UN High Commissioner for Refugees, US State Department reps visit Boise

Last week, I interviewed Vincent Cochetel, the Regional Representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the United States and the Caribbean, and Kelly Gauger, Deputy Director for Refugee Admission at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration for Radio Boise. The two officials spoke at the 4th Annual Idaho Conference on Refugees at Boise State.

I have been working with Radio Boise to set up a news and public affairs department for months now, and wanted to test out my equipment, use the editing room at the studio and try out some different formats for journalism at the station. I’m also quite interested in refugee affairs and had some questions for Cochetel in particular.

Here is the story that ran today on Radio Boise: [Audio Link Broken]
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/35801157″ params=”auto_play=false&show_artwork=true&color=ff7700″ width=”100%” iframe=”true” /]

This is a new format for me and I’d love to know what folks think. I know I have a few audio problems that audiophiles will notice. My editor’s hat also tells me it’s way too long, but I also think that community radio provides a good forum to allow interesting sources to speak at length on interesting topics. Both Cochetel and Gauger had a lot to say, and my interviews with three refugees confirmed and illustrated some of their points. At this point, we don’t have a dedicated time slot for reported stories like this at Radio Boise, so we had the freedom to run it long, before the afternoon syndicated newscasts (Free Speech Radio News and Democracy Now).

One thing I’d like to follow up on is the point toward the end about the intersection of economic, or voluntary migrants and asylum seekers. Increasingly these two groups are occupying the same space, whether it’s in urban Africa or in rural parts of the United States.

Here is a bonus clip on Vincent Cochetel’s 1998 kidnapping. He was held hostage in the Northern Caucuses for almost a year:

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