A Syrian youth flashes the victory sign as he stands in front of a building that was covered with anti-government graffiti — though local authorities painted over it — in the town of Duma, outside Damascus, in February.
The uprising in Syria began in the spring of 2011 when rebellious teenagers scrawled anti-regime graffiti on a wall in the southern city of Daraa.
The protest against their arrest, and the regime's brutal response, sparked the wider revolt. Throughout the unrest, the country's younger generation has been at the forefront of efforts to end the repressive regime of President Bashar Assad.
At a cafe in the heart of Damascus recently, a young man flips open his cellphone to show pictures of people killed in the uprising.
Fifty miles south of the U.S.- Mexico border, the Colorado River Delta and its once-rich estuary wetlands -- reduced by 95 percent since the river was restricted by dams -- are now as parched as the surrounding Sonoran Desert.
The Colorado River touches the lives of Americans coast to coast. The river begins in the Rocky Mountains and flows into Mexico's Sea of Cortez. Along the way, it feeds over a dozen tributaries across the American Southwest.
Many in the West rely on the Colorado for drinking water, and farmers depend on it to irrigate millions of acres of farmland. And if you've ever felt the cool relief of air conditioning in Las Vegas, there's a good chance the electricity was provided by the "mighty Colorado."
When Colum McCann came to the U.S. from Ireland in the early 1980s, he set out on a cross-country bicycle trip to get to know his new country and its stories. He's spent the years since telling those tales through prose. With his project, Story Swap, he's helping diverse communities better understand each other by sharing their own stories.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan at the Aspen Institute. News from the Middle East often focuses on problems: violence in Syria; political infighting in Egypt; bombs in the new Iraq; nuclear facilities in Iran; ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinians.