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 Jun 7, 2019

 Oct 4, 2018
Stephen Sackur is the best!


In-depth, hard-hitting interviews with newsworthy personalities.

Episode Date
Leonid Volkov: What next for Russia's opposition?
As soon as he emerged from his coma Alexey Navalny, the Russian opposition leader apparently poisoned by novichok nerve agent, expressed his determination to return to Moscow. But what future is there for an anti-Putin political movement in a country where dissent is all too often seriously bad for your health? Stephen Sackur speaks to Leonid Volkov, opposition politician and chief of staff to Mr Navalny. Is there any weakening of the Kremlin’s grip on power?
Sep 23, 2020
Thomas Chatterton Williams: Race, identity and power
Not just in the United States, but across the world the Black Lives Matter movement has prompted debate about race, identity and power. It is a campaign predicated on ideas about what it means to be black and white; but what if those very terms are themselves part of the problem? Stephen Sackur speaks to Thomas Chatterton Williams, a mixed-race American writer and self-declared ex-black man, whose ideas present a challenge to so-called 'woke' culture. How much room is there right now for respectful, thoughtful debate?
Sep 18, 2020
Rafael Grossi: Is the world's nuclear watchdog being undermined?
What is the point of the world’s nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency? Its task is to ensure that countries intent on developing nuclear power don’t use their programmes as cover for development of weapons of mass destruction. But is the task impossible? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the new IAEA chief, Rafael Grossi. From the continued bitter arguments over Iran, to North Korea, and Saudi Arabia, is the IAEA another example of a global agency undermined by geopolitical division?
Sep 16, 2020
Douglas Ross: Can the new Scottish Conservative leader preserve the UK?
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces momentous challenges. The coronavirus pandemic, an economic slump and a looming moment of truth for Britain’s relations with the EU. In the midst of this turbulence the future of the United Kingdom itself looks uncertain. Polls suggest increasing numbers of Scots want out of the Union. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the new leader of the Scottish Conservative party, Douglas Ross. Are events playing into the hands of the Scottish nationalists? (Photo: Douglas Ross, newly announced Scottish Conservative leader, talks to media in Forres, Scotland, Britain 5 August, 2020. Credit: Russell Cheyne/Reuters)
Sep 13, 2020
Gitanas Nausėda: Will people power take Belarus in a new direction?
Will Moscow’s will prevail in Belarus, or will people power take the country in a new direction? Stephen Sackur speaks to Gitanas Nausėda, the president of neighbouring Lithuania. The daily street protests demanding the resignation of Belarus’s authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko haven’t yet tipped the balance against the regime. Lukashenko is still there; the security forces are still doing his bidding. So how is the geopolitics of this going to play out?
Sep 11, 2020
Frank Luntz: Can Donald Trump win?
With just two months until the US presidential election, the polls show the incumbent Donald Trump trailing Democrat Joe Biden by a significant margin. This is an extraordinary election year marked by a pandemic, economic crisis, street protests over alleged police racism and a toxic political atmosphere. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the veteran Republican party pollster and consultant Frank Luntz. Can Donald Trump win, and should Republicans want him to?
Sep 08, 2020
Laura Kövesi: Can the EU's 'corruption buster' deliver?
We ask if the EU's new public prosecutor's office has the teeth to dig into corruption and transnational crime in the EU.
Sep 06, 2020
UN Secretary General António Guterres: Is multilateralism dead?
The annual UN General Assembly gets underway this month in New York and this year it will be like no previous one. The coronavirus pandemic means the summit will be held virtually. The medical, social and economic impact of Covid-19 has not only brought much suffering, it is also reshaping the world. HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi speaks to the Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres. He believes the pandemic is unleashing a tsunami of scapegoating, hate and xenophobia. As the UN marks its 75th anniversary, is it equipped to deal with these unprecedented global challenges?
Sep 03, 2020
Alfre Woodard: The artist and the activist
Alfre Woodard has had a distinguished acting career, spanning five decades, with roles ranging from Winnie Mandela to a part in hit TV series Desperate Housewives. She grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and for much of her career she has been an activist and campaigner, speaking out against race discrimination in the movie business, and lending her support to the Democratic party. Have her art and her activism merged into one?
Sep 02, 2020
Sam Harris: A place for conversation in an angry world
Thanks to the internet and the mobile phone our ability to communicate, inform and persuade has never been greater. So why is public debate getting ever more polarising and toxic? Stephen Sackur speaks to the american philosopher, neuroscientist and podcaster Sam Harris whose takes on everything from religion to race generate intense heat. Are extremism and intolerance drowning out reasoned debate?
Aug 30, 2020
Natalia Pasternak: Brazil's battle between science and politics
The global Covid-19 pandemic has put a fierce spotlight on the relationship between scientists and policy makers. Leaders across the world have responded to the science with everything from respect to scepticism. Foremost amongst the sceptics, president Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, one of the countries hit hardest by the virus. Stephen Sackur speaks to the Brazilian microbiologist Natalia Pasternak who has launched a crusade against her President in the name of science. But is she winning the argument?
Aug 27, 2020
Natalia Kaliada: Where do Belarus activists go from here?
His people have turned against him in the streets but Belarus's dictator Alexander Lukashenko is still in power and his security forces are still following his orders. So where do the anti-Lukashenko activists go from here? Stephen Sackur speaks to Natalia Kaliada, one of the founders of the Belarus Free Theatre, an artist dissident in exile. Will Belarus's summer rebellion be blown away with the autumn leaves?
Aug 26, 2020
Katie Hill: When a politician's nude photos are leaked
Zeinab Badawi speaks to the American politician Katie Hill. She was a star of the US mid-term elections in 2018 but barely a year after winning a Congressional seat she resigned after reports of an inappropriate relationship with a staff member and after nude photographs of her were published. What does her case tell us about American politics in the MeToo era?
Aug 23, 2020
Kishore Mahbubani: Has Covid-19 weakened the West?
