Focus

WILL - Focus - March 22, 2013

Coming up on Focus: Remembering Assembly Hall, Idioms and Stargazing

Are you fascinated by the stars? What is your fondest memory of Assembly Hall? How have our concerns about terrorism changed in the last decade?  Find out more about what’s coming up on Focus and join our conversation.

Assembly Hall

Coming up next week on Focus, we'll talk with one of the most well-respected researchers studying terrorism, an authority on idioms in the English language and with journalist Fred Kroner about his new book "A Saucer Coming to Rest, A Half Century of Assembly Hall." Find our more about what's coming up. 


WILL - Focus - March 12, 2013

Changing Politics in Latin American

This hour on Focus, we talked with Venezuelan native and Political Science Associate Professor Damarys Canache about Hugo Chavez’s death. Then for the second half of the hour, Theodore Piccone, Deputy Director of Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution joins the show to talk about what changes in Venezuela mean for Cuba.

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(Duration: 50:25)

Hugo Chavez

Hugo Chavez, who was the President of Venezuela until he died March 5, started his controversial political career as an outsider.  During the first half of this hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Damarys Canache, an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Urbana-Champaign who is a Venezuelan native, about Hugo Chavez, his rise to power and what his death means for the country moving forward. Then during the second part of the show, we’ll talk with Theodore Piccone, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, about what Chavez’s death means for Cuba. We’ll also talk with him about Raul Castro’s recent announcement to step down after his current presidential term comes to an end in 2018 and what’s next for the Cuban Communist Party.


WILL - Focus - March 11, 2013

My Name is Jody Williams

Jody Williams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her campaign to eradicate landmines. But she wasn’t always an activist. This hour on Focus, we talked with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams about her new memoir, “My Name is Jody Williams.”

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(Duration: 50:30)

Jody Williams

She’s been named 100 of the most power in the world by Forbes, has twice been recognized as “Woman of the Year” by Glamour magazine, is the recipient of fifteen honorary degrees and last but not least, is a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Jody Williams about her recently published memoir “My Name is Jody Williams.” Williams tells us about her life as an activist, why she’s spent her career advocating for freedom and human rights and what she really means when she talks about peace.

Williams in the inaugural Jane Addams Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the University of Illinois.

Categories: International Affairs

WILL - Focus - March 08, 2013

Bats, Economic Development and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate: Coming up next week on Focus

Is it important to you to shop locally? Did you know bats play a really important role in the production of tequila and chocolate? Find out more about what’s coming up on Focus and join our conversation.

Jody Williams

Monday, March 11 - My Name is Jody Williams
Have you been an activist? What causes matter to you?

Jody Williams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her campaign to eradicate landmines. But she wasn’t always an activist. Monday on Focus, we’ll talk with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams about her new memoir, “My Name is Jody Williams.” She’ll tell us about her life as an activist, why she’s spent her career advocating for freedom and human rights and what she really means when she uses the word “peace.”


WILL - Focus - March 06, 2013

Peacebuilding in West Africa

Military coup, Islamic extremists, human rights violations and political unrest… all these things have been part of life for citizens in Mali for more than a year. During this episode of Focus, we talked with Associate Professor of History at Columbia University Gregory Mann about recent happenings in the country and the role the US should play in its recovery.

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(Duration: 49:10)

Gregory Mann

Mali, a former French colony, had long been considered a model for democracy, but that all changed last year in March. Soldiers angry about the government’s handling of a rebellion in the northern desert overthrew the country’s elected government during a coup in Bamako, the country’s capital. Since then, Mali has suffered political unrest, pushing the country to ask for help from the French government early this year. Even though the French have helped Mali’s government regain some control in the northern part of the country, conflict is far from over. According to the United Nations, fighting has displaced more than 430,000 people in the past 13 months in addition to countless reports of rape and human rights violations. This hour on Focus, guest host Chris Berube talks with Associate Professor of History at Columbia University Gregory Mann about what has happened in Mali, what lies ahead and what role the US should play moving forward.


