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

map of haiti

Haiti: Another Crisis

By Alan Heil The small Caribbean state of Haiti is once again plagued by seemingly unresolvable deadly turmoil. Located at the western end of the island of Hispaniola 400 miles south of Florida, this tiny country of 11 million people once again finds itself in the most horrific crisis this year in the Western hemisphere.…

Climate Change: Challenges Ahead

By Alan Heil Let’s imagine for a moment that we’re expert scientists from a distant universe with our first opportunity for a close-up view from space of what its inhabitants call Planet Earth. Their recent studies have detected a recurring increase in surface temperatures on that planet. What we see in this first closeup glimpse…

jet taking off with mountains in distance

Afghanistan: Perils or Promise?

By Alan Heil Today’s news that the United States and NATO allies have departed the Bagram Air Base, the largest military installation in Afghanistan, calls for reflection. Twenty years ago, U.S. troops invaded Afghanistan. That was just a couple of weeks after al-Qaeda terrorists from Afghanistan killed 2,977 Americans in the infamous September 11 attacks…

Biden’s Leadership Message Leads with Vaccines

A wide angle Agence France Presse photo of President Biden, on his first overseas trip as chief executive, displays a crowd sitting behind him.  Of a hundred spectators in the stands, all except two are wearing black masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The President was speaking to U.S. Air Force staff in Suffolk,…

June: a Landmark Month for U.S. Diplomacy

by Alan Heil When I led VOA during a couple of years in the mid-1990s, we debated what might lie ahead on for the world and the U.S. as we deployed  more than a score of correspondents around a post-Cold War planet. Who then, or for more than two decades since, could have foreseen the…

Taiwan: An Accelerating Crisis?

by Alan Heil The tiny democratic Chinese-speaking Pacific island republic lies within sight of Communist China and is now facing twin crises: a coronavirus outbreak in addition to long-standing potential threats from the mainland superpower. Taiwan’s population is 24 million, compared to mainland China’s 1.4 billion. Michael Mandelbaum of Johns Hopkins University describes the Taiwan…

Gaza: What Should Happen Now?

By Alan Heil Secretary of State Antony Blinken concluded a two-day mission to the Middle East May 26, winning what the Associated Press termed “valuable diplomatic support” for a ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza Strip’s Hamas leaders. This followed quickly on the heels of an 11-day war that cost the lives of nearly 250…