America Abroad : About

Airs the second Friday of the month at 11PM on AM 820 and other times as scheduled

Serious radio for the intellectually curious, America Abroad explores today's critical issues with balance and depth. America Abroad is the only public radio program that devotes an hour to a single issue-providing historical context and international perspective.

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Show Archive

Latest Stories from America Abroad

Last updated: Tuesday, September 29 2015 10:07 PM

Examining the Iran Nuclear Deal

Tuesday, September 01 2015 05:39 PM

Sometime in the next two weeks, Congress will make a decision on one of the most important and hotly contested foreign policy agreements in decades. The Iran Nuclear Deal will have a major impact on America's national security and the future stability of the Middle East, and it will help define President Obama's legacy.In this hour-long documentary special, we look back at the last ten years of US policy towards Iran, including exclusive interviews with they key players.We also look ahead to how the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will play out over the next ten years, and we'll visit Tehran and Tel Aviv to hear how individuals in those countries perceive the deal.

Poaching and Terrorism

Monday, July 06 2015 08:12 PM

The illicit wildlife trade is now worth up to 20 billion dollars a year. That's double what it was just a few years ago -- far more than the weapons trade, and approaching the rate of human smuggling. This has attracted the attention of Al Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Lord's Resistance Army, and other terrorist groups, African militias, and Asian criminal syndicates -- all looking to capitalize on this high-value, low-risk venture. And it poses a challenge to US officials and law enforcement who, since 9/11, have been doing everything in their power to cut off revenue to the world's terrorists.In this hour-long program, we look at poaching -- once a conservation issue, but now considered a genuine threat to national security.

Countering Violent Extremism: An International Town Hall

Tuesday, June 02 2015 06:13 PM

Recent terrorist attacks on western soil, including the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris and the shooting in Garland, Texas, have galvanized people on both sides of the Atlantic to take stronger action to counter violent extremism in Muslim communities.   To discuss how the US and Europe are addressing the unprecedented recruitment effort by the Islamic State, while preserving civil liberties and trust with Muslim communities, America Abroad teamed up with NPR Berlin for a LIVE town hall event, bringing together audiences at WHYY in Philadelphia and the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin, Germany. Moderating the discussion are veteran public radio host and reporter Jacki Lyden from Philadelphia and NPR's Paris correspondent Eleanor Beardsley from Berlin.   Guests include:   Mehreen Farooq, a senior fellow with the World Organization for Resource Development and Education   Zainab Al-Suwaij, the co-founder and executive director of the American Islamic Council   Henning Hoff, the editor-at-large of the Berlin Policy Journal   Khaldun Al-Saadi, a speaker for the Dresden Islamic Center and Mosque, and a project coordinator for the Young Islam Conference in Berlin   Jeff Tomlinson, head of Philadelphia's joint terrorism task force from 2001-2004 and 2006-2009

Understanding Islamic Feminism

Monday, May 04 2015 04:55 PM

Many things need to happen in the Middle East to bring stability to the region. But one of the most important is elevating the role of women. Women's rights are crucial to long-term success in the Arab world. To achieve that goal, we must look at gender equality through through the lens of religion. To that end, groups of scholars and activists are working to reinterpret Islamic religious texts to make a space for themselves between their religion and their lived realities. In this hour-long program we'll visit Egypt, where we learn how one of the world’s most influential centers of Islamic study is squaring its teachings with the changing status of women. In Morocco, we'll go to a courthouse where recent changes to Muslim family law are making it easier for women to divorce, inherit property, and gain custody of their children. And in the United States, we'll learn how one progressive Muslim feminist is expressing herself and her religion in a surprising way - with comedy.

