Main content

Being Diplomatic

How much emotion should you show if you are a diplomat, a news reporter or a conciliation expert? Anne McElvoy talks to Gabrielle Rifkind, William J Burns and Gabriel Gatehouse.

How much emotion should you show if you are a diplomat, a news reporter or a conciliation expert? Anne McElvoy chairs a Free Thinking Festival debate at Sage Gateshead with Gabriel Gatehouse, Gabrielle Rifkind and William J Burns.

In the world of international affairs, the overriding philosophy for global professionals has been one of restraint and rationality – whether you are negotiating, mediating or observing. So how is this traditional idea of “being diplomatic” and even-handed faring in a more emotional and expressive age?

Psychotherapist Gabrielle Rifkind works in conflict resolution in the Middle East. She directs The Oxford Process, a conflict prevention initiative specialising in managing radical disagreement. Her books include The Psychology of Political Extremism: What would Sigmund Freud have thought about Islamic State and The Fog of Peace: How to Prevent War.

William J Burns’ book The Back Channel - American Diplomacy in a Disordered World charts his career as an American diplomat for over 3 decades. involved in negotiations with President Putin and secret nuclear talks with Iran. He is now President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Gabriel Gatehouse is a BBC reporter whose work includes the Panorama programme Marine Le Pen: Who's Funding France's Far Right? (2017) and Our World A Tale of Two Swedens. His reporting has included investigations in East Africa, the Ukraine and Russia, Libya and Iraq and the BBC Radio 4 series The Puppet Master

Crossing Divides is a season of BBC programmes looking at the people, organisations and techniques being used to bring us closer together. https://www.bbc.com/ideas/playlists/crossing-divides and https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-43160365

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

Available now

44 minutes

Broadcast

Featured in...

The Arts & Ideas Podcast

The Arts & Ideas Podcast

You can download all the past episodes of Radio 3's Free Thinking

Click to listen to discussions, talks and music as the Free Thinking Festival 2019 Gets Emotional

Click to listen to discussions, talks and music as the Free Thinking Festival 2019 Gets Emotional

Angry politics, what we can’t say, being diplomatic, weeping, emotion in music, film & TV

CLICK to LISTEN & SEE programmes from the Free Thinking Festival 2018: The One & the Many

CLICK to LISTEN & SEE programmes from the Free Thinking Festival 2018: The One & the Many

We examine the fast-changing relationship between the individual & the crowd

CLICK to LISTEN & SEE all programmes, images, clips & features from 2017's festival

CLICK to LISTEN & SEE all programmes, images, clips & features from 2017's festival

Free Thinking Festival 2017: The Speed of Life