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Battling Hostage Diplomacy: A Data Driven and Globally Coordinated Approach

September 18, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Overview: Hostage taking and arbitrary detention are a global concern especially with the continued rise in hostage diplomacy cases. While the active cases relate to certain countries, the growing concerns regarding hostage diplomacy and its ever-increasing role in international affairs is of global magnitude and is not limited to specific countries; it’s a serious global risk that every citizen is facing.
It is time to unify the world against countries that are using citizens as bargaining chips to gain leverage against the US and other Western countries. Hostages and families are for the first time coming together to make their voice heard no matter where they are from, and to urge all the UN member countries to unite and have a strong unified position to counter the hostage business model.

Keynote Speaker: Norman Roule: Current Senior Advisor for UANI

Speaker: Robert O’Brien: Former U.S National Securtiy Advisor from 2019-2021


Panel 1: Hostage Diplomacy: The Impact of Media

Panel members will speak about the intricacies and challenges of covering hostage cases. They will also discuss the roots and causes behind a steady increase of illegal detention and hostage taking by state and non-state actors in the last decade. Panelists will also share their perspectives on how the media may improve reporting on hostage cases and the issue of hostage diplomacy and possibly impact its outcome.


Jason Rezaian: Writer for the Washington Post Global Opinions and former hostage in Iran.

Paul Beckett: Washington Bureau Chief of The Wall Street Journal.

Jason Brodsky: Policy Director of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute’s Iran Program.

Barry Rosen: One of the founding members of Hostage Aid and former hostage in Iran.

Kylie Moore Gilbert: Former Australian hostage in Iran and political scientist specializing in Islam and the Middle East.


Panel 2: Hostages & Families: Global similarities & shared experiences

Panelists including former hostages and families of hostages discuss the similarities in their ordeals, and challenges as well as their experiences with their respective govts. They also highlight the importance of sharing information, and the benefits of engaging with the community of former hostages and families.


Ali Arab: Board member of Hostage Aid Worldwide and an Associate Professor of Statistics at Georgetown University.

Jose Pereira: Member of the CITGO6, a group of Americans wrongfully detained and held captive in Venezuela for 5 years.

Debra Tice: Mother of American journalist Austin Tice unjustly detained in Syria since August 2012

Gazelle Sharmahd: Daughter of German-American Jamshid Sharmahd who was kidnapped in Dubai and taken to Iran where he was sentenced to death.

Richard Ratcliff: Husband of Iranian British Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who was taken hostage by Iran in 2016


Panel 3: Global Cooperation

Panelists discuss the need for a global and coordinated approach to the issue of hostage taking and provide an update on ongoing efforts and initiatives that intend to create shared governance and effective exchange of information and tools that can help with freeing hostages, and prevent future cases.


Nadia Bilbassy: Washington Bureau Chief of Al Arabiya Television

Hugh Dugan: International affairs practitioner and scholar having served in the diplomatic corps, senior executive service, academia, and media for 38 years.

Julie Sunday: Assistant Deputy Minister, Consular, Security, and Emergency Management, and spearheading efforts to advance the Canadian-led Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations.

Jorge Toledo: Member of the CITGO6, a group of Americans wrongfully detained and held captive in Venezuela for 5 years.

Jared Genser: International human rights lawyer and managing director of Perseus Strategies, a public interest law firm.

Closing Statement: Recommendations


September 18, 2023
4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


New York NY United States + Google Map

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