Increasing tensions between the US and China have plunged relations to the lowest level for decades. This comes at a time when the world is facing its worst recession in living memory due to the coronavirus. Could this lead to a reshaping of the global order? Zeinab Badawi speaks to former Singaporean diplomat Kishore Mahbubani, who believes that Covid-19 has fundamentally weakened the west. Is he right that this is now Asia's century?
Aug 21, 2020
Abdalla Hamdok: Exclusive interview with Sudan's Prime Minister
It is exactly a year since a historic power-sharing agreement was signed between the military and civilians in Sudan, after the fall of President Omar al-Bashir. In an exclusive interview, Zeinab Badawi speaks to the civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who heads a transitional government charged with steering Sudan to democratic elections in 2022. Has the euphoria that followed last year's revolution given way to harsh realities and unfulfilled expectations?
Aug 19, 2020
Wu'er Kaixi: China's crackdown on Uighur dissent
China goes to extraordinary lengths to monitor and mould the lives of its citizens. The most extreme example can be seen in Xinjiang, home to more than 10 million muslim Uighur people; but the principle of stability through authoritarian control applies across the country. Stephen Sackur speaks to Wu'er Kaixi, a Chinese political dissident in exile since the Tiananmen uprising and himself a Uighur. Has China found a way of successfully suppressing dissent?
Aug 16, 2020
Nikol Pashinyan: Peace for Armenia and Azerbaijan?
One of the worlds most strategically sensitive conflict zones heated up dramatically last month when Armenian and Azerbaijani forces engaged in fighting which cost 17 lives. It is the latest twist in the long struggle over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh and it prompted warnings from Moscow and Washington. Stephen Sackur speaks to Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. He swept to power promising reform, so how come Armenia seems preoccupied with fighting old battles?
Aug 13, 2020
Raoul Nehme: Can Lebanon be saved from collapse?
After the unimaginable horror of the mega blast which devastated Beirut the people of Lebanon are now forced to live with a zombie government - dead in all but name, not yet replaced. Stephen Sackur speaks to Raoul Nehme, still Lebanon's Minister of Economy and Trade until a new government can be formed. The outgoing Prime Minister blamed the catastrophic situation on deep rooted corruption. Is Lebanon a country beyond rescue?
Aug 12, 2020
Chris Packham: 'Finding the good in the bad' of Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has inflicted huge economic damage, but it has also offered the natural world a little bit of respite – room to breathe. What will come next? Will it be a return to the old ways of resource exploitation and consumption? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Chris Packham, one of the UK’s best-known naturalists and environmental campaigners. Are we humans capable of fundamentally changing our priorities? Photo: Chris Packham Credit: BBC
Aug 10, 2020
Vanessa Neumann: Did Venezuela's opposition miss their chance?
Eighteen months ago, Venezuela seemed to be on the brink of political upheaval. The leader of the National Assembly declared himself president, 50 countries offered him official recognition. But socialist rule in Venezuela has not been toppled. Nicolás Maduro is still in the presidential palace overseeing a country deep in economic and healthcare crisis. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Vanessa Neumann, London envoy of the would be president Juan Guaidó. Did the Venezuelan opposition blow their chance?
Aug 07, 2020
Sir Jeremy Farrar: 'I do believe there will be a vaccine' in 2020 and 2021
Amid the talk of spikes and second waves one thing is clear – people predicting an early end to the coronavirus pandemic are indulging in wishful thinking. Can we find a way of living with Covid-19 that respects the science while mitigating the damage being done to our economic and social lives? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and a key scientific advisor to the UK government. How dangerous is the moment we’re in?
Aug 05, 2020
Leader of Ireland's Sinn Fein party Mary Lou McDonald
Last February the talk in Ireland was of a political earthquake. The nationalist party Sinn Féin won the most votes in the general election and promised to smash the status quo. Well, so much for that. Ireland’s two old established political parties instead formed a grand coalition and are steering the country through the Covid-19 crisis and Brexit. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Mary Lou McDonald, the leader of Sinn Féin. Has her party missed its moment?
Jul 31, 2020
Angus Deaton: The cost of the 'deaths of despair'
How do we judge the health of our economic systems? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the Nobel Prize winning economist Sir Angus Deaton who believes it’s about much more than the headline numbers on jobs and growth. He has focused on what he calls the deaths of despair – those attributed to suicide, drug and alcohol abuse – and concludes American capitalism is sick. Now, of course, coronavirus is having its own impact on mortality data. Does capitalism itself need emergency surgery? Photo: 2015 Nobel Prize winner in Economics Angus Deaton Credit: AFP
Jul 29, 2020
Gloria Allred: Epstein victim lawyer
HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi speaks to the veteran lawyer Gloria Allred. She is among the most famous attorneys in the US and her firm handles more women's rights cases than any other in America. For more than four decades her name has been synonymous with feminist causes. She is currently representing victims of the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. What motivates her and how much has her work brought about real change in America?
Jul 23, 2020
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: 'No-one will be safe until everyone is safe'
If Covid-19 spreads across Africa, it could be a catastrophe. Its health systems are already under strain and could buckle under more pressure. Lockdowns have badly affected local economies and pushed millions into poverty. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the chair of GAVI, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. She's also a Covid-19 envoy for the African Union. As the world races to find a vaccine, how will she ensure lower income countries don't get forgotten? (Photo: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Credit: AFP)
Jul 22, 2020
Adam Goodes: How racism drove him from Australian Rules football
Nowhere has the symbolic power of the Black Lives Matter movement been more evident than in the sports arena. All too often racism undermines the notion of a level playing field. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to an athlete who made a stand. Adam Goodes was a star player in Aussie Rules football. One of the greatest ever players of Aboriginal descent, he quit the game after years of racist abuse. What lessons can Australia and the wider world learn from his experience?
Jul 20, 2020
Husam Zomlot: How could Palestine respond to annexation?
It’s not clear when or even if Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going to deliver on his promise to annex a large chunk of the occupied West Bank. It’s even less clear what the Palestinian strategy will be if it happens. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the Palestinian ambassador in London Husam Zomlot. With the conflict at a turning point, does the Palestinian leadership have the vision, imagination and credibility to mount an effective response?
