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

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…

satellite image of arctic circle

Arctic Strategy — an Awakening Interest

Imagine, for a moment, that you are a passenger in a space capsule with a view of the Arctic Ocean, with its polar icecap kissing the coasts of the U.S. state of Alaska, Canada, Greenland and hovering close to Russia. That schematic map of Planet Earth’s northernmost region is vividly depicted on page 45 of…

An Opportune Time To Ease Persian Gulf Tensions?

Is it possible that the U.S and European allies are giving Iran space to cooperate with a United Nations review of Tehran’s nuclear activities? According to two Wall Street Journal correspondents, Laurence Norman in Brussels and Sune Engel Rassmussen in London, time is of the essence and would make it possible to: revive a dialogue…