Friday Focus

The Friday Focus podcast is a weekly, half-hour masterclass on current events with Janice Stein, the founding director of the Munk School of Global Affairs, and Rudyard Griffiths, Chair of the Munk Debates. To access full length episodes of Friday Focus consider becoming a donor to the Munk Debates. For as little as a $25 CAD annual charitable donation you can listen to 50+ weekly Friday Focus programs online or on your favorite podcast platform.

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February 23, 2024

Friday Focus – Gaza Update & Nukes in Space

This week’s edition of Friday Focus begins with an update on the fast evolving situation in Gaza. Will the latest round of high level hostage negotiations in Paris lead to a breakthrough? What are listeners to make of Netanyahu’s “day after” plan for the war? How is it possible to...

February 16, 2024

Friday Focus – Navalny Dead & Democracy Deficit

This week’s edition of Friday Focus starts with a discussion of the news of the death of Russian democracy advocate and politician Alexei Navalny in a Siberian prison. What does this targeted killing say about the state of Russian politics? How is it likely to impact Western support for the...

February 9, 2024

Friday Focus – Tale of Two Presidents

This week’s edition of Friday Focus focuses on the performance of two presidents this week: Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden. The former sat for a two hour interview with American pundit Tucker Carlson. The two discussed 1,000 years of Russian history, supposed CIA treachery against Russia and the potential for...

February 2, 2024

Friday Focus: U.S. Strikes – General Rumblings – Foreign Students

This week’s edition of the Friday Focus podcast begins with a discuss of pending U.S. airstrikes against Iranian backed militias in Iraq and Syria in response to the killing of three American servicepeople. What are the strikes meant to do? Could they escalate into a full blown conflict between Iran...

January 26, 2024

Friday Focus: ICJ Ruling – Hostage Deal – Orange Monster

This week’s edition of Friday Focus opens with a summary of the International Court of Justice ruling on the case of genocide brought against Israel by South Africa. What did the court decide? The body of the show focuses on the high stakes hostage negotiations underway between Israel, Qatar, the...

January 19, 2024

Friday Focus: Two State – Missile Mullahs – Davos

This week’s edition of Friday Focus starts with a discussion of the battle lines shaping up between the Biden administration and Benjamin Netanyahu over the viability of a “two-state” solution. What are the argument’s pro and con? Is this likely to be the ballot question for the next Israeli election?...

January 12, 2024

Friday Focus – Attack on Yemen

This week’s installment of Friday Focus deals with the U.S. and allied forces’ airstrikes on Yemen. Do these attacks herald the beginning of a wider war in the Middle East? How are the other regional powers from Israel to Iran to Saudi Arabia likely to react? And what does it...

January 5, 2024

Friday Focus – The Assassin’s Creed

This week’s Friday Focus discusses the slew of assassinations that have taken place recently in Syria, Lebanon and Iran. Do they herald the coming regionalization of the War in Gaza to the wider Middle East? How are the different parties from Hezbollah to the Mullahs in Tehran to Israel’s war...

December 29, 2023

Friday Focus – 2024 Predictions

The final episode of Friday Focus for 2023 looks to the year ahead and asks what are the issues and ideas that will define the year to come. Janice and Rudyard also discuss how to make better predictions. Are there specific ways we can think about the future which can...

December 22, 2023

Friday Focus – The Year’s Sleeper Issue

The penultimate edition of Friday Focus for this calendar year explores the sleeper issue for 2023 of immigration. From America to Europe to Canada, immigration is obsessing policy makers, voting publics and reshaping the political map of much of the Western world. The cause is surging levels of migration that...

December 15, 2023

Friday Focus – UN Resolution & Ukraine’s Bad Week

This episode of Friday Focus opens with a discussion of Canada’s vote in favour of a UN resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire. How are we to interpret Canada breaking from the U.K. and U.S. and voting for the resolution? Was the accompanying statement released alongside the vote important to...

December 8, 2023

Friday Focus – Higher Ed Fails

This week’s episode of Friday Focus is dedicated exclusively to discussing the congressional testimony of the presidents of some of America’s leading universities and why they were unwilling to assert that advocating for the genocide of Jews on their campuses contravenes their organizations’ codes of conduct. What does this episode...

December 1, 2023

Friday Focus – War Restarts & COP 28

This week’s edition of Friday Focus begins with a discussion of the forces that propelled a return to hostilities in Gaza. How is Israel likely to fight its campaign to remove Hamas as a military force in the refugee congested southern regions of the territory? Will Hamas consider more hostage...

