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At the Coalface

English, Education, 1 season, 72 episodes, 3 days, 1 hour, 17 minutes
About
At the Coalface is conversations among friends working in international affairs. What connects us is our desire to think beyond ideologies and noisy headlines. We took time away from our jobs to think deeply about our world during the Global Master of Arts Programme (GMAP) at the Fletcher School. We learned about international trade, security, negotiations, leadership and more and work in these fields as practitioners. This podcast is our space for candid chats about our life stories and the lessons learned at the coalface.
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Rahul Sharma - On the role of trust in foreign relations: a journalist's global perspective on politics and leadership

In this episode, I speak with Rahul Sharma. Rahul has had a fascinating international career in journalism, media, corporate and political affairs. He’s worked  at the Economic Times, Khaleej Times and Reuters among others, covering business and political stories, while also living in Hong Kong, Singapore and Sri Lanka. He has a unique perspective about China, watching the country rise while his native India was undergoing its own transformation. We talk about his early career, his pivot to the private sector and advising top corporate leaders, India’s elections and conclude with musings about leadership.Recorded on 13 May 2024.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Rahul on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/rahul-sharma-41a451b. His blog is called Looking Beyond Borders (lookingbeyondborders.com).And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, updates about the podcast, and my deep gratitude!Support the Show.
6/19/20241 hour, 8 minutes, 17 seconds
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Perry Boyle - On living one's values, scaling the fight on poverty, investing in Ukraine's defence industry

In this episode, I speak with Perry Boyle. Perry shares with me his multiple lives and how he reinvented himself as his life goals evolved and as his values broadened. We talk about his initial career in investment banking and private equity, his pivot to equity research, and then his decision to reframe his purpose towards scaling a successful NGO tackling acute poverty in Africa. Perry shares his outrage at the threats to the liberal rule based order by autocracy, and how he decided to put all his life experience to use in setting up an investment bank focusing on developing Ukraine’s defence industry. This is a broad ranging and personal conversation about living one’s beliefs, reinvention, leaning in and letting go.Recorded on 17 May 2024.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Perry on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/perryboyle. BOMA's website is  boma.ngo.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, updates about the podcast, and my deep gratitude!Support the Show.
6/5/20241 hour, 18 minutes, 13 seconds
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Kamram Balayev - An international lawyer's quest to safeguard human rights and foster individual prosperity

In this episode, I speak with Kamran Balayev. Kam is a lawyer specialised in human rights and international law. He grew up in Azerbaijan but has made London home. He divides his energy between commercial consulting projects and international transactions and his work on human rights. Kam is passionate about improving the political and legal structures that underpin business and enable individual prosperity: he took this to heart when he decided to run for Mayor of London  a few years ago. I was delighted to catch up with Kam and record this conversation.Recorded on 29 April 2024.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Kam on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/kamran-balayev-93751ba4.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, updates about the podcast, and my deep gratitude!Support the Show.
5/22/202448 minutes, 20 seconds
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Scott Malcomson - The hard-earned insights of an author, reporter, foreign affairs analyst on why international and local structures never win over one another

Share what you think and send us a message!In this episode, I speak with Scott Malcomson. Scott is an accomplished author, reporter, editor, foreign affairs analyst and investigator, with experience working in government advising leaders that have defined our era, as well as for the  private sector. He’s travelled all over the world to dive deep into the local dynamics of far flung places, from Latin America to Central Asia to the Pacific Islands, speaking to rebels and guerrilleros. In our conversation, we reflect on what forces have shaped his life, his early encounter with racial issues and political violence, his fascination with empires and with the perpetual tensions between international and local structures. There is so much to Scott’s life that we barely scratched the surface, but I hope you’ll enjoy this glimpse behind the scenes of Scott’s prolific work.Recorded on 12 April 2024.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Scott on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/scottmalcomson.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, updates about the podcast, and my deep gratitude!Support the Show.
5/8/20241 hour, 28 minutes, 34 seconds
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Alberto Montrond - Lessons in service and diplomacy from Boston to Cape Verde

In this episode, I speak with Alberto Montrond. Alberto is originally from Cape Verde and moved to the US as a child. In our conversation, we explore what it meant to grow up in an environment with bullying,  racial and social  challenges. Alberto shares how he turned these negative forces into a source of strength and self-discipline thanks to martial arts, leading him to use this wisdom to serve his community. He shares his journey into electoral politics to drive change to Cape Verde. And how he’s today putting all of his skills to work in science diplomacy as Senior Fellow in the Emergency Preparedness Research, Evaluation and Practice Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, focusing on fascinating multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder programmes ranging from countering violent extremism and human trafficking.Recorded on 11 April 2024.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Alberto on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/alberto-montrond-55264b25.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, updates about the podcast, and my deep gratitude!Support the show
4/24/202455 minutes, 40 seconds
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Journel Jospeh - Al Frontiers: The New Wave of Innovation Driving Entrepreneurship and Globalization

In this episode, I speak with Journel Jospeh. Journel shares his fascinating story into the world of AI entrepreneurship. He grew up in Haiti and initially pursued a journalistic ambition. In the US, he moved into data science and saw opportunities for digital technologies to improve some of the disparities and inequalities with access to quality healthcare. We talk about the dangers and opportunities of AI, in particular for the global South, and reflect on the raw intensity of life as an entrepreneur with no safety net.Recorded on 8 March 2024.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Journel on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/journeljoseph.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, updates about the podcast, and my deep gratitude!Support the show
4/10/20241 hour, 5 minutes, 23 seconds
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Janine di Giovanni - On giving a voice to victims of conflict

In this episode, I speak with Janine Di Giovanni. I first met Janine at a crisis simulation workshop as part of our degree programme at the Fletcher school and remember being struck by her energy, but also the ease with which she navigated the harrowing scenario of an ambassador needing to take immediate action as staff were caught hostage. Janine needs no introduction, she is one of the world’s most experienced and acclaimed war reporter, more than that: a human rights reporter. Janine has dedicated her life to giving a voice to those caught in the middle of many of the most gruesome conflict of the last decades. In our conversation, we talk about what inspired her to take the path she did, the meaning of failure, faith in war, and grappling with evil.Warning: this episode touches on subjects that could be traumatic to some. Recorded on 13 March 2024.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Janine on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/janine-di-giovanni, on Instagram @janinedigi, on X @janinedigi and at her website janinedigiovanni.com.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, updates about the podcast, and my deep gratitude!Support the show
3/27/202453 minutes, 55 seconds
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Katarina Kavec - A journey in other people’s minds, as interpreter and psychotherapist

In this episode, I speak with Katarina Kavec. Katarina grew up in the drab setting of former Yugoslavia, where she had a window seat on the colours and choices available right across the border in Italy.  She shares with me the opportunities that came her way and those that eluded her... and the philosophy she developed to embrace whatever comes your way, to trust that everything will work out. I’m moved by the fits and starts of Katarina’s life, and how it all seems to have been for a reason: the moment everything came crashing down at 18, the failure to pass the interpreter accreditation exam the first time, but also the people who stepped into the picture to bring encouragement and new opportunities... leading her to a what is now a rich life as an interpreter, psychotherapist, yoga teacher and sommelier. Recorded on 20 January 2024.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Katarina on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/katarina-kavec-ab340083.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, updates about the podcast, and my deep gratitude!Support the show
3/13/202458 minutes, 13 seconds
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Anabel Bueno Santana-Dolenc - A lifetime of international experience and serving Dominican Republic

