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.
Miriam Coronel-Ferrer on bridging the gap “between heaven and earth” to find peace in the southern Philippines
Former Lead Negotiator for the Government of the Philippines, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, takes us inside the peace talks that ended half a century of insurgency in the southern Philippines. She reveals how she worked to unify the positions of the army, police and political establishment on her own side and went on to find common ground with representatives of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, an armed group that for decades had fought for more autonomy. She lays out the milestones towards peace, describing how the parties reached the point of no return “on Heartbreak Hill”, and explains why we must all be radical in the search for peace.
Find out more about the Oslo Forum Peacewriter Prize: www.hdcentre.org/osloforum/peacewriter-prize
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Jeffrey Feltman on the risk of accidental war
Former UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, reveals behind-the-scenes moments from his missions to Iran and North Korea. He also reflects on a career in the US Foreign Service, which threw him into the limelight of Lebanese politics at the time of Syria’s turbulent exit from the country, and recounts the dramatic episode when a talkative contact may have saved him from the huge car bomb that killed Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
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Victoria Sandino and Sergio Jaramillo Caro: former enemies talk peace
Former FARC commander, Victoria Sandino, now a Senator in Colombia, and the country’s former High Commissioner for Peace, Sergio Jaramillo Caro, were once enemies, facing each other over the negotiating table. Now they come together in The Mediator’s Studio to give the inside story on how secret talks led the two sides to a lakeside retreat in Cuba, where they forged a peace agreement to end one of Latin America’s longest conflicts. They reveal how they worked together when the Colombian people narrowly rejected the deal in a referendum and talk frankly about protecting an increasingly fragile peace today.
Stephanie Williams on inviting the public to Libya’s 'National Barbecue Session'
Former Acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Libya, Stephanie Williams, reveals how Zoom calls and digital dialogues helped put the country on the path to elections after a decade of conflict and instability. She recalls her shock when a phone call from President Trump undermined the UN-led peace process, and explains how the latest, livestreamed round of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum turned up the heat on Libya’s political class.
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Ibrahim Saleh Hassan on forgiveness and community dialogue in Nigeria
Businessman turned local mediator, Ibrahim Saleh Hassan, recalls being caught up in intercommunal violence in his home city of Jos and explains why, in the aftermath of this traumatic experience, he chose to be part of the solution rather than seek revenge. He tells Adam how he applied the lessons of this first dialogue process to other mediation efforts across Nigeria’s Middle Belt and why he has found that a peacemaker’s work is never done.
Catherine Ashton on safe spaces for difficult conversations
Former EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, reveals the inner workings of negotiations to secure a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme and looks ahead to prospects for the agreement under a Biden administration. She recalls how she put former enemies at ease in talks between Serbia and Kosovo, argues that Europe has learned the lessons of bitter division and war and explains why, despite the fact that progress is often slow, she remains optimistic about mediation and negotiation.
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.