Latest Episodes

Atrocity amnesia

Whose Century Is It? March 24, 2017

What happens when neighbors kill neighbors? What happens when the perpetrators try to bury the past? The past can still both shape and haunt the present, as the villagers of the small Polish town of Jedwabne have found, decades after other villagers there rounded up and killed hundreds of their Jewish neighbors. The World's Nina Porzucki visits the village to see how that past is remembered, and who's willing to talk about it.

Women's work

Whose Century Is It? March 08, 2017

Women around the world face varying degrees of gender discrimination in the workplace — whether they're hired, how much they're paid, whether they advance as fast as men doing the same job. In Jordan, where girls and women generally do better than their male counterparts in school, and where more women than men attend college, startlingly few women participate in the workforce. Why? Asma Khader, a Jordanian lawyer, women's rights activist and former government official, weighs in, in conversation with The World's Shirin Jaafari.

Badass librarians of the Internet Archive

Whose Century Is It? February 23, 2017

Librarians rock. And Internet Archive librarians, aiming to digitize and make universally available all human knowledge, including saving webpages that would otherwise disappear? They're on a whole 'nother level. In this age of alternative facts and disappearing government websites, hear how this small group of badass librarians is working to preserve knowledge, and empower investigative reporters and ordinary citizens to find webpages those with something to hide would rather you didn't find.

Keeping up with killer technology

Whose Century Is It? February 09, 2017

Drones have only been around for a couple of decades, but already, they're reshaping the contours of conflict and raising ethical quandaries. President Barack Obama launched more than 500 drone strikes during his tenure, 10 times more than President George W. Bush. But Obama's drones strikes killed far fewer civilians than did Bush's intervention in Iraq. Still, how much should drones and robotics be used in conflict, and when, and what unintended consequences might this unleash? Peter Singer, Strategist at the New America Foundation and author of "Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century" talks with The World's Jeb Sharp.

Make America Kind Again

Whose Century Is It? January 27, 2017

America became a global leader over the past century through openness, generosity, and soft power —the ability to attract, and to make others want to emulate your way of life, including inclusivity and equal rights. Donald Trump's vision of America, as voiced in his campaign and reflected in his first words and deeds as president, has caused more global dismay than attraction. Will the Trump era mark the end of the American century? Listen in to hear some early takes.

How trust eroded within America's democracy

Whose Century Is It? January 12, 2017

Trust in government and journalism has plummeted in recent decades, particularly among conservatives. This wasn't a coincidence, nor strictly a result of bad behavior on the part of elected officials or the press, says Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author of "It's Even Worse Than It Was: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism." He argues that understanding how we got here just might help Americans move to a better place.

China, the US and the lessons of history

Whose Century Is It? December 29, 2016

Talk about epic love/hate relationships. From the birth of the United States, China has loomed large in the American imagination, and America in China's, for better and for worse, often with surprising twists. Build a wall across the Mexican border? That was first proposed to stop Chinese immigrants in the 19th century. Mao Zedong's secret vice? American 'kissy' movies, to quote former Washington Post China correspondent John Pomfret, author of "The Beautiful Country and the MIddle Kingdom," an engaging new history of what America and China have meant to each other's citizens, as well as their governments, 1776 to now. And because this is a big and important topic, this is a long(ish) podcast — so break it up if you like. Want to hear about why the Founding Fathers admired China? Listen to the first 20 minutes. How America did — and didn't — promote its values in China in the 20th century? That'd be 20:00-53:00. Challenges for US-China relations now and going forward? 53:00 to the end. Enjoy!

A newsroom looks at future past

Whose Century Is It? December 15, 2016

As Americans wonder what changes a new year and a new President will bring, here's a case study of how much things can change, in unexpected ways, in a relatively short time. Host Mary Kay Magistad sits down with some of the early staff of PRI and BBC co-production PRI's The World to chat about what the future looked like in 1996, when The World first went to air, and how change has come in unexpected ways and uneven waves.

