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Neal Temko, Scott Peterson

American Foreign Policy: Challenges, Threats, Opportunities.

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America’s foreign policy challenges are evolving rapidly. What are the implications?

The takeover of the Taliban in Afghanistan; a more aggressive China and Russia; a newly-elected hardline President in Iran, are all major challenges facing President Joe Biden and his administration.

Our podcast guests are Ned Temko, who writes the weekly international affairs column “Patterns” for The Christian Science Monitor, and Scott Peterson, the Monitor’s Middle East bureau chief. Both are highly experienced and well-traveled foreign correspondents, who bring depth and expertise to coverage of global affairs.

Among the many topics covered in this episode: Similarities and differences to President Trump’s “America First” approach, the implications of the rapid withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, why China is the biggest overseas challenge for the Biden Administration, relations with America’s allies, and the increased threat to human rights in Asia and the Middle East.

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Ep. 37: American Foreign Policy – Challenges, Threats, Opportunities. 

Ned Temko

Ned Temko writes the weekly international affairs column “Patterns” for The Christian Science Monitor. A longtime Monitor foreign correspondent, he was based in Beirut, Jerusalem, Moscow, and Johannesburg before moving to London at the end of the 1980s for the Monitor’s television news program.

He has covered stories ranging from Middle East war and peace and the hostage crisis in Iran to the final years of Soviet Communism and apartheid in South Africa. As the Monitor TV correspondent, he also covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.

Scott Peterson

Scott Peterson covers the Middle East for The Christian Science Monitor from London, with a special focus on Iran, Iraq, and Syria. A well-traveled and experienced foreign correspondent who is also a photographer for Getty Images in New York, he has reported and photographed conflict and powerful human narratives across three continents for more than two decades.

Scott first joined the Monitor in 1996 as the Middle East correspondent based in Amman, Jordan, then became the Moscow bureau chief. In Afghanistan, he traveled with the Taliban in 1999, and later was witness to their collapse when Kabul fell in 2001.

He has made 30 visits to Iran, which form the backbone of his book Let the Swords Encircle Me: Iran – A Journey Behind the Headlines (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He has also frequently reported from Iraq, first during the 1991 Kurdish uprising, when he secretly crossed the border from Turkey, before being forced to flee across the mountains with more than a million Kurds – and a handful of fellow journalists – when Saddam Hussein’s armed forces crushed the resistance.

Since 1997, he has traveled often to Baghdad, except for a two-year period when he was blacklisted by the former regime. He was embedded for one month with US Marines during their November 2004 assault on Fallujah. Prior to joining the Monitor, Scott covered the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Africa, and the Balkans for The Telegraph (London) and was based in Cyprus; Nairobi, Kenya; and Zagreb, Croatia.

Scott is the author of Me Against My Brother: At War in Somalia, Sudan, and Rwanda (Routledge, 2000), about his work in war zones in Africa during six years in the 1990s.

Read more about Scott’s work on his website.

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Education Reimagined

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America wants transformation in its educational system. But can we agree on how to get there?

Convergence

Everyone wants the best education for their children. But parents and teachers don’t always agree on how to get there.

In this episode we talk with two education leaders whose views clashed when they first met. Dr. Gisèle Huff is a philanthropist and longtime proponent of school choice, including charter schools. Becky Pringle spent her career in public education. A science teacher for three decades, today she is president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest labor union.

After some deep initial skepticism these women and other leaders came together and developed a transformational vision for US education. Along the way they developed a deep respect for one another, and a friendship that has helped each of them through personal tragedies.

This podcast was co-produced in partnership with Convergence Center for Policy Resolution and is one of a series of podcasts that Common Ground Committee and Convergence are producing together. Each highlights the common ground that resulted from one of Convergence’s structured dialogues-across-differences.

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Ep. 36: Education Reimagined

Becky Pringle

National Education Association president Becky Pringle is a fierce social justice warrior, defender of educator rights, an unrelenting advocate for all students and communities of color, and a valued and respected voice in the education arena. A middle school science teacher with 31 years of classroom experience, Becky is singularly focused on using her intellect, passion, and purpose to unite the members of the largest labor union with the entire nation, and using that collective power to transform public education into a racially and socially just and equitable system that is designed to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world.

