A show about people working to resolve some of the world’s toughest conflicts.
Conflicts don’t just get resolved on their own. Most are settled through a grueling process of give and take, usually behind closed doors. On the new podcast The Negotiators, Foreign Policy is teaming up with Doha Debate
The Road to Repatriation
Season 1, Ep. 10
This week, we hear from Jussi Tanner, a Finish ambassador and special envoy who negotiated the release of some 30 women and children from detention in northern Syria.
How a Motley Group of Negotiators Freed the Chibok Schoolgirls
Season 1, Ep. 9
In 2014, members of the Islamist Boko Haram group abducted around 300 mostly Christian girls from a school in northeastern Nigeria, prompting outrage around the world and triggering an unparalleled social media campaign that included A-list celebrities and world leaders.Despite global attention, it ended up taking three years to negotiate the girls’ release. Many of the girls had died by then or were forced into marriages with fighters.On The Negotiators podcast this week, we hear from Zannah Mustapha, one of the key mediators in the affair. He spent many months building up contacts with the group and winning support from the Nigerian government, which ended up paying ransom money to Boko Haram.We also hear from Joe Parkinson and Drew Hinshaw from the Wall Street Journal, who published a book about the ordeal called Bring Back Our Girls: The Untold Story of the Global Search for Nigeria’s Missing Schoolgirls. The authors analyze how the social media campaign affected the war against Boko Haram and the efforts to release the girls.We want to hear from you! To fill out our 2021 listener survey, go to survey.fan/foreignpolicy.com
The Long Road to Libya’s Election
Season 1, Ep. 8
Libya will hold its first-ever presidential elections on December 24th, after decades of dictatorship and years of civil war. The vote marks an important turning point for the country and is due in part to the creative diplomacy conducted there in recent years by the United Nations.On the podcast this week, we hear from Stephanie Turco Williams, the former head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, who oversaw much of that process.Host Jenn Williams also speaks with Hajer Sharief, a prominent peace activist in Libya and a co-founder of the organization Together We Build It. Sharief worries that the fragile peace in the country could yet unravel.We want to hear from you! To fill out our 2021 listener survey, go to survey.fan/foreignpolicy.com
Negotiating with the Taliban
Season 1, Ep. 7
The Afghan government spent nearly a year trying to reach a power-sharing agreement with the Taliban—until the group’s fighters swept into Kabul this past August. Those negotiations failed to produce a deal but, in retrospect, they tell us a lot about the Taliban, about why the country fell so quickly, and about what the future holds for Afghanistan.For an insider’s perspective, we hear this week from Fawzia Koofi, a former Afghan government official who sat across from Taliban negotiators throughout the talks in Doha, Qatar.Later in the episode, host Jenn Williams speaks with Ashley Jackson, a researcher and author who documented a different kind of negotiation with the Taliban—one that Afghan civilians were having across the country in the past few years with members of the group. Jackson wrote about the phenomenon in her book Negotiating Survival: Civilian–Insurgent Relations in Afghanistan.We want to hear from you! To fill out our 2021 listener survey, go to survey.fan/foreignpolicy.com
From Gang Member to Gang Mediator
Season 1, Ep. 6
On the show this week, we hear from a former gang member in Chicago who became an interrupter—a person who intervenes in potentially violent situations to prevent people from getting killed.Ameena Matthews was born into violence. Her father ran a gang and her brother was killed on the streets of Chicago.Eventually, she left that world and joined a group called CeaseFire. The idea was simple: former gang members using their street cred to mediate conflicts between warring factions.Matthews is now the executive director of the anti-violence organization “Pause for Peace” anda candidate for U.S. Congress in Illinois’ 1st district.We want to hear from you! To fill out our 2021 listener survey, go to survey.fan/foreignpolicy.com
Just How Close Did Israelis and Palestinians Come to a Peace Deal in 2008?
Season 1, Ep. 5
In 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas came close to outlining a shared vision of peace between their two nations—closer than the two sides had ever come. But what really happened in those meetings? And why did they fail to clinch a deal?This week on The Negotiators, we hear from Khaled Elgindy, who served as an advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team during the Annapolis talks. Elgindy is a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, where he also directs the Program on Palestine and Israeli-Palestine Affairs. His latest book is Blind Spot: America and the Palestinians, from Balfour to Trump.Also: Host Jenn Williams talks to Govinda Clayton, a conflict resolution expert at the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich and a co-creator of The Negotiators. They discuss Elgindy’s story as well as negotiations covered in previous episodes.We want to hear from you! To fill out our 2021 listener survey, go to survey.fan/foreignpolicy.com
Inside the Secret Talks that Led to a U.S. Prisoner Exchange with Iran
Season 1, Ep. 4
In 2019, when U.S. relations with Iran were at a low point, a non-governmental group called The Richardson Center mediated a prisoner swap between the two countries that brought home Xiyue Wang, a Chinese American graduate student.Mickey Bergman, the group’s vice president and executive director, helped direct the talks. He describes the negotiation on this episode.We want to hear from you! To fill out our 2021 listener survey, go to survey.fan/foreignpolicy.com