10 episodes

The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh hosts authentic half-hour conversations on global issues, connecting Pittsburgh to the world through both local and international experts.

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The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh hosts authentic half-hour conversations on global issues, connecting Pittsburgh to the world through both local and international experts.

    The Crisis in U.S. Middle East Policy feat. Ambassador Gerald Feierstein

    The Crisis in U.S. Middle East Policy feat. Ambassador Gerald Feierstein

    In our latest episode of The World Affairs Report, host Katy Caliguiri speaks with Ambassador Gerald Feierstein, diplomat and senior vice president of the Middle East Institute, regarding the current state of U.S. Middle East policy.
    Amb. Feierstein retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in May 2016 after a 41-year career with the personal rank of Career Minister. As a diplomat he served in nine overseas postings, including three tours of duty in Pakistan, as well as assignments in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Lebanon, Jerusalem, and Tunisia. In 2010, President Obama appointed Amb. Feierstein U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, where he served until 2013. From 2013 until his retirement, Amb. Feierstein was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.In addition to his career-long focus on the Near East and South Asia, Amb. Feierstein also played a prominent role in developing and implementing State Department policies and programs to counter violent extremism.
    Click here to read Ambassador Feierstein’s biography.

    • 31 min
    Maximum Pressure: Is the U.S. Campaign Against Iran Working? Featuring Seth G. Jones

    Maximum Pressure: Is the U.S. Campaign Against Iran Working? Featuring Seth G. Jones

    On our latest episode of The World Affairs Report, host Angélica Ocampo is joined by Seth G. Jones, director of the Transnational Threats Project. Dr. Jones explains the impact of the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, its effectiveness, and what the implications are for both countries and for the rest of the world.
    As director of the Transnational Threats Project and a senior adviser to the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Seth G. Jones has been continually researching battlefield tactics as nations adapt to threats of conflict by non-state actors in addition to traditional combat planning. Dr. Jones has previously advised numerous commanding officers of U.S. Special Operations Command and others at the Department of Defense, giving him a unique insight into how operational planning takes place on the front lines. 
    Video Resources from the Center for Strategic & International Studies:
    The IRGC-Quds Force: Iran’s Secret Military Empire
    Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force controls sub-state Shia militias all over the Middle East. CSIS’s Seth Jones and Joe Bermudez explain how Iran trains and deploys these proxy forces to expand their regional influence.
    Iran’s Threats to Saudi Critical Infrastructure
    Iran has the missile and cyber capabilities to significantly damage Saudi Arabia’s oil, desalination, electricity, and other important facilities. CSIS’s Seth Jones explains how the United States can help protect Saudi Arabia’s critical infrastructure and deescalate the situation.

    • 25 min
    Civil Wars: The Future of the Middle East and Implications for Global Security, Featuring Ross Harrison

    Civil Wars: The Future of the Middle East and Implications for Global Security, Featuring Ross Harrison

    Angélica Ocampo speaks with Professor Ross Harrison on the current state of affairs in the Middle East, how U.S. interests are affected, and what it means for the future. 
    The civil wars in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Libya have had devastating effects on the populations in these countries, and they have drawn in most of the regional and international powers into a destructive conflict trap. This is reshaping the Middle East in ways that will have profound consequences for the region as well as for the United States and other international powers. Building on his recently released book, Escaping the Conflict Trap: Toward Ending Civil Wars in the Middle East (co-edited with Paul Salem), Ross Harrison unpacks the complexities of these civil wars and what they mean for the region and for the U.S.
    Ross Harrison is a resident Senior Fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington D.C. and is on the faculties of Georgetown University and the University of Pittsburgh, where he teaches strategy and Middle East politics. He is the author of 3 books: Strategic Thinking in 3D: A Guide for National Security, Foreign Policy and Business Professionals (2013), From Chaos to Cooperation: Toward Regional Order in the Middle East (co-edited with Paul Salem, 2017) and Escaping the Conflict Trap: Toward Ending Civil Wars in the Middle East (co-edited with Paul Salem, 2019). Harrison also is a regular contributor of analytic articles on the Middle East to journals such as Parameters, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, Orient, and al-Monitor, and has been quoted in the The New York Times. He has been a speaker at the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Foreign Service Institute, the National War College, U.S. Naval War College and U.S. Army War College. He has also been part of several back channel diplomatic efforts focused on ending civil wars in the Middle East.