Becky’s passion for students and educators, combined with her first-hand classroom experience, equip her to lead the movement to reclaim public education as a common good. Becky was elected in 2020 as COVID-19 ravaged Black, Brown, and indigenous communities nationwide.

Before assuming NEA’s top post, Becky served as NEA vice president and before that as NEA secretary-treasurer. She directed NEA’s work to combat institutional racism, and spotlight systemic patterns of racism and educational injustice that impact students. Under Becky’s guidance, NEA works to widen access and opportunity by demanding changes to policies, programs, and practices. The Association’s goal is to ensure the systemic, fair treatment of people of all races so that equitable opportunities and outcomes are within reach for every student. This is why Becky is a staunch advocate for students who have disabilities, identify as LGBTQ+, are immigrants, or are English Language Learners.

Those who know Becky best know that she is also a passionate Philadelphia Eagles fan who loves anything purple, and for two special someones who hold the coveted title of “Best Nana B” in the world.

Gisèle Huff

Dr. Gisèle Huff is president of the Gerald Huff Fund for Humanity. The loss of her son Gerald to pancreatic cancer in 2018 spurred Dr. Huff to apply her talents and energy to a cause they both shared – concern about technological unemployment, the growing economic divide and the potential of UBI to help address these challenges on a broad scale. Dr. Huff served as San Francisco University High School’s director of development for twelve years, and the Executive Director for the Jaquelin Hume Foundation for over twenty years where her return on investment for launching blended learning is legendary. 

During her tenure funding initiatives and raising awareness for education reform, she has held numerous board positions, including founding member and chairman of the Board of Directors of The Learning Accelerator and the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, member of the Board of Directors of iNACOL and the Advisory Board of Education Reimagined. She currently serves on the board of Income Movement. 

Her substantial policy proficiency includes the Advisory Board for Harvard University’s Program on Education Policy, the advisory committee for the National Charter School Research Project at the Center on Reinventing Public Education, and the Executive Committee of the Digital Learning Council. She is the recipient of the Thomas A. Roe Award and the iNACOL Huff Lifetime Achievement Award. She earned a Ph.D. in political science, with a concentration in political philosophy, at Columbia University.

Want to hear more? Check out our podcast page to see all the discussions!

The Long-Term Care Crisis

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America’s long-term care system needs much more than a facelift. Is there a common path to solutions?

Convergence

Most baby boomers who retire today can expect to live years longer than their parents or any previous generation. That’s the good news. But there’s a greatly increased need for long-term care as they age. The current system is in crisis and needs much more than a facelift.

In this episode, we hear first from a policy expert, Howard Gleckman, of the Tax Policy Institute, who explains why solutions to this crisis have been so hard to find. We also interview Stuart Butler and Paul Van de Water on their differences in overpaying for long-term care, and how they came to find common ground.

This podcast was co-produced in partnership with Convergence Center for Policy Resolution and is one of a series of podcasts that Common Ground Committee and Convergence are producing together.

Convergence brings together key stakeholders of an issue to develop policies that deliver the most value to the greatest number of people. These projects emphasize collaboration and often result in friendships among people with strongly held opposing positions. Convergence recently published Rethinking Care for Older Adults, a report with recommendations to improve care, housing, and services for seniors.

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Ep. 35: The Long-Term Care Crisis

Howard Gleckman

Howard Gleckman is a Senior Fellow at The Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., where he is affiliated with both the Tax Policy Center and the Program on Retirement Policy.  He is the author of Caring for Our Parents (St. Martin’s Press).

He is the author of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center’s fiscal policy blog Tax Vox and a weekly blog on aging issues for Forbes.com.  

Mr. Gleckman served on the National Academy of Social Insurance Study Panel on Long-Term Services and Supports (2018-2019). He was a convener of the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative (2012-2016), a 2006-2007 Media Fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation and a 2006-2008 Visiting Fellow at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. He was senior correspondent in the Washington bureau of Business Week, where he covered health and elder care as well as tax and budget issues, for nearly 20 years.

In 2016, he was named one of the nation’s top 50 Influencers in Aging by Next Avenue. He was a 2003 National Magazine Award finalist for “The Coming Revolution in Health Care” for Business Week.