Jul 16, 2020
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Nathan Law
The international outcry prompted by Beijing’s imposition of a new national security law in Hong Kong has been long and loud – but will it make any difference? Inside the territory protests have been muted and the main pro-democracy activist movement has disbanded itself. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to one of the co-founders of that movement, Nathan Law. He’s now in self-imposed exile – is China’s Hong Kong strategy working? Photo: Nathan Law Credit: EPA
Jul 15, 2020
Jane Goodall: A life with chimpanzees
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the world-famous conservation activist Jane Goodall. She has made a unique contribution to humankind’s understanding of our closest living animal relatives, the primates, and in particular the chimpanzee. Dr Goodall was in her twenties when she began her meticulous observation of chimp behaviour deep in Africa. Now she’s 86, and still campaigning to protect the natural world. Can the primates and so many other species be saved from mass extinction?
Jul 12, 2020
Ronny Tong: Has China killed Hong Kong's special status?
Residents of Hong Kong are living with a new reality - a draconian national security law made in China and imposed on the territory with no meaningful consultation. Pro-democracy activists call it the death of the 'one country, two systems' principle established 23 years ago. HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur speaks to Ronny Tong, once a pro-democracy politician, now a loyalist of the Beijing-backed Hong Kong government. Has China just killed Hong Kong's special status?
Jul 06, 2020
Nadya Tolokonnikova: Pussy Riot & Russian protest
Vladimir Putin can now seek to extend his rule in Russia to 2036 thanks to a constitutional referendum, stage managed by the Kremlin. Is there any prospect of an opposition movement ever challenging Putin’s grip on power? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to one of the founders of the Pussy Riot punk protest collective, Nadya Tolokonnikova. What, if anything, can stir Russians to rebel?
Jul 02, 2020
Kathy Sullivan: Exploring space and the Mariana Trench
The human impulse to explore new frontiers has taken us into space and to the deepest, most remote corners of our own planet. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to one woman who has done both. Kathy Sullivan was the first American woman to walk in space, in 1984. She has just returned from a mission to the deepest point underneath the oceans, the Mariana Trench in the Pacific. She is first and foremost a scientist; as we try to navigate our future, are we properly respecting the science?
Jul 01, 2020
Armando Iannucci: Is this a bad time to be funny?
It’s the job of the professional satirist to find the funny and expose the absurd in humanity’s most serious endeavours. But are there times when satire just doesn’t work, and is now one of them? Should we be laughing at Covid-19, or at racial discrimination? Stephen Sackur speaks to Armando Iannucci, a hugely successful writer and director of comedy on TV and film, whose credits include Veep, In the Loop and The Death of Stalin. Is there ever a bad time and place to be funny?
Jun 29, 2020
Maria Ressa: Is the press under attack in the Philippines?
No world leader better epitomises the strong man style of political leadership than President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. One hallmark of his rule? A visceral dislike of scrutiny from the independent media. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to journalist Maria Ressa who founded the Rappler news website and has just been convicted of cyber-libel in a case that has raised worldwide concern. Is press freedom being strangled by populist politics?
Jun 25, 2020
André Leon Talley: Race, fashion and Vogue
Since George Floyd died in Minneapolis with a white police officer’s knee on his neck, new conversations about racism and discrimination have begun all over the world. It’s not just about policing, it’s about business, sport, culture – every aspect of life. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Andre Leon Tally who was creative director of American Vogue magazine when the fashion industry was almost devoid of senior black men. He’s just written a controversial memoir of his life in what he calls “the chiffon trenches”.
Jun 24, 2020
Chile Eboe-Osuji: Can the International Criminal Court achieve its goals?
President Trump has just widened the scope of US sanctions placed on top officials of the International Criminal Court describing the court as an extraordinary threat to the United States. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the president of the ICC, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji. It was an institution set up to end impunity for the worst of crimes – is it time to conclude that grand ambition will never be realised?
Jun 22, 2020
Jim McGovern: Can Biden unite the left?
President Donald Trump is in trouble. Coronavirus has plunged the US economy into recession, the killing of George Floyd has inflamed racial tensions and the president’s poll ratings have slumped. This summer the Democrats can sense an historic opportunity. But are they capable of seizing it? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern – is it enough for Democrats and their presidential candidate Joe Biden to be the party of Not Trump?
Jun 19, 2020
Arancha Gonzalez: Why isn't the world working together?
Covid-19 has presented governments across the world with a common threat, but the response has been far from united and collaborative. Has the pandemic further weakened the multilateral institutions that were the hallmark of globalisation? Stephen Sackur speaks to Spain's foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez. Is Europe's liberal political elite struggling to cope with a geopolitical reality increasingly defined by nationalism in the US and China?
Jun 17, 2020
Epidemiologist Ian Lipkin: Are we getting the pandemic response right?
All of us fervently want to believe the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is over. Governments around the world are easing lockdowns and focusing on economic recovery. But Covid-19 hasn’t gone away. Infection rates are rising in Latin America, parts of the US and Africa. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the internationally renowned epidemiologist Ian Lipkin, the scientific advisor for the movie Contagion which, nine years ago, predicted a scenario uncannily like this one. Are we getting the real-life pandemic response right?
Jun 15, 2020
Simon Cheng: 'We need to fight for democracy in Hong Kong and China'
One year ago, pro-democracy street protests began in Hong Kong. At the time, Simon Cheng was an employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong. Last August, he was arrested in mainland China and, he says, interrogated and physically abused. A year on, Mr Cheng is seeking asylum in the UK, and China is about to impose a new national security law in Hong Kong. Will anything stop Beijing imposing its will on Hong Kong?
Jun 12, 2020
Mary Frances Berry: A new era in civil rights?
Will the waves of protest and anger that have swept through US cities since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis make a lasting difference to race relations? African Americans must surely be sceptical. Racism, discriminatory and violent policing have survived all previous efforts to make real the promises of equality and justice for all. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the historian and civil rights activist Mary Frances Berry. What will it take to engineer genuine change?
Jun 09, 2020
James Graham: How much do we care about protecting our culture?
