All posts by host

Scholars’ Circle – Votes counted in India, Mexico and South Africa – June 16, 2024

While much of the world is in a democratic backslide, some nations’ democracies are thriving. What do the elections in Mexico, South Africa, and India portend? We will examine the election of these three leading Global South nations, the impact of dominant parties losing some support, and the general state of democracy in each nation. How might the policies change? What was the impact of leadership personalities in the democratic developments in Mexico, South Africa and India? [ dur: 58mins. ]

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Trump’s conviction of Felony charges affect his candidacy for President in 2024 – June 9, 2024

For the first time since the nations founding a former President was convicted of a felony. What does the criminal conviction mean for Trumps ability to run for President and to govern if he wins? And why does the US have such a challenge in prosecuting former Presidents, when it has a history of prosecuting other former office holders? What does the term lawfare mean? And does this conviction make the US democracy more fragile or stronger? [ dur: 58mins. ]

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Iran Presidential election, for whom does it matter. – June 2, 2024

What challenges and crises are the sudden death of Iran’s president and his succession revealing? What’s happening inside the country? What’s happening with Iran internationally?
We speak with four Iranian scholars on Iran’s political system, internal politics, social and political repression and alienation between state and society. How much of Iran’s foreign policy is driven by domestic issues and how much of it is a reaction to external actors, most notably the United States? [ dur: 58mins. ]

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Insights into student protests at university campuses – May 26, 2024

With massive protests on university campuses over the war in Gaza, universities have chosen to aggressively and violently break up the protests putting student protesters at risk. How does non-violent protest turn to violence at the hands of the police? How have national politics driven the responses to student protests? As university space has become more contested, particularly by political forces on the right, what do violent responses to protests mean for university values of free speech?

We speak with three university professors and one student about their experiences at their respective campuses. [ dur: 58mins. ]

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Politics and Elections in India – May 19, 2024

With its 1.4 billion population and a billion registered voters, India stands as the world’s largest democracy and 5th largest economy. India is holding national elections, which will decide its leaders for the next five years. What are the role of its institutions in supporting democracy and how are their elections conducted? What is the state of India’s democracy and what are its big challenges? [ dur: 58mins. ]

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Armenias have taken legal action against Azerbaijan claiming genocide and numerous violations of international law – May 12, 2024

Since 2020, Azerbaijan has attacked the Armenian people of Nagorno-Karabakh, or Artsakh, and in September 2023 ethnically cleansed them from their historic homeland.

Armenia has taken legal action against Azerbaijan claiming numerous violations of international law. What legal actions have been taken at both the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. What are the causes of action and what might the consequences and impacts of these legal actions be?

Armenia is under intense pressure to negotiate a permanent peace with Azerbaijan. How could this normalize and legitimize Azerbaijan’s aggression? And what does it signal to aggressors internationally about the likelihood of punishment for this aggression? [ dur: 58mins. ]

  • Tamara Voskanian is a cofounder of the Center for Truth and Justice (CFTJ), a nonprofit organization that documents atrocities and uses the evidence to bring perpetrators to justice. Last month Tamara represented CFTJ at the UN Committee Against Torture.
  • Talin Hitik is an international human rights advocate focused on seeking accountability for war crimes and human rights violations. She also has worked as a legal officer at the Hague Conference on Private International Law and the Permanent Court of Arbitration and has served at the Ministry of Justice of Armenia, managing the European Court of Human Rights litigation department. She was a professor of international human rights and humanitarian law at American University of Armenia and Yerevan State University and most recently, was an Academic Affiliate at the University of Michigan Law School.
  • Steve Swerdlow, esq. is Associate Professor of the Practice of Human Rights in the Department of Political and International Relations at the University of Southern California. He writes extensively as a human rights monitor for Human Right Watch in both the Central Asian region and in the Caucuses.

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Book Author Interview – Exit Wounds : How Americas Guns Fuel Violence Across the Border – May 5, 2024

Beyond asylum seekers heading north, the problems of US/Mexico Border are also about the flow of guns and drugs. How can we understand the totality of problems related to the US southern border? What are the solutions?

We speak with Ieva Jusionyte the author of a new book Exit Wounds: How America’s Guns Fuel Violence Across the Border. [ dur: 58mins. ]

  • Ieva Jusionyte is a legal and medical anthropologist and associate professor at Brown University. She is also the author of award-winning ethnography Threshold: Emergency Responders on the US-Mexico Border. She has been studying borders, violence, and security in Latin America and the United States for over fifteen years.

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Origins of War and Resolving violent conflicts – April 28, 2024

With wars still raging in Gaza, Sudan, and Ukraine, we return to an earlier interview on the origins of war. When and how did war begin?

While some have argued it evolved in early human behavior within forging bands societies, our guests say, that’s not true. Forger bands did not wage war. [ dur: 30 mins. ]

We continue this conversation by exploring how war and violent conflict might be resolved. [ dur: 28 mins. ]

Websites mentioned : University of North Calorina Greensboro studies of Peaceful Societies and an example of building a Peaceful society organization.

This recording was produced Nov. 2013.

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Determining genocide and other human rights violations of the law ; Dark side of democracy – April 21, 2024

April is Genocide Awareness month. Two of the worst genocides in history, the Hutu killing of Tutsis in Rwanda and the Ottoman genocide against Armenians, began in April. We explore genocide with two specific questions: Who internationally makes a determination that violence and atrocities are in fact genocide? And what if anything changes when there is a finding that atrocities are genocide?

We explore whether a legal approach is the best way to determine whether political violence and atrocities are genocide or is a political or social approach more effective. And does discourse on genocide crowd out discussions of other crimes, such as war crimes? We draw insights from history and contemporary issues. [ dur: 42mins. ]

When does democracy have a dark side? Our guest says that majorities can and do oppress minorities in the name of majoritarian democracy. [ dur: 16mins. ]

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – The Suffragist Peace: How Women Shape the Politics of War – April 14, 2024

The expansion of the vote to women throughout the 20th Century has had an impact on the discourses and politics of war and peace. What is the relationship between women voting, electing women leaders, and women-lead groups in civil society on the issue of war and peace?
Does the expansion of the vote to women lead to the election of women as leaders? And are these leaders more committed to peace than their male counterparts? We explore a new book, The Suffragist Peace: How Women Shape the Politics of War..[ dur: 58mins. ]

Book cover of The Suffragist Peace, classic painting with woman in center against war and suffering

Together they have authored The Suffragist Peace: How Women Shape the Politics of War

This program is produced by Doug Becker, Ankine Aghassian, Maria Armoudian and Sudd Dongre.