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Earlier this year, a British Pakistani man took several people hostage at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas—including the congregation’s rabbi, Charlie Cytron-Walker. During the 11-hour saga, FBI negotiators posted outside tried to persuade the gunman to come out quietly. Meanwhile, another kind of negotiation was happening inside the temple’s walls: between the rabbi and the hostage taker.This week on our podcast The Negotiators, Rabbi Cytron-Walker describes how he tried to humanize himself and the other congregation members in order to stay alive. Cytron-Walker told his story to our show’s senior producer, Laura Rosbrow-Telem. This is our last episode of the season. We’ll be back soon with more negotiator stories. If you have an idea for a Negotiators episode, feel free to email us at The Negotiators is a partnership between Doha Debates and Foreign Policy. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
The negotiations that led to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union lasted more than four years. During that grueling process, three different prime ministers came and went in Britain, shifting positions and occasionally roiling the talks. The one constant was Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner in charge of Brexit talks. This week on our podcast The Negotiators, Barnier tells host Jenn Williams about challenges  he faced in the talks, including one that couples often confront in divorce proceedings: how to dismantle the partnership and still retain a measure of goodwill.Barnier has published a diary he kept during Brexit. For his full story, we recommend reading My Secret Brexit Diary: A Glorious Illusion.The Negotiators is a partnership between Doha Debates and Foreign Policy. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
The uprising in Libya that ended Muammar Qaddafi’s long reign in 2011 was supposed to provide a path to stability. Instead, the country descended into civil war, with regional powers vying for influence and resources. An election brokered by the United Nations last year was called off at the last moment and the sides to the conflict remain at an impasse.But while official negotiations have stalled, one peace group decided this past summer to bring opponents together in Norway, where they would try to find a way forward. The group, Together We Build It, has been working on peace and security issues since 2011, in part by engaging more women and young Libyans in the process. While the Norway talks were held largely behind closed doors, reporter Amira Karaoud attended the conference and interviewed the participants. Karaoud, who is originally from Tunisia, is featured in the latest episode of The Negotiators, a collaboration between Doha Debates and Foreign Policy.  Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Criminal justice advocates have tried for decades to pass legislation to reduce the United States prison population. Yet somehow, at a moment when the United States felt more polarized than ever, lawmakers managed to agree on a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill during Donald Trump’s presidency. It was called the First Step Act and it reduced the sentences of thousands of incarcerated people in federal prisons. This week on our podcast The Negotiators, we talk to Jessica Jackson, a lawyer and one of the key advocates for the First Step Act. She and political commentator Van Jones co-founded the group #Cut50, which helped advocate for the legislation. In this episode, Jackson tells host Jenn Williams how she convinced politicians from both parties to support the bill. For the full story on the First Step Act negotiations, we recommend watching the upcoming documentary The First Step, out in U.S. theaters in early 2023. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
When Chileans were asked in a referendum in 2020 whether they wanted a new constitution, the response was overwhelming. The current one dated back to the rule of Augusto Pinochet, the military dictator who had stepped down more than three decades earlier. Nearly eighty percent of the population voted in favor of a negotiation that would lead to a new charter for the country.But the negotiation process—which included representatives from the left and right side of the political map, along with dozens of independents—was rocky from the start. Delegates introduced many lofty ideas but the actual give-and-take required to produce a consensus was missing. Voters rejected a draft of the new constitution in September—by a large margin.This week on our podcast, The Negotiators, we examine what went wrong, with the help of John Bartlett, a reporter based in Santiago, Chile. Bartlett covered the constitutional convention and interviewed many of the key players.The Negotiations is a collaboration between Doha Debates and Foreign Policy. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