The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to the performing arts. No one knows when audiences will again be able to pack into a theatre to see a show. So what happens to the writers, performers and venues that enrich our lives? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to James Graham, the prolific and hugely successful young British playwright whose work has chronicled our turbulent political times. How much do we care about protecting our culture?
Jun 08, 2020
Rutger Bregman: Are humans essentially good?
In times of crisis we learn plenty about who we really are – and so it is that the global coronavirus pandemic is revealing truths about humankind – and how we balance self and collective interest. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to writer and historian Rutger Bregman whose book ‘Humankind: A Hopeful History’ is making waves around the world. Do we humans massively underestimate our capacity to change things for the better?
Jun 05, 2020
Mário Centeno: Can the Euro survive Covid?
Europe has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic – now that most countries have controlled the spread of infection and begun to ease their lockdown, does the EU have a coherent strategy for recovery? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the Finance Minister of Portugal and Head of the Eurozone Group of Ministers, Mário Centeno. For all the talk of solidarity, has the virus exacerbated the EUs greatest weakness, economic divergence?
Jun 03, 2020
National General Secretary of India's BJP, Ram Madhav
In some countries the coronavirus pandemic appears to have enhanced national unity and solidarity, in others it’s exposed deep fault lines. In India the crisis has hit the poorest migrant workers disproportionately hard; it’s also deepened tensions between the Hindu majority and Muslim minority. Is that the fault of the Hindu nationalist BJP government? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the National General Secretary of the BJP Ram Madhav. Is Prime Minister Modi stoking communal tensions even in a national emergency? Photo: BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav Credit: Getty Images
Jun 01, 2020
Raghuram Rajan: Should economies pile up debt to cope with Covid-19?
The Covid-19 pandemic has plunged the world economy into a deep recession. How long will it last and what kind of recovery can we expect? That in part depends on what governments do now. Should they be piling up future debt to cope with today’s crisis? Stephen Sackur speaks to the former Governor of India’s Reserve Bank and IMF chief economist Raghuram Rajan. Do the old rules of fiscal discipline no longer apply? (Photo: Raghuram Rajan, IMF chief economist)
May 29, 2020
Rocco Forte: Can hotels recover?
No sector of the global economy has been harder hit by Covid-19 than the travel and hospitality industry. Millions of workers dependent on travel and tourism have been laid off around the world. Stephen Sackur speaks to Sir Rocco Forte, boss of a string of luxury hotels and a powerful voice in an industry chafing under strict lockdown rules. What future is there for an industry that depends on mobility and confidence?
May 27, 2020
French Minister for Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire: EU faces 'gravest crisis'
When faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Union struggled to respond with collective action. The countries first and worst affected, Italy and Spain, complained of a lack of solidarity. Is that changing? The leaders of France and Germany are backing a plan to inject at least 500 billion euros into an economic recovery programme. Stephen Sackur speaks to French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. Is the pandemic taking the EU in a new direction?
May 22, 2020
Anders Tegnell: Is Sweden the best model for coronavirus response?
Much of the world responded to the Covid-19 pandemic with a lockdown strategy. Now there's much focus on finding a sustainable post-lockdown strategy that doesn’t prompt a second wave of infection. Could Sweden be the model? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Sweden’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, the architect of a controversial no-lockdown strategy that continues to stir interest across the world. Has it worked?
May 18, 2020
David Miliband: President, International Rescue Committee
It may be a global pandemic but Covid-19 has hardly united the world around a collective response. We have seen world leaders focus on national self-interest rather than international collaboration. That could spell disaster for those countries least able to cope with a protracted public health crisis. Stephen Sackur speaks to David Miliband, president of the international charity the International Rescue Committee and a former UK Foreign Secretary. What kind of world will emerge from this pandemic? (Photo: David Miliband)
May 15, 2020
Luiz Henrique Mandetta: Brazil's sacked Health Minister speaks out
While some countries are claiming success in their effort to curb Covid-19, Brazil is increasingly looking like an outlier. The rate of new infections is still increasing, the death toll is mounting, and all the while President Jair Bolsonaro focuses on easing social distancing and reopening the Brazilian economy. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Brazil’s former Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta who was fired by Mr Bolsonaro after a series of disagreements. Is President Bolsonaro putting his nation at risk?
May 11, 2020
US Democrat Senate Candidate Jaime Harrison: Joe Biden 'bringing calm to the storm we're in'
The Covid-19 death toll in the US has gone beyond 70,000 and scientists now expect it to go far beyond 100,000 within the next month. At the same time President Trump is doubling down on his calls for American states to relax the lockdown and get back to work. In this presidential election year dealing with the pandemic is now the dominant political issue. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to senior Democratic party official and candidate for the US Senate Jaime Harrison. Has Covid-19 changed America’s political landscape? (Photo: Jaime Harrison, senior Democratic Party official and candidate for the US Senate)
May 08, 2020
Dutch MEP Sophie in't Veld: 'Decline of the EU is possible but it's in our own hands'
The coronavirus pandemic has presented Europe with a massive challenge – and so far the EU’s response has been found wanting in several key respects. As the death toll has mounted and the economic damage worsened, European solidarity and coordinated action has been questioned by member states like Italy and Spain. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the influential Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld. Has Covid-19 exposed the weakness at the heart of the European project?
May 04, 2020
Liu Xiaoming: Is China a victim of Covid-19 or the source of the problem?
As the global effort to control Covid-19 continues so arguments about culpability for the spread of the pandemic intensify. At the centre of the story is China, where the outbreak began. Did the Chinese government’s impulse to cover up the truth cost the world dear? Or did China respond with admirable determination? Stephen Sackur speaks to the veteran Chinese Ambassador in London Liu Xiaoming. Is China the villain or the hero of this pandemic? (Photo: Chinese Ambassador in London Liu Xiaoming. on the Andrew Marr show, 9 February, 2020. Credit: Reuters)
May 01, 2020
Jens Stoltenberg: Has Nato risen to the challenge of Covid-19?
