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Season two - WORLD: we got this podcast

The School of Global Affairs is back with season two of the WORLD: we got this podcast series. From how climate change is impacting democracy in India to how First Nations peoples in Australia have responded to COVID-19, we speak to experts here in the UK and around the world to help us explore the issues that matter.

For season two, each episode of the podcast will feature an expert guest discussing their latest writing and research on a key global challenge, presenting new and unique perspectives on issues that affect us all.

In our first episode of the season we are joined by Professor Martin Wooster to discuss wildfires and, in particular, their impact on tropical rain forests. We spoke to Martin about how he and his team are studying the impact of fires around the world. Professor Wooster practices Earth Observation Science – using remote sensing to study earth’s environment via observation on the ground, on planes and via satellites.

As he points out – fires aren’t all bad, they occur as part of a natural process and are often required for ecosystems to function optimally. But it’s when fires are driven by human activity that we begin to see their detrimental effects.

Episode notes

Fire in the tropics with Prof Martin Wooster

In the first episode in our new format we speak to Professor Martin Wooster about the importance of mapping wildfires, why not all wildfires are bad, and unique threat posed by fires in the tropics.

Professor Martin Wooster is an expert on satellite Earth observation and the quantification of landscape fire. He was appointed Professor of Earth Observation Science at King's in 2005. He is currently working on the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society, in partnership with Imperial College London, Royal Holloway and the University of Reading.

Minority persecution in India with Sudhir Selvaraj

We speak with Sudhir Selvaraj about the persecution of Christians in India. The 2008 Kandhamal violence and why minority communities in India continue to face threats.

The making of modern Brazil with Prof Anthony Pereira

Brazil sits at the heart of some of the worlds biggest challenges from deforestation to inequality. Its ability to overcome these issues are not only critical to its future, but to the future of the entire planet.

We speak with Professor Anthony Pereira about his new book Modern Brazil: A Very Short Introduction and why to understand Brazil today we must understand its contemporary formation.

Block bricks and unfree labour with Dr Nithya Natarajan and Dr Laurie Parsons

We speak with Nithya and Laurie about why the Brick industry in Cambodia has created a multigenerational workforce of adults and children trapped in debt bondage – one of the most prevalent forms of modern slavery in the world.

This process of unfree labour has led them to coin the term 'blood bricks'. Working with other researchers they aim to highlight the injustices of modern day slavery, but also the wider political and economic forces which facilitate the blood brick system.

A multiple pandemic with Dr Rosa Heimer

We speak with Dr Rosa Heimer about her essay and research, looking at the impacts of COVID-19 on black and minoritized women facing gender-based violence. We discuss how housing, immigration and policing are currently failing to support many women escaping violence. We discuss why these issues will outlive the pandemic but also what we can do to bring about change.

Organisations Rosa works with:

Latin American Women’s Aid (LAWD)
London Black Women’s Project 

Other support for those escaping violence:

Gallop (LGBT+ anti-violence charity)

Research and writing:
A multiple pandemic: Black and minoritised women at the crossroads of violence, homelessness and COVID-19

A Roof, Not A Home: The housing experiences of Black and minoritised women survivors of gender-based violence in London

King’s India Institute series: Confronting Cast

Italy and the New Silk Road with Dr Alice Politi

We speak with Dr Alice Politi about her new paper 'Italy: a case study of the Silk Road Project in Europe'. The paper considers the recent bilateral agreement between Italy and China, examining what it can tell us about the role of Chinese foreign investment for Chinese trade and diplomacy.

The paper is the first in a new Policy Series from the Lau China Institute titled 'China in the World'.

To find out more about the series and how to get involved, head to

Brexit and beyond (plus a little bit of Billy Bremner) with Anand Menon

We speak with Professor Anand Menon, Director of the UK in a Changing Europe, about one of the most complex challenges – Brexit. We also discuss what other political and economic challenges lay in wait for the UK, why language, process and explanation are crucial to understanding complex challenges and why the Union may become the defining issue of 2021.

See the Brexit and Beyond, the latest UK in a Changing Europe report

The Natural Health Service with Isabel Hardman

We speak with political journalist Isabel Hardman about why her own experiences of mental health led her to write 'The Natural Health Service' — helping to explore the benefits of spending time in nature to our mental wellbeing. Along the way, Isabel met others who had experienced nature's benefits to health and spoke with researchers trying to understand the benefits of everything from forest bathing to cold water swimming.

This episode was produced in partnership with the Centre for Society and Mental Health.

Adolescent mental health in the time of COVID with Dr Gemma Knowles

We speak with Dr Gemma Knowles about the ground-breaking research being undertaken to understand and support young people's mental health. Speaking during Children's Mental Health Week, we discuss the emerging challenges for young people's mental health and the recent challenges posed by COVID-19.

Find out more about the Centre for Society and Mental Health

A global approach to the vaccine with Dr Ann Kelly

We speak with Dr Ann Kelly about the need for a truly global approach to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. We discuss the need to improve vaccine production and development capacity, particularly within developing countries, in an effort to speed up vaccination programmes and new variant detection. We also explore why the pandemic demonstrates the need to push for healthcare provision globally, so that when pandemics hit we can work together under the motto ‘no-one is safe until everyone is safe’.

Reclaiming the internet for civil society with Prof Ronald Deibert

We discuss the need to ‘RESET’ and rethink how we manage the internet in an age of mass surveillance with Professor Ron Debit. As Director of the Citizens Lab at the University of Toronto, Ron and his team have been at the forefront of attempting to understand the internet's impact on society, helping to uncover human rights abuses and pull back the curtain on what’s really going on. His new work ‘Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society’ offers us the chance to understand how we can tackle one of the biggest challenges facing democracy.

Post-pandemic cities with Prof Phil Hubbard

We speak to Professor Phil Hubbard about how the pandemic has altered our urban environment and why these changes may be permanent. But we also discuss why this moment presents an opportunity to re-imagine how we use our urban spaces, in turn, helping to tackle climate change and inequality.

How democracies die with Prof Steven Levitsky

What is populism? Does it threaten the foundations of democracy? Does Donald Trump’s defeat represent the high point for populism globally? And what should Democrats do next? In today’s episode we discuss these questions and much more with Professor Steve Levitsky, Professor of Government at Harvard University and leading scholar on populism.

Water diplomacy with Dr Naho Mirumachi

What is water diplomacy? Will Climate Change result in increased conflict over water access? And what should countries and organisations be doing to make sure the world be doing to make sure the world works together on water access? We speak to Dr Naho Mirumachi on World Water Day about Water Diplomacy.

Find out more about the King's Water Centre

Feminist international with Veronica Gago

How has the feminist movement been democratised? What differentiates the feminist strike front from the conventional labour strike? And how do we bring feminist activism into the everyday? In a special podcast takeover, we hand the podcast over to the Gender Studies Network at King’s. Professor Jelke Boesten, leader of the network, and Phoebe Martin, PhD candidate and member of the editorial collective of the Feminist Perspectives blog, spoke with Veronica Gago, author of Feminist International: How to Change Everything.

Find out more about the Gender Studies Network

Taking a public health approach to online abuse with Seyi Akiwowo

How can global health help shape policy towards big tech? We speak with campaigner, activist and CEO of Glitch Seyi Akiwowo about online abuse. Seyi highlights the intersectional impact of online abuse, and calls for a global health approach to understanding and eradicating trolling and abuse online.

Find out more about Glitch

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