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Talking Policy Archive

Talking Policy is World Policy Journal's series of weekly online interviews with intellectuals, government officials, and other prominent figures on the global policy stage. Read our past interviews below:

Akinwumi Adesina on Investing in Africa 

While previous U.S. administrations have established signature foreign-policy initiatives in Africa, little news has emerged regarding Trump's strategy in the region. World Policy Journal editor emeritus David A. Andelman speaks with Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, about investment and economic integration on the continent.

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César Gaviria on the Peace Treaty and Drug Policy in Colombia

Last year the government in Bogotá signed a landmark peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to put an end to the country's 53-year-old civil war. Former President César Gaviria spoke with World Policy Journal about the implications of the deal, and how to minimize violence amid a war on drugs.

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Shantha Sinha on Child Rights in India

Child poverty, child labor, and child marriage affect millions of young people in India, despite several laws meant to prevent them. World Policy Journal spoke with Shantha Sinha, former chairperson of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, about her activism and the impact of globalization on children.

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Serge Brammertz on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

The ICTY has been working to hold individuals accountable for violations of international law for nearly 25 years. World Policy Journal spoke with Serge Brammertz, the chief prosecutor of the ICTY, about the tribunal's influence on international law and the challenges that lie ahead for the national courts that must continue its work.  

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Veronica Herrera on Clientelism in Water Provision in Mexico

In decentralized governance systems, provision of water services is often subject to the political motivations of local officials. World Policy Journal speaks with Veronica Herrera about why reform efforts and community campaigns in some Mexican cities have succeeded while others have floundered. 

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Erin Pettigrew on Modern Slavery

Mauritania was the last nation in the world to abolish slavery in 1981, and only criminalized the practice in 2007. World Policy Journal spoke with Erin Pettigrew about the unique nature and evolution of slavery in Mauritania, as well as the future of the modern abolition movement.

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Tanya Lokshina on Chechnya's LGBT Community

Starting in late February, Chechnya’s LGBT community became the target of a purge, and around 100 people were detained, tortured, and humiliated. World Policy Journal spoke with Tanya Lokshina, the Russian program director at Human Rights Watch, about Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov's pattern of human rights violations against marginalized groups.

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Kavita Khory on Nationalism and Protest in India

Nationalism in India and Pakistan has given rise to greater discrimination toward religious and ethnic minorities. World Policy Journal spoke with professor Kavita Khory about the normalization of extremist politics and regional relations in South Asia.

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Rania Abouzeid on the Syrian Crisis

Six years after the Arab Spring spread to Syria in 2011 in the form of anti-government protests, the brutal conflict is still raging. World Policy Journal spoke with Beirut-based journalist Rania Abouzeid about reporting from Syria and what lies ahead for the war-torn country.

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Salwa El Gantri on Transitional Justice in Tunisia

Since Tunisia's revolution in 2010, the country has made strides in advancing economic and social justice. World Policy Journal speaks with Salwa El Gantri, the head of the International Center for Transitional Justice’s office in Tunisia, about proposed legislation that could threaten recent progress and the future of the country’s democratic transition.

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Mark Ungar on Rule of Law in Latin America

Rule of law is improving across Latin America, but the process of police and criminal justice reform has been slow. World Policy Journal speaks with Mark Ungar about community policing and enforcement of environmental regulation in the region.

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Tom Parker on Human Rights and Counterterrorism

States have adopted a wide variety of counterterrorism measures over the past century and a half in largely unsuccessful efforts to eliminate terrorist threats. World Policy Journal speaks with Tom Parker, a former U.N. adviser, about the importance of making human rights the foundation of counterterrorism strategies.

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Maria Dolores Miño on Human Rights in Ecuador

Ecuador's 2008 constitution promised radical protections of human rights and environmental rights, but these protections were soon undermined by former President Rafael Correa’s overreach of power. World Policy Journal speaks with Maria Dolores Miño about the disconnect between the law and its selective implementation.

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Peter James Hudson on how Wall Street Colonized the Caribbean

Puerto Rico's current debt crisis has parallels with fiscal problems in Cuba in Haiti in the 1920s and 1930s. World Policy Journal speaks with Peter James Hudson about the influence American financial institutions held and the resistance their meddling helped ignite.

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Geoffrey Mann on the ‘Climate Leviathan’

Climate change threatens to transform not just the environment, but also the entire global system. World Policy Journal speaks with Geoffrey Mann about the role of states and global elites in the international order that is emerging in an attempt to avoid environmental catastrophe.