The coronavirus pandemic is a multi-layered global crisis. It starts with public health, but it reaches deep into the world economy and the global security system too. Could Covid-19 fears be used for malign purposes? Will it enhance or undermine multi-lateral institutions? Stephen Sackur speaks to Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of Nato. Has his organisation risen to this massive challenge? (Photo: Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of Nato)
Apr 29, 2020
Yuval Noah Harari: Covid-19 - a new regime of surveillance?
The coronavirus pandemic has presented humanity with an almighty shock. Here we are, with our evermore interconnected, technologically-advanced societies, living in lockdown and fearful for our health and economic futures - thanks to an invisible virus. Stephen Sackur interviews Israeli historian and best-selling author Yuval Noah Harari. What 21st century lesson can we draw from the spread of COVID-19?
Apr 27, 2020
Brian Cox: From poverty to Succession
Brian Cox, star of the global hit HBO drama Succession, is currently in New York, the US city worst affected by the virus. His long career has taken in everything from King Lear to the ruthless, media mogul Logan Roy in the HBO drama Succession. He defied childhood poverty and tragedy to make it; where does his fierce passion for acting come from?
Apr 26, 2020
David Nabarro: Is the WHO failing its greatest test?
With nation states across the world struggling to contain the coronavirus pandemic, there’s an urgent need for an internationally coordinated response. That’s where the UN agency the World Health Organisation should have a vital role to play; but right now, the WHO is at the centre of a political storm. Donald Trump has withdrawn US funding, accusing the agency of being China-centric. Stephen Sackur speaks to David Nabarro, the WHO special envoy for Covid-19. Is the organisation failing its greatest test?
Apr 24, 2020
Zoltan Kovacs: Is the EU facing its first de facto dictatorship?
The coronavirus pandemic has prompted governments around the world to take emergency measures. Liberties have been restricted in the name of safeguarding public health, but no European nation has gone further than Hungary in the embrace of authoritarianism. In Hungary, democracy has in effect been suspended indefinitely. Stephen Sackur interviews the country’s State Secretary for International Communication, Zoltan Kovacs - has COVID-19 ushered in the EU’s first de facto dictatorship?
Apr 24, 2020
Ola Källenius: Surviving coronavirus's economic shock
Every day, the havoc wrought by the coronavirus pandemic on public health and on the global economy worsens. Economic activity beyond the barest of essentials has been frozen in much of the world. What on Earth will the economic landscape look like when this is over? Stephen Sackur interviews Ola Källenius, the CEO of Daimler, one of Europe's biggest vehicle manufacturers. What will it take to survive the greatest economic shock in most of our lifetimes?
Mar 27, 2020
Antonio Guterres: How should the UN fight Covid-19?
Zainab Bedawi talks to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, who has described the Covid-19 crisis as "a threat to the whole of humanity". How can the UN help countries fight the coronavirus?
Mar 26, 2020
Margaret Heffernan: Is it time to embrace uncertainty?
The worldwide spread of coronavirus and its significant negative impact on the global economy represents a powerful illustration of the perils of forecasting. Countries in lockdown, financial markets in turmoil; this isn’t the way 2020 was supposed to pan out. HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur interviews acclaimed writer and businesswoman Margaret Heffernan, who has just published a book on the fallacies of forecasting.
Mar 23, 2020
Laurence Boone: Is enough being done to prevent a recession?
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Laurence Boone, chief economist at the global economic forum, the OECD. Leaders around the world have adopted the language of war to capture the scale of the threat posed by coronavirus. But are they deploying the right weaponry, not just to protect public health, but to prevent a worldwide economic depression? Will we get the dramatic, coordinated, emergency intervention needed to stave off economic disaster?
Mar 20, 2020
Eoin Ó Broin: Will Sinn Fein be part of Ireland's government?
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Sinn Fein’s Eoin Ó Broin. Coronavirus is first and foremost a global health crisis. But its impacts go so much further. The economic damage is deep and worldwide, and political systems face profound challenges too. Ireland is a telling case study. Last month’s election left the country without a stable government. Eoin Ó Broin is a leading figure in Sinn Fein, the party that won the most votes, but failed to form a government. Does political uncertainty now make Ireland especially vulnerable?
Mar 18, 2020
Mufaddal Hamadeh: Is the world indifferent to Syria's sufffering?
Idlib, Syria’s sole remaining rebel province is on the verge of the biggest humanitarian crisis of the 21st century". So says the UN’s top official responsible for emergency relief. Almost a million civilians have fled their homes since December. Shaun Ley interviews Dr Mufaddal Hamadeh, president of the Syrian American Medical Society. He’s been to Idlib this year, and seen for himself the carnage of war, and how hospitals and clinics which should give sanctuary have been bombed. After nine years of war, have we become indifferent to Syria’s pain?
Mar 16, 2020
Ian Goldin: Will Covid-19 cause a new recession?
The COVID19 crisis is not only a threat to people's health and wellbeing, it is already having severe financial consequences which many fear will result in a crisis of the kind we saw over a decade ago. Zeinab Badawi interviews Ian Goldin, a professor on globalisation and development, who six years ago predicted that the next financial crash would be caused by a pandemic. Will his prophesy come to pass, or can this be averted?
Mar 13, 2020
Congressman Anthony Brown: Is Joe Biden really the best the Democrats can do?
The US political landscape has shifted dramatically in the last few weeks. The Democratic Party’s search for the best candidate to beat Donald Trump in November now seems likely to end with the nomination of a 77-year-old establishment politician, written off as ‘past it’ just a month ago. Is Joe Biden really the best the Democrats can do? And could the coronavirus crisis change everything? (Photo: Democrat Congressman Anthony Brown)
Mar 11, 2020
William Kentridge: The unnaturalness of apartheid
Zeinab Badawi is in Johannesburg, interviewing William Kentridge. He is considered one of the world’s greatest living artists. He is versatile, hard-hitting and his talent spans many different genres. How has South Africa’s difficult, violent and racist past influenced his work? (Photo: William Kentridge, Rome, 2015 Credit: Stefano Montesi/Corbis/Getty Images)
Mar 09, 2020
Gabriel Attal: Has the magic worn off France's Emmanuel Macron?
