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 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.

May 09, 2015


REBUILDING BALTIMORE Sam Fulwood III, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, and Andrew Ferguson, Associate Professor of Law at the University of The District of Columbia, discuss the local and nationwide implications for police reform as a result of the Freddie Gray case--the young black man who died in police custody in Baltimore—as well as the multi-pronged approach needed to address the underlying causes of unemployment and poverty in Baltimore.

May 01, 2015


DRONES DEBATE The use of drones by the Obama administration has come under increased scrutiny in light of the recent accidental killing of two innocent hostages in Pakistan. Lisa Curtis, Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, and Robert Worth, Public Policy Scholar at the Wilson Center, discuss the scope and the future of the drone program as the United States seeks to strike a balance between national security and civil liberty concerns.

April 24, 2015


US POLITICS John Fortier, Director of the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, and Arkadi Gerney, Senior Vice President at the Center for American Progress, talk with host Carol Castiel about the flurry of bipartisan activity in the US Congress and the race for the White House in 2016 as Hillary Clinton announces her candidacy for the Democratic nomination and many Republican contenders throw their hat into the ring.

April 17, 2015


AL-SHABAB & BOKO HARAM Islamist militant group al-Shabab is battling the UN-backed government in Somalia and has carried out attacks in neighboring Kenya. Who are they? J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center and Lauren Ploch Blanchard, Africa analyst at the Congressional Research Service, an arm of the Library of Congress, discuss with host Sarah Williams al- Shabab, as well as mark the first anniversary of the kidnapping by Boko Haram the Nigerian girls.

April 10, 2015


IRAN DEAL Alex Vatanka, Scholar at the Middle East Institute, and Matthew McInnis, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, spar over the pros and cons of the recently negotiated nuclear framework deal with Iran and talk with host Carol Castiel about the political and technical challenges ahead, including demands by members of Congress and objections raised by Israel and Sunni Gulf states, and internal Iranian politics that might yet scuttle a comprehensive final deal.

April 03, 2015


YEMEN/SAUDI/ IRAN Host Carol Castiel speaks with Ambassador Barbara Bodine, Director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University and a former US ambassador to Yemen, and Graeme Bannerman, founder of Bannerman Associates, and specialist on the Gulf at the Middle East Institute, about how Saudi-led air strikes against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have transformed a political crisis rooted in local grievances, into a proxy conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

March 27, 2015


US - AFGHAN RELATIONS Michael Kugelman, Senior Program Associate for South and Southeast Asia, at the Woodrow Wilson Center, and Sadanand Dhume, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute discuss the significance and outcome of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s first official visit to Washington and prospects for political and economic stability in that war-torn country, with host Carol Castiel.

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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)