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Sage Gateshead



Being Diplomatic


Part of BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival 2019

Sage Two

Tickets available on the day on a first come, first served basis

Duration – 2pm - 3pm


How much emotion should you show if you are a diplomat, a news reporter or a conciliation expert?

In the world of international affairs, the overriding philosophy for global professionals has been one of restraint and rationality – whether you are negotiating, mediating or observing. So how is this tradional idea of “being diplomatic” and even-handed faring in a more emotional and expressive age? Anne McElvoy is joined by three seasoned experts who relate their personal experience.

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

William J Burns’ book The Back Channel – American Diplomacy in a Disordered Worldcharts his career as an Amercian diplomat for over 3 decades. He played a central role in diplomatic episodes from the end of the Cold War to the collapse of relations with Putin’s Russia, to secret nuclear talks with Iran. Now retired from the US Foreign Service, he is President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Allan Little is a former BBC Foreign Correspondent who has reported from more than 80 countries, revolutions, natural disasters and several wars including the Gulf War in 1991 and Yugoslavia from 1991-95. He has won Amnesty International Reporter of the Year and the Charles Wheeler Award for outstanding Contribution to Broadcast Journalism.

Anne McElvoy is Senior Editor at The Economist, and writes columns for London Evening Standard and a range of other newspapers. She appears as a commentator on news programmes, as a panellist on BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze and presents radio documentaries and BBC Radio 3’s Arts and Ideas programme Free Thinking. With Gabrielle Rifkind she also presents a series for BBC Radio 4 called Across The Red Line.

For your information…

  • Phase one tickets will be available from 12noon on Friday 15 February, with phase two tickets available from 12noon on Friday 1 March.
  • Tickets are strictly limited to four per person.
  • To guarantee your ticket book in advance. There will be some tickets available on the day on a first come, first served basis.
  • Please take your seats 10 minutes prior to the event start time otherwise you may lose your place.

Booking Information

To guarantee your ticket, book in advance. There will be some tickets available on the day on a first come, first served basis.

Venue: Sage Two

Tickets: Free, ticketed (Max 4 per person)