President Emmanuel Macron’s bold promise to break the political mould in France has collided with reality. His reform plans, from tax to pensions, have stirred a backlash against what protesters call his neo-liberal elitism. And as his internal problems have mounted, so too have doubts about his ability to be the EU’s visionary leader. HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur interviews Gabriel Attal, Minister for Youth and a rising star in the President’s En Marche party. Photo: Gabriel Attal Credit: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images
Mar 06, 2020
David Tait: Speaking out about sexual abuse
David Tait appeared to have a perfect life: all the trappings of a successful and highly lucrative career in the City of London, a wife and young family. But on the inside, he was in turmoil. He suffered sexual abuse as a child, which had catastrophic consequences into his adult life. After a breakdown that nearly cost him everything, he’s dedicated himself to increasing the awareness of abuse against children, and has climbed Everest five times to raise millions for charity. Has David Tait found a way to deal with the pain of the past?
Mar 04, 2020
Mmusi Maimane: Can his new party become a force in South Africa?
Hardtalk is in Cape Town to speak to Mmusi Maimane, who stood down last October as leader of the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance. In his first major interview to an international broadcaster since he left the DA, Zeinab Badawi asks Mmusi Maimane what his resignation says about the state of politics in South Africa and his ambitions for the new Movement for One South Africa which he hopes will become a new political force in the country
Mar 02, 2020
Professor David Heymann: The fight against coronavirus
"Get ready" is the message from health experts fighting COVID-19, the coronavirus. At least 80,000 people are already infected in more than 40 countries, and that number is expected to rise. Is the World Health Organisation moving fast enough? We speak to WHO adviser Professor David Heymann.
Feb 28, 2020
Dr Yasser Abu Jamei: Mental health in Gaza
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Dr Yasser Abu Jamei, director of Gaza’s biggest mental health program. The past few days have seen rising tension in Gaza – Islamist militants fired rockets into Israel; the Israelis responded with air strikes aimed at the Islamic Jihad group. Hardly unusual and certainly not the stuff of international headlines but that in itself is telling. In Gaza conflict is the norm, so too an economic blockade that has long choked the economy. What happens to a people living with trauma and collective despair?
Feb 26, 2020
Alan Dershowitz: Are the rich above the law?
In the United States all citizens are equal in the eyes of the law, but having money and power helps if you need legal difficulties to disappear. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to lawyer Alan Dershowitz. He's one of America’s most high profile and outspoken lawyers – his long list of past clients includes Claus von Bulow, OJ Simpson, Jeffrey Epstein and, yes, Donald Trump. Prof Dershowitz joined the legal team arguing for acquittal in the recent Senate impeachment trial. He’s a skilled lawyer, has he used those skills wisely? Photo: Alan Dershowitz (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Feb 24, 2020
Tarana Burke: What difference has #MeToo made?
Tarana Burke first coined the phrase MeToo, long before the Harvey Weinstein case. She continues to reach out to marginalised women and girls. What difference has the MeToo movement made to the bigger picture? (Photo: Tarana Burke at New York Fashion Week. Credit: Getty Images)
Feb 21, 2020
Halima Aden: Challenging supermodel stereotypes
The designer catwalk and the glossy magazine cover are powerful cultural signifiers. Top models who occupy those spaces are deemed to have a look that attracts and sells. But how diverse is that look? How inclusive? Stephen Sackur interviews Halima Aden, a supermodel who challenged a host of stereotypes. She is a refugee from Somalia’s civil war; she’s Muslim and follows a modest dress code. Hers has been an extraordinary journey to international fame and fortune - how has it changed her?
Feb 19, 2020
Agnes Callamard: Investigating the Khashoggi and Soleimani killings
There are international laws and norms designed to prohibit states from bumping off their enemies, internal or external. But look around the world, and its clear those laws are being violated, often with impunity. Stephen Sackur interviews Agnes Callamard, a renowned human rights investigator who serves as the UN Special Rapporteur on extra judicial killing. Given the scale of the problem, have her investigations become an exercise in futility?
Feb 17, 2020
Paul Krugman: Nobel Prize-winning economist warns of threat to America’s economic future
Remember the time when political discourse was founded on those quaint concepts - facts, evidence, and expertise? Now it seems partisanship infects every corner of the realm of ideas, according to Paul Krugman. Stephen Sackur interviews the Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist, whose latest book suggests America’s political and economic future is threatened by zombie ideas peddled largely by America’s conservative movement. Has he become addicted to the partisan warfare he professes to despise?
Feb 14, 2020
Len McCluskey: What's the future of the UK Labour Party?
Like many of Europe’s long-established parties of the left, the UK Labour Party is in big trouble. In last December’s election, Labour wasn’t just beaten, it was humiliated, losing its grip on working-class heartlands in the midlands and the North. Stephen Sackur interviews Len McCluskey, who will have a big say in the choice of the party’s next leader. He leads the Unite Union, which is Labour’s biggest financial backer. Who can save Labour from a slow death?
Feb 12, 2020
John Kani: Art and activism
For a generation of black South African artists who came of age in the apartheid era, art and activism were intertwined; the liberation struggle was their life force. Now, a quarter of a century after Mandela became president, things are more complicated. Stephen Sackur speaks to John Kani, a giant of South African theatre. His career spans five decades of acting and writing. He’s been in Hollywood blockbusters, and is currently starring in his own West End play. What drives his artistic vision?
Feb 10, 2020
Ian Blackford: Does the SNP have a winning strategy?
Ian Blackford is the Scottish Nationalist MP for a vast tract of north-west Scotland, and the leader of the SNP’s 48-strong band of Westminster MPs. He is a prominent champion of the cause of Scottish independence, a cause which represents one of the biggest challenges facing prime minister Boris Johnson over the next five years. Back in 2014, Scotland voted by 55% to 45% to remain in the UK. At the time, it was billed as a ‘once in a lifetime’ decision. But since then, Britain has left the EU – against the wishes of a clear majority in Scotland – and the SNP now argues that this material change in circumstances gives Scots the right to another vote on independence. The SNP's grip on power in Scotland is currently unassailable, so a protracted political stand off between Edinburgh and London seems inevitable. The nationalists have plenty of passion, but do they have a winning strategy? (Photo: SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford during Prime Ministers Questions 2019. Credit: PA)
Feb 07, 2020
Ai Weiwei: Huawei, Hong Kong and being an artist in exile
China's rise to economic superpower status has not brought with it an opening up of politics or culture. Far from it. The Communist Party has intensified its efforts to suppress dissent of all kinds. Stephen Sackur speaks to China's most internationally-famous artist, Ai Weiwei, who now lives in the UK and not Beijing. He's a refugee and a migrant of sorts, so how has that affected his creative output?
