KGOU

On The Road

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

President Obama and other world leaders paused Friday to somberly mark the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of France. But like in 1944, the D-Day anniversary overshadows another important milestone in World War II history – the June 1944 fall of Rome.

Suzette Grillot starts a month-long European trip in London, and talks about Turkey's coal mine disaster and how that relate's to the United Kingdom's energy industry with University of Oklahoma Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Clarke Stroud.

Later, Rebecca Cruise discusses so-called 'dark networks' with University of Arizona political scientist H. Brinton Milward.

Paul Glazzard / The Geograph Britain And Ireland Project/Wikimedia Commons

World Views host Suzette Grillot starts a three-country, four-city, five-week tour of Europe this week for her work as the Dean of the College of International Studies at the University of Oklahoma. This week she’s in London with OU Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Clarke Stroud.

Turkey's Mining Disaster Resonates in England

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

Rio de Janeiro is known throughout the world for its Carnival celebration and an incredibly diverse and lively culture, but this vibrant image contrasts with striking examples of inequality.

University of Oklahoma anthropologist and International Studies professor Erika Robb Larkins says “the beauty of the contradiction of Brazil” is the coexistence of cultural vibrancy and the challenges facing segments of the population. Wealth neighbors poverty in close proximity throughout Rio de Janeiro.  

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

Mexican authorities’ ongoing struggle with drug cartels continues. University of Oklahoma Spanish literature historian Luis Cortest says ongoing drug traffic-related violence would continue to be a problem until government policy changes.

“It is possible for places to change, for countries to change, for cities to change,” Cortest says. “The best example in Latin America is Colombia.” 

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

World Views host Suzette Grillot and contributor Rebecca Cruise continue producing the program from the road as they travel around the world for their day jobs as the Deans of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies. The two visited the United Arab Emirates this week to meet with higher education officials in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

World Views host Suzette Grillot is in the middle of a four-city tour of China on behalf of her day job as the Dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies. She lived in Beijing for a semester as a teaching fellow at Beijing University in 2007, but she’s there now with the College’s Assistant Dean, Rebecca Cruise.

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

Over the past 11 months, the Zaatari refugee camp in Northern Jordan has hosted hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing that country’s civil war.

World Views host Suzette Grillot and regular contributor Rebecca Cruise visited the camp in early June, and witnessed some of the camp's newest arrivals.

“They had their life's belongings in a wheelbarrow,” Cruise says. “They were coming in with some hope, and unfortunately, I don't know hopeful the situation really is going to be for them. So that was very sad to see."

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

Tens of thousands of Turks have joined anti-government protests expressing discontent with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s 10-year rule.

Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says the protests started over green space in the middle of Istanbul’s Taksim Square. Developers, with the backing of Erdoğan, want to build a large shopping mall.

“Very quickly political parties and the opposition parties joined in,” Landis says. “But much more than that, lots of middle-class people and particularly young students began to crowd into the squares.”

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

Monday marked the fourth day that riot police used tear gas in Istanbul and Ankara against protesters.

Demonstrations started Friday over plans to rip out trees and redevelop an area of Taksim Square in Istanbul, but quickly spread as urban, secular Turks vented frustration that prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an authoritarian figure who wants to force his religious outlook on them.

KGOU's World Views host Suzette Grillot is in Ankara leading the University of Oklahoma College of International Studies "Journey to Turkey" program.

"We are half-a-mile away from the protests in Ankara – we can hear them from our hotel,” Grillot says.  “But interestingly, life continues as usual outside the protest areas with people shopping and eating at outdoor cafes with little interest in what is happening."

Joshua Landis / Facebook

Over the last decade, Turkey has averaged at least five percent growth of gross domestic product per year with a per capita income now more than $17,000, according to the country’s Ministry of Finance.

Those numbers are only expected to rise, even as a revolution continues to boil over next door in Syria, Iran faces severe economic sanctions, and economies in Greece and Cyprus melt down.

Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says after Turkey’s attempt to join the European Union failed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan forged a new path, facing neither East nor West.

FreedomHouse2 / Flickr

After decades of fighting, the conflict between the Kurdish nationalist group the PKK and the Turkish government finally drew to a close with a ceasefire in March.

Peace in Turkey may be short-lived, though. Violence in neighboring Syria is steadily intensifying, forcing a reluctant Turkey to respond and possibly putting citizens at risk.

“Most people among the Kurdish population are very optimistic,” says Firat Demir, a University of Oklahoma economist. “The last thing now that a citizen of Turkey wants is to have another civil conflict after this 80-year-old bloody conflict that is ending.”

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

From Italy to Istanbul, the tragedy in Moore isn’t far from many people's minds or the front pages of international newspapers.

"We have received an amazing outpouring here from the mayor to regular citizens stopping by to see how they can help," says Rebecca Cruise, who's visiting the University of Oklahoma's center in Arezzo, Italy. "The emails from faculty with students abroad also show how much the world is paying attention to this story."