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Paul Hockenos on Gentrification and Art in Berlin

The Berlin Wall's historic fall, signaling the end of the Cold War, saw the collision and fusion of the art scenes of West and East Berlin. World Policy Journal speaks with Paul Hockenos, a Berlin-based journalist and writer, about the role of artists and punks in shaping today's Berlin and the gentrification of the German capital.

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Leta Hong Fincher on Feminism in China

After the 1949 Communist Revolution in China, the Communist Party attempted to improve gender relations in the new People's Republic. World Policy Journal speaks to Leta Hong Fincher about recent crackdowns on activism, women's financial independence, and feminism in China.

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Raúl Gallegos on Venezuelans' Relationship with Oil

Oil has continued to warp the Venezuelan economy since the first reserve was discovered in 1914, as the government spends massive amounts of oil revenues without saving for the future. World Policy Journal spoke with former Caracas-based correspondent Raúl Gallegos about Venezuelans' relationship with the government and with oil over the past century.

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Swanee Hunt on Inclusive Security

While news of the Rwandan genocide reached all corners of the globe, the nation’s recovery and the key role of women are less often featured in the media. World Policy Journal spoke with Ambassador Swanee Hunt about the importance of including women in peace processes and her lifelong dedication to empowering women activists and policymakers.

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Sheri Berman on the French Election

As the final round of the French presidential election approaches, many are curious as to how the results will reflect political trends in Europe and beyond. World Policy Journal spoke with political scientist Sheri Berman about current European politics and how history can contribute to a better understanding of today's economic and social conditions.

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Cas Mudde on Western Populism 

There is an ongoing struggle between retaining the key values of democracy and protecting society from the spread of extremism. World Policy Journal spoke with Cas Mudde, associate professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia, about the wave of populism in Europe.

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Pippa Norris on Electoral Integrity

The Perceptions of Electoral Integrity index studies and compares the qualities and success rate of elections around the world. World Policy Journal speaks with Pippa Norris, who spearheaded the Electoral Integrity Project, about the importance electoral integrity in building democracy and what can be done to improve electoral practices.

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Olivia Newman on Liberalism

Facing threats from increasing authoritarianism and deep social polarization, liberalism faces an uncertain future. World Policy Journal spoke with Olivia Newman about her book, Liberalism in Practice: The Psychology and Pedagogy of Public Reason, and her prescription to fortify pluralistic liberal democracies.

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Izabella Teixeira on International Sustainable Development

Climate change, pollution, and economic and social inequality are becoming increasingly prominent issues at the international level. World Policy Journal spoke with Izabella Teixeira, the minister of the environment for Brazil from 2010-2016, about how discussions of sustainable development have evolved in recent years.

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Carrie James on Youth and Online Civics

Although the internet has helped promote civic engagement, vitriol and divisive rhetoric can deter youth from participating in political discussions on social networks. World Policy Journal talks with Carrie James, author of Disconnected: Youth, New Media, and the Ethics Gap, about how young people can be taught to facilitate constructive dialogue online.

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Sheila Smith on Challenges Facing Japan

Tensions are high in East Asia with the recent election of Donald Trump, North Korea's continuing aggression, and China's assertive actions in the South China Sea. World Policy Journal spoke with Sheila Smith, author of Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China, about the challenges Japan faces both domestically and internationally.

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Judith Matloff on the Role of Geography in Conflict Zones

Rebel groups and militias around the world have used rugged, mountainous terrain to resist central governing authorities. World Policy Journal spoke with Judith Matloff about her new book, No Friends But the Mountains, and how geography affects mountain communities' relationships with the rest of their countries.

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Jennifer Wilson on Race and U.S.-Russia Relations

What do rising ultranationalism and the alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election have in common? World Policy Journal spoke with Jennifer Wilson, a postdoctoral fellow for academic diversity in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pennsylvania, on the role race plays in U.S.-Russia relations.

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Leila Ahmed on Being Muslim in America 

It is not easy to be a Western Muslim today, with Trump's attempt at a "Muslim Ban" and reports of rising Islamophobic hate crimes. World Policy Journal discussed these issues with Dr. Leila Ahmed, the Egyptian-born author of A Quiet Revolution: The Veil's Resurgence, from the Middle East to America.

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Ann Lee on US-China Relations

Discussion of Chinese economic policies was front and center throughout President Trump’s campaign. World Policy Journal spoke with Ann Lee, a leading authority on China’s economic relations and author of What the U.S. Can Learn from China, about the future of the U.S. relationship with the East Asian nation.

