostilities, secure unhindered humanitarian access, and support the Sudanese people as they seek to fulfill their aspirations for freedom, peace, and justice,” Antony Blinken said in a press release announcing the appointment. Needless to say, this is a daunting task.
In the final days of the Obama administration, while he served in a similar role for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, Perriello sat down with me for a long conversation about his life and career. Perriello discusses his upbringing in Virginia, his work on transitional justice and human rights in Sierra Leone in the depths of the civil war in the early 2000s, founding the activist platform Avaaz, serving in Congress and then entering the Obama administration to work on Africa policy. It was a great discussion that is suddenly very relevant. After listening to my conversation with Tom Perriello, you will better understand the roots of the new Sudan Envoy’s approach to diplomacy and his theory of change.
Are Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger
On January 28th, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger jointly announced they were leaving the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS. This is a regional economic and political union of most countries in West africa. Citizens enjoy free movement across borders of ECOWAS member states and many of its members share the same currency. ECOWAS also seeks to uphold democratic norms, and each of these three countries are led by military juntas. Now, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger are setting up rival entity, called the Alliance of Sahel States.
Joining me to discuss the significance of this joint decision to exit ECOWAS is Ornella Moderan, a researcher and practitioner who's been working in the Sahel and West Africa for nearly 15 years. She is currently a Research Fellow with the Netherlands-based Clingendael Institute. We kick off discussing the role of ECOWAS in West Africa, particularly the important,albeit imperfect, ways it seeks to uphold democracy in the region. She then explains why these countries left ECOWAS and what this decision means for the region, for Africa and for the world at large.
A Gaza Breakthrough at the United Nations
We just saw a huge shift from the Biden administration. The United States is quietly circulating a draft Security Council resolution that would hold Israel to account.
Two Years On, The Ukraine War is at a Turning Point
Last week, the United States Senate passed a foreign aid bill that included about $60 billion for Ukraine's defense. The vote was overwhelmingly bi-partisan, but the ultimate fate of continued American aid for Ukraine now depends on action in the House of Representatives, where the outcome is unknown.
Mounting uncertainty around America's commitment to Ukraine's defense comes at the two year anniversary of Russia's invasion. The apparent wavering today is a far cry from the overwhelmingly broad support for Ukraine in the early days of the war. So how did we get to this point? And how might the passage or not of a spending bill to support Ukraine impact the trajectory of the war and the transatlantic alliance that has emerged in Ukraine's defense? Joining me to discuss these questions and more is Peter Van Praagh, President of HFX, a Washington, DC based organization that convenes the Halifax International Security Forum. We kick off discussing the action in the United States Congress before having a broader conversation about the necessity of international support for Ukraine and the implications should that support waver.
Disorder Podcast https://tr.ee/ksicr-3Wty
What Indonesia's Election Results Mean for Foreign Policy
Indonesia is the third largest democracy in the world, and on February 14th national elections were held including to replace the extremely popular outgoing president Joko Widodo. The current defense minister Prabowo Subianto won those elections and will be Indonesia's next president. He's a controversial figure who has been credibly accused of human rights abuses during Indonesia's long Suharto dicatorship. He was also a former rival of Joko Widodo, but received the popular president's backing while tapping the president's son as to run as his presidential nominee.
Indonesia is a massive democracy in an increasingly stragegic region. So what does Prabowo Subianto's election mean for Indonesia's foreign policy, its relationship to the United States and China, and for broader global trends like climate change? To answer these questions and more I speak with Prashanth Prashanth Parameswaran, a fellow at the Wilson Center and Founder of the Asean Wonk Newsletter. We kick off discussing Prabowo's background before having a longer conversation about how this change in government may impact Indonesian foreign policy.
Excellent Africa analysis
Its rare to find long form in depth reporting on events in Africa. This podcast regularly devotes entire episodes to African news and generally offers a good perspective for listeners who dont normally deep dive into it
Great Informative Podcast! Distracting Intro
This is a super informative podcast re international affairs. Highly reccomend! Lately it’s seemed the like intro voices are robotic and flat, as if they are generated by AI. It’s distracting! I could be wrong but every time I hear the intro it sounds so different and robotic. Otherwise the contest is very informative and overall a great podcast.
This is an excellent podcast for anyone involved in (or who cares about) international humanitarian issues and perspectives.