In this episode, I speak with Anabel Bueno Santana-Dolenc. Anabel shares her unusual story growing up in a politically active family in Dominican Republic, who had to find refuge in the US for many years.  Her background provided the impetus to seek a path that would lead her to serve her country. Her calling was working in the UN and multilateral agencies, managing lending and donation programmes in agriculture at a very young age, and later in development cooperation. Following an assignment as Ambassador for Dominican Republic at the Organisation of American States, she was recently appointed by her country to the UN Tourism Agency in a new role where she will continue to be making a difference. We talk about the role of chance in life, leadership lessons as a young female professional, the importance of  carving out one’s space and reflect on emerging models in South South cooperation.The book Anabel refers to is From Dessalines to Duvalier: Race, Colour and National Independence in Haiti by David Nicholls, published in 1996.Recorded on 22 May 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Anabel on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/anabel-bueno-santana-dolenc-94253bab.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Support the show
2/28/20241 hour, 4 minutes, 19 seconds
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Moges Gebremedhin - On the importance of peace and stability to enable development to take roots

In this episode, I speak with Moges Gebremedhin. I’d long wanted to have a longer conversation with Moges after meeting him at an event where he was a panelist and we had a Q&A on his thoughts about the trajectory of East Africa where he grew up, between Ethiopia and Kenya, yet originally from Eritrea. Moges shares his story of multiple identities common to many people in the region, connected by similar challenges yet also divided by complex affiliations and loyalties. We talk about  what factors matter most in the trajectory of development of these countries, the trade-off that can occur between peace and democratic participation, and the devastating impact war can have on any progress these countries have made.Recorded on 4 January 2024.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Moges on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/moges-gebremedhin.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, updates about the podcast, and my deep gratitude!Support the show
2/14/202455 minutes, 31 seconds
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Laurie Charlés - Healing trauma in conflict zones: capacity building in family systems therapy

In this episode, I speak with Laurie Charlés. Laurie is a family therapist who has taken her expertise to regions in the throes of conflict, violence and fragility - countries where mental health concerns can be dire - yet the resources available to help are rudimentary. She’s helped coach and train the people who support vulnerable groups and victims of gender-based violence in places like DRC, Burundi, Kosovo, Lebanon for Syrian refugees, among so many others... and our conversation made me realise the staggering amount of trauma left in the wake of conflict. We talk about her journey into becoming a therapist, the biases she’s had to overcome and insights from the thousands of hours spent speaking to families.Recorded on 20 December 2023.Corrigendum: Laurie attended her first graduate degree for 4.5 years. It is her second graduate degree that took her six years. Laurie also referred to GDZ when she meant  GDR (East Germany).Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Laurie on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/laurielcharlesphdlmft.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, updates about the podcast, and my deep gratitude!Support the show
1/31/202457 minutes, 6 seconds
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Peter Stanbury - Getting things done in difficult places, on the political economy of unintended consequences

In this episode, I speak with Dr Peter Stanbury. Peter has developed a unique expertise over decades of guiding companies, international agencies, governments and civil society organisations on the politics of economic development in emerging markets. He’s helped these organisations design economic activities that take account of local dynamics, such as what happens to social structures when income levels change, how do communities respond and what spillover effects happen. Peter’s work is about effecting change in the real world, based on understanding how it really is, rather than how we wish it to be. His perspective is invaluable in navigating the ethical dilemmas of operating in places with weak governance, where dogma and rules rarely work as a compass.Recorded on 20 December 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Peter on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/dr-peter-stanbury-0911bb18b/.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, updates about the podcast, and my deep gratitude!Support the show
1/17/202456 minutes, 34 seconds
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Ernesto Gonzalez - From oil painting in a Chilean favela to the UN Security Council

In this episode, I speak with Ernesto Gonzalez. Ernesto shares with me his incredible life trajectory, from modest beginnings in Chile to the inner workings of the UN’s Security Council. Ernesto grew up in poverty, where one pair of shoes had to last for an entire year. His story is one that combines focus and grit with openness to chance encounters - such as the offer to help pay for his stay in the US to learn English, a step that changed his life. I was fascinated by how Ernesto found his way from there into a diplomatic career, then making himself useful to a series of countries in their engagements with the Security Council. Ernesto’s outlook on leadership and life is refreshingly optimistic, and I hope you’ll enjoy his inspiring words as much as I did.Recorded on 18 December 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Ernesto on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/ernesto-gonzalez-77a53833.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, updates about the podcast, and my deep gratitude!Support the show
1/3/20241 hour, 2 minutes, 56 seconds
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Monica Smith - On navigating a career in the corporate world: have you forgotten the spices?

In this episode, I speak with Monica Smith. Monica shares how her upbringing in a family that moved frequently across the US and her experience of travelling and living abroad early on shaped her outlook on the world and softened her philosophical principles.  She talks about her career in the corporate world, her approach to succeeding in hierarchies and  lessons in global leadership as she helped her organisations tap into talent in India and China. She reflects on the importance of lifelong learning, service and setting boundaries. We talk about her transition into coaching an  how she guides her clients in restoring alignment with themselves.Recorded on 15 December 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Monica on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/monica-smith-07219932. And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, early access to episodes and my deep gratitude!Support the show
12/20/202349 minutes, 20 seconds
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Josy Joseph - An investigative journalist's fight for the future of Indian democracy

In this episode, I speak with Josy Joseph. Josy is proudly Indian, an acclaimed investigative journalist who’se uncovered a series of major corruption stories that have exposed systemic issues plaguing the very fabric of India’s democracy. In this conversation, we talk about the origin of the West’s romantic narrative of India, and how this vision is blinding many of us to the dangerous  faultlines that are appearing. We talk about Josy’s concern with the direction India is taking, and reflect on the challenges facing storytellers in India in reaching a domestic audience. I’m amazed by how Josy’s optimism still shines through despite all the censorship, threats and pressures, with powerful lessons in resilience and perseverance.Recorded on 17 November 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Josy on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/josy-joseph-73359b8/ and on through his website josyjoseph.in.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, early access to episodes and my deep gratitude!Support the show
12/6/20231 hour, 1 minute, 29 seconds
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Jeffrey Fang - What it took to awake and pursue my dream of being happily unemployed

In this episode, I speak with Jeffrey Fang. This is a bit of a different conversation today. Jeff is an accomplished corporate professional from Singapore, who decided to break away from the logical professional path of corporate promotions and step out to follow a path much more aligned to who he wanted to be and what his intuition was telling him. In this rather personal exchange, we explore how our upbringing and culture shaped our vision of what matters in life - chasing validation and achievements that are not always healthy, and then what it took to wake up to get in touch with ourselves.The monastery Jeff mentions is the San Francesco Convent in Fiesole (Wiki). Recorded on 10 November 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Jeff on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/jfangjj and on Instagram @jfstop.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, early access to episodes and my deep gratitude!Support the show
11/22/202352 minutes, 58 seconds
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Alexandra Vitard - Meditations on privilege, women and living a purposeful life

In this episode, I speak with Alexandra Vitard. Alexandra talks about the influence her multicultural, globetrotting background had on her life, and what happened when she came face to face with the realisation of what living with privilege meant. She shares how she brought the insights and skills honed in her early career in government to women who needed them. She was inspired by Nasim Taleb’s ideas on the power of being anti-fragile (as opposed to being just resilient). Her encounter with stoicism helped cement the rules she aspired to follow in life: helping others, being truthful and speaking up. She reflects on how the little things we do can have a huge impact on the lives of others around us, providing the inspiration to break beyond imaginary mental barriers and to just dare. Recorded on 6 October 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Alexandra on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/alexandravitard and on Instagram @alexandravitard.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, early access to episodes and my deep gratitude!Support the show
11/8/202353 minutes, 55 seconds
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Alicia Pérez-Porro - Swinging between the branches of science from marine research to climate diplomacy

In this episode, I speak with Alicia Pérez-Porro. Alicia is a a scientist working in the space of climate diplomacy. She trained as a marine biologist researching sponges, but her heart wasn’t really in research. A life-changing journey to Antarctica helped her discover her passion in science activism. We speak about her childhood connection with nature and the importance of role models in opening perspectives and helping with self acceptance. We both express our conviction that our connection with nature - and deeply grasping how we humans are part of nature, is central in solving today’s climate and biodiversity crises. I hope this conversation inspires you to become an activist too!Recorded on 18 September 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Alicia on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/aliciaperezporro and on X (Twitter) @aliciaprzporro.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, early access to episodes and my deep gratitude!Support the show
10/25/202354 minutes, 56 seconds
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Aicha Pere - Dreams of my grandfather, on transforming Togo's agriculture