Burma at the Crossroads

Tuesday, April 07 2015 02:30 PM

This fall, Burma is scheduled to hold a historic presidential election. But with ongoing persecution of ethnic minorities and many other human rights issues, many wonder if it is ready for true reform. It was only four years ago that President Obama became the first sitting president to visit Burma. This followed Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” campaign promise, and has since led to an easing of sanctions against the country and multiple meetings with Nobel Peace Prize-winning Burmese icon Aung San Suu Kyi and other national leaders. Undoubtedly, the Burmese government has taken some significant steps toward reform, most notably releasing Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest and giving her a seat in Parliament. But in recent months, there’s been what many consider a backslide. The government has cracked down hard on student protests and there are ongoing cases of severe and unyielding religious persecution, especially against the Muslim minority in the western part of the country. On this episode of America Abroad, we examine the history, politics, and promise of this nation in transition.

Saving Innocence: The Global Fight to End Child Marriage

Monday, March 02 2015 03:51 PM

UNICEF reports there are 250 million women worldwide who were married before they turned 15. Now, lawmakers, NGOs, and world leaders are banding together to end the practice. This month, America Abroad travels to Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nepal, and Pakistan to talk to individuals and organizations working to change laws and change minds about child marriage. We also talk to Mabel van Oranje, the founder of Girls Not Brides, who aim to end child marriage in one generation.

America and Cuba: After the Thaw

Wednesday, February 04 2015 05:44 PM

President Obama's announcement to begin normalizing relations with Cuba marks the most significant change in US policy toward the island nation in a half century. But as America looks to make it easier to travel to the country and establish more economic ties, what does that mean for the average Cuban or Cuban American? In this special edition, America Abroad teams up with Latino USA for an in-depth look at the long and complex history between the US and Cuba and explores how this historic policy shift will affect everyone from families living in both countries, to human rights activists, business owners, even poets. We'll hear stories from Havana and Miami, and a wide range of perspectives and personal narratives.

Jordan on the Frontline: An International Town Hall

Thursday, January 08 2015 05:00 PM

The Middle East today is more unstable than ever. The war in Syria has created a tremendous humanitarian crisis, with more than three million refugees having fled to neighboring countries, and the rise of ISIS has destabilized Iraq and Syria and threatens other countries in the region.  Sitting right in the middle of all this instability is the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, a key US ally.  To better understand the war in Syria, the huge influx of refugees, and the rise of ISIS, America Abroad -- in collaboration with public radio station WHYY and the Jordan Media Institute -- hosted a town-hall dialogue connecting audiences in Philadelphia and Amman. Join hosts Jacki Lyden and Yusuf Mansur along with a team of experts for a discussion of the critical issues facing Jordan and the Middle East today.

Global Girls Education: Breaking Down Barriers

Tuesday, November 04 2014 07:17 PM

It used to be that, in many parts of the world, educating a girl was not only a low priority but was prevented by social customs or economic pressures. Now, in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa, India and war-torn areas such as Syria, girls are beginning to get a secondary school, and sometimes even, a college education. On this edition of America Abroad, we celebrate the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani woman who is an activist for female education and hear the reactions from girls and women in oppressed places including Pakistan. We have a report of a girl in rural India who suffered brutal beatings by her father but clung to her desire to get an education. We'll hear first-person reports of girls in Kenya who resisted their families' efforts to sell them off as a child bride so that they could get an education. And we'll examine the value of madrassas in educating girls in places like sub-Saharan Africa.

The Keystone XL Pipeline: An International Town Hall

Tuesday, October 07 2014 03:34 PM

The Keystone XL pipeline has been a controversial project in both the United States and Canada. On this edition of America Abroad, audiences in Lincoln, Nebraska and Calgary, Canada engaged in a cross border discussion about how the oil sands industry and the building of the Keystone XL pipeline directly affects their lives. Participants debated the environmental safety of the pipeline, the economic costs and benefits, the legal suits brought by Nebraskan landowners and complaints against it brought by Canada’s First Nation’s tribes and the ways in which it might alter the US global energy position.

