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Jun 18, 2018

After a transformative trip to India during college, Michael Maren realized that in order to feel fully alive, he had to go back overseas. He joined the Peace Corps after graduating and a series of chance events led him to Kenya, where he stayed for the next five years, teaching English, Physics, and Swahili at a local secondary school, and he later worked as an aid worker in both Kenya and Somalia. After returning to the States for graduate school, Maren eventually became a war correspondent. From Uganda during the overthrow of Idi Amin in 1979 to Somalia during the height of the Somali Civil War in the early ‘90s, Maren has lived and worked in some of the dangerous places and situations on the planet.

In our latest episode, Katy travels to Positano on the Amalfi Coast, where she met up with Michael and interviewed him about his experiences covering conflict across the African continent. They discuss the trap of expat privilege, the negative effects of foreign aid on developing countries, and the delusions many war correspondents have that they are special enough to survive.

Maren is now an author and screenwriter. His book The Road to Hell explains how misguided foreign aid, charity, development assistance, and food relief in developing countries have propagated a culture of destructive dependency that damages the local economy and promotes corruption. He also wrote and produced the film A Short History of Decay starring Bryan Greenberg and Linda Lavin, is currently working on a new film, Shriver.


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