In this episode I speak with Aicha Pere. Aicha shares her story of growing up in Togo as a bookish, introverted girl, but inspired by her grandfather whose passion for agriculture and food set the foundations for her professional direction. Aicha talks about how she overcame her reserved nature to achieve elected leadership positions and become a trusted partner in agricultural projects, both in the field and more recently in policy as part of the Togo President’s Delivery Unit. Aicha gives me a glimpse of a young, dynamic country where everything is to be built but talented people such as her dedicate their energies to creating a brighter future. Recorded on 25 August 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Aicha on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/aicha-pere/ and on X (Twitter) @aicha_pere.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, early access to episodes and my deep gratitude!Support the show
10/11/202344 minutes, 58 seconds
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Hital Muraj - The power of technology to help the disadvantaged dream, a Kenyan story of acceptance

In this episode, I speak with Hital Muraj. Hital grew up in Kenya as a 4th generation Indian in a well-to-do setting. But hers is a story of riches to rags, as her family suddenly ended up on the street. As a teenager, she had to drop out of school to earn a living. Hital shares how she eventually found her way into an IT career in Cisco, a position she used to bring access to technology to disadvantaged communities.... people like the girl she was when she lost everything. We talk about how technology can make an impact on  education, health, but most importantly, on people’s mindsets, helping them dream new dreams. Hital shares her struggle with identity as a Kenyan who is often labeled an outsider because of her appearance, and her coming full circle now she’s pursuing a master’s degree, after a life spent with an unfinished  a high school diploma. Recorded on 8 September 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Hital on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/hital-muraj and on X (Twitter) @HitalMuraj.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, early access to episodes and my deep gratitude!Support the show
9/27/202354 minutes, 1 second
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Paula Fynboh - Overcoming the systems that perpetuate gun violence, homelessness and barriers to education

Today I speak with Paula Fynboh. Paula shares her journey helping people with some of the most intractable social issues of our time, homelessness, gun violence and access to education. She shares how she’s observed our society has systems in place that tend to lock people in negative dynamics where even the most determined face unsurmountable odds to get their lives back on track. A lack of empathy and fear of the other makes it difficult to dismantle these systems and find lasting solutions. This is a real eye opening conversation for me and I hope that those of us who live life from a position of privilege can drop our guard and learn something new.  Recorded on 11 August 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Paula on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/paulafynboh/ and on Instagram @pjfynboh.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, early access to episodes and my deep gratitude!Support the show
9/13/202345 minutes, 20 seconds
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Irene Mbari-Kirika - Creative inclusion: helping Kenya's disabled from the ground up

In this episode, I speak with Irene Mbari-Kirika. Irene shares her story of coming face to face with the challenges of young people with disabilities, and her journey to do something about it. Irene founded InAble over 16 years ago with the mission of helping the visually impaired in schools in Kenya with assistive technology. inAble has reached over 15,000 students, enabling them to learn and to gain the skills today’s world demands. Irene talks about the arduous journey of setting up her organisation from scratch, and incrementally growing it with persistence, consistence, creativity and resilience. And we reflect on why helping with disabilities in Africa was a concept that took years to resonate until inclusion became more ‘mainstream’ over the past 2 years. Irene mentions the book Creative Leadership: Born from Design by Rama Gheerawo.Recorded on 24 July 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Irene on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/irene-mbari-kirika/ and at inable.org.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, early access to episodes and my deep gratitude!Support the show
8/30/202354 minutes, 57 seconds
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Kjell Bergh - How an auto entrepreneur became the confidant of Kings and Presidents

Today, Siri and I speak with Kjell Bergh. Kjell’s life could really be a movie - about the American Dream, the power of seizing opportunities, of following one’s instinct and moral impulse, of being open to random encounters and willing to be helpful without expecting something in return. The story of the humble car salesman turned diplomat, peace broker and confidant of Kings and Presidents is unbelievable and we're excited to uncover some of Kjell’s secrets and lessons learned in the art of selfless networking.(Corrigendum: Kjell clarified that he was given the Mustang for a month, not a year)Recorded on 29 June 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Kjell on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/kjell-bergh-2780347/.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, early access to episodes and my deep gratitude!Support the show
8/16/20231 hour, 15 minutes, 44 seconds
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Ellen Yount - Building political capacity in fledgling democracies

In this episode, I speak with Ellen Yount. From a young age, Ellen was drawn to exploring the world beyond the rural Pennsylvania she grew up in. She shares her early start in politics and the inspiration for public service from working with Tom Ridge on his gubernatorial campaign and later as his Communications Director. Ellen made a bold jump moving to Former Yugoslavia where she worked on political capacity building in fledgling democracies. This was the foundation of a global career in governance and international development. We talk about the evolution of political communications  in autocratic and democratic systems, its importance in the Russia/Ukraine conflict, and about  her passion for giving back.Recorded on 19 June 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Ellen on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/ellenyount/ and on Twitter @EYount.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, early access to episodes and my deep gratitude!Support the show
8/2/202345 minutes, 26 seconds
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Bettina Muscheidt - Nudging for peace in the world's most protracted conflicts

In this episode, I speak with Bettina Muscheidt. Bettina was until recently EU Ambassador to Nicaragua and has had a string of postings in some of the most diplomatically challenging locations in the world. She served in a similar capacity in Libya and in Yemen, and worked on Afghanistan as part of the European Action Service. Her career spans policy, development and mediation. Bettina is a true global citizen, not in the meaning of a well travelled jet setter but as someone who is able to belong in the places she finds herself in. It’s my great pleasure to be catching up with her today and to share with you a slice of Bettina’s infectious love for life.Recorded on 5 May 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Bettina Muscheidt on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/bettina-muscheidt-49590928.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, early access to episodes and my deep gratitude!Support the show
7/19/202357 minutes, 45 seconds
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Anita Orban - On energy security, leadership and how to shape the world

In this episode, I speak with Anita Orbán. Anita shares her inspiring story, growing up in Hungary, back then a satellite country of the Soviet Union, and then starting her professional life as an academic researching Russia’s use of energy as a tool of foreign policy. Her work caught the attention of the Hungarian government,  asking her to turn her groundbreaking findings into policy in a newly created ambassadorial position. Followed a fascinating career within government and later in the private sector. We revisit her seminal insights from the perspective of the 2022 Russia/Ukraine war, talk about her lessons learned on leadership and what she's up to today.Recorded on 8 May 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Anita on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/anita-orban-30854a5.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.Help us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, early access to episodes and my deep gratitude!Support the show
7/5/202355 minutes, 55 seconds
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Naqib Noory - From Kabul to New York and on finding a school for peace

In this episode, I speak with Naqib Noory. Naqib is currently Director of the Office of Security Cooperation at the United Nations Population Fund. He has an inspiring story of resilience and drive to constantly develop himself through education. He grew up in Afghanistan but had to flee to Pakistan during the Soviet invasion. The decision to learn English as a young adult was the first of many educational door openers that would enable Naqib to find his way into the security profession, initially in his home region and later on as international staff of the UN, working in Bosnia, Sudan and now at UN Headquarters in New York.Recorded on 25 August 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Naqib Noory on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/naqib-noory.Please subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google PodcastsHelp us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards paying our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during recordings, early access to episodes and my deep gratitude!Support the show
6/21/20231 hour, 5 minutes, 27 seconds
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Arthur Sculley - A story, Bermuda to Fletcher, and global lessons in leadership