WILL - Focus - March 04, 2013

Miriam Cooke and Hijab Trendz

Have you ever used writing as an outlet? Today on Focus, we examined stereotypes about Arab women with Professor Miriam Cooke, who studies how Islamic women empower themselves through writing. Then, Mariam Sobh, a native of Champaign and the founder of the fashion blog Hijab Trendz joins the program. 

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(Duration: 50:24)

Mariam Sobh wearing a white hijab

During this hour on Focus, we talk with Professor Miriam Cooke about how she got started studying Muslim women and their writing and why their writings are important. She talks with us about women who inspired the feminist movement in the Middle East and why it became important during the 1990’s. Cooke is a Professor of Arab Cultures at Duke University and the Director of the University’s Middle East Studies Center. She’s been a visiting professor in Tunisia, Romania, Indonesia, and Qatar and is one of the foremost scholars on Islamic Feminism and Arab Culture.

Then during the second half of the hour, we talk with Mariam Sobh. She’s the founder and editor-in-chief of Hijab Trendz, a fashion blog for Muslim women. Host Jim Meadows talks with Sobh about her decision to cover her hair, what it means and how some Muslim women are choosing not to.


WILL - Focus - February 12, 2013

His Excellency Ambassador Michael Collins

What's it like to be an ambassador to the United States? During this episode of Focus, Craig Cohen talked with H.E. Ambassador Michael Collins, Irish Ambassador to the United States.

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(Duration: 51:19)

Ambassador Michael Collins

Ireland holds the European Union’s rotating presidency until June of this year and officials are making it a priority to address the Eurozone Debt Crisis and grow trade and opportunities for enterprise. This hour on Focus, host Craig Cohen talks with His Excellency Ambassador Michael Collins, Ireland’s ambassador to the United States. We’ll talk with him about the country’s debt problems, Ireland’s presidency, the role the EU is taking in turmoil in Syria, and how he manages Ireland’s relations with the United States. The ambassador will be speaking on campus at the University of Urbana-Champaign on Friday, February 15. Find more information here.


WILL - Focus - December 12, 2012

Games Without Rules: The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan

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(Duration: 51:18)

Portrait of Tamim Ansary and Book Jacket for Games Without Rules

Born in 1948, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tamim Ansary is a writer, lecturer, editor, and teacher based in San Francisco.  He directs the San Francisco Writer’s Workshop, teaches through the Osher Institute, and writes fiction and nonfiction about Afghanistan, Islam-and-the-West, democracy, current events, social issues, and as he says, "my cat, and other topics as they come up."


WILL - Focus - October 18, 2012

The European Union’s Nobel Peace Prize

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(Duration: 51:21)

Dr. Stefanos Katsikas, Director of Modern Greek Studies, University of Illinois

João Vale de Almeida, The European Union Ambassador to the United States

John McCormick, Professor of European Union Politics, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

Host: Craig Cohen

A number of eyebrows were raised by the decision last week to give this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to The European Union. We’ll learn more about what was behind that decision, and discuss the history, complexity, and potentially challenging future of the European Union, including the fate of the Euro as a common currency, and the viability of economically struggling nations like Greece, with Dr. Stefanos Katsikas, Director of Modern Greek Studies at the University of Illinois; John McCormick, Professor of European Union Politics, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis; and João Vale de Almeida, The European Union Ambassador to the United States.


WILL - Focus - September 19, 2012

Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America

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(Duration: 51:25)

Eboo Patel, Founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core and member of President Obama’s inaugural Faith Council

Host: Craig Cohen
Eboo Patel

Following the attacks last week on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya, which led to the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, we’ll talk about how there’s a tendency among some to lump violent Muslim extremists in with the Muslim community at large, in a way that we perhaps don’t do with other radicals who pervert other religions. We’ll consider how violent acts like this make it more challenging to bring peaceful people of various faiths together, as we talk with Eboo Patel, the founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core and a member of President Obama’s inaugural Faith Council. He’s the author of the book Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America.


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