Water Scarcity & Conflict

Thursday, August 07 2014 04:49 PM

AK-47s. Grenades. Water?  Water has become a tool of terrorism in some parts of Africa and has become a key actor in many local, national and international conflicts around the world.  This month, we travel to Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia to bring you some of those stories.   We hear from unapologetic water thieves in the slums of Nairobi, water "terror" victims in Somalia, and rural Pakistanis who believe their water woes are due to a decades' old treaty with India.  Also we find solutions to some of these problems in the voices of American officials, NGO’s workers and entrepreneurs.

Global Water Scarcity: Combating Drought

Wednesday, July 02 2014 03:18 AM

Millions of farmers in California, Africa and South Asia are all facing severe water issues. In times of drought or overuse of rainwater, many of them are racing to sink new wells to reach the last clean source of water: groundwater. In this edition of America Abroad, we hear how unmanaged groundwater drilling in California and India is threatening to deplete huge underground aquifers. But in one area in Kenya, 70-thousand villagers have worked together to equitably distribute this precious resource.

The Power of Art in a Changing Middle East

Tuesday, June 03 2014 10:01 PM

It's been 5 years (June 4, 2009) since President Obama's landmark Cairo speech in which he spoke of common values between the West and "muslims around the world:  they were values of  "justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings."  A year later, the world witnessed the popular uprisings and protests that gripped countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Jordan and Syria...popular political expression that was once thought to have the power to liberalize.   As that political momentum has given way to renewed repression in some states, terrible conflict or chaos in others, what is left is art.   Film, music and art are often the best ways to capture the will and the mood of the people in times of turmoil.  Art sometimes has the power to move millions where politics fails.  So in this program we attempt to identify some prominent artistic voices in the Middle East, North Africa and in South Asia and evaluate their take on liberal ideals, on sectarian violence, on terrorism and how they're being received by audiences in both the Arab and Muslim communities and in the West.   Among the selections is "Horses of God," the new film out by French-born Moroccan filmmaker Nabil Ayouch about the roots of extremism in the heart of Casablanca...the film echoes the real events of an actual mass suicide bombing that killed 47 people back in 2010.  Lebanese singer Tania Saleh who sings for peace between Sunni and Shiites.  Pakistani playwright Shahid Nadeem who's been jailed for his use of satire to expose taboo political topics and Lebanese rap crew, Ashekman.  They rap and paint graffiti about terrorism, war and corruption.  And more. Film, music and art are often the best ways to capture the will and the mood of the people in times of turmoil. Art sometimes has the power to move millions where politics fails. So in this program we attempt to identify some prominent artistic voices in the Middle East, North Africa and in South Asia and evaluate their take on liberal ideals, on sectarian violence, on terrorism and how they're being received by audiences in both the Arab and Muslim communities and in the West. - See more at: Film, music and art are often the best ways to capture the will and the mood of the people in times of turmoil. Art sometimes has the power to move millions where politics fails. So in this program we attempt to identify some prominent artistic voices in the Middle East, North Africa and in South Asia and evaluate their take on liberal ideals, on sectarian violence, on terrorism and how they're being received by audiences in both the Arab and Muslim communities and in the West. - See more at: Film, music and art are often the best ways to capture the will and the mood of the people in times of turmoil. Art sometimes has the power to move millions where politics fails. So in this program we attempt to identify some prominent artistic voices in the Middle East, North Africa and in South Asia and evaluate their take on liberal ideals, on sectarian violence, on terrorism and how they're being received by audiences in both the Arab and Muslim communities and in the West. - See more at:

The Consequences of Shrinking America's Military

Tuesday, May 13 2014 04:16 PM

As America draws down troops from Afghanistan, cuts back on military spending and the size of its military, many worry that America’s leadership in the world and ability to protect its allies is eroding. On this edition of America Abroad, we hear reaction to a smaller U.S. Military from allies in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East about on whether America's ability to advance its interests and of its allies is compromised.  Also, defense experts and military veterans discuss whether a smaller US military would embolden other countries like Russia to test  America's willingness to engage.

