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The Negotiators

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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 for a second season, 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.

New episodes every Tuesday, wherever you get your podcasts.

 

Season 2

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S2 E2 The Negotiators

Negotiating an American prisoner’s release from Myanmar, Part 2

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.

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29:36
S2 E1 The Negotiators

Negotiating an American prisoner’s release from Myanmar, Part 1

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.

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S2 Trailer The Negotiators

The Negotiators season 2 trailer

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 September 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.

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Season 1

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30:12
S1 E10 The Negotiators

The road to repatriation

Jussi Tanner is an ambassador and special envoy with the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In late 2019, he was called on to negotiate with the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, a Kurdish-led area that’s part of Syria but has its own governing body and military units. Those units helped defeat the ISIS caliphate in 2019. They now run detention camps in the region that hold many former ISIS fighters and their families, including some foreigners. Tanner’s mission was to get the Kurdish-led government to release Finnish mothers and children in the camps for repatriation. He thought it would take just a few weeks — instead, the negotiation lasted for nearly two years.

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S1 E9 The Negotiators

How a motley group of negotiators freed the Chibok schoolgirls

Senior producer Laura Rosbrow-Telem interviews journalists Joe Parkinson and Drew Hinshaw, co-authors of a book about the 2014 Nigerian schoolgirl kidnappings by Boko Haram. She also sits down with Zannah Bukar Mustapha, a key mediator in the girls’ release.

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S1 E8 The Negotiators

The long road to Libya’s election

Libya will hold its first-ever presidential elections on December 24, 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.

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29:27
S1 E7 The Negotiators

Negotiating with the Taliban

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.

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S1 E6 The Negotiators

From gang member to gang mediator

An “interrupter” tells her story about preventing violence on the streets of Chicago.

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S1 E5 The Negotiators

Just how close did Israelis and Palestinians come to a peace deal in 2008?

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, we hear from Khaled Elgindy, who served as an advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team during the Annapolis talks.

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30:16
S1 E4 The Negotiators

Inside the secret talks that led to a US prisoner exchange with Iran

In 2019, when US 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.

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30:58
S1 E3 The Negotiators

Inside the grueling negotiations that led to the Iran nuclear deal

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 US side of the negotiations as the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. She now serves as the Deputy Secretary of State.

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S1 E2 The Negotiators

Negotiating a peace deal is hard, implementing it is harder

On today’s show, we’ll hear from Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, the first woman ever to lead a negotiation with an armed rebel group — the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. One thing that made her effective at negotiating with the rebels? She herself was an anti-government activist during the Marcos era.

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S1 E1 The Negotiators

Inside the Paris Climate Agreement

On today’s show, we’ll hear from Tom Rivett-Carnac. He was the senior adviser to Christiana Figueres, who led the United Nations’ talks toward the Paris Climate Agreement. Rivett-Carnac shares many stories, including the typo that almost tripped up the whole deal, as well as the power of Buddhism, island nations and editing.

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