8 International Service Podcasts to Follow

As the media world becomes increasingly crowded, it can be difficult to determine which news sources will provide the most reliable information—and even more difficult to keep up. Podcasts are a great way to further your knowledge of social enterprise and international development topics even when you don’t have a lot of time on your hands. The eight we’ve highlighted below—which provide a variety of perspectives on the state of the world from policy analysts, think-tank leaders, journalists, and more—are ones we’d recommend adding to your subscription list. Entries are organized in alphabetical order.

1. The CSIS Podcast with Colm Quinn — Center for Strategic and Innovative Studies (CSIS)

CSIS, a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization based in Washington, D.C., has spearheaded strategic insight and scholarship around the state of international affairs for over 50 years. Colm Quinn, deputy director of strategic communications at CSIS, helms the organization’s first major foray into podcasting. Each Friday, Quinn and the CSIS team tackle everything from suggestions for improving the fraught U.S.-Mexico relationship to an analysis of Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte’s first 100 days in office. This podcast is a must-listen for those interested in informed predictions of what’s to come rather than simply what has occurred.

2. BBC World Service — BBC 

Breaking news junkies, look no further: the BCC Global News Podcast, which airs twice each weekday and once on weekends, is dedicated to bringing listeners the latest in global events. Hosted by David Shearer, the podcast brings experts from around the globe to weigh in on the most pressing threats, events, and developments. Recent topics have included the ousting of the South Korean president and the famine in South Sudan.

3. Brookings Cafeteria Podcast — Brookings Institution 

The Brookings Institution—a D.C.-based nonprofit public policy organization that conducts research on a range of challenges facing local, national, and global communities—releases new episodes of this weekly podcast each Friday. Hosted by Fred Dews, managing editor of New Digital Products at Brookings, the series offers a deep look into the work being done by Brookings’ renowned fellows as it relates to current events. Recent episodes have included roundups of the top economic issues of 2017 and a guide to Indian foreign policy. Not sure where to start? Check out the 2016 “Best Of” episode for a primer.

4. The World in 30 Minutes — European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)

For those looking to step outside of a U.S.-centric mindset, The World in 30 Minutes—hosted by ECFR Director Mark Leonard—offers insight into developments that impact European countries. The implications of geoeconomics for Europe and a comparison of insurgent uprisings in Italy and Austria are just a couple of recent topics covered in this weekly, half-hour series.

5. The E.R. — Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy Group CEO and Editor David Rothkop hosts this twice-weekly global affairs podcast. Though in this case, the titular acronym stands for “Editor’s Roundtable,” Rothkop and his team cover major issues—from President Trump’s impact on the Middle East to the odds of a trade war with China—“with emergency room-like urgency.” Listeners looking for more reflective content may want to consider the organization’s Global Thinkers podcast, which features individuals named to the publication’s eponymous annual list of “people whose ideas are changing the world and touching the lives of millions.”

6. Global Dispatches: Conversations About World Affairs — Global Dispatches 

What do we mean when we talk about foreign aid? What’s a global gag rule? How is the Middle East responding to President Trump’s travel ban? These straightforward questions set the stage for in-depth conversations with policy and global affairs experts in this twice-weekly podcast from Mark Leon Goldberg. Goldberg, who is editor of the United Nations and global affairs blog UN Dispatch, also co-founded the Development and World Aid News Service (DAWNS)— another great resource for aspiring international relations professionals.

7. Planet Money — NPR

Whether you excelled in microeconomics or barely survived it, Planet Money provides thought-provoking analysis of the economy as it relates to every corner of society. A crew of contributors and hosts, such as Jacob Goldstein and Robert Smith, walk listeners through abstract concepts (“What is money?”), theoretical analysis (“What would the perfect immigration system look like, according to economists?”), and concrete issues (“How did ‘the economy’ as we know it come into being?”) alike. At less than 30 minutes per episode, this podcast is a great option for those with little time to spare.

8. The World — Public Radio International (PRI) 

Global affairs aren’t solely concentrated in political speeches and policy movements; they’re reflected in the lives and stories of everyday people. The World, produced by PRI, publishes multiple stories each day that speak to this concept, from the use of satire as a political resistance tool to the impact of the immigration ban on arts and culture. Host Marco Werman and his team of contributors publish a new hourlong episode every weekday.

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