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Rachel Aspden on Youth in Egypt

Since the Arab Spring, Egypt has gone from democratic elections to the return of military rule. World Policy Journal spoke with Rachel Aspden, author of Generation Revolution: On the Front Line Between Tradition and Change in the Middle East, about following a diverse group of young Egyptians in a time of revolution and repression.

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Nina Khrushcheva on the Future of U.S.-Russian Relations

Donald Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin has drawn the attention of the media for months. World Policy Journal spoke with World Policy fellow Nina Khrushcheva, the great-granddaughter of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and a Russian expert at the New School, to talk about the state of U.S.-Russian affairs.

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Elmira Bayrasli on Turkey’s Foreign and Domestic Conflicts

With the consolidation of President Erdoğan’s power and a failed coup attempt last July, Turkey is once again in the media spotlight. World Policy Journal sat down with Elmira Bayrasli, guest co-editor of our all-women winter 2016/2017 issue and a World Policy Institute fellow, to talk about the complexities behind Turkey’s ongoing conflicts.

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Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi on the African Union

At the end of January, the African Union will elect a new chairperson. World Policy Journal spoke to Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, foreign minister of the Republic of Botswana and a candidate for the position, about the African Union's role in addressing key challenges and realizing the continent's potential. 

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Philip Hsu on Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping has been an assertive and polarizing force during his years in office. World Policy Journal spoke with Philip Hsu, professor and chair of the political science department at National Taiwan University, about Xi's political “core,” his anti-corruption campaign, and the “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

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James Ketterer on the United States' Middle East Policy

A Donald Trump administration will need to address a broad array of issues in the Middle East, from instability in Syria and Iraq to tensions in U.S.-Saudi relations. World Policy Journal editor emeritus David A. Andelman sat down with James Ketterer of Bard College to discuss how the president-elect’s choices for high-level foreign policy positions will affect the United States’ relationships in the region.

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Maurizio Viroli on Machiavelli and Choosing Great Leaders

For centuries, Niccolò Machiavelli's writings have provided insight into contemporary governance. Maurizio Viroli, who has spent much of his career examining Machiavelli’s works, spoke with World Policy Journal about the Italian diplomat's understanding of what makes a great leader.

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Vaira Vike-Freiberga on Latvia

Vaira Vike-Freiberga, the first female president of Latvia, has been credited with raising the Baltic state’s visibility on the global stage as it joined the EU and NATO. World Policy Journal editor emeritus David A. Andelman spoke with the former head of state about her time in office and U.S. foreign engagement under a Trump administration.

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Christian Felber on an Economy for the Common Good

Although most economies are driven by the pursuit of money, financial incentives do not always promote the well-being of society. World Policy Journal spoke with Christian Felber, who speaks to this misalignment of priorities in his book, Change Everything: An Economy for the Common Good.

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Fabrice Jaumont on Higher Education in Africa

Education is a critical element of development, but in universities' quest for funding, the demands of donors can define institutional agendas. World Policy Journal spoke with Fabrice Jaumont about his book, Unequal Partners: American Foundations & Higher Education Development in Africa, which examines the role of American philanthropy in university education in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Matti Friedman on Israel's Unnamed War

The Israeli military spent 18 years in the security zone of southern Lebanon, yet the conflict doesn’t have a military ribbon, a monument, or even a name. World Policy Journal spoke with Matti Friedman, author of Pumpkinflowers, about the soldiers who served on a remote hilltop in Lebanon and how the operation foreshadowed the wars of today.

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Paul McNally on Corruption in South Africa

Drug dealing is a fact of life on Ontdekkers Road in Johannesburg. World Policy Journal spoke with journalist Paul McNally to discuss the release of his book, The Street, and corruption and crime in South Africa's largest city.

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Yonatan Mendel on Israeli Identity

The relationship between Israeli and Arab-Palestinian cultures during the creation of the Israeli state affected modern notions of national identity. World Policy Journal spoke with author Yonatan Mendel to discuss this theme, which he explores in his new book, From the Arab Other to the Israeli Self

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Daniella Zalcman on Documenting Western Colonization

Many members of Canada's indigenous population were subjected to assimilation education as children in Indian Residential Schools. World Policy Journal spoke with photojournalist Daniella Zalcman about how she captures the remnants of colonial forces in portraits of former students.

 

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Brendan O'Leary on Kurdistan

Can the partitioning of states lead to peace? World Policy Journal editor emeritus David A. Andelman spoke with Brendan O’Leary about the comparisons between the Irish Troubles and the Kurdish struggle for autonomy and what this means for the future of Kurdistan and the Middle East.