In this episode I speak with Arthur Sculley. Arthur shares his amazing journey, growing up between Long Island and Bermuda, his curiosity about the world inspired by his grandfather’s eclectic life stories. Arthur went to Southeast Asia at the time of the Vietnam war and managed to explore the region in his down time - he got hooked by the people and the energy he encountered. He had an opportunity to work in Hong Kong in the 1970s, and to have front row seat on the astounding economic transformation in the decades that followed. I’m fascinated by Arthur’s approach to life. He’s endlessly curious, a passionate believer in the power of networks. His entrepreneurial mind never stops. And he cleverly ensures the light always shine on others, winning friends for life. There are so many nuggets of wisdom here, I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.Recorded on 2 March 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfacePlease subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google PodcastsHelp us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during upcoming recordings. Thank you.Support the show
6/7/20231 hour, 9 minutes, 55 seconds
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Christabell Makokha - Design thinking in development interventions

In this episode, I speak with Christabell Makokha. Christabell shares her a fascinating expertise in designing development interventions that work and that take stakeholders’ needs into account. We explore the limits of development aid and the pitfalls of programmes that use a single-sector approach. We talk about the topic of power and who holds it - an exchange that stretches my worldview and hopefully will yours too.Recorded on 27 January 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Christabell on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/christabell-makokha-4944a116/.Please subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google PodcastsHelp us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during upcoming recordings. Thank you.Support the show
5/24/202359 minutes, 48 seconds
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Alexander Grif - Civilians in war: the impact of humanitarian advocacy

In this episode, I speak with Alexander Grif. Alexander is a passionate advocate for the protection of civilians - and as a humanitarian, he has dedicated his life to carrying out this advocacy where it matters, on the ground of some of the most protracted conflicts on Earth. It’s a real privilege to be having this conversation with Alexander. We explore the dilemmas of trying to make a difference in conflict zones for individuals, real people, whose lives are torn apart through no fault of their own.Recorded on 24 January 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Alex on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/alexander-grif-0799a4144/.Please subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google PodcastsHelp us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during upcoming recordings. Thank you.
5/10/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 33 seconds
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Pam Onyanyo - Building an energy system in sync with the people who need it

In this episode, I speak with Pam Onyanyo. Pam is such an amazing source of inspiration. She had a modest upbringing in rural Kenya but with grit and determination found her way to the US, where she built an amazing life for herself, climbing the career ladder of corporate America. But there was always a purpose behind this drive, to come home and apply what she learned where it could make an impact. She successfully combined her business acumen, her understanding of local livelihoods, her familiarity with project finance and her access to regulators.  Her entrepreneurship  in solar and off-grid solutions for underserved communities is remarkable and I’m delighted Pam is happy to share some of her lessons learned with us.Recorded on 18 January 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Pam on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/pam-onyanyo-5b24884.Please subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google PodcastsHelp us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during upcoming recordings. Thank you.
4/26/20231 hour, 3 minutes, 45 seconds
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Serhat Çubukçuoğlu - On Middle East foreign policy scholarship: making sense and shaping opinion

In this episode, I catch up with Serhat Çubukçuoğlu. Serhat was our first guest on this podcast in September 2021. We spoke about the transition he was embarking on from working in the private sector but with a passion for international affairs, to wanting to turn this passion into a full-time activity. We meet today in Abu Dhabi, where Serhat is starting a new career as a foreign policy expert in a think tank. We talk about his area of research, his professional pivot and some of insights he’s gathered along the way.Serhat contributed to the recently launched book, Aftermath of War in Europe: The West vs. the Global South?Recorded on 7 January 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Serhat Çubukçuoğlu on  Instagram @scubukcuoglu and on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/scubukcuoglu.Please subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google PodcastsHelp us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during upcoming recordings. Thank you.
4/12/202345 minutes, 1 second
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Steve Schmida - Partnerships with Purpose: an entrepreneur's story of helping companies navigate sustainability

In this episode, Siri and I co-host a conversation with Steve Schmida. Siri is also launching her own podcast called the Corporate Activist. So we thought of releasing this episode on both our podcasts because this conversation has great crossovers. Siri and Steve have known each other for almost 20 years. The three of us share the common link of having graduated from the Fletcher School's GMAP programme in international affairs. I'm excited about this conversation because I want to hear Steve''s perspective on how he's helping companies with their sustainability, climate and ESG commitments through projects in rural communities and in emerging markets and how he's making sense of stakeholder needs and local dynamics in designing programmes that create value in difficult places. Steve is the co-founder and the Chief Innovation Officer of Resonance, which is a frontier markets solutions firm. Steve was working out of his spare bedroom together with his wife Nazgul and bootstrapped Resonance into an award-winning, global consulting firm with more than 100 staff today. Resonance's clients include Fortune 500 and international donor agencies along with non profits and foundations. Steve has worked in more than 40 countries. Prior to founding Resonance, Steve worked in Russia and Central Asia where he established and led programmes for the Eurasia Foundation and the National Democratic Institute. Recently, Steve published the book Partner with Purpose, a step-by-step guide to planning, launching and maintaining cross-sector partnerships.Recorded on 20 February 2023.Steve's book is Partner with Purpose: Solving 21st-Century Business Problems Through Cross-Sector Collaboration, published in June 2020 by Rivertowns Books and available at major bookstores including on Amazon.Connect with Steve on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/steve-schmida-57823a10.Siri launched her new podcast, the Corporate Activist, where this episode was also published on 24 March 2023. It's available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Instagram: @corpactivist. Instagram: @at.the.coalfacePlease subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google PodcastsHelp us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during upcoming recordings. Thank you.
3/29/20231 hour, 5 minutes, 15 seconds
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Samer Sobh - On running a growing travel start-up through the pandemic, and being a mindful father

Today, I speak with Samer Sobh for our second episode. Samer was one of the very first guests on this podcast in September 2021. At the time we spoke about his growing up in Lebanon, his volunteering work, his life in the corporate world, and leaving the safety net to become and entrepreneur - he started Dubz, a company that helps travellers manage the hassle of having to carry around luggage to and from the airport. We catch up in Dubai, my first time back since I left in summer 2018.Recorded on 6 January 2023.The book Samer refers to is The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, by Walter Isaacson.The company behind the mindfulness programme that Samer reviewed is Qyro. Their offering is for corporates and individuals.And I recommend the Mindfulness Frame by Frame video series by Mark Williams.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Samer on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/samer-sobh-aba0035/.Dubz is available for bookings at dubz.com.Please subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google PodcastsHelp us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during upcoming recordings. Thank you.
3/15/202357 minutes, 6 seconds
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Kaddu Sebunya - Conserving Africa's environment: the key to climate change

In this episode, I speak with Kaddu Sebunya. Kaddu is passionate about nature conservation. In his role as CEO of African Wildlife Foundation, he rallies African elites to lead the fight against the destruction of valuable habitats and wildlife. He believes that conservation by Africans for Africans is at the heart of addressing the continent’s challenges around economic development and equality, it’s the right place to start. I’m delighted to be having this conversation with Kaddu, he has such an important message that he shares with an infectious energy that I hope will inspire you too!The book that Kaddu mentions is What We Owe the Future by William MacAskill.Recorded on 16 January 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Kaddu on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/kaddu-kiwe-sebunya-384b4658 and on Twitter @AWFCEO.Please subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google PodcastsHelp us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during upcoming recordings. Thank you.
3/1/20231 hour, 8 minutes, 20 seconds
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Lila Ramos Shahani - Straddling disciplines, straddling worlds