November 24, 2023

Friday Focus – Hostage Release & Targeted Assassination

This week’s edition of Friday Focus starts with a look ahead at the next four days of planned hostage exchanges between Hamas and Israel. What should we expect from both parties as the exchanges unfold? How could Hamas take advantage of the pause in hostilities? Will Israel restart its military...

November 17, 2023

Friday Focus – PM’s Remarks & Halifax Security Forum

On this week’s edition of Friday Focus, Janice and Rudyard begin the program with a discussion of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s remarks this week excoriating Israel for the civilian casualties caused by its war against Hamas in Gaza. Why has the prime minister changed his tone on the conflict and...

November 10, 2023

Friday Focus – Tale of Two Wars & Interest Rates

This week’s instalment of Friday Focus starts off with a discussion of the two major wars now ongoing in Gaza and Eastern Ukraine. How are these two conflicts similar and different? And how are they playing off each other both in terms of their future trajectories and domestic support in...

November 3, 2023

Friday Focus – War on Hamas & Carbon Tax

This week’s Friday Focus starts off with a recap of Israel’s war on Hamas. What have we seen in the past seven days in terms of new developments and trends in the conflict? Why is the border crossing in Egypt only allowing a trickle of dual passport holders and critically injured...

October 27, 2023

Friday Focus – Ceasefire Debate & Proportionality

This week’s edition of Friday Focus examines what we have learned in recent days about Israel’s war on Hamas and the international community’s response. Janice and Rudyard’s discussion begins with the growing calls for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Is this a realistic response to the current humanitarian crisis...

October 20, 2023

Friday Focus – Israel at War

This week’s edition of Friday Focus digs into the last week of events on the ground as Israel prepares for a ground invasion of Gaza. What do Janice and Rudyard think about the argument that Israel should agree to a temporary ceasefire? Why do parts of the media seem to...

October 13, 2023

Friday Focus – War on Hamas

This week’s edition of Friday Focus discusses the latest developments in Israel’s war on the Hamas terrorist organization. Janice and Rudyard discuss the dynamics and risks of the impending ground invasion of Gaza and why weeks, if not possibly months, of hard fighting in the streets and tunnels of Gaza...

October 9, 2023

Friday Focus Special Edition – ‘The targets were overwhelmingly civilians’: Janice Gross Stein on the surprise attack on Israel

This is a special Friday Focus episode with Janice Stein’s analysis of the horrible events that have taken place over the weekend in Israel. Janice provided her usual on-point, thoughtful commentary of now fast developing war. This special podcast comes courtesy of The Hub, Canada’s leading source for timely analysis and...

October 6, 2023

Friday Focus – House Rules

This week’s edition of Friday Focus with Janice Stein and Rudyard Griffiths sets sail into the stormy weather that defined the last week in U.S. politics. For the first time in history, the Speaker of the U.S. Congress was removed from office by a vote of its members. The putsch...

September 29, 2023

Friday Focus – Canada’s Shame & U.S. Shutdown

On this edition of Friday Focus Janice and Rudyard begin the show with a discussion of how Canada made international news this week by inadvertently inviting a veteran of the Waffen-SS to address parliament on the occasion of President Zelensky’s visit to Ottawa. How did this happen? What does it...

September 22, 2023

Friday Focus – Canada-India Bust-up

On this week’s edition of Friday Focus Janice and Rudyard dedicate the show to discussing the fallout in Canada-India relations precipitated by Prime Minister Trudeau’s revelations that there are “credible allegations” Indian security services murdered a Canadian citizen in Canada who supported an independent homeland for Sikhs in Punjab. What...

September 15, 2023

Friday Focus – Big Israel / Big Iran & Progressivism

On this edition of the Friday Focus podcast, Janice and Rudyard spend the first half of the show talking about two concepts that have emerged that help explain some of the West’s aspirations and fears about the Ukraine War. Some analysts are now arguing that an end game to the...

September 8, 2023

Friday Focus – G20 or G-zero?

On this edition of the Friday Focus podcast, Janice and Rudyard dedicate the show to talking about the upcoming G20 meeting in India. How should we understand the G20 meeting of the world’s largest economies in a world that is more divided than ever along regional lines? What is the...

September 1, 2023

Friday Focus – Housing: The Theory of Everything

On this edition of the Friday Focus podcast, Janice and Rudyard spend the show talking about housing and how it has become the “theory of everything” in advanced economies around the world from China to Canada. What are the opportunity costs for nations that are making housing an outsized driver...