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Joshua Partlow on Afghanistan

Joshua Partlow’s new book, A Kingdom of Their own, documents the personal and political history of former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his family. World Policy Journal spoke with the author to discuss Afghanistan's turbulent history since 9/11 and the failures of the U.S. intervention. 

 

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Medea Benjamin on Saudi Arabia 

Medea Benjamin, author and co-founder of CODEPINK, has been a prominent voice in anti-war advocacy. World Policy Journal sat down with the author to discuss her new book, Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection, and her campaign to change the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia.

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George Saunders on the Trump Campaign Trail

Award-winning short story writer, essayist, and author George Saunders' recent piece in The New Yorker chronicles the months he spent on the Donald Trump campaign trail, interacting with supporters and protesters. World Policy Journal spoke with Saunders about his time at the rallies, his style of literary journalism, and the view from America's far right. 

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Rafia Zakaria on Pakistan

Oscillating between democracy and martial law, Pakistan’s government presents a nationalist narrative that edifies the military and those currently in power. World Policy Journal spoke with Rafia Zakaria, a renowned attorney and human rights activist, to discuss the themes of her memoir, including Pakistan’s ideological struggle with marriage, the consequences of migration on ethnic politics, and the country’s “war on public space.”

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Sebastian Junger on Returning from War

Sebastian Junger, award-winning author and co-director of the critically-acclaimed documentary Restrepo, has spent years reporting from Afghanistan. World Policy Journal spoke with Junger about his new book, Tribe, and the intense isolation soldiers experience when transitioning from the community of the platoon to civilian life. 

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Noam Chomsky on Academia and U.S. Foreign Policy

Described as the "father of modern linguistics" Noam Chomsky has spent more than 50 years as both an analytic philosopher and as a staunch social and political critic. World Policy Journal traveled to Cambridge to sit down with the professor at his MIT office and to discuss his career, the repeating patterns of U.S. foreign policy, and the state of American citizenry. 

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Shaukat Aziz on Pakistan

Pakistan's geopolitical and economic role in South Asia has shifted over the course of the past decade. World Policy Journal spoke with Shaukat Aziz, who served as prime minister of Pakistan from 2004 to 2007, about the country's economic development and the evolution of its relationships with other major powers in the region.

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Shawn Otto on Science in Politics

In the wake of significant technological advancements, the political world finds itself increasingly reliant on scientific knowledge. World Policy Journal sat down with author Shawn Otto to discuss how policy can integrate the methods and findings of science into decision-making. 

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Dan Zak on Nuclear Weapons

In July 2012, three peace activists infiltrated one of the most secure nuclear weapons facilities in the world in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. World Policy Journal spoke with Dan Zak, who chronicled this break-in and its relation to the history of the U.S. nuclear weapons program. 

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Robert Legvold on a Return to Cold War

Relations between the U.S. and Russia continue to deteriorate, raising the question of how current dynamics between the two countries compare to past tensions. World Policy Journal spoke with Robert Legvold, a leading expert on Soviet and Russian foreign policy, about understanding the new era of bilateral relations as a return to Cold-War era politics.

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Michael J. Lewis on Utopian Cities

What can a utopian vision reveal about its historical moment? World Policy Journal spoke with Williams College professor Michael J. Lewis, whose book City of Refuge: Separatists and Utopian Town Planning draws on 500 years of utopian ideas, many of which influenced the modern social welfare state.

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Óscar Martínez on Gang Violence in Central America

Groups of Central American immigrants deported from the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s due to their involvement in organized crime established gangs upon their return. World Policy Journal spoke with Salvadoran journalist Óscar Martínez about violence and migration, as featured in his new book, A History of Violence: Living and Dying in Central America

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Parag Khanna on Connectography

The world is more closely linked than it has ever been. World Policy Journal spoke with Parag Khanna about his new book, Connectography, and the impact of increased connectedness on people, politics, and the environment. 

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Anne Marie Goetz on the Next UN Secretary-General

The U.N. is in the process of selecting its ninth secretary-general. World Policy Journal sat down with Anne Marie Goetz to talk about revolutionary changes to the appointment process and the possibility of a woman being named secretary-general for the first time in history.

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Priscilla Clapp on Myanmar

Last month, Myanmar’s first civilian president in over 50 years, Htin Kyaw of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, was sworn into office. World Policy Journal spoke with Priscilla Clapp, former chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Burma, about the shift from military to civilian rule in Myanmar.