In this episode, Siri and I co-host a conversation with Lila Ramos Shahani. Lila was Siri's classmate at the Fletcher School’s GMAP degree programme in international affairs. I realise I rarely have the chance of speaking with someone so embedded in their country’s history, politics and society, in this case the Philippines, but also someone trying to shape their country’s direction towards greater inclusion and better governance.Lila is an Expert and Associate Member of two International Scientific Committees of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), where she specializes in the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites (ICIP) and Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICICH).During her tenure as Secretary-General of the Philippine National Commission to UNESCO, she and her team obtained four UNESCO designations for the country: in Intangible Cultural Heritage, Memory of the World and Creative Cities. Lila has taught at several universities in the Philippines and has worked for Oxford University Press and the United Nations (UNICEF and UNDP) in New York. She has a B.A. from Brown, an M.A. from the Fletcher School at Tufts, and is a doctoral candidate at Oxford.Lila has a book chapter coming out soon, see Chapter 6, The Politics of Erasure: De-Commemorating "Comfort Women" in the Philippines, in Fallen Monuments and Contested Memorials,  Routledge.Recorded on 1 December 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Lila on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/lila-shahani-91a69370/.Please subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google PodcastsHelp us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during upcoming recordings. Thank you.
2/15/20231 hour, 12 minutes, 11 seconds
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Christa Case Bryant - 'Just be fair': A journalist's path covering polarising issues

In this episode, I speak with Christa Case Bryant about her fascinating journalistic career. She’s reported on US politics and domestic heartland issues. She’s also worked as Middle East editor, and been based in Jerusalem as bureau chief. And she’s now Senior Congressional correspondent. Her diverse experience gives her stories both a global lens and a very human perspective. We speak about maintaining fairness and impartiality when covering deeply divisive issues, dealing with our biases and how to cover stories that don’t neatly fit in a polarized set of narratives.Recorded on 2 January 2023.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Christa on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/christa-case-bryant-a301101 and on Twitter @christacbryant.Please subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google PodcastsHelp us produce more episodes by becoming a supporter. Your subscription will go towards our hosting and production costs. Supporters get the opportunity to join behind the scenes during upcoming recordings. Thank you.
2/1/202357 minutes, 42 seconds
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Robert McMahon - A life in journalism, covering the world since 1990

In this episode, Siri Khalsa and I co-host a conversation with Bob McMahon. Bob and Siri were classmate on the Fletcher School’s GMAP programme in International Relations.Bob has spent more than 3 decades at the intersection of journalism and international affairs, including stints as the Associated Press World Desk Editor in New York, Director of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty's central new operation in Prague, and the UN correspondent for RFE/RL, and now he is Managing Editor of the award-winning website of the Council on Foreign Relations. In our conversation, Bob mentions Shannon K. O'Neil's new book, The Globalization Myth: Why Regions Matter. Bob hosts the weekly podcast The World Next Week. Recorded on 29 November 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Bob on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/bob-mcmahon-438037a/. Please subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google Podcasts
1/18/20231 hour, 40 seconds
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Harriet Cross - High Commissioner to Trinidad & Tobago, on being true to values and country

In this episode, I speak with Harriet Cross. Harriet is the British High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago. She’s had a fascinating career in diplomacy, with postings in the US, Yemen at a particularly challenging period, in Morocco and the UN. She’s also worked on trade policy and human rights , international cooperation on crime, and had a stint in academia. What fascinates me about Harriet is her authenticity: by that I mean her ability to stay as true to her values as she can whilst still representing her government. She shares her lessons learned on the role diplomacy and on  leadership. Harriet’s zest for life is contagious and I hope some of it reaches you as you listen to our conversation.Recorded on 14 November 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Harriet Cross on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/harrietcross and on Twitter @harryvx.Please subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google Podcasts
1/4/20231 hour, 13 minutes, 42 seconds
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Lily Adhiambo - A life in journalism and peace making

In this episode, I speak with Lily Adhiambo. It’s a huge joy to be recording this conversation together in Geneva, her home and my home town. Lily is a fascinating person. She’s a seasoned humanitarian with the United Nations. She grew up in Kenya and Uganda and started out in life as a journalist before finding her way into the UN.  Her career has been focusing on multiple theatres of conflict in Eastern, Central and Western Africa. She initially worked in Emergency Response, helping direct resources to support IDPs and health emergencies and other crises, and later on in Early Warning and Risk Management, trying to prevent crises through early action. In her current period of life here in Geneva, she also spends her time with the BMW Foundation's Responsible Leaders Network, working with change makers on figuring out new ways of tackling major global issues such and climate change and inequality. Recorded on 26 September 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfacePlease subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google Podcasts
12/21/20221 hour, 3 minutes, 49 seconds
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Akjemal Magtymova - A Turkmen's perspective on health diplomacy from North Korea to Syria

In this episode I speak with Akjemal Magtymova. Akjemal recounts her story growing up in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Turkmenistan, her early career as a young medical doctor practicing right as the USSR collapsed and the health system failed. She speaks about her journey into the international health sector (first with UNFPA and then WHO), that led her to postings in Laos, DPR Korea, India, Yemen, Syria and others. She shares lessons learned from her experience in health diplomacy in the field. I’m especially fascinated by how Akjemal’s values shaped her life trajectory, and by her reflections post covid on the values she feels we need today.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Akjemal Magtymova on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/akjemal-magtymova-67457236.Please subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google Podcasts
12/7/20221 hour, 25 minutes, 10 seconds
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Marta Ferrari - Go for it! A career in the nuclear industry

In this episode, Siri Khalsa and I co-host a conversation with Marta Ferrari. Marta and Siri were classmate on the Fletcher School’s GMAP programme in International Relations. Marta has an interesting background: advanced degree in physics, Master in international relations at the Fletcher School, management studies at the INSEAD Business School and recently completed the Visionary Leadership Programme at Ashoka. She started her career in an engineering company, worked for many years at the International Atomic Energy Agency in a number of technical and management positions. She was recently working in France, holding a director position in the nuclear industry before coming back to the IAEA a few months ago, as a Section Head in Operations in Safeguards.Recorded on 23 June 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Marta Ferrari on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/marta-ferrari-08834071.Please subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google Podcasts
11/23/202255 minutes, 18 seconds
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Alexis Grabar - I'm a North Face guy

In this episode, I speak with Alexis Grabar. Alexis is an accomplished entrepreneur who had an early career in aviation sales in the 1990s, in the tough frontier markets of Eastern Europe and Russia. But after a successful run, he decided to stop and go back to school to pursue both a MBA at HEC in Paris and a mid-career degree in international affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Boston. He used his professional interlude to crystallise entrepreneurial ideas, and then to launch a business, which became a precursor to Uber for point to point travel for high-net-worth individuals. This was the start of his life as a serial entrepreneur, But beyond business achievements, what really struck me about Alexis is this relentless sense of purpose that probably was instilled at a young age from a family of illustrious personalities in the arts and science, and also his ability to pivot and realign himself when he veered off course. I admire his intuition to make sense of a complex macro environment and anticipate things that most of us don't. Recorded on 15 September 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Alexis Grabar on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/alexis-grabar-66a97.Please subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google Podcasts
11/9/20221 hour, 10 minutes, 2 seconds
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Mandy Birch - We're not Lego blocks

Today I speak with Mandy Birch. Mandy is a hugely accomplished person with a background that is impressive in its breadth (Air Force Academy, distinguished military career, experience in the field, brilliant engineering studies, entrepreneur) and also depth (with senior leadership experience of large cohorts under situations of crises, successful complex change management, deep literacy in Quantum Computing). But it’s Mandy’s wisdom that I’m drawn to the most, her composure under stress, her confidence in going against the grain and her ability to think both in the present and a few steps ahead. I hope you’ll enjoy this conversation as much as I did.Recorded on 7 July 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Mandy Birch on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/mandybirch.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.
10/26/20221 hour, 8 minutes, 42 seconds
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Alicia Eastman - I'm doing what I was meant to do

In this episode, Siri and I co-host a conversation with one of Siri's classmates from our GMAP programme in international affairs at the Fletcher School. We speak with Alicia Eastman, who works in an industry close to my heart, hydrogen.Alicia is President of Intercontinental Energy, a green fuels company with a portfolio of renewable hydrogen projects in Australia and the Middle East. In the past, she has raised and managed growth equity funds, and worked primarily in Asia and the Middle East. She currently lives in London after a long time spent in Hong Kong. She studied with us at the Fletcher School, at the Wharton School and had interesting schooling before that.Recorded on 2 July  2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Alicia Eastman on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/aliciaeastman.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.
10/12/20221 hour, 13 minutes, 57 seconds
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Tom Morris - Keep the camp in order

