As a 36-year veteran of the Voice of America (VOA), Alan Heil traveled to more than 40 countries a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, and later as director of News and Current Affairs, deputy director of programs, and deputy director of the nation’s largest publicly-funded overseas multimedia network. Today, VOA reaches more than 275 million people around the world each week via radio, television and online media. Read More

A Free Press Matters: a Worldwide Roundup

In a World Press Freedom Day message yesterday May 3, President Biden warned that “the truth is under attack” and that “authoritarians” are trying to undermine the media globally. In a statement on the White House website, the president praised objective journalists around the world and urged them “to continue holding those in power to…

Myanmar’s Horrific Crisis

Myanmar, or Burma, on May 1st entered its fourth month under a brutal military regime.  That regime has killed more than 700 citizens and innocent civilians since it seized power on February 1. That was the very day a newly elected democratically parliament in Myanmar was about to hold its initial meeting. The Association for…

protest sign "There Is No Planet B"

U.S. Takes Lead on Climate Change with Virtual Summit

At a two-day Washington virtual summit April 22-23, President Biden urged the 40 participating nations to counter the problem of increasing planetary pollution seriously and with the urgency that crisis demands. One approach:  what philanthropist Bill Gates describes as huge new public and private investment in innovation globally to avoid catastrophic climate change.  “Just using…

Aung San Suu Kyi portrait

A Springtime Revival of Pro-Democracy Activism?

From East Asia to North Africa, we are witnessing a determined effort on behalf of proposed democracies struggling to overcome authoritarian regimes. These occur in two key countries, Myanmar (previously known as Burma) in East Asia, and Algeria on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa. Daily and unrelenting protests in Myanmar threaten a dictatorship that…

Aerial photo of container vessel in Suez Canal

Some Lessons of Suez, 2021

The limited flow of traffic through the Suez Canal in late March and likely in the first day or so of April has wreaked havoc on the global economy.  That’s because a huge freight ship twisted sideways, lodged its bow and stern in both canal banks and blocked all vessels from using the vital link…

children walking in refugee camp

The Tragic Case of the Rohingyas

Who are the Rohingyas?  Short answer:  more than a million displaced refugees who fled from Burma to neighboring Bangladesh to escape persecution four years ago, and whose future remains very uncertain even today. The Rohingyas have long have been a matter of regional, as well as international concern.  On March 25, Pakistan, Bangladesh’s western neighbor,…

Seeds of Democracy in a Tumultuous World

Can the North African country of Libya offer hope for reforms elsewhere? On March 16, a new national unity civilian government took power in Tripoli.  In the words of a recent Washington Post editorial: “After a decade of chaos, the oil rich nation has taken a significant step toward a new political order.” Libya’s recent…