Feb 05, 2020
Lauri Love: The realities of cyber security
Stephen Sackur speaks to the accused computer hacker Lauri Love. For nations, corporations and all of us as individuals, the age of the internet has heightened vulnerability. Information and data - the most valuable of all commodities - are at risk from hackers, motivated by greed or national or ideological interest. Lauri Love was, from childhood, a gifted computer geek who joined a so-called hacktivist collective. He was charged with hacking secrets from the US military, and narrowly avoided extradition. What does his case tell us about the realities of cyber security?
Feb 03, 2020
Jean-Claude Juncker: What's next for the EU and Britain?
Britain is at an historic fork in the road - taking the UK in a new direction, and maybe Europe too. Many on both sides didn't think it would come to this, even after Britain's Brexit vote in 2016. But here we are. HARDtalk speaks to Jean Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission through the Brexit drama. What will Brexit mean for Britain and the European project?
Jan 31, 2020
Patrick Suckling: Is Australia becoming a climate pariah?
Since September 2019, bush fires in Australia have consumed 10 million hectares of land – an area almost the size of England. People have died, homes have been destroyed. The annual season of fires has begun earlier and lasted longer than ever before. Many see it as evidence of climate change, though the government says it’s not as simple as that. Condemned by its Pacific neighbours for inaction, does Australia’s former Ambassador for the Environment fear his nation is becoming a climate pariah?
Jan 29, 2020
Mindu Hornick: Don't let Auschwitz memories erode
It’s 75 years since allied troops entered the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. The very word Auschwitz still stirs a unique level of horror. It was the place where Hitler’s genocide of European Jewry was industrialised with evil precision. Stephen Sackur speaks to Mindu Hornick, one of the remaining survivors. Now 90 years old, she continues to speak of the past in the hope that we will learn from her experience. That’s her challenge to us: to listen and to draw the right lessons.
Jan 27, 2020
Don Bacon: Will Republicans regret their loyalty to Trump?
Perhaps it’s misleading to describe the unfolding events in the US Senate as the ‘impeachment trial’ of Donald Trump. After all, this is a process which may well avoid witness testimony, exclude key documents, and involves jurors who drew their conclusions long ago. Nonetheless, it remains an historic moment, likely to have a major impact on US politics. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Republican Congressman Don Bacon. Will Republicans come to regret their unwavering loyalty to Donald J Trump?
Jan 24, 2020
Alexander Blackman: How should crimes on the battlefield be handled?
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to take steps to protect military personnel from what he describes as vexatious legal claims. It’s a controversial stance as armed conflicts, from Northern Ireland to Iraq, have thrown up serious allegations of criminal wrongdoing by soldiers. Former Royal Marine Alexander Blackman was convicted of murder while serving in Afghanistan in 2011. He served three years in prison and, after a long legal struggle, his conviction was reduced to manslaughter. What does his case tell us about morality and accountability on the frontline?
Jan 22, 2020
Tony Garnett: Making TV with a radical purpose
The British film and TV producer Tony Garnett died last week, aged 83. In 2016 Stephen Sackur spoke to him about his life and pioneering work which began in the 1960s. The subject matter he tackled included homelessness, illegal abortion and police corruption, and uncovered dark corners in British life. But how much of his motivation came from the dark corners in his own life?
Jan 20, 2020
Seth Freedman: Spying for Harvey Weinstein
Who polices the shadowy world of private intelligence? HARDtalk’s Sarah Montague speaks to Seth Freedman who was an investigator for Black Cube and gathered information for its client the disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein. Does he regret what he did?
Jan 17, 2020
Douglas Silliman: What is Donald Trump's strategy in Iraq?
Though the fear of imminent war has receded, the Middle East has been profoundly destabilised by the American assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. The unfolding US-Iran conflict will impact the whole region, not least Iraq, where the Iranians are intent on hastening the end of America’s military presence. Stephen Sackur interviews Douglas Silliman, former US ambassador to Iraq until a year ago. Does Trump have a strategy - and if so, what is it?
Jan 15, 2020
Sir Antony Gormley: Britain's most successful sculptor
Stephen Sackur is at the workshop of Britain’s most successful sculptor, Sir Antony Gormley. His monumental pieces, put in prominent positions in outdoor spaces, have become some of the world’s most famous examples of public art. His inspiration is the human body, in fact, his own body. So what does his work tell us about his relationship with the world around him?
Jan 13, 2020
Vali Nasr: Have strategic realities in the Middle East changed?
Who’s gained and who’s lost after the killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Vali Nasr, US foreign policy scholar and former adviser to the US State Department. Phase one of the fallout from America’s assassination of Iran's favourite General appears to be over. Washington and Tehran are both talking tough while taking a step back from the brink of all out war. For now. What might happen next?
Jan 10, 2020
Ayad Allawi: What if the US pulls out of Iraq?
America’s targeted killing of Iran’s top general, Qasem Soleimani, has spread new fears of war across the Middle East. The key protagonists are in Washington and Tehran, but the main stage for the conflict may well be Iraq, as Soleimani was assassinated in Baghdad. Iraq is now under intense pressure to pick sides. Stephen Sackur interviews Ayad Allawi, who was the country’s vice-president twice. Does the current crisis spell disaster for Iraq?
Jan 08, 2020
Malcolm Gladwell: Should we trust strangers?
Stephen Sackur speaks to Malcolm Gladwell, the Canadian author who has been described as America’s most famous intellectual. His latest book, Talking to Strangers, challenges the assumptions we make about trust and truth. But how far can we trust Malcolm Gladwell?
