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

2021: Bright Spots In A Challenged Planet

“It’s a world supplied with precisely the right amounts of gravity and atmosphere,” Washington Post columnist David von Drehle wrote on November 24, “enough water and sunlight but not too much of either.” “Scientists have gazed thousands of light-years in search of another such place, and still, this is the only one for sure, a…

Honest Journalism At Risk: How To Save It

2021 Nobel Peace Prize co-winners Mark Thompson, former New York Times chief executive and prominent Philippines reporter Maria Ressa, have offered new ideas on how to preserve independent journalism. The two honorees were the first journalists in 80 years to be awarded the cherished Peace Prize. As they wrote with pride in the Times December…

Bob Dole, A United States Hero For The Ages

The late Senator Dole was honored in a series of bipartisan Washington events, five days after his death on the 120th anniversary day of the first Nobel Peace Prize award. What a splendid coincidence of history! During a day of honors on Dec.10, the distinguished 98-year-old Republican Senator from Kansas received an eloquent, heartfelt tribute…

The 100-Nation Democracy Summit: Opening Day

In convening the unprecedented gathering in Washington on December 9, President Biden told delegates that “global freedom is under threat from autocrats seeking to expand power, export influence and justify repression.” According to the Reuters News Agency, Mr. Biden added: “Democracy doesn’t happen by accident. We have to renew it with each generation. In my…

President Biden’s Democracy Summit: A Preview

At least 108 countries will participate in a yearend D.C. virtual summit beginning Dec. 9 to strengthen democracies globally. According to the Council on Foreign Relations (the CFR), “the President’s goal will need robust U.S.- European cooperation to succeed.” The gathering is organized around three broad themes: —Defending against authoritarianism —Fighting corruption —Promoting respect globally…

Russia’s Border With Ukraine: An Urgent Alert

All the ingredients of a possible international crisis are there: —Russia now has an estimated 100,000 troops on the border of its neighbor, Ukraine, an independent neighbor of Russia today that was previously part of the Cold War Soviet Union. —According to Washington Post correspondent Missy Ryan, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was to…

Vocabulary Challenges In A Covid-19 Era

Try to imagine for a moment that you lapsed into a coma in 2019 and were just awakening in 2021 as scores of new terms centered on COVID-19 had infected our vocabulary in just two years. Here’s my list of such terms for such a hypothetical patient: Omicron — a new, possibly more infectious variant…

Thanksgiving Thoughts For 2021 Afghan Pilgrims

David Von Drehle’s column in the Washington Post’s Thanksgiving Day edition sums it all up: “Gratitude is a muscle. It strengthens us with use.” “Ultimately,” the widely-followed columnist concludes, “gratitude is somehow linked to hope and hope is the pre-requisite of action.” “One must be grateful for the Earth before one can save it. One…