In this episode, I speak with Tom Morris. Tom is the first person I reached out to when I was considering pursuing the GMAP degree in International Affairs at the Fletcher School, because we’d worked for the same company. As a fellow energy professional I valued his perspective on whether it made sense for me to pursue such a degree. Tom has worked most of his life in the energy industry, helping countries monetise their hydrocarbon resources, including Norway, Greenland, Senegal, Philippines. He now works in a gas venture in Russia, at a time of unprecedented upheaval that we’ll touch on. We’ll speak about his interest in international affairs, how his viewpoints have evolved  and his reflections on what matters in life the most. I’m excited to be reconnecting with Tom at this particularly messy time and hope you’ll enjoy our conversation too.Recorded on 24 June 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Tom Morris on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/tgmorris.Please subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google Podcasts
9/28/20221 hour, 34 minutes, 38 seconds
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Joyce Aluoch - There were no role models

In this episode, I’m excited to be speaking with Lady Justice Joyce Aluoch. Joyce was my graduation speaker when I completed by Global Master of Arts Programme at the Fletcher School, Joyce had completed the same programme a few years beforehand. Joyce has had a distinguished legal career in Kenya, culminating as a judge on the appellate court (the precursor to the Supreme Court). She was elected on the International Criminal Court in The Hague, working on cases involving war crimes - issues close to her heart as  she has long focused on bringing light to the impact of war on children.  After 44 years on the bench, she is now applying her expertise to the field of mediation and dispute resolution.Recorded on 24 March 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Joyce Aluoch on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/joyce-aluoch-72a13b1a9.Please subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google Podcasts
9/14/202253 minutes, 13 seconds
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Arjen van den Berg - Why not have differences come out?

In this episode, Siri and I co-host a conversation with Arjen van den Berg. Arjen was a member of Siri’s cohort at the Fletcher School’s Global Master of Arts Programme (GMAP). Arjen has had a distinguished career with the Dutch Foreign Service. He has served tours in the US, Trinidad and Tobago and The Hague. Over the last 10 years, he has focused on Asia, working in Beijing, Tokyo and is now the Dutch Consul General in Hong Kong and Macau, where he is half way through a 4-year posting.  One of the fun things about having Arjen in our class is that as a working diplomat, he was able to give us a reality check on all of our theoretical discussions on policy and negotiations. Recorded on 14 March  2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Arjen van den Berg on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/arjenvandenberg.Please subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google Podcasts
8/31/20221 hour, 1 minute, 37 seconds
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Theo R. - Freedom + Forgiveness + Love = Life

In this episode, I speak with Theo R. A few months ago, I learned about Theo from reading Michela Wrong’s book Do Not Disturb about Rwanda as part of DWN Bookshelf. Theo had been a member of the President's inner circle, from the time of the struggle when RPF sought to take control of the country and then later into government. Theo embarked on the Fletcher School’s GMAP degree around the time he decided to go into exile in 2005.  Our conversation covers Theo's life as a refugee and the ways it shaped him, his youthful days animated by powerful Marxist ideas, his joining RPF and being part of shaping the new Rwanda, and his gradual realisation that he no longer shared the values of its leadership, prompting a journey back into refugee life.Recorded on 15 March 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfacePlease subscribe to At the Coalface wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks: Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google Podcasts
8/17/20222 hours, 13 minutes, 4 seconds
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Paloma Serra - My call to Africa

In this episode, I speak with Paloma Serra. Paloma is a career diplomat for Spain, but her life could have taken a very different turn, had her parents not enticed her as a child with images about the beauty of African landscapes. Paloma describes the opportunity she had, as a freshly minted diplomat, to be posted to Ivory Coast and start discovering the continent that had so attracted her. Her experiences there - witnessing both highs and lows of deeply conflicted societies, are her inspiration for her photography and the poems that she wrote and eventually published.Recorded on 22 February 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Paloma Serra on  Instagram @palomaserraphoto and on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/paloma-serra-ab877190.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.
8/3/202245 minutes, 41 seconds
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Neri Martinez - Our anxiety stems from what we cannot control

Today I speak with Neri Martinez. Neri is the granddaughter of Cubans who moved into the immigrant melting pot of Florida to start a new life after Castro’s revolution. Neri felt an early calling to work on furthering the rights of the homeless, the vulnerable, minorities and women. She recognised her passion for politics and started working on campaigns for the Republican Party and then relocated to DC. In this conversation, we talk about finding our speed, recognising our biases, and how openness to all foods means openness to others.Recorded on 21 January 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Neri Martinez on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/neri-martinez-61a00631.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.
7/20/202254 minutes, 5 seconds
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M. Nawaz Wahla - No matter how hard, you call it as it is

Today I speak with Nawaz Wahla. Nawaz shares his remarkable story, growing up in a rural Pakistan, raised by his father with modest means but with a strong belief in the paramount importance of education, a principle that guided Nawaz’s life through extraordinary hardships. By planting educational seeds well before knowing what to do when they would sprout, Nawaz was able to bounce back after bullets put an end to his military career. He went on to a successful life in law, but the itch to pursue the world’s best education still animates him to this day.Recorded on 20 January 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Nawaz Wahla on Twitter @mnawazwahla, on Instagram @mwahla01 and on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/m-nawaz-wahla-8305311a.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.
7/6/202251 minutes, 50 seconds
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Khaled Mansour - All of us have multiple lives

In this episode, I speak with Khaled Mansour. Khaled shares the twists and turns of a fascinating life, during which he grabbed chances to change careers multiple times. He worked as an engineer, then as a translator and journalist, then for the United Nations in the US, Sudan and Afghanistan, then for a small human rights organisation in Egypt, before deciding to become a teacher and writer, just publishing 2 books. There are amazing lessons to be drawn about how to grasp opportunities to reinvent yourself, how to effect change in big organisations, the importance of balancing analysis with empathy and the role parenthood can have in encouraging a life of  responsible citizenship.Recorded on 18 January 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Khaled Mansour on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/khaled-mansour-6b5b7915.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.
6/22/202254 minutes, 29 seconds
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Tamás Landesz - In the footsteps of explorers

In this episode, we’re doing something a little different. Siri Khalsa and I will co-host a conversation with Tamás Landesz. Siri and Tamás were classmates on the Fletcher School’s GMAP degree programme. As Siri is also a podcast aficionado , we thought - why not give it a try and vary the format a little!Originally from Hungary, Tamás has lived all over the world, speaks 8 languages, has earned PhD, MBA, MPA, MLD degrees. Much of his career has been spent in the UN system. But his love and fascination with international affairs has given him a great depth of understanding in a unique perspective that we're excited for him to be sharing today.Recorded on 15 February 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Tamás Landesz on  Instagram @landesz.tamas, on Twitter @tamasland and LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/tamaslandesz.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.
6/8/202259 minutes, 45 seconds
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Siri Khalsa - A kaleidoscopic life of business, politics and charity

Today I speak with Siri Khalsa. Siri’s life has followed many unconventional paths. She was raised in a spiritual community in New Mexico where she began a life-long practice of yoga and meditation.  Her family was in the tea business, where she started her professional life. She moved into politics, as an aide to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, campaigning for him. She later worked on Barak Obama’s campaign, providing advice on South Asia,  then worked in the Obama administration in  Afghanistan. She then started supporting a charity that improves livelihood for crafts workers, in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. Her charity work later took her to Monaco, where still lives.Recorded on 4 January 2022, with extra segments on 10 January 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Siri Khalsa on  LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/siri-trang-khalsa-018a5a3.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.
5/25/202253 minutes, 35 seconds
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Benjamin Lodmell - Poetry saved my life

