radio / Encounter

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


February 14, 2014

Encounter

US - FRANCE Charles Kupchan, senior fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations and Stephen Collinson, White House Correspondent for Agence France Press (AFP), discuss the significance and broader implications of the state visit by French President Francois Hollande to Washington with host Carol Castiel. Notwithstanding the historic “special relationship” between the United States and Britain, France is increasingly demonstrating that it is an indispensable partner for the United States on the world stage whether in the Middle East, in Africa or in the realm of international trade. 


February 07, 2014

Encounter

AFGHAN ELECTION PREVIEW Lisa Curtis, Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center and Shuja Nawaz, Director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council, preview the issues and candidates dominating the upcoming April presidential elections in Afghanistan and discuss options for the United States in a post 2014 Afghanistan with host Carol Castiel.


January 31, 2014

Encounter

OBAMA – STATE OF THE UNION ANALYSIS   Karlyn Bowman, Senior Fellow & Public Opinion Analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, and Igor Volsky, Managing Editor of ThinkProgress.com at the Center for American Progress, debate the main themes of President Obama’s State of the Union address and his vow to use more executive orders in light of congressional gridlock. 


January 24, 2014

Encounter

OBAMA & NSA REFORMS Gary Schmitt, Resident Scholar & Co-Director of the Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and Ken Gude, Senior Fellow with the National Security Team at the Center for American Progress, debate the pros and cons of President Obama’s proposed reforms to the NSA’s controversial surveillance programs with host Carol Castiel.


January 17, 2014

Encounter

SYRIA / GENEVA II Jeremy Shapiro, Visiting Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, and Jeffrey White, Senior Defense Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy spar over how to contain and ultimately settle the ongoing conflict in Syria. They both agree that expectations are low for the upcoming Geneva II peace conference and tell host Carol Castiel that just getting the parties to the table would be a step forward.


January 10, 2014

Encounter

US CONGRESS PREVIEW 2014 John Fortier, director of the Democracy Project at the Bi-Partisan Policy Center and David Wasserman, editor and political analyst at the Cook Political Report preview and analyze the 2014 US legislative agenda, US President Barack Obama’s policy priorities and what’s at stake in the 2014 midterm elections with host Carol Castiel.


January 03, 2014

Encounter

U.S. FOREIGN POLICY OUTLOOK FOR 2014 Two Georgetown University professors – Ambassador Mark Lagon, Chair of Global Politics & Security and Anthony C. Arend, Professor of Government & Foreign Service – sit down with host Carol Castiel to preview US foreign policy and national security priorities for 2014.


December 27, 2013

Encounter

TOP STORIES OF 2013   From the public disclosure of the NSA surveillance programs to the carnage in Syria, host Carol Castiel reviews the top domestic and international stories of 2013 with VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns and VOA White House correspondent Dan Robinson. 


December 20, 2013

Encounter

BATTLE FOR UKRAINE   Jeffrey Mankoff, Deputy Director and Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Russia and Eurasia Program, and William Pomeranz, Deputy Director of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute, talk with host Carol Castiel about the tug of war between Russia and the West over the future of Ukraine.  


December 13, 2013

Encounter

CRISIS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC Amadou Sy, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative and J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, talk with host Carol Castiel about the political and economic roots of the violence in the Central African Republic and to what extent the UN-backed French and African Union peacekeeping forces can not only quell the violence but also secure and maintain stability in this resource-rich former French colony.


December 06, 2013

Encounter

SHOWDOWN IN EAST CHINA SEA US Vice President Joe Biden was in Japan, China and South Korea to advance the Transpacific Partnership and to seek progress on thwarting North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, but instead had to manage a political crisis between China and Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea.  Bruce Klingner, Senior Research Fellow for Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center along with Patrick Cronin, Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, discuss with host Carol Castiel the reasons behind and ramifications of China’s controversial declaration of an air defense identification zone in the East China Sea --- it’s impact on US-China relations and on China’s relations with Japan and South Korea in particular.


