Programs / 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.

January 10, 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



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


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


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



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



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



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.

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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 best-selling authors, analysts, politicians, US government officials, ambassadors and foreign heads of state about critical issues facing the US and the world.

Watch Our 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)
Middle East Voices Middle East Voices– a VOA-powered social journalism platform seeking to combine investigative journalism, crowdsourcing, participatory writing and social media technology to redefine how stories in and about the Middle East are told.