Ashley Westerman

Ashley Westerman is an assistant producer with Morning Edition and occasionally directs the show. Since joining the staff in June 2015, she has helped produce coverage of all sorts of notable happenings — including the European migrant crisis and the 2016 presidential campaign. Ashley convinced the show to cover a coal mine closing near her hometown. Ages ago (2011) Ashley was a summer intern with Morning Edition and pitched a story on her very first day. She went on to work as reporter and host for member station 89.3 WRKF in Baton Rouge, La., where she earned awards covering everything from health care to jambalaya. Ashley is a two-time reporting fellow with the International Center for Journalists. Through its programs, she has covered labor issues in her home country of the Philippines for NPR and health care in Appalachia for Voice of America. She tweets @NPRAshley.

A recent string of violent episodes in Southeast Asian countries sheds some light on the challenges facing this region as it grapples with extremism.

In Indonesia last month, two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a Jakarta bus station. The attack was linked to an ISIS-affiliated group.

On April 24, 2013, the eight-story Rana Plaza building outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people and injuring thousands of others. At the time, the building housed five garment factories that manufactured goods for major retail companies in Europe and North America.

Can all hope be lost?

I used to think not.

I used to think that no matter how tough life gets for people, they always have hope to cling to – to get them through it.

Then I met some Rohingya refugees on a trip to Bangladesh last month. Reporter Michael Sullivan and I were there to report on the latest wave of the Muslim minority group to flee over the border from Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

There are a lot of reasons victims of sexual assault choose not to report it. High on that list is fear of retaliation, so many victims won't come forward unless they can stay anonymous.

The criminal justice system cannot guarantee that kind of confidentiality for accusers and the accused. Further, when sexual assault is reported to law enforcement, a majority of cases never make it to trial. In fact, only 3 percent to 18 percent of sexual assaults lead to a conviction, according to research funded by the Justice Department.

As an Asian-American woman, I've had any number of opportunities to see someone who looked like me on the big and small screen.

Since I was a little girl, I've seen Disney's Mulan, Trini Kwan from Fox Kids' Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey's Anatomy, to name a few. And while the portrayal of Asian-American women by Hollywood and television could use some work — too often they're oversexualized or rendered exotic — at least we're present and have some depth.

The number of people who leave their countries to work abroad is soaring, according to the United Nations. More than 200 million people now live outside their country of origin, up from 150 million a decade ago.

And migration isn't just from poor countries to rich countries anymore. There also is significant migration from rich country to rich country — and even from poor country to poor.

Beginning Thursday, the U.N. will hold a high-level meeting on the subject in New York.

Moving For Work