November 29, 2013

Encounter

IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL   Israel and Saudi Arabia are worried about the recently concluded “Joint Plan of Action” agreed to by Iran and six world powers, which halts Iran’s controversial nuclear program in return for easing some sanctions. Host Carol Castiel speaks with Graeme Bannerman, scholar at the Middle East Institute and Jonathan Schanzer, Vice President for Research at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who spar over the promise and perils of this interim accord and prospects for a final agreement, as well as discuss its broader geopolitical implications for the region.


November 22, 2013

Encounter

OBAMACARE FALLOUT John Fortier, Director of the Democracy Project at the Bi-Partisan Policy Center and Igor Volsky, Managing Editor of ThinkProgress.org, a progressive political blog affiliated with the Center for American Progress, talk with host Carol Castiel about US President Barack Obama’s sagging popularity in the wake of the disastrous rollout of his signature health care reform law, political repercussions for Democrats, and the significance of a historic rule change in the US Senate, which has angered the minority Republican caucus.


November 15, 2013

Encounter

BOKO HARAM / DRC UPDATE Raymond Gilpin, Academic Dean at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University and Bronwyn Bruton, Deputy Director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, discuss the significance of the US State Department’s decision to classify Boko Haram as a terrorist organization as well as next steps toward achieving stability in the DRC in the wake of the defeat of the M23 rebel group.


November 08, 2013

Encounter

TURKEY: POST-ARAB SPRING Edmund Ghareeb, Professor of Middle East History and Politics at the American University and Bulent Aliriza, Director of the “Turkey Project,” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies discuss with host Carol Castiel the various factors, including the post-Arab Spring turmoil and Turkey’s reaction to it, which have upended Ankara’s rising role in the greater Middle East.  From Syria to Iraq, to Iran and Israel, Turkey’s regional relations have undergone major shifts and have also provided an impetus for Ankara to solve its “Kurdish Question.”


November 01, 2013

Encounter

US-SAUDI RIFT Simon Henderson, director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Barbara Slavin, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center, talk with host Carol Castiel about the major reasons behind the strained US-Saudi relationship such as differences over Syria and talks with Iran, the monarchy’s rejection of a seat on the UN Security Council and its threats to act more independently of Washington.


October 25, 2013

Encounter

SHARIF/PAKISTAN - US Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with President Barack Obama in Washington to mend strained relations and chart a more collaborative path forward as the US draws down troops in neighboring Afghanistan. Lisa Curtis, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center and Hassan Abbas, a former Pakistani government official, currently professor & director at the National Defense University’s South and Central Asia Program, discuss points of convergence and divergence between Islamabad and Washington regarding US drone strikes, counterterrorism, and achieving stability in Afghanistan with host Carol Castiel.


October 18, 2013

Encounter

IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS: IS THIS TIME DIFFERENT? Emanuele Ottolenghi, senior fellow at the “Foundation for Defense of Democracies” and Robin Wright, journalist and scholar at the US Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center, spar over prospects for fruitful negotiations between Iran and the West regarding Tehran’s nuclear program.  Ottolenghi tells host Carol Castiel that he is deeply skeptical of Iran’s intentions notwithstanding the conciliatory tone of Iran’s new president, while Wright is more optimistic that Tehran will make compromises that could satisfy the West and bolster the diplomatic approach.


October 11, 2013

Encounter

POLITICS OF SHUTDOWN John Fortier, director of the Democracy Project at the Bi-Partisan Policy Center and Igor Volsky, Managing Editor of ThinkProgress.org, a progressive political blog affiliated with the Center for American Progress, talk with host Carol Castiel about the dysfunctional politics behind the US government shutdown and the looming American credit default as well as the toll these crises are taking on the integrity of the US political system and American credibility abroad.


October 04, 2013

Encounter

Carol Castiel hosts a panel of experts on opposite sides of a controversial issue.


September 27, 2013

Encounter

KENYA / AL SHABAB TERROR J. Peter Pham, Director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council and Ambassador David Shinn, former US Ambassador to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso and currently professor of international affairs at George Washington University, discuss the ramifications of the recent terror attack in Kenya, the rise of the “global jihadi” faction of al Shabab and implications for regional stability with host Carol Castiel.


