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True Stories of High-Stakes Negotiations to Free Americans Captured Abroad with Mickey Bergman

Tuesday, June 18, 2024 12 Sivan 5784

7:00 PM - 8:30 PMIn Person at Temple Sholom

Embark on a riveting journey behind the scenes of international negotiations with Mickey Bergman, who has played a pivotal role in the sensitive Israeli hostage discussions with Hamas. As the Vice President of the Richardson Center for Global Engagement and a special operations veteran, Bergman brings unparalleled insights from the front lines of diplomacy and determination. Join us for an exclusive event that sheds light on his daring missions, innovative strategies for freeing political prisoners, and a preview of his compelling book, In the Shadows. Delve into the untold tales of global engagement and the critical challenges of negotiating with some of the world's most formidable adversaries.

Following the event, attendees will have the unique opportunity to engage further with Mickey Bergman's insights through a book signing of his latest work, In the Shadows. This compelling read offers an in-depth exploration of high-stakes international negotiations for the release of political prisoners. The book is available for purchase at $25, which can be done in advance during registration or on-site, subject to availability. This is your chance to own a piece of the action, delve deeper into the untold stories of diplomacy and negotiation, and meet the author himself. Ensure you secure your copy early to avoid missing out!

Brittney Griner, Danny Fenster, Otto Warmbier, Trevor Reed, Paul Whelan, Xiyue Wang…When an American citizen is unjustly imprisoned overseas, that’s when Mickey Bergman’s phone starts to ring. Who else are their desperate loved ones supposed to call? Mickey and his tight team of savvy negotiators at the Richardson Center for Global Engagement are the go-to rescuers of last resort, carrying on the high-stakes, round-the-world mission of master negotiator Bill Richardson. Mickey and his team do what U.S. government officials are often unable or unwilling to do: sit down with America’s toughest adversaries and find creative ways to bring our people home. That's life In the Shadows.

This is the heart-pounding story of these urgent negotiations, what it’s like to climb inside the minds of some of the world’s most notorious strongmen, where the clear divisions between good and evil are replaced by a thousand shades of gray.

The hard work is done far from the glare of media publicity. The negotiations don’t follow traditional diplomatic rules. As innocent Americans sit behind bars in hellhole foreign prisons, Mickey and his colleagues stop at nothing to get our people home. And these cases almost never go as smoothly as they should, as the independent negotiators navigate between U.S. government officials and some of the world’s most headstrong leaders. And as soon as one American is freed, Mickey is off on another dicey mission to Moscow, Caracas, Naypyidaw, Pyongyang, or some other complex foreign capital. These painstaking campaigns require creative thinking, hardball pressure tactics, excruciating patience, and a genuine sense of compassion for the anxious families whose lives are thrown into turmoil when a loved one is imprisoned abroad.

In Mickey Bergman's own words, In the Shadows tells the hidden story of these high-drama rescue campaigns. The crafty negotiating strategies. The strong-willed foreign leaders. The emotional rollercoaster of being responsible for innocent American lives. The exhilaration when another American is released from a foreign prison—and the terrible letdown when a promising effort hits another maddening roadblock. Mickey recounts his unique relationship with his mentor, the late, great Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico, ambassador to the United Nations and legendary negotiator. He shares the wrenching closeness he develops with the desperate families he serves, who often have nowhere else to turn. He offers a detailed account of his one-on-one interactions with Washington’s top power players, both Democrats and Republicans, and some of the world’s most isolated and misunderstood heads of state. For readers who want the full, searing story of these life-ordeath rescue missions and the fascinating people behind them, it’s all In the Shadows. As Mickey Bergman and New York Times bestselling author Ellis Henican make clear on every page, international diplomacy isn’t just for government officials anymore.


Mickey Bergman is the CEO of Global Reach, and VP of the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, nongovernmental, non-profit organizations that negotiate the release of political prisoners and hostages around the world. A special-operations veteran of the Israel Defense Forces, he has spent the past decade freeing Americans from some of the most complex and insulated countries on earth, including Iran, North Korea, Russia, Venezuela, Syria, Gambia and Sudan. He is an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service, where his graduate courses focus on the art of emotional intelligence in international relations. He was nominated for the 2019 and 2023 Nobel Peace Prize alongside former Governor Bill Richardson.


Temple Sholom Members

Registration is free for Temple Sholom members.


Registration is $18 for non-members.

Book Purchase

The book is $25. Books purchased in advance will be available for pick-up at the event, and books will be sold onsite as well.
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