Mr. Gleckman is president of the Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington, a member of the Johns Hopkins Health System’s National Capital Region Executive Governance Committee, and a trustee of the Johns Hopkins Medicine Patient Safety and Quality Committee. He previously served as chair of the board of trustees of Suburban Hospital (Bethesda, MD), trustee of Johns Hopkins Medicine (2017-2019), as a member of the board of the Symphony of the Potomac, and president of Tifereth Israel Congregation (Wash, DC).

Stuart Butler

Stuart Butler is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at The Brookings Institution. Prior to joining Brookings, Butler spent 35 years at The Heritage Foundation as director of the Center for Policy Innovation and earlier as vice president for Domestic and Economic Policy Studies.  He is also a visiting fellow at the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution. He is a member of the editorial board of Health Affairs and the board of Mary’s Center, a group of Washington, D.C.-area community health centers.

Butler also serves on several advisory councils, including for the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, the Aspen Institute’s Family Prosperity Innovation Community, and the March of Dimes. He is also a member of the Advisory Group for the National Academy’s Culture of Health Program.

Previously he was a member of the Board on Health Care Services of the National Academy of Medicine and served on the panel of health advisers for the Congressional Budget Office. For over 10 years he taught as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, and in 2002 he was an Institute of Politics Fellow at Harvard University. In 1990, he served as a member of Housing Secretary Jack Kemp’s Advisory Commission on Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing.

Most recently, Butler has played a prominent role in the debate over health care and reform, arguing for solutions based on individual choice, state innovation, market competition, and social determinants of health. He has also been working on a wide range of other issues, including budget process reform, the future of higher education, economic mobility, and federal entitlement reform.

Stuart Butler was born in Shrewsbury, England and emigrated to the United States in 1975. He was educated at St. Andrews University in Scotland, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and mathematics in 1968, a Master of Arts degree in economics and history in 1971, and a Ph.D. in American economic history in 1978.

Paul Van de Water

Paul N. Van de Water is a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where he specializes in Social Security, Medicare, and health coverage issues. His previous positions include Vice President for Health Policy at the National Academy of Social Insurance, Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the Social Security Administration, Associate Commissioner for Research, Evaluation, and Statistics at Social Security, and Assistant Director for Budget Analysis at the Congressional Budget Office. Van de Water holds an A.B. with the highest honors in economics from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Want to hear more? Check out our podcast page to see all the discussions!

What The Voters Told Us: Christa Case Bryant and Story Hinckley

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Voters sent mixed messages in the 2020 election. What can we learn about how divided the country is – or isn’t?

A highlight of the 2020 election was the remarkable turnout from both sides of the political divide. Voters in cities, suburbs and rural parts of the country went to the polls in record numbers.

In the next episode of the “Let’s Find Common Ground” podcast, we examine the mood of the electorate, discuss the reasons why President-elect Joe Biden won nearly five million more votes than Donald Trump and speculate on some reasons why the pollsters got the election so wrong. Voters sent mixed messages in Congressional and local elections by splitting the ticket which caused Republicans to fare much better than expected in many races.

Our guests are Christa Case Bryant, a national political reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, and Story Hinckley, a National Political Correspondent in Washington on the newspaper’s national news desk in Washington. Both traveled extensively during the 2020 campaign, listening to voters and politicians in many states and gaining insights about how divided our country is – or isn’t. They share their rich experiences on the frontlines of the campaign and what they learned from the many people they met along the way.

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Ep. 17- What the Voters Told Us

Christa Case Bryant

A 2015-16 Nieman fellow at Harvard, she previously served as the Monitor’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Middle East editor, and Europe editor. She has reported from Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Germany, Estonia, and South Korea.

Ms. Bryant holds an M.A. in international relations from The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a B.A. from Principia College, where she focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a major in global perspectives and a minor in religion. She also attended the Middlebury School of Hebrew and studied spoken Arabic in Jerusalem.

Read more by Christa Case Bryant: Can friendship be bipartisan? Ask the Janets.

Story Hinckley

Story Hinckley is currently a National Political Correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor in Washington. She served as the Monitor’s Paul S. Deland Fellow in 2016 before coming on staff. She holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia where she double majored in Political Science and Environmental Thought and Practice, and a M.A. in journalism from Northeastern University.
Twitter: @StoryHinckley
Instagram: @storiesbystory

Read more by Story Hinckley: One upside of a hard-fought election – bumper crop of new voters.