KGOU

World Views

Fridays 4-4:30 p.m., 6:30-7 p.m. and Saturdays 6-6:30 a.m.

World Views is hosted by Suzette Grillot, Dean of the College of International Studies at the University of Oklahoma, with regular analysis from Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at OU, and Rebecca Cruise, the College's Assistant Dean and a security studies and a comparative politics expert. Each week's show focuses on specific global topics in a roundtable discussion, followed by in-depth interviews with experts and news makers.

Ways to Connect

Mateo Mohammad Farzaneh studies and teaches Iranian history at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. He's just written a book about the country’s early 20th century constitutional revolution.

But first, Rebecca Cruise and University of Oklahoma Latin American Studies professor Alan McPherson discuss President Obama’s historic trip to Cuba and Argentina.

Argentina's president Mauricio Macri chats with the President Obama during his visit to Argentina on March 23, 2016.
Casa Rosada / (CC BY 2.5 AR)

President Obama made a historic trip to Cuba this week – the first by a sitting U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge visited the island nation 88 years ago.

Obama said he wanted the trip to signify the end of the Cold War in Latin America. The 44th president wasn’t even born yet when Congress enacted a trade embargo after the Fidel Castro-led communist takeover in 1959.

Iran's parliament in Tehran, 1906.
Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Russia and the West are sparring over oil and jockeying for position to gain an upper hand in the Middle East. That sounds like it could’ve come straight from Sunday’s edition of The New York Times, but it actually describes the dynamic more than 100 years ago.  Caught in the middle was Iran, fighting to preserve its young, fledgling democracy.

Yes, that Iran.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot discuss some of the international reaction to this year’s presidential candidate, and how other countries view some of the candidates.

Then Suzette talks with University of Central Oklahoma political scientist Husam Mohamad. He argues U.S. support toward a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is more of a shift in rhetoric rather than actual power.

Men at the Awarta checkpoint in the West Bank show their stomachs to prove they're not carrying explosives, October 1, 2006.
Michael Loadenthal / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

There’s been little progress on achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians since the 1993 talks in Oslo ended in a memorable handshake between the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and President Yasser Arafat.

University of Central Oklahoma political scientist Husam Mohamad argues U.S. support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is more of a shift in rhetoric rather than actual power.

"Deport Obama and Allah too" sign
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

There are just five major party contenders left in the 2016 U.S. presidential election – three Republicans and two Democrats – but the world’s attention is focused on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

U2 performing on one of their concerts of the 360° tour in Gelsenkirchen, Germany on August 3, 2009.
SteBo / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Rock music and charity have gone hand-in-hand for decades.

Former Beatle George Harrison organized the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971 to raise money and awareness of genocide after the country’s war for independence. Queen Elizabeth knighted The Boomtown Rats’ front man Bob Geldof for organizing the 1985 Live Aid concerts that spanned two continents, and Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young followed suit for American family farmers. After 9/11, dozens of groups gathered in Madison Square Garden for 2001’s Concert for New York City.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot talk about her trip to Brazil and the reaction and response to the Zika virus, and some of the health and security issues related to a lawsuit against the United Nations over a cholera outbreak in Haiti.

Then Suzette and Joshua Landis talk with Middle East analyst Joseph Bahout about Lebanon’s relationship with Syria as the fifth anniversary of the civil war approaches.

A portrait of President Bashar al-Assad among the trash in the Syrian city of al-Qsair in 2012.
Freedom House / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Syria’s civil war approaches its fifth anniversary a little over a week from now, and there’s no end in sight as the conflict becomes even more nuanced and multi-faceted.

It started with protests against the regime of Bashar al-Assad on March 15, 2011, but quickly became a weaponized conflict and spread beyond the country’s borders as militants poured in, and global players used the unrest as a proxy to advance their own regional interests.

Suzette Grillot has been traveling through South America for the past two weeks, and she'll talk about Argentina’s history and current political situation with Grady Wray, a Spanish professor who leads OU’s study abroad program in Buenos Aires. 