Today I speak with Benjamin Lodmell. No description could do justice to Ben’s incredible life. Ben is Norwegian-American, whose curiosity for life and the world took him on a journey that is the stuff of novels - or poetry, of which he is a prolific writer. Ben lives in Portugal with his wife and five children, the place he calls home after a globe-trotting life across continents. Ben is an independent advisor for family offices by trade, after a successful banking career, and a brief run for Congress. He set up his company’s charity activities focusing on education in Africa, with capacity to deliver services on the ground.Recorded on 27 January 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Benjamin Lodmell on  Instagram @blodmell and on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/benjaminlodmell.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.
5/11/20221 hour, 9 minutes, 41 seconds
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Steve Viola - Taming chaos

Steve Viola has had a distinguished career in the United States’s Navy, most of which in Naval Special Warfare (the SEALs) deployed around the world, where he reached the senior position of Command Master Chief. His training as a leader and a medic makes him particularly attuned to how people tick physically and mentally under chaos, something he is devoting his post retirement life to as speaker, coach and friend. He also provides in-the-field safety and security support to a wide range of clients. Steve’s approach  to dealing with challenges practically and with positive humour always inspired me - so I’m really delighted to have this conversation with him today and hope you’ll enjoy it too.Recorded on 17 January 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Steve Viola on Twitter @maxperdiem, on Instagram @maxperdiem and on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/stevenviola1/.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.A word from the Fletcher school: Register by May 1st for Fletcher LIVE Online. This is collection of 5-week long courses that give you the essential tools for today’s global landscape. Engage with world-renowned faculty and enter a global community of fellow leaders diplomats, CEOs, and innovators tackling many of the same challenges as you. Courses include negotiation, strategy and leadership for social impact, economic inclusion, cyber risk and understanding climate action. Registration link: https://sites.tufts.edu/fletcherexeceducation
4/27/20221 hour, 15 seconds
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Mohamad Al-Arief - You can start a revolution easier these days

Today I speak with Mohamad Al-Arief. Arief’s life follows the stunning trajectory of Indonesia’s recent history. He was a student as the youth-led push against authoritarianism finally prompted Indonesia’s President Suharto to resign. That's when Arief devoted  his full energy to the efforts that helped cement Indonesia’s transition to the vibrant democracy it is today. He shares his mission to nurture today’s youth to continue serving their country. He talks about his work to harness the potential of the Indonesian diaspora that has been a valuable source of creativity for decades. Recorded on 14 January 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Mohamad Al-Arief on  LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/mohamad-al-arief-250662190.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.A word from the Fletcher school: Register by May 1st for Fletcher LIVE Online. This is collection of 5-week long courses that give you the essential tools for today’s global landscape. Engage with world-renowned faculty and enter a global community of fellow leaders diplomats, CEOs, and innovators tackling many of the same challenges as you. Courses include negotiation, strategy and leadership for social impact, economic inclusion, cyber risk and understanding climate action. Registration link: https://sites.tufts.edu/fletcherexeceducation
4/13/202254 minutes, 4 seconds
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Rachel Kyte - What unites us

Today I speak with Rachel Kyte. Rachel is the Dean of the Fletcher School. She has been a lifelong advocate for action on a range of critical issues, coming of age during the Thatcher Era’s relentless drive towards privatisation, away from a collective participatory society and towards individualism.  She has experience working in NGOs and in international organisations, including at the IFC, World Bank and the UN, as a champion for energy access and the environment as a way to fight poverty and climate change. She graduated from the school’s Global Master of Arts Programme in one of its first classes in 2002. Rachel frequently speaks about issues close to her heart, but in this conversation I was keen to discover more about Rachel as a person.Recorded on 7 January 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Rachel Kyte on Twitter @rkyte365, on Instagram @rkyte365 and on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/rachelkyte.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.A word from the Fletcher school: Register by May 1st for Fletcher LIVE Online. This is collection of 5-week long courses that give you the essential tools for today’s global landscape. Engage with world-renowned faculty and enter a global community of fellow leaders diplomats, CEOs, and innovators tackling many of the same challenges as you. Courses include negotiation, strategy and leadership for social impact, economic inclusion, cyber risk and understanding climate action.Registration link: https://sites.tufts.edu/fletcherexeceducation
3/30/202255 minutes, 46 seconds
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Enrique Ochoa - Someone's terrorist is another's freedom fighter

Today I speak with Enrique Ochoa. Enrique is a seasoned humanitarian professional whose expertise is in conflict emergencies. His career has taken him all over the world, from Latin America to the Middle East to South Asia and South East Asia. He’s also a consummate learner, a principled leader and a really engaging person, it’s a great pleasure to be speaking with him on the difficult subject of war. Recorded on 6 January 2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Enrique Ochoa on Twitter @EOchoaICRC and on LinkedIn linkedin.com/in/enrique-ochoa-fernandez-lomana.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.A word from the Fletcher school: Register by May 1st for Fletcher LIVE Online. This is collection of 5-week long courses that give you the essential tools for today’s global landscape. Engage with world-renowned faculty and enter a global community of fellow leaders diplomats, CEOs, and innovators tackling many of the same challenges as you. Courses include negotiation, strategy and leadership for social impact, economic inclusion, cyber risk and understanding climate action. Registration link: https://sites.tufts.edu/fletcherexeceducation
3/16/20221 hour, 1 minute, 41 seconds
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Deborah Winslow Nutter - What matters is what you do now with your life

Today I speak with Deborah Winslow Nutter. Deborah was senior associate dean and professor of practice at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She founded the Global Master of Arts Program (GMAP) over 20 years ago, that all guests on this podcast attended. She is known to us as the heart and soul of the programme, where she also taught what was for me on of the most personally transformative courses, foreign policy leadership, during which we studied and discussed historic world leaders. After leaving the Fletcher School, Deborah wanted to keep her conversations with the GMAP community alive and thus created DWN Bookshelf, a book club and discussion group for GMAPers that continues her course. She’s also working on completing a large research project 10 years in the making. I’m absolutely thrilled to be having this conversation with Deborah and to share it with you in this way.Recorded on 17 February  2022.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Deborah Winslow Nutter through dwn bookshelf on Instagram @dwnbookshelf and at dwnbookshelf.com.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.
3/2/20221 hour, 7 minutes, 28 seconds
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Per-Olof Schroeder - I'm more koala than shark or owl

Today I speak with Per Olof Schroeder. Per Olof and I were classmates on Fletcher School’s GMAP programme in international affairs. He is an accomplished senior executive with a career in energy, consultancy and technology, including at Microsoft, and more recently as CEO of StormGeo, a weather service provider. We discuss our career trajectories, the importance of staying curious, how things in life often come to us and are rarely the outcome of careful planning.Recorded on 21 December 2021.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceClubhouse: clubhouse.com/club/at-the-coalfaceConnect with Per-Olof Schroeder on Twitter @poschroeder and on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/poschroeder.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.A word from the Fletcher school: Register by May 1st for Fletcher LIVE Online. This is collection of 5-week long courses that give you the essential tools for today’s global landscape. Engage with world-renowned faculty and enter a global community of fellow leaders diplomats, CEOs, and innovators tackling many of the same challenges as you. Courses include negotiation, strategy and leadership for social impact, economic inclusion, cyber risk and understanding climate action.Registration link: https://sites.tufts.edu/fletcherexeceducation
2/16/20221 hour, 13 minutes, 47 seconds
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Rubén Useche - Leaving Colombia's violence to return and build bridges

