Content What We Do

Esin Erkan

US Public Radio Series

Airing from 2003-2018, America Abroad is an award-winning documentary radio program distributed by Public Radio International (PRI) and broadcast on public radio stations nationwide. Each episode takes an in-depth look at one critical issue in international affairs and U.S. foreign policy.

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While the Arab Spring may have toppled a couple of regimes, democracy alone can’t solve the bread and butter issues of the region. The Arab world faces a stark demographic dilemma: nearly a quarter of Arabs under 30 remain jobless. The bleak economic conditions that fueled the Arab uprisings have become the inheritance of any new governments that stand up in the region. And youth in the region aren’t likely to sit quietly and wait for economic change. 

For nearly a decade, Americans and Afghans have been joined by conflict. In the first years of the war, images of Afghan girls returning to the classroom were a heartening change from the years of Taliban brutality. Engaging the women of Afghanistan is critical shaping a modern, democratic Afghanistan. Yet local laws have again become more conservative. And strong development benchmarks for women have waned. Now, with talk of possible reconciliation with the Taliban, some wonder: do women’s rights in Afghanistan still matter?

As citizens rise up across the Middle East, they fear more than reprisals of their own rulers. Many worry that leaders from Iran are looking to capitalize on a de-stabilized Middle East. They fear Iran wants to acquire more power and influence in the region.

The balance appears to be tipping in Tehran’s favor: Iran has solid footholds in Iraq, Lebanon, and Gaza. And it’s eyeing potential openings across the Arab world… From Riyadh to Washington, alarms are sounding.

"Seeing them here was actually a sign of the fact that they have moved beyond the religious component and they are serious about doing humanitarian work."
– Giovanni Cassani, head of the camp coordination camp management cluster (CCCM) for the International Organization for Migration

For most people, the bombs and bloodshed seem a world away, but for Afghans and American soldiers and civilians, the conflict is a daily reality.

And it’s been a reality for a long time. The typical American third-grader has live his or her entire life in world where US troops have been fighting in Afghanistan. Now, for the first time, live audiences in both countries get to talk to each other about living with war.

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