In 2009, the last nuclear arms control treaty between the United States and Russia was about to expire. The START agreement, and others like it, had helped protect people around the globe from the possibility of a nuclear confrontation between the world’s two superpowers. Barack Obama, who became president that year, was eager to get a new deal in place. On the latest episode of The Negotiators podcast, we hear from the chief U.S. envoy to the New START talks, Rose Gottemoeller, about the grueling process of negotiating that treaty—which was finally signed in 2010. Even now, as President Vladimir Putin threatens to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Russia continues to abide by that same New START deal. Gottemoeller was interviewed by our senior producer, Laura Rosbrow-Telem.The Negotiators is a collaboration between Doha Debates and Foreign Policy. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Military officers in Burkina Faso seized power last month, in the country’s second coup this year. In both cases, the main justification was leadership’s failure to curb violence from groups linked to the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. The insurgency has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced about 10 percent of the population.This week on our podcast, The Negotiators, we tell the story of one community leader in Burkina Faso who set out to negotiate with the insurgents so that members of his community can return to their homes. His story might be familiar to people who follow conflicts in other areas—including Afghanistan—where, in the absence of a broader peace process, people at the local level engage in their own small-scale diplomacy. Journalist Sam Mednick, who covered these community-led negotiations in Burkina Faso for The New Humanitarian, reports this episode with us.The Negotiators is a partnership between Doha Debates and Foreign Policy.  Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
For decades, Canadian activists have criticized the government in Ottawa for underfunding Indigenous communities, leading to various harms and hardships. The activists, led by Cindy Blackstock of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, sued the Canadian government in 2007, claiming that federal underfunding prompted First Nations children to end up in foster care in large numbers once residential schools were closed. The court battle dragged on for 15 years.But in January of this year, the federal government offered to pay C$40 billion to Indigenous children and families harmed by the child welfare system. It was the largest-ever proposed class action settlement in Canadian history—which some people are now calling a form of reparations. This week on The Negotiators podcast, Blackstock sits down with host Jenn Williams to discuss the tactics used in negotiations with the government and the conditions that led to a successful settlement. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Welcome back to The Negotiators, the podcast that brings you stories from mediators, troubleshooters, and negotiators around the world. The show is a collaboration between Doha Debates and Foreign Policy, hosted by FP Deputy Editor Jenn Williams.We begin our second season with a dramatic prisoner negotiation. Danny Fenster is an American journalist who covered the coup in Myanmar in 2021. Months later, while trying to leave the country for a visit with his family in the United States, he was arrested at the airport in Yangon and eventually charged with sedition. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison.In this two-part story, we hear from Mickey Bergman, who helped negotiate Fenster’s release. Bergman is the vice president and executive director of the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, a charitable organization that helps Americans who are wrongfully imprisoned around the world. On the show, he describes the grueling process of making the right connections in Myanmar and negotiating the deal—at times over the objections of the U.S. State Department.This isn't Bergman's first time on the show. On episode 4 of season 1, he described negotiating a complicated prisoner exchange with Iran. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
This is part two of negotiator Mickey Bergman’s story about the American journalist Danny Fenster, who was serving an 11-year prison sentence in Myanmar.In the first episode, Bergman described how much work it took to get to the gatekeepers. In this second part, he and his boss, Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico, are finally in Myanmar for the secret talks. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
A nuclear arms deal with Russia. Reparations for indigenous communities in Canada. A hostage release negotiated by the hostage himself. The Negotiators podcast is back on Sep. 27 with all new stories from people resolving some of the world’s most dramatic conflicts. Hosted by Jenn Williams, the Negotiators is a production of Doha Debates and Foreign Policy. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
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. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
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 Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
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 Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
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 Hosted on Acast. See for more 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. We want to hear from you! To fill out our 2021 listener survey, go to Hosted on Acast. See for more 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.We want to hear from you! To fill out our 2021 listener survey, go to Hosted on Acast. See for more 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.We want to hear from you! To fill out our 2021 listener survey, go to Hosted on Acast. See for more 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.  Hosted on Acast. See for more 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.   Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Comments (8)

Basit Golnawaz


Nov 7th

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Oct 12th

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Oct 11th

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Oct 11th

Lamine Bamba


Oct 4th
Reply (1)

Patrick Neal

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Oct 26th

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Oct 21st
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