Afghanistan after Karzai: A Washington-Kabul Town Hall

Thursday, April 03 2014 09:22 PM

This month, America Abroad, DC public radio station WAMU 88.5 and Afghanistan channel TOLOnews connected audiences, along with a panel of experts in Washington and Kabul, for an international town hall ahead of Afghanistan's presidential elections. Participants in both cities debate the future of the US-Afghan relationship, women's rights and education, reconciliation with the Taliban, and regional peace and stability as President Karzai steps down and international forces prepare to withdraw from the country.

How Government Helps and Harms Entrepreneurs

Thursday, March 06 2014 10:07 PM

Governments around the world are trying to figure out if and how they can help promote entrepreneurship, which is considered critical to global competitiveness. But in the United States, there's nothing more politically contentious than the role of government in the economy. In this episode of America Abroad, we look at how government intervention helps and hurts entrepreneurs, and we examine what the US can learn from the success and failures of other countries.

Women's Rights after the Arab Spring

Friday, February 07 2014 07:46 PM

The revolutions that swept across the Middle East in 2011, known as "The Arab Spring," promised greater freedoms for many in the region, including women. While there have been some advances in women's rights, the promise in many cases has not been realized. In this month's show, Women's Rights after the Arab Spring, we travel to Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and the Gulf States to assess how and where women's rights have progressed.

Syria and the Reponsibility to Protect (UPDATED)

Friday, January 10 2014 02:59 PM

America Abroad has re-released its 2013 program: Syria and the Responsibility to Protect with new interviews and material. We explore whether the international community has a moral obligation to intervene more aggressively in Syria. We take a look back at past conflicts - Rwanda, Bosnia, Iraq and Libya - through the eyes of those who experienced these crises first-hand. We also hear from Syrian refugees in Lebanon on the question of Western intervention.

Global Entrepreneurship

Thursday, December 12 2013 09:12 PM

The U.S. is often thought of as the land of innovation – a great habitat for entrepreneurs. And, this is still the case. But, why are other regions of the world producing entrepreneurs at a faster rate than the United States?

De-Radicalizing Terrorists

Friday, November 08 2013 11:10 PM

The global war against terrorism has become a war of ideas. Is the U.S. doing enough to fight it, and what can it learn from other countries?

Egypt and the Struggle for Democracy

Wednesday, October 09 2013 08:39 PM

America Abroad explores what lies ahead for Egypt's fragile democracy in this international town hall discussion connecting audiences and a panel of experts in Los Angeles and Cairo. America Abroad explores what lies ahead for Egypt's fragile democracy in this international town hall discussion connecting audiences and a panel of experts in Los Angeles and Cairo. - See more at:

Iran at the Crossroads

Wednesday, July 03 2013 01:13 AM

What does Iran's new leadership mean for the future of the country, its nuclear weapons program and relationship with the West, and for Iranians around the world? This month's America Abroad is Iran at the Crossroads.

Immigration and the Global Talent Search

Thursday, May 09 2013 07:31 PM

Is the U.S. losing the global race for the best and brightest entrepreneurial talent?

Global Energy and Innovations

Thursday, April 04 2013 08:30 PM

What does the natural gas boom mean for renewable energy in the U.S. and how are other countries addressing their growing energy needs?

A Decade At War: Afghanistan, Iraq & Counterinsurgency

Thursday, March 14 2013 06:21 PM

In this special episode marking the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, America Abroad looks back at the policies and lessons of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the efficacy of the United States' counterinsurgency strategy.

Religious Minorities in the Middle East (UPDATED)

Wednesday, February 06 2013 07:46 PM

The Arab Awakening has led to a rise in Islamist governments in the Middle East – increasing concerns about the rights of religious minorities.

Obama's Foreign Policy Challenges: The Next 4 Years

Wednesday, January 09 2013 10:53 PM

President Obama's second term begins with a series of foreign policy challenges on his plate.

Islamism in Africa

Wednesday, December 05 2012 11:05 PM

The rise of Islamism in Africa may threaten to further destabilize an already fragile continent.