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Fawaz Gerges on the Islamic State

Understanding of the rise of the Islamic State requires contextualizing the group within the global jihadist movement. World Policy Journal spoke with Fawaz Gerges, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, about the history behind the terrorist organization and dynamics in the region that allowed it to gain so much power.

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Mehdi Bensaid on Morocco

Last month, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon used the word "occupation" in reference to conditions in the Western Sahara. World Policy Journal spoke with Mehdi Bensaid, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Moroccan Parliament, about the Moroccan response to Ban Ki-moon's comments and Morocco's relationships with its neighbors in the Maghreb region. 

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Sonia Shah on Global Pandemics

World Policy Journal sat down with Sonia Shah, investigative science journalist and author of the recently published book, Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond, to discuss the threat of global pandemics.

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YB Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng on Brunei

Brunei, an oil-rich Southeast Asian nation, is a central player in regional trade agreements. David A. Andelman, editor emeritus of World Policy Journal, sat down with Yang Berhormat Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, Brunei’s Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to discuss the country’s domestic politics and relations with its neighbors.

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Charlotte Ponticelli on Afghanistan

World Policy Journal spoke with Charlotte Ponticelli, who is the former senior coordinator for international women's issues at the Department of State and is now involved with several women’s organizations in Afghanistan. She discusses the challenges Afghan women activists are trying to overcome and the role of the international community in assisting them. 

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Devyn Spence Benson on Cuba

Afro-Cuban artists and activists are challenging the persisting racial inequalities and stereotypes on the island nation. Devyn Spence Benson, contributor to the spring 2016 issue of World Policy Journal, discusses racial discrimination and anti-racist organizing, both past and present. 

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Rafael Marques de Morais on Angola

World Policy Journal spoke to Angolan journalist Rafael Marques de Morais, who runs the anti-corruption watchdog Maka, about state corruption and censorship in Angola.

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James Dobbins on Peace in Syria

World Policy Journal sat down with James Dobbins, a former U.S. ambassador and currently the distinguished chair in diplomacy and security at the Rand Corporation, to speak about the potential for peace in Syria.

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Sarah Chayes on Corruption

World Policy Journal sat down with Sarah Chayes, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment and author of the recently published book, Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security, to discuss the link between corruption and extremism.

 

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Garry Kasparov on Putin's Russia

World Policy Journal sat down with Garry Kasparov, political activist and author of the recently published book Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped, to discuss recent developments in Putin’s domestic and foreign policies.

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Ho-Fung Hung on China

In recent years, the Chinese economy has shown signs of trouble after three decades of prosperity. World Policy Journal spoke with Ho-Fung Hung, professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins, to discuss his recent book, The China Boom: Why China Will Not Rule the World.   

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Ben Simpfendorfer on China

This week marked the 9th Annual Asia Financial Forum, which was themed, “Asia: Shaping the New Paradigm for Growth.” World Policy Journal sat down with Ben Simpfendorfer, one of the keynote speakers of the forum, to talk about China's prospects for economic expansion both regionally and globally.  

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Vehbi Baysan on Turkey

Turkey is navigating its complex relations with its neighbors amid the threat of the Islamic State and the rise of Iran. World Policy Journal spoke with Vehbi Baysan, political commentator and assistant professor at Yeditepe University in Istanbul, about the country’s foreign policy challenges.

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Anjan Sundaram on Rwanda

Rwandan President Paul Kagame announced last week that he will seek a third term in office in 2017, following a December referendum allowing him to serve beyond the constitution’s previous two-term limit. World Policy Journal spoke with award-winning journalist Anjan Sundaram to discuss Kagame’s repressive regime and the silencing of independent journalists in the country.

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Mark Galeotti on Russia

Russia’s resurgent militarism in Syria and Ukraine has brought up questions of what Putin is trying to achieve and whether Russian cooperation with the West is still possible. World Policy Journal sat down with Professor Mark Galeotti from NYU to discuss Russia’s current objectives. 

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Miroslav Lajčák on the European Union

As refugees continue to flood into Europe, many in Slovakia have voiced opposition to the European Union’s plans for redistributing asylum seekers. World Policy Journal interviewed Miroslav Lajčák, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, about the current refugee crisis and its implications for EU cooperation.

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Michael Oppenheimer on Future Scenarios

For our first Talking Policy interview, World Policy Journal sat down with Michael Oppenheimer to discuss his new book, Pivotal Countries, Alternative Futures: Using Scenarios to Manage American Strategy, which presents a new method to deal with uncertainty in the foreign policy making process.

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