Black Lives Rising (in STEM)

Whose Century Is It? December 02, 2016

Great ideas come from diverse minds, and efforts to get more African Americans into cutting edge fields — science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine — are gaining ground, but with considerable challenges. How might efforts to increase this kind of diversity fare under a Trump presidency and beyond? Host Mary Kay Magistad explores.

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Arts, Culture & Media

South Africa's imperfect progress, 20 years after the Truth & Reconciliation Commission

After decades of institutionalized racism under apartheid, South Africa's Truth & Reconciliation Commission helped a divided nation watch, weep, reflect & come together — even if imperfectly. What is its legacy now, two decades later? How much of the hope South Africans had for what their future might be together has been borne out? Host Mary Kay Magistad visited South Africa to see how South Africans from different communities feel about what difference the TRC has, and hasn't, made in their lives.

Arts, Culture & Media

How a massacre of a village's Jews by their neighbors in WWII Poland is remembered — and misremembered

Updated

Memory can be slippery, especially when there's incentive to forget, or misremember. In the Polish village of Jedwabne, residents long said Nazis were responsible for the massacre, one hot day in July 1941, of hundreds of Jews in the village. Then evidence emerged that the villagers of Jedwabne had killed their own neighbors.

Business, Economics and Jobs

Why do so few women work (for pay) in Jordan?

Get a good education, and the world's your oyster, right? Not necessarily, if you're a woman in Jordan. While Jordan has one of the highest female literacy rates in the Middle East, and there are more women in college there than men, gender discrimination still abounds in the workplace. This is not just costing women, it's costing Jordan — half to almost a full percentage point of GDP growth each year, says the Brookings Institution. What's at play here? Jordanian lawyer and human rights activist Asma Khader shares her thoughts with The World's Shirin Jaafari.

Conflict & Justice

How drones and robotics may shape the future of conflict under President Trump

Drones and robotics, and their potential uses, are advancing faster than policy and the human moral compass can easily keep up. How and when best to use these technologies in conflict and law enforcement, for strategic gain and to minimize loss of life? What crosses the line? Peter Singer, New America Foundation strategist and author of "Wired for War," weighs in.

Politics

America is divided — and that's by design

It used to be said that you could have your own opinion, but you couldn't have your own facts. But after decades of deliberate effort by some conservative Republicans to undermine public trust in government, the media and even in science, agreement about facts and even about the rules of the game in American democracy is not what it used to be. How did we get here? Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and co-author of "It's Even Worse Than it Was: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism" weighs in.

Arts, Culture & Media

Think you can predict the future? In the age of Trump, journalists offer a cautionary tale.

How much can you confidently predict about what will happen next week? Next year? In a decade? After the 2016 US election and Brexit vote, maybe less than you thought before. The future has always dished up surprises, but the road ahead isn't just a blind curve. Good journalism can help people think about the lessons of the past, and the signals in the present worth noticing. The World's newsroom has been doing that for 20 years. Whose Century Is It host and former East Asia correspondent for The World Mary Kay Magistad sits down with World host Marco Werman, reporter and editor Jeb Sharp and executive editor Andrew Sussman to talk about how the world's future looked in The World's early days, how it's changed since, and how to think about what might be coming up ahead.

Development & Education

Why having more black leaders in science and tech will boost America's future

As the nation's first African American president winds up his tenure with majority approval ratings, African Americans in science and tech are increasingly ascending to leadership positions in their own fields. But systemic problems, from childhood education on up, are still making it tough to get representative numbers of African Americans into science, technology, engineering and math.

Politics

In (?) We Trust

One of the taller tasks facing President-elect Donald Trump is to find ways to restore faith in an office, and in a government, that he helped degrade. But he didn't do it alone. American trust in government and other institutions has been sliding for years. Weighing in on why, and how to move forward, is Garry Wills, professor emeritus at Northwestern University, and author of many books and essays on faith, trust and politics.

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