Then Rebecca Cruise joins her for the show's annual preview of the Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language Film. The 2016 Academy Awards are this Sunday.

Academy Awards
mafleen / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

In one of the more controversial award shows in recent memory, Hollywood’s elite will gather in the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday for the 88th Academy Awards.

Argentina's president Mauricio Macri speaks during a press conference at the Annual Meeting 2016 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 22, 2016.
Michele Limina / World Economic Forum/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Wednesday marked 70 years since late Argentine leader Juan Perón won his first presidential election, beginning decades of on-again, off-again military dictatorships that didn’t see a return of democracy until the 1990s.

But an economic crisis to kick off the 21st century led to the resignation of president Fernando de la Rúa after a little more than two years on the job.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali (left), Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Klaus Schwab (middle), founder and president of the World Economic Forum, and Flavio Cotti, member of the Swiss Federal Council, at the 1995 World Economic Forum.
World Economic Forum / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

On Tuesday former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali died at the age of 93.

“He was an extraordinary man, and he really symbolized his age, the period that he grew up in,” said Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, who shared his personal memories of interactions with Boutros-Ghali with Rebecca Cruise on KGOU’s World Views.

Landis is the author of the widely-read blog Syria Comment, which Boutros-Ghali read.

Joshua Landis and Rebecca Cruise remember former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who died this week at age 93. He served in the post from 1992-1996.

Then, Suzette Grillot talks with Northwestern University social anthropologist Adia Benton. Her research in Sierra Leone focuses on what she calls "HIV exceptionalism."

AIDS prevention sign in Sierra Leone
Karin Lindström/Union to Union / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS estimates about 54,000 people live with the disease in Sierra Leone. The small, predominantly Muslim country on the tip of West Africa was ravaged by civil war throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, and more recently saw widespread cases of the Ebola virus during the 2014 outbreak in the region.

Poet Valzhyna Mort says her native Belarusian is usually described as a “language of lullabies,” but she called that a myth that seeps into the entire culture. She'll talk about the poetry and language of eastern Europe with host Suzette Grillot.

But first, Rebecca Cruise discusses North Korea’s expansion of its nuclear program and whether it’s a threat to U.S. interests, and the United Arab Emirates’ effort to become the happiest country on Earth.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai at the World Economic Forum's Summit on the Global Agenda 2010 held in Dubai, November 29, 2010.
Dana Smillie / World Economic Forum (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The United Arab Emirates is launching widely publicized positions overseeing happiness and tolerance in the Gulf country. The country has a large immigrant population, and there’s been speculation the move isn’t about them, or actually creating a more cohesive society.

The country’s prime minister announced the posts  Monday on Twitter.

North Korean flags
fljckr / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

It’s been a tumultuous week in North Korea.

Last weekend North Korea launched its second-ever satellite and conducted a new nuclear test. There are growing concerns in South Korea and the U.S. that the secretive country could develop more significant nuclear capabilities and the technology to turn that into a powerful weapon.

Poet Valzhyna Mort reading at the 2015 Neustadt Festival opening night, October 21, 2015.
Tyler Christian / World Literature Today (Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Valzhyna Mort grew up in Belarus as the Soviet Union collapsed, and she’s spent her entire career using poetry to dispel misconceptions and bring her country out of Russia’s shadow.

“A great myth was that it was a really big reading nation, and I don’t know if it was really true, in terms of how much reading was done,” Mort told KGOU’s World Views. “But it’s certainly true that every household had a library. No matter what your parents did, how educated they were, you had a library.”

President Obama talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during the 70th United Nations General Assembly Sept. 28, 2015.
Pete Souza / The White House

In the wake of Russian aggression in the region, President Obama announced Wednesday that he will be strengthening America’s military presence in Eastern Europe.

"As we approach the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw, it is clear that the United States and our allies must do more to advance our common defense in support of a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace," President Obama said in a statement.

Pages