Media Podcasts

Today’s guest is Cemre Ulker, the UN Representative and US Director of the Journalists and Writers Foundation. Cemre is a human rights expert dedicated to the gender-sensitive implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, and focuses on civil and political rights violations and issues related to violence against women and sexual violence in conflict.

In this episode focusing on the upcoming elections in Turkey on May 14, Alon and Cemre discuss the social dynamics in Turkey, the Turkish peoples’ distrust of Erdogan and his one-man authoritarian rule, the current status of the opposition, and women’s rights issues in Turkey.

Full bio
Cemre Ulker is the UN Representative and US Director of the Journalists and Writers Foundation (JWF), an international civil society organization affiliated with the UN Department of Global Communications. Ms. Ulker leads JWF`s global initiatives to promote the culture of peace, human rights, and sustainable development. She is a human rights expert dedicated to the gender-sensitive implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals with a particular focus on peaceful, just institutions, and global partnerships. Ms. Ulker also provides workshops and capacity-building programs working on innovative and inclusive policy suggestions for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by facilitating participation platforms for civil society organizations in 24 different countries.

Ms. Ulker works on JWF`s civil society inputs to CEDAW, Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Office of the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, and NGO CSW on a variety of topics including women`s leadership for the UNSCR 1325 Women, Peace and Security Agenda, protection of women refugees, combatting violations against women human rights defenders, political prisoners and highlights the role of civil society contribution for the gender-mainstreaming of the Global Goals 2030.

Cemre Ulker is also the Co-Founder of Set Them Free, a civil initiative promoting women`s rights, monitoring violations against women human rights defenders in Turkey. She is passionate to facilitate Set Them Free`s socio-economic empowerment programs for the enforced women and children migrants.

Ms. Ulker is a freelance contributor at the Kronos News covering Turkey`s human rights agenda and foreign policy projections. She is also a faculty member of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)`s Global Diplomacy Initiative giving lectures on the “Intersectionality of Press Freedom and Human Rights: Violence Against Women Human Rights Defenders”. Cemre Ulker has a BA in Economics from the University of Maryland and completed her Master`s Degree in Human Rights at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

Today’s guest is Naim Rashiti, Executive Director of the Balkans Group, a think tank dedicated to regional cooperation and peace in the Balkans. In this episode, which was recorded prior to the agreement reached between Kosovo and Serbia on March 18, Alon and Naim discuss Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, Kosovo’s challenges with corruption and other domestic issues, and the impact of Turkish and Russian influences in the Balkans.

Full bio
Naim Rashiti is the Executive Director of the Balkans Group and has almost two decades of experience in political and international affairs. His expertise spans from conflict resolution and inter-ethnic relations to EU integration and institution building. He has provided analysis and consulted for a number of international and non-governmental organisations, including the International Crisis Group (2003-2013), the UNHCR, the Local Government Initiative (LGI), the Canadian Embassy and the International Development Agency (CIDA). He holds degrees from the University of Priština (in Computers and Electronics) and University of Lausanne (in Political Science).

On the Issues Episode 100: John J. Nance

Welcome to another episode of “On the Issues with Alon Ben-Meir.” Today’s guest is John J. Nance, a decorated Air Force veteran, aviation safety expert, and New York Times bestselling author, whose latest book, “The Nine Lives of Cristal Global,” discusses the need of Saudi Arabia to modify its economic approach to succeed in the future. In this episode, Alon and John discuss human rights in Saudi Arabia and how the US should approach that issue, Saudi Arabia’s role in the oil market, and Israel’s desire to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia and how the Saudis can utilize that for peace.

Full bio
One of the key thought leaders to emerge in American Healthcare in the past decade, John J. Nance brings a rich and varied professional background to the task of helping doctors, administrators, boards, and front-line staff alike survive and prosper during the most profoundly challenging upheaval in the history of modern medicine.

As a native Texan, John grew up in Dallas, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree and a Juris Doctor Degree from SMU and is still a licensed Texas attorney. Named Distinguished Alumni of SMU for 2002 and distinguish Alumni for Public Service of the SMU Dedman School of Law in 2010.

John is a decorated Air Force pilot, veteran of Vietnam and Operations Desert Storm/Desert Shield, and a Lt. Colonel in the USAF Reserve. He is well known for his pioneering development of Air Force human factors flight safety education, and one of the civilian pioneers of Crew Resource Management (CRM).

John has piloted a wide variety of jet aircraft, including 727s, 737s, 747s, and Air Force C-141s, and has logged over 15,000 hours of flight time since earning his first pilot license in 1965 and is still a current pilot. He was a flight officer for Braniff International Airlines and a Boeing 737 Captain for Alaska Airlines and is an internationally recognized air safety advocate, best known to North American television audiences as Aviation Analyst for ABC World News and Aviation Editor for Good Morning America. He is also an internationally recognized analyst on matters of seismic safety.

On the Issues Episode 99: Dr. Zaher Sahloul

Today’s guest is Dr. Zaher Sahloul, a Syrian-American critical care specialist and president of MedGlobal, an organization that provides medical care in disaster regions, and the founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria and Syria Faith Initiative. Dr. Sahloul is considered one of the world’s experts on the humanitarian crisis in his homeland of Syria and applying lessons learned to other disaster responses, including COVID-19. In this episode, Alon and Dr. Sahloul discuss the Syrian Civil War and his work in providing healthcare in Syria during the war, what is currently happening on the ground in Syria, and what role the international community can play in ending the conflict.

(This episode was recorded before the terrible earthquake in Syria, which has only made the problems discussed in this episode worse.)

Full bio
Dr. Mohammed Zaher Sahloul is a medical doctor, Chicagoan, humanitarian, faith, immigrant and civic leader, and influencer. Professionally, he is a Critical Care specialist at Advocate Christ Medical Center and Saint Anthony’s hospital and Associate Professor in Clinical Medicine at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Dr. Sahloul is considered one of the world’s experts on the humanitarian crisis in his homeland Syria and applying lessons learned to other disaster responses, including COVID-19. He led the Syrian American Medical Society from 2011-2015 to play a crucial role in providing humanitarian medical aid and organizing the Syrian American diaspora. He founded the American Relief Coalition for Syria, ARCS, and Syria Faith Initiative. He has published extensively on the Syrian crisis, refugees and immigration, disaster management, and COVID-19 impact on disadvantaged communities in Chicago, and has many media appearances locally, nationally, and internationally. He was instrumental in providing medical relief to help the civilian population in his homeland of Syria and testified to the U.S. Congress and the United Nations Security Council multiple times on defending medical neutrality, the use of siege and chemical weapons, and the siege of Aleppo. He was awarded Chicagoan of the Year in 2016 for risking his life with two other American doctors to provide healthcare to the civilians in Aleppo under siege and bombardment. Dr. Sahloul sits on the advisory board of the Syrian Community Network and the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. He was a member of the Illinois Board of Health from 2009-2016. In 2020 , Dr. Sahloul was awarded the Gandhi Award for Peace for his humanitarian work in Syria and at the global level. He has also received many other awards including the “Heroes Among Us” award by American Red Cross, Dr. Robert Kirschner’s Award for Global Activism by Heartland Alliance Kovler Center 2017, the Commitment to Change Award by the National Immigration Justice Center for his commitment to human rights, and the Shine a Light on Global Refugee Crisis and annual humanitarian award by UNICEF Chicago 2017.