Latest Episodes

Can Chinese pragmatism help save the planet?

Whose Century Is It? June 15, 2017

China's leaders may not exactly be evangelizing about the perils of climate change, but compared to Donald Trump, these days, they look downright statesmanlike on this front. And Chinese policies on renewable energy, while often driven by pragmatic self-interest more than selfless concern for the planet, may nonetheless help tip the balance in the right direction in this century.

Seeing into the future

Whose Century Is It? June 01, 2017

Blind seers aside, it's easier to see where you're going, on the road and in life, if you can actually see. More than half of Americans wear glasses; in poorer and more remote regions of the world, it's estimated that some two billion people need glasses but don't have access to them, cutting into their ability to learn, work and live a full life. A social entrepreneurial effort called VisionSpring has reached millions of such people in Asia and Africa, selling glasses at affordable prices to customers who earn less than $4 a day. Host Mary Kay Magistad talks with VisionSpring's founder Jordan Kassalow, and president Ella Gudwin.

Radio Free(ing) Africa

Whose Century Is It? May 19, 2017

An unsung weapon against terrorism that has proven successful in Africa is the power of the airwaves — shortwave radio reaching people with reliable information, and programming that helps educate them, connect them and imagine a different kind of future. The ubiquity of cellphones allows people in conflict regions to call in, challenge abuses of power and have a voice. That's worked in the Congo, with Radio Okapi. It's working now in areas where Boko Haram has been active in West Africa, and the new Dandal Kura radio network is now broadcasting. Host Mary Kay Magistad talks with her old editor and friend David Smith, who helped set up both.

Soul searching in China

Whose Century Is It? May 04, 2017

A resurgence of interest in religion in China, after more than half a century of Communism and in the midst of China's rapid economic transformation and global rise, comes as new generations search for spiritual meaning and an ethical foundation. Host Mary Kay Magistad talks with former China correspondent colleagues Ian Johnson, author of "The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao," and Jennifer Lin, author of "Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal and Faith in a Chinese Christian Family," about how her own Chinese family, including Watchman Nee, the Billy Graham of China in the first half of the 20th century.

Latest Stories

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.