Back briefly in Belfast, Michael Semple speaks about his experiences in Afghanistan, including those which recently put him in the headlines. Semple was expelled from the country on Christmas last year, after the Afghan President alleged that he engaged in unauthorized activity in the country. He works for the EU’s Special Representative in Afghanistan, focusing on reconciliation and democratization processes in the country. Semple speaks about his past decades of work in Afghanistan, the expulsion, and the notoriety that came with it.
This week, the program goes to the Falls Road for an interview with a black taxi driver about his experiences giving tours and being taken hostage.
In the second half, Claire Hagan discusses her work with people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder at Johns Hopkins medical center in Baltimore.
Episode 9 considers local politics: of the Orange Order in Northern Ireland and the City Council of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the first half, David Hume talks about the future of the Orange Order, including its new superhero figure and tourism initiatives. Mid-July has been rechristened as ‘Orangefest’ and the Orange Order has big plans for brining more foreigners and locals together for the parades and activities around the 12th. Hume also discusses the Order’s international links, in Canada, the US, and Africa, along with its concerns for attracting young Northern Irish men to join its ranks.
In the second half, Patrick Dowd explains how he won a seat on Pittsburgh’s City Council and his plans for the city. He went from graduate student to teacher to politician, but his victory was not an easy one. Winning a seat as a Democrat but initially without the endorsement of Pittsburgh’s Democratic Party, Dowd had to mobilize the grassroots of the community, going from door to door to door and fount out a tremendous amount about the Pittsburgh neighborhoods he now represents.