September 20, 2013

Encounter

SYRIA CRISIS / IRAN Emanuele Ottolenghi, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Daniel Serwer, Professor of Conflict Management and Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, tell VOA that by denying it is responsible for launching the chemical weapons attack, the Assad regime is merely “playing for time.”  They discuss with host Carol Castiel the daunting logistical and political obstacles to implementing the US-Russia deal to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons and obtaining a strong  UN resolution to compel compliance; reaction from the beleaguered Syrian rebel opposition; challenges to reviving “Geneva Two”; implications for Iran; and perception of US credibility in the region.


September 13, 2013

Encounter

SETTLING SYRIA Ambassador Ted Kattouf, former US Ambassador to Syria and the UAE, currently president of AMIDEAST, and Murhaf Jouejati,  a Syrian-born specialist on Middle East affairs, currently a Professor of Middle East Studies at the National Defense University, discuss with host Carol Castiel the pros and cons of the Russian diplomatic initiative to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, the likelihood of a US strike should diplomacy fail, as well as the implications of this turn of events for the Syrian opposition, the region and US credibility.


September 06, 2013

Encounter

G-20 / US - RUSSIA - SYRIA Jeffrey Mankoff, Deputy Director and Fellow in the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and Mark Jacobson, Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund, discuss with host Carol Castiel the growing rift between the United States and Russia, especially over a proposed US military strike against Syria for its use of chemical weapons, and implications for the US-Russia relationship and the international order.


August 30, 2013

Encounter

BURMA SECTARIAN CONFLICT Over the past year growing tensions between radicalized  Buddhists and the Muslim minority have left more than 250,000 people displaced and more than 200 dead in Burma. Dr. Wakar Uddin, Chairman of the Burmese Rohingya Association of North America, David Steinberg, Distinguished Professor of Asian Studies at Georgetown University, and T. Kumar, International Advocacy Director of Amnesty International USA, discuss what’s behind the sectarian conflict in Burma, with guest host Sarah Zaman, International Broadcaster in VOA Urdu Service.


August 23, 2013

Encounter

RACE IN AMERICA / 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON Reverend Lennox Abrigo, President of National Action Network’s Washington Chapter, and Frank Smith, Director of African American Civil War Museum discuss what progress has been made since Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic ‘I Have a Dream” speech regarding racial inequality in the United States, as well as the current issues such as: Voting Rights Act, racial profiling and Stand Your Ground law, with VOA broadcaster Pamela Dockins.


August 16, 2013

Encounter

EGYPT-TURKEY-KURDS From Tunisia to Egypt, the “Arab Spring” uprisings ousted autocrats and catapulted several Islamist movements to positions of power. Many looked to Turkey, whose moderately Islamist AK party, was seen as a model. Host Carol Castiel talks with Soner Cagaptay, Director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and Michael Werz, Senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, about the viability of the “Turkish model” in light of popular protests against Prime Minister Erdogan, the Egyptian military’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, and how Ankara is grappling with the domestic and external turmoil that threaten its rise as a regional power broker.


August 09, 2013

Encounter

RESURGENT AL QAIDA? TERROR THREAT ALERT On this edition of Encounter – Danya Greenfield, Deputy Director at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at The Atlantic Council who also runs the Yemen Policy Initiative and Thomas Lynch, Distinguished Research Fellow for South Asia & the Near East at the National Defense University, discuss status of al Qaida, US policy toward Yemen and the ramifications of the recent terror alert, which prompted shutting down nineteen US diplomatic posts across the Middle East and Africa with host Carol Castiel.


August 02, 2013

Encounter

US SHALE OIL & GAS BOOM The US boom in shale oil and gas production is starting to worry Saudi Arabia, whose oil-dependent economy is vulnerable to rising US energy production. On this encore edition of Encounter - energy analysts David Goldwyn, former senior advisor to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, now President of Goldwyn Global Strategies, and Daniel J. Weiss, Director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress, discuss the domestic and geopolitical ramifications of the surge in oil and gas production in the United States with host Carol Castiel.


July 26, 2013

Encounter

U.S. POLICY OPTIONS IN SYRIA  Host Carol Castiel talks with Mona Yacoubian, senior advisor for the Middle East program at the Stimson Center and Jeffrey White, senior Defense fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who spar over the shift in the balance of power between the Assad regime and the opposition rebels, the use of American force in Syria as outlined by the top US military official, Gen. Martin Dempsey, and the destabilizing impact the Syrian conflict is having throughout the region.