    • 30 min
    The Impact of Social Media on International Affairs

    The Impact of Social Media on International Affairs

    On this week’s edition of The World Affairs Report, host Anna Harrison is joined by Lieutenant Colonel Shaw Pick from the Eisenhower College Program at the Army War College, located in Carlisle, PA. Together they discuss the impact social media has had on international affairs today, specifically the weaponization of social media by major world powers. Lieutenant Colonel Pick defines what he believes the weaponization of social media really is, applies this definition to the actions of Russia and China, and also elaborates on this so-called era of “fake news”.
    Please note Lt Col Pick’s opinions are his own and do not represent official US policy of any agenda.
    About Our Guest
    Lieutenant Colonel Shaw Pick is a native of Kirkland, Washington. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in 1993 and has been a United States Army Signal Officer for 21 years, with experience in Airborne and Special Operations assignments which have taken him around the world, including multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He worked in strategic plans for the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan where he led campaign planning efforts for the headquarters from 2011 to 2012. He has received his Masters from the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies and is a native speaker of the Syrian Aramaic language.

    • 32 min
    China’s Long Game on Human Rights

    China’s Long Game on Human Rights

    On our newest episode of The World Affairs Report, host Anna Harrison is joined by Mr. Ted Piccone, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution to discuss human rights, and specifically human rights in China. With a long history of criticisms and distrust in regards to human rights, Mr. Piccone explains how China is rewriting its own version of the human rights model, touching on current issues such as the mistreatment of the Uyghur population and media censorship. Mr. Piccone also introduces and defines the Universal Periodic Review mechanism via the United Nations and gives his take on Sino-Russian relations, in regard to human rights.
    About Our Guest
    Ted Piccone is a senior fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy and Latin America Initiative in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. His research is focused on global democracy and human rights policies, U.S.-Latin American relations, emerging powers, and multilateral affairs. Piccone received a law degree from Columbia University and a bachelor’s in history magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania. He served eight years as a senior foreign policy advisor in the Clinton administration and was the executive director and co-founder of the Democracy Coalition Project, a research and advocacy organization working to promote international cooperation for democracy and human rights globally, from 2001 to 2008. He was also the Washington office director for the Club of Madrid, an association of over 100 former heads of state and government engaged in efforts to strengthen democracy around the world in addition to serving as counsel for the United Nations Truth Commission in El Salvador from 1992 to 1993. Ted Piccone is the author of latest book “Five Rising Democracies and the Fate of the International Liberal Order”. His research currently focuses on the evolving role of five rising democracies in the global democracy and human rights order.
    Additional Resources
    Ted Piccone’s full biography.
    Ted Piccone’s latest book. 
    Ted Piccone’s article with the Brookings Institution on China. 
    The Brookings Institution.

    • 36 min
    Like War: The Weaponization of Social Media

    Like War: The Weaponization of Social Media

    On this episode of the World Affairs Report, P.W. Singer, political strategist and senior fellow at the New America Foundation, joins host Anna Harrison to discuss his latest book, LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media. Together, they dive into the world of social media, exploring how it has developed from a fun advancement to a method of communication which both the public and big business rely on. Singer defines how social media is “like war” by examining the methods used by celebrities and terrorist organizations alike while also explaining the key role social media has played in major world events, like the 2016 Presidential election and the Brexit campaign.
     
    About Our Guest
    P.W. Singer is a strategist and senior fellow at the New America Foundation and a contributing editor at Popular Science magazine. He has written articles for many of the world’s major media and journals, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, and the World Policy Journal. He has delivered a number of talks at venues ranging from the U.S. Congress and the Pentagon to more than 70 universities around the world. Prior to his current position, Singer has worked at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Harvard University, and as the founding director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings, where he was the youngest person named senior fellow in its 101 year history. Singer has also served as coordinator of the Defense Policy Task Force for Barack Obama‘s 2008 presidential campaign and currently serves as a member of the State Department‘s Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy. Aside from his work in politics, Singer has broken into the entertainment industry, operating as a consultant on the bestselling game series Call of Duty in addition to his work with production companies such as Warner Brothers, DreamWorks, and Universal on films like Traitor and The Whistleblower. His latest book, LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media, co-written with colleague Emerson T. Brooking, explores the history of communications, the rise of open-source intelligence, and the advent of internet-based information warfare. LikeWar has been named an Amazon “book of the year” and as a NY Times “new and notable”.
     
    Additional Resources
    For more information on P.W. Singer’s latest book https://www.likewarbook.com/
    P.W. Singer’s website can be found at https://www.pwsinger.com/
     

    • 41 min

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