What happens behind closed doors when peace agreements are negotiated? The Mediator’s Studio gives you a glimpse into the normally hidden world of peace diplomacy. Host Adam Cooper brings you first-hand stories from mediators, armed groups and governments on what it takes to end wars. The Mediator’s Studio is a podcast from the Oslo Forum, the world’s leading mediation retreat. It’s brought to you by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.
Hanna Tetteh on revitalising peace in South Sudan
Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the African Union, Hanna Tetteh, charts her journey from the legal profession where she defended disadvantaged women to Ghanaian politics, where, as Foreign Minister, she introduced affirmative action into the diplomatic service. She offers robust lessons for would be mediators, describing how she told a negotiator not to lecture her on suffering and making the case for women to take a central role in the search for peace in South Sudan.
Meredith Preston McGhie on how to become a mediator
Secretary General of the Global Centre for Pluralism, Meredith Preston McGhie, reveals the backroom story of working closely with Kofi Annan to resolve Kenya’s violent political crisis in 2008, typing out the peace deal as each word was negotiated, with senior ministers circling her to glimpse the draft on her laptop. She lays bare the mediator’s craft while describing her work to resolve conflicts in Asia and Africa, admitting that while heavily pregnant she once threatened to go into labour when negotiations began to stall.
Said Djinnit on Africa’s forgotten conflicts
Special Adviser to the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, Ambassador Said Djinnit, recalls the nightmares of a childhood under colonial rule in his native Algeria. With a chilling story of the moment a French soldier threatened to kill his father, he illustrates how those injustices propelled him into a lifetime of mediation. Among the many tales of the untold, he recounts being mistaken for a French agent during his mission to restore democracy in Comoros following a dramatic coup, as well as persuading a military general in Guinea to step down shortly after seizing power.
Betty Bigombe on making peace with the Lord’s Resistance Army
Special Envoy of Uganda to South Sudan, Betty Bigombe, retraces her steps to northern Uganda as government negotiator, engaging one of the most brutal armed groups the world has known in her efforts to end the civil war. Despite significant threats to her safety, including ambushes, landmines and accusations of treason, she persists in her attempt to forge peace. Drawing on decades in peacemaking, she outlines the principles that guided her recent engagement in South Sudan and is forthright in her views on the tension between justice and peace. Listeners are warned that this episode contains graphic descriptions of violence.
Dag Nylander on salmon diplomacy
Norwegian peace facilitator, Dag Nylander, recounts how he smuggled salmon into Havana where negotiations brought to an end one of South America’s longest running civil wars. He describes how, during an early morning helicopter mission, a chance encounter with a young guerrilla influenced the peace agenda in Colombia. And he outlines the essence of Norwegian-style diplomacy, laying out how the dynamics of peace processes change over time, making the impossible achievable.
Sanam Naraghi Anderlini on Gucci gangsters and Yemeni mums
The founder and CEO of the International Civil Society Action Network, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini MBE, calls for a complete rethink of international approaches to conflict resolution to better reflect the increasing fragmentation of warfare. Sharing first-hand accounts of her encounters with Gucci gangsters in Jamaica and South Africa's Knitting Needles Guerrilla, and recounting a dash after a foreign minister through the corridors of the UN, she demonstrates the importance of diversifying voices at the negotiating table and how the pivotal UNSC Resolution 1325 established a new discourse for the inclusion of women in peacemaking.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A rare and precious view
Cooper does a fantastic job leading the listener on a tour of the little-seen world of the professional conflict mediator. It’s fascinating to learn how peace gets made when it does, and perhaps even more to hear what mediator’s take away when best efforts don’t quite reach the promised land.
Thank you for this Podcast. What a fascinating inside look at some of the world’s largest conflicts. This is invaluable information. Thank you. Nokukhanya Ntuli
Fascinating behind the scenes analysis
At a time when the global political climate is increasingly polarized and hostile to internationalism, this podcast is a good reminder of how much we owe the people who do the difficult work behind the scenes to broker and keep peace. Very accessible lens that brings us inside the rooms where the key conversations happened, and translates major events in recent history into stories of real people and human behavior we can all relate to.