July 19, 2013

Encounter

WHAT'S NEXT FOR EGYPT? Eric Trager, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and expert on Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood, and Peter Mandaville, director of the Center for Global Islamic Studies and professor of government and politics at George Mason University, analyze and spar over the current political transition in Egypt, implications for the future of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist movements, prospects for reconciliation and the limits of U.S. influence with host Carol Castiel.


July 12, 2013

Encounter

OBAMA'S AFRICA RESET Ambassador David Shinn, former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso and Christopher Fomunyoh, Regional Director for Central and West Africa at the National Democratic Institute analyze the significance and concrete results of U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent trip to Africa.


July 05, 2013

Encounter

PROTESTS IN BRAZIL Eric Farnsworth, Vice President of the Council of Americas and Americas Society, and Paulo Sotero, Director of the Brazil Institute at the Wilson Center discuss the recent wave of protests across Brazil and the impact it is likely to have on Brazil’s 2014 presidential elections, with host Carol Castiel.


June 28, 2013

Encounter

POLITICAL TRANSITION IN PAKISTAN Host Carol Castiel talks with Lisa Curtis Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center and Michael Kugelman Senior Program Associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars about what the election of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif means for Pakistan and US-Pakistani relations as well as for overall stability in the South Asian region. They discuss prospects for improved relations between India and Pakistan as well as the on-again off-again controversial talks that the United States has promoted with the Afghan Taliban.


June 21, 2013

Encounter

THE MIDEAST UPDATE (IRAN, SYRIA, TURKEY) Daniel Serwer, Professor of Conflict Management at Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, and Emanuele Ottolenghi, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies analyze the meaning of Iran’s recent elections, assess developments in Syria, and comment on Turkish protests with host Carol Castiel.


June 14, 2013

Encounter

NSA LEAK CONTROVERSY Rudy deLeon, former US Deputy Secretary of Defense and Senior Vice President of National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress, and Steven Bucci, Director of Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation discuss the national and international fallout from the NSA leak of classified information regarding US surveillance programs and the debate it has re-kindled about the proper balance between security and civil liberties in American with host Carol Castiel.


June 07, 2013

Encounter

US - CHINA SUMMIT Cheng Li, Director of Research & Senior Fellow at Brookings’ China Center, and David Lampton, Professor and Director of China Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) discuss the long-term significance of this informal meeting as well as the major issues topping the agenda between US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping with host Carol Castiel. Lampton and Li hope that beyond the “laundry list” of issues, the two leaders will discuss a broad strategic framework for constructive relations in the years to come.


May 31, 2013

Encounter

AFTER AU SUMMIT On the 50th anniversary of the African Union (including previous Organization of African Unity), Jennifer Cooke, Director of the CSIS Africa Program, and Peter Pham, Director of the Africa Center at The Atlantic Council assess progress and shortcomings to date as well as debate issues discussed at the recent African Union Summit: Mali security, Boko Haram, and Sudan violence, with host Carol Castiel.


May 24, 2013

Encounter

US POLITICS: OBAMA'S SECOND TERM BLUES? Veteran political analysts Stuart Rothenberg, Editor and Publisher of “The Rothenberg Political Report” and John Fortier, Director of Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, take a historic look at second-term presidents and discuss to what extent a spate of recent controversies threatens to derail President Obama’s political agenda during his second and final term in office.


May 17, 2013

Encounter

US-RUSSIA On the anniversary of Vladimir Putin’s return to the Russian presidency, host Carol Castiel talks with Helle Dale, senior fellow in Public Diplomacy Studies at the Heritage Foundation and Andrew Kuchins, senior fellow and director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at CSIS, about the ups and downs in the US-Russia relationship since Putin returned to the helm as well as efforts to reconcile differences on a variety of issues from counter-terrorism (Boston Marathon bombings case) to Syria (joint efforts to stage a peace conference in Geneva), to the recent spy incident.

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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.
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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)
 
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