Places in The News

A lecture hall from the back of the room.
A close-up of a computer keyboard with a key named "webinar".

Learn about the background of places in the headlines: history, politics, economics and culture.

The objective of the series is to equip people with the information needed to understand news coverage (or lack thereof) as well as to evaluate U.S. policy and policymakers.

Special attention is given to explaining the aims and impact of U.S. policies

  • executive agency actions
  • federal legislation
  • local impact on Long Island

In person or via webinar. Guest speakers for question-and-answer sessions will be introduced as available/appropriate. Lectures on other countries can be developed on request.


North Korea

What makes the DPRK tick? Explore recent history from the Japanese occupation to the drive for nuclear weapons, as well as the politics and economics of a pariah state.

Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from its inception to the present, including the policies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, relations with neighbors, and Saudi Aramco’s IPO.

El Salvador

El Salvador’s troubled history from the massacres of the 20th century to the current gang warfare, politics as an elite enterprise, and economics from coffee to bitcoin.


Through a turbulent 20th century to the Covid-19 pandemic, China continues to impact the world through its economy – most recently through the Belt-and-Road Initiative.


“Annelies Kamran presents in-depth country studies for an adult audience in an easy to understand, conversational manner. The information provided is timely and reflects today’s headline news.”

— Janet Naideau, Head of Community Services, Northport-East Northport Public Library

“I listened to Dr. Kamran’s presentation on North Korea with great interest.  As I have some knowledge of the country’s history, I can attest that she did a very fine job reviewing the country’s history and describing how it became what it is today.  She then connected that historical background to the present-day policy dilemmas, adding details that really illuminated and emphasized the difficult questions North Korea poses currently.”

— Virginia W., East Setauket, NY

“A mention of the South’s use of broadcasting at the DMZ led to a discussion during the Q&A of K-POP, introducing me to a whole new musical genre!” — Mariann A., Patchogue, NY

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Let’s journey together.