The world can be a confusing place. It has become so interconnected, it can be hard to tell what is going on. Podcasts are a great way for people to learn about things since most are on the go. In this week’s column, I will introduce some podcasts that can help enrich your understanding of global issues.
World Story of the Day: NPR
If you are pressed for time, World Story of the Day from NPR provides a daily three-minute podcast on an issue going on in the world. Their most recent podcast talks about how an Indian ancestral village is paying attention to the American elections this year, which they normally wouldn’t, because of Kamala Harris’s Indian heritage. Other recent topics have included the impacts of typhoons in the Philippines, a spotlight on Iranian human rights lawyers and a debrief on the recent attack of a teacher in France. Each podcast contains interviewees who can speak to the issue that is presented. NPR’s World Story of the Day gives listeners a chance to understand news in a quick way. It can definitely serve as a good source for introducing certain topics and that might lead you to look for more information.
Listen to World Story of the Day here.
The World Unpacked-Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
If you like podcasts that are a little more in-depth, the World Unpacked-Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a podcast that breaks down global issues with experts and guests from all over the world. Each episode is about 30 to 40 minutes long. Their most recent podcast talks about how Americans view foreign policy and what that means for the world. The guest speaker during the episode was Ivo H. Daalder, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He explained how different countries will view America depending on the party the government is under. He spoke about how in general, Americans are open to globalization, especially since global trade has brought more business to Americans. Global trade also has an important impact on how Americans view foreign policy. Daalder mentioned that despite the pandemic, views on globalization have stayed in a positive light. Overall, he described how important the current election is for foreign policy.
Listen to the World Unpacked here.
Global Dispatches — World News That Matters
Global Dispatches may seem similar to The World Unpacked, but what I have noticed from listening to both is Global Dispatches podcasts go in-depth on a unique set of global issues and last about 30 to 50 minutes. They talk about global issues that may be more current or issues that have been going on for a while. Some of their most recent podcasts talked about Thailand’s recent protests. In one episode, guest speaker Benjamin Zawacki, a specialist in Southeast Asian policy, explained that protests this year include more of the younger generation and are better organized. According to Zawacki, activists have been protesting the Thai government over several issues. These issues include demand to revise the constitution put into place by the military government, revision to their monarchy and demand for Thailand’s Prime Minister to resign. According to Zawacki, the Thai government has initiated some change demanded by protestors but mentioned how change might take a long time. He ended on the note that protests in Thailand have evolved over time because the more recent protests have advocated for more democracy in Thailand’s government.
Listen to Global Dispatches here.
Worldly by Vox
Worldly, a podcast hosted by Vox, explains foreign issues in an easy-to-understand manner. While some of the other podcasts I’ve mentioned jump right into the topic after introductions, Alex Ward, the host and a reporter for Vox, begins the podcast by giving background information. One of the recent podcasts discusses France’s recent incident that led to the beheading of a teacher, in which Ward gives an explanation of the event. Guest speaker Jen Williams, a senior foreign editor who focuses on the Middle East, was invited to share her view. William’s background is interesting as she mentioned that she did not grow up with Islam, but instead converted to it later in life. Williams explained that many Muslims view Islam in different ways, some of which may teach Islam more radically. She mentions that there is a split between French identity and the religion of Islam. Ward and Williams talked about how the incident that led to a teacher’s death in France seems more like a political issue rather than a cultural one and is something that President Macron of France must deal with.
Listen to the Worldly here.