radio / Encounter

Join host Carol Castiel each week as she and two advocates from the world of politics, culture, public policy, or academia debate and discuss a critical issue in the news.  This program brings depth, perspective, and insight to the world around us. Issues that affect our lives and global stability are debated and discussed in a free-wheeling, unscripted discussion of fact and opinion.

Upcoming program

Friday November 27, 2015

CAMPAIGN 2016 UPDATE Igor Volsky, Director of Video and Contributing Editor of, a progressive political blog affiliated with the Center for American Progress, and John Fortier, Director of the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, discuss the current climate of the 2016 Presidential campaign, the effects the Paris terror attacks has had on U.S politics, and the new Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.

November 20, 2015


PARIS TERROR IMPLICATIONS Benjamin Haddad, a research fellow at Hudson Institute specializing in European and transatlantic affairs, and Jessica Ashooh, Deputy Director of the Middle East Strategy Task Force, at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council, discuss the implications of the terror attacks in Paris and how the world is responding.

November 13, 2015


PUTIN'S RUSSIA Anders Aslund, one of the world's most renowned experts on Ukrainian and Russian political economy, Senior Fellow at The Atlantic Council, and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University, and Jeffrey Mankoff, Deputy Director and Senior Fellow for the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, discuss with host Carol Castiel the ramifications of Russia’s intervention in Syria and Ukraine as well as the fallout from the destruction of a Russian jet departing Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, killing all 224 people on board.

November 06, 2015


TURKEY’S DO OVER ELECTION In a stunning reversal of fortunes, Turkey’s Justice and Development Party or AKP won a decisive victory in the nation’s recent “do-over” elections, after having lost its parliamentary majority in June. Kadir Ustun, Executive Director of The Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) in Washington and Blaise Misztal, Director, National Security Program at the Bipartisan Policy Center, who just returned from Turkey, discuss the significance and ramifications of this outcome and its impact on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s stewardship of the NATO nation’s domestic, regional and foreign policy..

October 30, 2015


JERUSALEM VIOLENCE Natan Sachs, a Fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, and Ghaith al-Omari, Senior Fellow on the U.S.-Israel Strategic Relationship at The Washington Institute For Near East Policy, discuss the roots of the outbreak of violence in Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians and whether or not it is possible to revive talks about a two-state solution.

October 23, 2015


RUSSIA / IRAN / SYRIA Faysal Itani, Fellow in the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council, and Hussein Ibish, Senior Resident Scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, discuss with host Carol Castiel the implications of stepped up Iranian and Russian backing of Syrian President Bashar al Assad and how this affects the direction of the Syrian conflict, U.S. strategy, and the regional geopolitical landscape.

October 16, 2015


POLITICS OF TPP Bryan Riley, Senior Analyst in Trade Policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation and Jim Kessler, Senior Vice President for Policy at the centrist Third Way, discuss with host Carol Castiel the significance and politics of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal, an ambitious 12 country effort that accounts for approximately 40 percent of the world’s economy. Even though the TPP aims to slash thousands of tariffs, boost US exports, create jobs and be a counterweight to China, Kessler and Riley argue that opposition from an array of strange bedfellows including labor unions and some 2016 Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, render its passage uncertain.

October 09, 2015


AFGHANISTAN UPDATE Lisa Curtis, Senior Research Fellow in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation, and Michael Kugelman, Senior Program Associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, discuss the implications and significance of the Taliban’s temporary seizure of Kunduz, the consequences of the controversial attack on a hospital and prospects for long-term security and stability in Afghanistan as the Obama administration contemplates leaving US troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016.

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Carol Castiel is also the host of  Press Conference USA and co-produces Issues in the News with Ania Zalewski at the Voice of America.
Broadcast Schedule
Encounter is broadcast on Saturdays and Sundays. You can also listen to us via affiliate stations in your area. Check your local radio station guide for more information.
  • Saturdays: 0330 0930 1430 1800 and 2330 UTC
  • Sundays:   0530  1230 1730 1930 UTC
This Week's Featured Video: Host Carol Castiel talks to Georgetown University Professors Ambassador Mark Lagon and  Professor Tony Arend about the US foreign policy priorities for 2014.    (January 5, 2014)

Carol Castiel


Meet Our Host
As Director of Current Affairs Programming in VOA's English Division, Carol Castiel is responsible for producing Press Conference USA, Encounter, and Issues in the News.  Carol moderates and produces Press Conference USA and Encounter. She also oversees the production of Issues in the News, VOA’s roundup of the week’s top stories by distinguished Washington journalists.

Before joining the Voice of America, Carol was a consultant/freelance journalist specializing in the promotion of trade and investment between the United States and Africa. She was also a contributing editor to the London-based West Africa Magazine. Carol is fluent in Portuguese, French, and Spanish. She holds an M.A. degree in International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.


Other Current Affairs Programs:

Issues in the news -Prominent Washington correspondents discuss topics making headlines around the world.

Press conference Host Carol Castiel and other panelists interview bestselling authors, analysts, politicians, U.S. government officials, ambassadors and foreign heads of state about critical issues facing the U.S. and the world.

Watch Our Video

Host Carol Castiel talks to Georgetown University Professors Ambassador Mark Lagon and Professor Tony Arend about U.S. foreign policy priorities for 2015.  (January 4, 2015)