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The Negotiators

The Negotiators

Author: Foreign Policy and Doha Debates

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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 Debates to put listeners in the room. Hosted by FP deputy editor Jenn Williams, each episode will feature one mediator, diplomat, or troubleshooter, describing one dramatic negotiation. You’ll hear about a nuclear standoff, a hostage crisis, a gang mediation, and much more: successes and failures that shaped people’s lives.

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8 Episodes
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.  See for privacy and opt-out information.
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” and  a candidate for U.S. Congress in Illinois’ 1st district.  See for privacy and opt-out information.
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. See for privacy and opt-out information.
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. See for privacy and opt-out information.
The Iran nuclear deal is one of the most significant diplomatic agreements in recent history. This week on The Negotiators, we’ll hear the inside story from Wendy Sherman, who led the U.S. side of the negotiations as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. She now serves as the Deputy Secretary of State. This interview was adapted from FP's First Person podcast with Sarah Wildman.  See for privacy and opt-out information.
In 2014, the government of the Philippines signed a peace deal with Muslim separatists in the southern part of the country known as the Bangsamoro. The agreement brought a gradual end to a conflict that had killed more than 120,000 people over decades.This week on The Negotiators, we hear from the government official who navigated the talks, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer. She was the first woman ever to lead a negotiation with an armed rebel group—the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Coronel-Ferrer was a political science professor before going to work for the government in 2010. One thing that made her effective at negotiating with the rebels was that she herself had been an anti-government activist during the era of Filipino strongman Ferdinand Marcos.   See for privacy and opt-out information.
These days, with the world divided as it is, it’s hard to imagine more than 195 countries coming together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yet that’s precisely what happened in 2015 with the Paris Climate Agreement. The accord was a historic deal, but what do we really know about how it was reached? On the first episode of The Negotiators, we hear from Tom Rivett-Carnac, who helped bring countries together in Paris. Rivett-Carnac began his adult life as a Buddhist monk and eventually became the senior advisor to Christiana Figueres, who helmed the U.N. talks that led to the climate agreement. See for privacy and opt-out information.
The Paris Climate Agreement. The Iran Nuclear Deal. The Bring Back our Girls campaign. How did these deals get made? On The Negotiators, each episode will feature one person telling the story of one dramatic negotiation. Hosted by Jenn Williams, The Negotiators is a production of Foreign Policy and Doha Debates. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Comments (2)

Patrick Neal

The podcast gives real insight into those Americans who betray both the United States and our alliance with Israel in the shameful capitulation to Iran.

Oct 26th

yousef bkkr

it's so beautiful and it's like story I love him very 👍🏻👍🏻 much

Oct 21st
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