Youth in the Arab World: After the Revolution

Monday, November 12 2012 07:20 PM

Arabs under thirty drove the region's revolutions, and they have emerged as prominent social and political actors. But with new governments now in power, are youth satisfied with the pace of change?

American Entrepreneurship in a Global Economy

Wednesday, October 03 2012 11:28 PM

There is bipartisan consensus that unleashing America's entrepreneurial potential is vital to reviving the economy. Yet there are many challenges facing today's entrepreneur, from local regulatory and tax burdens to federal visa restrictions.

The Next President: Foreign Policy Challenges

Wednesday, September 05 2012 03:09 PM

The next President of the United States may face some very tough foreign policy decisions early in his administration. So it's important that American voters know where candidates stand on the key issues.

Mexico: Looking Forward

Thursday, August 09 2012 01:16 PM

Mexico isn't just America's neighbor and the source of controversy over immigration. It is also our third-largest trading partner, outpacing Japan, Germany and the UK combined. So what will a change in Mexico's government mean for the U.S.?

Religious Minorities in the Middle East

Tuesday, July 31 2012 08:51 PM

The Arab awakening has led to a rise in Islamist governments in the Middle East - raising concerns about the rights of religious minorities.

The Global Water Challenge

Wednesday, June 06 2012 05:00 AM

Water: As the most essential resource to human life, the demand for water continues to grow as global population does. Yet less than one percent of the planet's supply is potable, making the treatment of this precious resource complex – especially across borders.

The Future of NATO

Friday, May 04 2012 05:00 AM

NATO's campaign in Libya received mixed reviews, and now its forces are withdrawing from Afghanistan. This month, member countries are meeting in Chicago to talk about the alliance's future. So what's next for NATO?

Iran and the Bomb

Wednesday, April 04 2012 05:00 AM

Will sanctions and diplomacy be enough to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons? Or is a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities inevitable?

The Rise of the Islamists

Thursday, March 08 2012 05:00 AM

After decades of repression by secular rulers, Islamists are now poised to transform the region's politics and culture. But it's still not clear what they plan to do with their power, and what that will mean for those who don't share their views.

After Kim Jong-Il: America and the Two Koreas

Wednesday, February 08 2012 05:00 AM

The sudden death of Kim Jong-Il and the succession to power of his young and inexperienced son has put the world on edge. What will the leadership change in North Korea mean for the future of America's relationship with the two Koreas?

America and the Middle East: What Lies Ahead

Wednesday, January 11 2012 05:00 AM

With American troops out of Iraq and leaving Afghanistan – what will America's 'strong presence' in the region look like? From Iraq and Iran to Afghanistan and Pakistan, we'll examine what America's influence and intervention in the Middle East in the past can tell us about America's involvement in the region in the future.

Europe in Crisis

Tuesday, December 06 2011 05:00 AM

The European debt crisis has made possible what was once inconceivable—the collapse of the euro, and even the unraveling of the European Union itself. We head to front lines of the crisis–to Italy and Greece–to ask, "How did we get here?"

The Politics of Faith: The Role of Religion in Divided Societies

Thursday, November 03 2011 05:00 AM

Around the world today, conflicts between religious groups are on the rise. Nearly a third of the world's population faces restrictions on how they worship, risking arrest, imprisonment or even death. We head to Egypt, Malaysia, China and Russia to examine the religious undercurrents that are sharpening societal divides.

Election 2012: Voters and Foreign Policy

Tuesday, October 04 2011 05:00 AM

Just a few months before the first primary votes are cast, foreign policy and national security issues have received surprisingly little attention on the campaign trail. So when it comes to foreign policy – do voters care?

Joined By War: A Decade of Conflict in Afghanistan

Monday, September 12 2011 05:00 AM

To mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and to honor the sacrifices made by both Afghans and Americans, America Abroad brings together audiences in Washington and Kabul to discuss the personal costs of war and life in Afghanistan today, as the Taliban insurgency continues amidst US troop withdrawal.