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Binge-Worthy Listens for a Better World


If expanding your knowledge of our complex global community is among your New Year’s resolutions, the Better World team is here to help. We asked colleagues to share a few of their favorite podcasts and audio books from 2023 that offered insight and inspiration as we seek to build a better world.



Foreign Policy: The Negotiators 

Hear stories about a nuclear standoff, a hostage crisis, a gang mediation and so much more. And don’t miss the incredible  account of how Kofi Annan mediated the volatile political crisis in Kenya in 2008.  

Next Year in Moscow  

Arkady Ostrovsky travels across Europe and the Middle East speaking to free-thinking Russians who left when the shelling of Ukraine began in 2022. They’re now rebuilding their lives and their hopes for Russia from exile. Their stories help solve the mystery of why this senseless war began – and how it might end. 

Kuper Island 

Detailing the role of residential schools, this eight-part series tells the stories of four students who attended one of Canada’s most notorious institutions in the mid-20th century. Amid the unsolved deaths, abuse and lies that continue to haunt the community is also a narrative of the intentional, delicate work of reconciliation. 

You Didn’t See Nothin’ 

In 1997, a young Black man was beaten into a coma by a group of older white teens. The media quickly turned towards stories of reconciliation and racial healing, with cooperation by Black leaders and the attacker’s family. Neighborhood native and host Yohance Lacour worked investigates the legacy of this vicious hate crime.  

Global Dispatches

A perennial favorite, our friend Mark Goldberg runs the longest running independent international affairs show, named by The Guardian as one of 27 “podcasts to make you smarter.” And at just 30 minutes, he crams in timely topics with incredible guests all in your morning commute. 

The Big Dig 

Infamous for its ever-increasing price tag, Boston’s massive highway tunneling effort became a symbol of waste, corruption and the challenges facing American infrastructure. Yet the project delivered on its promise to transform the city. What lessons can the Big Dig offer for ambitious projects of today? 

The Retrievals 

A big staff favorite! Patients came to the Yale Fertility Center to pursue pregnancy, but soon experienced unimaginable trauma in the course of their IVF treatment. The stories detailed in the series examine how we talk about, interpret and account for women’s pain. What happens when pain is minimized or dismissed?

The Daily

In addition to their peerless coverage of world topics, their episode on how the mosquito has once again gained the upper hand in the fight against malaria is essential listening. For decades, the world seemed to be winning the war against mosquitoes and tamping down the deadly diseases they carried. But in the past few years, progress has not only stalled, it’s reversed. 



The Peking Express 

In May 1923, when Shanghai publisher John Benjamin Powell bought a first-class ticket for the Peking Express, he pictured an idyllic overnight journey on a brand-new train of unprecedented luxury — exactly what advertisements promised. Instead, he was taken hostage by a thousand bandits who were aided by local authorities. So began this incredible true story of a clash that shocked the world and set the course for China’s two-decade civil war.

Some People Need Killing 

Journalist Patricia Evangelista provides a meticulously reported and deeply human account of the Philippines’ drug war. For six years, Evangelista chronicled the killings carried out by police and vigilantes in the name of Duterte’s war on drugs that led to the slaughter of thousands, immersing herself in the world of killers and survivors and capturing the atmosphere of fear created when an elected president decides that some lives are worth less than others.  

The Lumumba Plot

It was supposed to be a moment of jubilation. The Congo was at last being set free from Belgium — one of seventeen countries to gain independence in 1960 from ruling European powers. Just days after the handover, however, the Congo’s new army mutinied, Belgian forces intervened, and prime minister Patrice Lumumba turned to the United Nations for help. For the Congolese people, the events of 1960–61 represented the opening chapter of a long horror story. For the U.S. government, they provided a playbook for future interventions. 

We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World

Nobel Peace Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author Malala Yousafzai turns the faceless statistics and endless news stories about displacement into real people—introducing a small fraction of the millions worldwide who have fled home in this powerful and stirring  account.

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis

Illuminating the expertise and insights of dozens of diverse women leading on climate in the U.S., this book aims to advance a more representative, nuanced, and solution-oriented public conversation on the climate crisis. These women offer a spectrum of ideas and insights for how we can rapidly, radically reshape society.

A Fever in the Heartland 

The Roaring Twenties was both a time of Gatsby frivolity — and the height of the Ku Klux Klan. Their domain was not the old Confederacy, but the Heartland and the West. The man who set in motion their takeover of great swaths of America was a charismatic charlatan named D.C. Stephenson, the Grand Dragon of Indiana and the architect of the strategy that brought the group out of the shadows. But at the peak of his influence, it was a seemingly powerless woman – Madge Oberholtzer – who would reveal his secret cruelties and whose deathbed testimony brought the Klan to their knees.