In this episode, I speak with Ruben Usesche. Since July, Ruben is the new Director of the Diplomatic Academy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia. Ruben shares with me his journey of personal development, growing up between Colombia and Ecuador, with a strong sense of mission of building bridges between people, of being open to all perspectives (drawing on his Jesuit education), and working towards improving interregional connections and investing in his and his family’s education in the US to be the best he could be and to serve his country.Recorded on 6 December 2021.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Rubén Useche on  Twitter @rubenucch, on Instagram @rubenucch and on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/rubenucch.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.A word from the Fletcher school: Register by May 1st for Fletcher LIVE Online. This is collection of 5-week long courses that give you the essential tools for today’s global landscape. Engage with world-renowned faculty and enter a global community of fellow leaders diplomats, CEOs, and innovators tackling many of the same challenges as you. Courses include negotiation, strategy and leadership for social impact, economic inclusion, cyber risk and understanding climate action. Registration link: https://sites.tufts.edu/fletcherexeceducation
2/2/20221 hour, 6 minutes, 7 seconds
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Celeste Marinelli - The children didn't always come back

In this conversation, I speak with Celeste Marinelli. Celeste and I were classmates on the Global Masters of Arts Programme (or GMAP) at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Celeste grew up in Guatemala and is part of her country’s diplomatic service. She was first posted to the Netherlands, then went to Thailand to set up and open Guatemala’s embassy, and recently moved to Washington DC. Celeste seems to have a constant bubbly personality, even when she shares the memories of her childhood amid the violence that marred Guatemala in the 1990s.Recorded on 1 December 2021.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Celeste Marinelli on  Instagram @celestemab and on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/celeste-marinelli-499487b4.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.A word from the Fletcher school: Register by May 1st for Fletcher LIVE Online. This is collection of 5-week long courses that give you the essential tools for today’s global landscape. Engage with world-renowned faculty and enter a global community of fellow leaders diplomats, CEOs, and innovators tackling many of the same challenges as you. Courses include negotiation, strategy and leadership for social impact, economic inclusion, cyber risk and understanding climate action. Registration link: https://sites.tufts.edu/fletcherexeceducation
1/19/202241 minutes, 12 seconds
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Robinson Cook - Improving livelihoods in Bogota

In this episode, I speak with Robinson Cook. Robinson and I were classmates on the Fletcher’s School Global Master of Arts Programme in International Affairs. When we met, he was running the Bogota Employment Project that he’d launched, helping Colombian women stay in employment with wage subsidies with painstaking field world, one person at a time. In this conversation, we talk about racial justice, growing up in Minnesota and being on the receiving end of heavy-handed policing targeting African Americans. We talk about how he set up the Bogota Employment project, having to pivot as the regulation made his work more difficult, until he eventually had to close shop and decided to work for USAID.Recorded on 14 December 2021.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Robinson Cook on  Instagram @robinsoncook and on Twitter @robinsoncook.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.
1/5/202254 minutes, 19 seconds
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Vanessa Calva - When private life empowers public service

Today, I speak with Vanessa Calva. Vanessa is a career diplomat representing Mexico, currently working as Consul in Leamington, Canada. We were classmates during the Global Master of Arts Programme (GMAP) at the Fletcher School and members of the 'Chuchos' group. Vanessa shares her almost accidental journey into foreign affairs, her passion for serving the interests of Mexicans abroad, and in particular as advocate for LGBT+ rights, when her private sphere came to serve her public one.Recorded on 4 November 2021.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Vanessa Calva on Twitter @vcalva and on Instagram @vancalva.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.
12/22/20211 hour, 3 minutes, 21 seconds
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Antonio Martínez López - You need realism, otherwise you would be shooting flowers

Today I speak with Antonio Martinez Lopez. Antonio and I met at an alumni event of the Fletcher School’s Global Master of Arts Programme a few years ago, and kept in touch over the years. Antonio is a diplomat with Venezuela’s Foreign Service. He is currently Head of Political Section at Venezuela’s Embassy in Baghdad. Antonio shares his lifelong aspiration to live the ideals of Simón Bolívar that moved him as a young student and still do today.Recorded on 22 October 2021.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Antonio Martínez López on  Instagram @antoniojmartinezlopez and on Facebook.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.
12/8/202142 minutes, 25 seconds
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Jason Clarke - Gold for good in Congo

Today I speak with Jason Clarke. Jason and I were students in the same class at the Fletcher School’s Global Master of Arts Programme. Jason is one of the most entrepreneurial people I know. His mind is always buzzing with new ideas, and he’s always got business projects cooking in the background. What sets Jason apart is his motivation to place positive social impact at the centre of his ventures’ business models. Not to do charity, but to make a difference on the lives he touches.Recorded on 9 November 2021.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Jason Clarke on  Instagram @jasonclarke and on his website societyartisanal.com.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.
11/24/202152 minutes, 40 seconds
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Sunjidmaa Jamba - You’re never far from where you come from

Today I’m speaking with Sunjidmaa Jamba. Sunji is a classmate from the Global Master of Arts Programme at the Fletcher School and we struck up a friendship. Sunji grew up in Mongolia in a family that loved reading and storytelling. As if mirroring the Mongolian nomadic spirit,  Sunji’s life weaves her country’s recent history, the simpler times of socialist planning through to the democratic revolution and market opening, and now a time of reflection and  giving back that the pandemic spurred. Sunji had a successful career as an entrepreneur, at the World Bank and in the mining sector. I love Sunji’s positivism and energy, and hope you feel it too through our conversation.Recorded on 15 October 2021.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Sunjidmaa Jamba on  Instagram @sunjidmaa_jamba and on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/sunjidmaa-jamba-96537738.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.
11/10/20211 hour, 30 seconds
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Nino Kalandadze - Nothing prepared me for war

Today I’m speaking with Nino Kalandadze. Nino is a classmate from the Global Master of Arts Programme (GMAP) at the Fletcher School that we both completed. Nino grew up in the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic and read law in Germany as the Soviet Union broke apart. She returned to her country to take part in shaping its fledgling institutions and politics through some of its most dramatic moments of recent history. Nino recounts her experience growing up in Communist Georgia; her first impressions living in Germany; her memories as newly appointed to the foreign service and having to respond to the growing military conflict with Russia; her interactions with the public as Member of Parliament; her work after leaving party politics. Nino radiates the energy of her convictions and belief in change.Recorded on 1 October 2021.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Nino Kalandadze on  Twitter @NINOKalandadze5, Instagram @nina.kalandadze and on on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/ninokalandadze.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.
10/10/202157 minutes, 12 seconds
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Samer Sobh - First aider turned entrepreneur

Today I’m speaking with Samer Sobh. We used to be team mates working on a particularly challenging energy project in South Iraq. We used to chat over dinner at the camp’s canteen after long work days, and as I spoke about my experience on the Global Master of Arts Programme (GMAP) at the Fletcher School that I was doing, I think Samer caught the bug as well and joined shortly thereafter. Samer is warm, charismatic and generous, very dedicated to everything he is doing, hugely entrepreneurial (now co-leading a start-up) and also passionate about his country’s future, Lebanon. Recorded on 28 September 2021.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Samer Sobh on  Twitter @SamerSobh, on LinkedIn at inkedin.com/in/samer-sobh-aba0035 and at Dubz.com.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.
9/29/202150 minutes, 49 seconds
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Serhat Çubukçuoğlu - Turkish foreign policy, step by step

In our second episode, I am joined by Serhat Çubukçuoğlu.Serhat and I met in Dubai at our school's Global Master's of Arts Programme (GMAP) alumni event and struck up a friendship. Today, Serhat is well known for his frequent media appearances as an expert of the Eastern Mediterranean maritime, energy and security issues. However, not too long ago, Serhat was a computer programmer and an IT salesman. In our conversation, Serhat shares how he used the step-wise approach inherent to programming to gradually fill a toolbox in a completely different field. Our conversation is rich in insights on how to move towards an environment that makes you thrive, how to recognise when you're in a community that makes you grow, and why the playing the piano can help drown out the noise of social media.Recorded on 2 September 2021.Instagram: @at.the.coalfaceConnect with Serhat Çubukçuoğlu on  Instagram @scubukcuoglu and on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/scubukcuoglu.And don’t forget to subscribe to At the Coalface for new episodes every two weeks.
9/8/202145 minutes, 42 seconds