Book Talk: Rescuing Americans—An Evening with Mickey Bergman
June 11, 2024

Santa Monica

Join us for a captivating evening as we celebrate the release of Mickey Bergman's highly anticipated book, In the Shadows: True Stories of High-Stakes Negotiations to Free Americans Captured Abroad.

Experience the gripping tales behind the scenes of international diplomacy, where Mickey Bergman delves into the heart-pounding narratives of high-stakes negotiations. From the desperate calls of imprisoned Americans to the daring missions across the globe, “In the Shadows” offers a riveting insight into the relentless efforts to bring our people home.

Mickey Bergman, director of the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, shares his firsthand experiences navigating the murky waters of diplomacy and compassion. As a special-operations veteran of the Israel Defense Forces, his expertise shines through as he recounts the intricate strategies and emotional rollercoasters of rescue missions.

In collaboration with New York Times bestselling author Ellis Henican, Mickey Bergman unveils the hidden realities of negotiations, offering a poignant account of hope, resilience, and the unyielding pursuit of justice.

Don't miss your chance to engage with Mickey Bergman about his new book “In the Shadows”. RSVP to secure your spot. The first 10 registered members to arrive at the event will receive a signed copy of the book.  

Guest Speaker

With over 17 years in various aspects of strategic diplomacy, Mickey Bergman coined the term Fringe Diplomacy to describe the new field he is forging, an innovative discipline exploring the space in international relations just beyond the boundaries of States and Governments’ capacity and authority. 

He manages relationships and private diplomacy efforts in North Korea, Cuba, Myanmar, Russia, Middle East, Venezuela and Africa. Nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize (2019 & 2023) alongside former Governor Bill Richardson; Mickey has led his team at the Richardson Center to facilitate the release of more political prisoners than any other organization. Mickey creates new political capital by leading professional exchange programs to frontier countries such as North Korea, Myanmar, Cuba, Lebanon, and others. 

Mickey is Vice President and Executive Director at Governor Richardson Center for Global Engagement; was Executive Director of the Global Alliances Program at the Aspen Institute; is a professor at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, where he teaches about emotional intelligence in international relations, and was consultant to the Clinton Global Initiative. 

Mickey has published numerous articles and opinion pieces in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune, The Boston Globe, Foreign Policy Online, and HuffPost. He was recently honored with the 2023 James W. Foley Legacy Foundation American Hostage Freedom Award and serves on the Center for Strategic and International Studies Commission on Hostage Taking and Wrongful Detention. His upcoming book: IN THE SHADOWS; True Stories of High-Stakes Negotiations to Free Americans Captured Abroad is coming out in  June 2024.

Mickey is a native of Tel Aviv and former combat officer in the Israel Defense Forces. He holds a master’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University.


Dr. Jerrold D. Green is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Council on International Policy in Los Angeles. He is concurrently a Research Professor of Communication, Business, and International Relations at the University of Southern California. Green was previously a Partner at Best Associates in Dallas, Texas, a privately held merchant banking firm with global operations. He also occupied senior management positions at the RAND Corporation where he was awarded the RAND Medal for Excellence. Dr. Green has a B.A. (summa cum laude) from the University of Massachusetts/Boston, as well as an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago. His academic career began at the University of Michigan and he subsequently joined the University of Arizona where he became a Professor of Political Science and Sociology as well as Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

Green has lived and worked in Egypt, where he was a Fulbright Fellow, Iran, and Israel. He has lectured on six continents and been a visiting fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Science's West Asian Studies Center in Beijing; a visiting lecturer at the Havana based Center for African and Middle East Studies (CEAMO), a fellow at the Australian Defense College, and delivered papers at conferences sponsored by the Iranian Institute of International Affairs in Tehran. Dr. Green led three U.S. Department of Defense sponsored Pacific Council delegations to Afghanistan, one to Iraq, and has represented the Pacific Council as an observer at the legal proceedings being conducted at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Green is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the London based International Institute for Strategic Studies, The California Club, the Lincoln Club, the Advisory Board of the Center for Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California, and the Bill Richardson Center for Diplomacy/FBI Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell Influencers Group. He has served on the Selection Committee for the U.S. Department of State Herbert Salzman Award for Excellence in International Economic Performance by a Foreign Service Officer. Green serves as a member of the Agenda Committee for the annual Halifax International Security Forum where he is an HFX Fellow. Dr. Green is a Reserve Deputy Sheriff with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and was accorded the department’s Meritorious Service Award. He previously served as a Specialist Reserve Officer with the Los Angeles Police Department where he advised on terrorism and intelligence issues.

Green was honored in 2019 by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce with its World Trade Week Stanley T. Olafson Bronze Plaque Award that honors “a member of the international trade community whose outstanding dedication, efforts and achievements have advanced trade in the Southern California region.”

Dr. Green currently serves as a Director of the Whittier Trust Company, on the American Advisory Board of the Thomas Mann House, the Global Taiwan Institute Bipartisan Task Force on US-Taiwan Relation in the 21st Century, the Los Angeles Steering Committee of the USA Eisenhower Fellowships, the Honorary Advisory Council of the Leadership Council for Women in National Security (LCWINS), and for over a decade on the selection committee for the Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowships conferred by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. He served for 8 years as a member of the United States Secretary of the Navy Advisory Panel where he was awarded the Department of the Navy, Distinguished Civilian Service Award for his service. Green also served multiple terms on the U.S. Department of State Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy (ACIEP), the Board of Directors of the California Club, the Advisory Committee of The Asia Society of Southern California, the Advisory Board of Whitney International University, the Board of Falcon Waterfree Technologies, the Board of Columbia University’s Middle East Institute, and as an International Medical Corps Ambassador. Dr. Green has been a technical advisor to Activision Publishing in Santa Monica, California, where he consulted on the highly successful Call of Duty series.

Book Description

Who else are their desperate loved ones supposed to call? Mickey and his tight team of savvy negotiators at the Richardson Center for Global Engagement are the go-to rescuers of last resort, carrying on the high-stakes, round-the-world mission of master negotiator Bill Richardson. Mickey and his team do what U.S. government officials are often unable or unwilling to do: sit down with America’s toughest adversaries and find creative ways to bring our people home.

That's life In the Shadows.

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

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

In Mickey Bergman's own words, In the Shadows tells the hidden story of these high-drama rescue campaigns. The crafty negotiating strategies. The strong-willed foreign leaders. The emotional rollercoaster of being responsible for innocent American lives. The exhilaration when another American is released from a foreign prison—and the terrible letdown when a promising effort hits another maddening roadblock. Mickey recounts his unique relationship with his mentor, the late, great Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico, ambassador to the United Nations and legendary negotiator. He shares the wrenching closeness he develops with the desperate families he serves, who often have nowhere else to turn. He offers a detailed account of his one-on-one interactions with Washington’s top power players, both Democrats and Republicans, and some of the world’s most isolated and misunderstood heads of state.

For readers who want the full, searing story of these life-or-death rescue missions and the fascinating people behind them, it’s all In the Shadows. As Mickey Bergman and New York Times bestselling author Ellis Henican make clear on every page, international diplomacy isn’t just for government officials anymore.


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