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.

November 15, 2013



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



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



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



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



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



John Fortier, director of the Democracy Project at the Bi-Partisan Policy Center and Igor Volsky, Managing Editor of, 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


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

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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.