Jan 06, 2020
Andrew Mitchell MP: What will Boris Johnson do next?
The scale of the Conservative Party triumph in last weeks UK election promises to have seismic consequences. Boris Johnson can get Brexit done on terms and a timetable of his choosing; Parliamentary approval guaranteed. And not since Margaret Thatcher has a Tory leader had such an opportunity to remake Britain. Hardtalk speaks to Conservative MP and former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell. Boris Johnson has been handed immense power, what will he do with it? (Photo: Conservative MP and former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell)
Dec 20, 2019
Staffan de Mistura: Can the international community still stop wars?
At the end of the second decade of the 21st century, does anyone still believe in the ability of the so-called ‘international community’ to stop wars, disarm dictators and protect civilians? One can decide by looking at the scale of suffering in Syria, the renewed unrest across the Middle East and the imminent American withdrawal from Afghanistan. Stephen Sackur interviews Staffan de Mistura, who has been a UN envoy in all of those places over the last decade. Is it time to acknowledge the irrelevance of the international peacemakers? Photo: Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura Credit: AFP via Getty Images
Dec 18, 2019
Bill Bryson: US author demystifying the British
Sometimes it takes an outsider armed with just a sharp eye and curiosity to get us to see ourselves as we really are. That would explain the enduring popularity of the American-born writer Bill Bryson, whose wry take on Britain and the British has generated two best-selling books. From the mysteries of afternoon tea to the power of the human brain, what has Bill Bryson learned from his gentle search for understanding? Photo: Bill Bryson at the Cheltenham Literary Festival Credit: Getty Images
Dec 16, 2019
Aryana Sayeed: Afghanistan’s biggest pop star
The fight for Afghanistan's future has been joined far beyond the frontlines between Government forces and the Taliban. Stephen Sackur interviews Aryana Sayeed, who is engaged in the struggle by using her own potent weapons: her voice, her songs and a spirit of defiance. She is Afghanistan’s biggest pop star, and has braved death threats to campaign for women’s rights and artistic freedom. Is this a fight she can win?
Dec 13, 2019
Eliot Higgins: Searching for facts in a 'post-truth' world
Can complex truths be revealed using digital fragments from the worldwide web? Eliot Higgins is the founder of the investigative website Bellingcat, which in recent years has broken a series of scoops. Bellingcat has exposed the depth of Russian military involvement in the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine; it revealed the identities of two key Russian suspects in the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal; most recently, it has provided damning detail about the suspected assassin of a Chechen rebel in Berlin. Has Bellingcat reinvented journalism for our "fake news" age?
Dec 11, 2019
Megan Phelps-Roper: Leaving 'America's most obnoxious hate group'
Holding placards outside the funerals of dead soldiers, celebrating the death of children after school massacres: Westboro Baptist Church has been called the "most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America". From the age of 5, Megan Phelps-Roper had stood on the picket lines, and carried those hate-filled signs. But as an adult firing off tweets to her online critics, Megan began to doubt. Shaun Ley speaks to Megan Phelps-Roper in London. Can Megan really still regard those who abused her mind, teaching her to hate and to pray for more deaths, as Mum and Dad?
Dec 09, 2019
Daniel Jones: The man who unveiled the CIA’s darkest secrets
Eighteen years since the 9/11 attack on the United States, and the impact still reverberates even as memories fade. The US Government responded by adopting a counter-terror strategy embracing ‘enhanced interrogation’, a euphemism for torture. Stephen Sackur interviews Daniel Jones, who led a six year investigation into the CIA’s darkest secrets. Now his story has been turned into a movie; but did America cease to care, long ago?
Dec 06, 2019
Behrouz Boochani: Six years as a marooned migrant
In 2013, the Australian Government adopted a draconian anti-immigration policy, which involved sending all sea-borne would-be asylum seekers to de-facto detention camps in remote Papua New Guinea and Micronesia. Stephen Sackur interviews one of them. Behrouz Boochani is an Iranian Kurd who has written about his extraordinary six-year experience as a marooned migrant. He’s now a prize-winning author, but is his long-term fate any clearer?
Dec 04, 2019
Stephen Sackur is on the road in Zimbabwe
In a special edition of HARDtalk, Stephen Sackur is on the road in Zimbabwe to witness the effects of change in Southern Africa’s climate. Zimbabwe in the post-Mugabe era is wrestling with an economic crisis, endemic corruption and widespread poverty, which leaves Zimbabweans extremely vulnerable in the face of prolonged drought. Crops have failed, hydro power is down and taps have run dry. Can Zimbabwe adapt to looming environmental crisis?
Dec 02, 2019
Wendell Pierce: A tale of two Americas
The American TV series The Wire, which methodically dissected America’s war with drugs, was an eye-opener for many. Shaun Ley interviews Wendell Pierce, whose role as Detective Bunk Moreland brought him international attention. Now he’s on stage in London as the protagonist in Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman. But it was Hurricane Katrina that defined him, when he rolled up his own sleeves when his childhood home was smashed. After his city’s darkest hour, when help failed to come, did Wendell Pierce fall out of love with America?
Nov 29, 2019
Liu Xiaoming: How will China respond to unrest in Hong Kong?
Is Chinese leader Xi Jinping facing the most serious challenge of his presidency? The significance of the political unrest in Hong Kong stretches far beyond the borders of its territory. If Beijing cannot quell the calls for freedom in Hong Kong, what does that tell us about the sustainability of its authoritarian rule elsewhere? Stephen Sackur speaks to China’s Ambassador in London, Liu Xiaoming.
Nov 27, 2019
Mangaliso Ndlovu: Can Zimbabwe avert environmental disaster?
Zimbabwe is wrestling with economic crisis, endemic corruption and prolonged drought. Crops have failed, hydro-power is down, taps have run dry. Also at risk is the country's wildlife population – animals and people are now in a desperate competition for resources. Mangaliso Ndlovu is Zimbabwe's Environment minister. Does his government have a plan to avert environmental disaster?
Nov 25, 2019
Christopher Ruddy: How much trouble is Donald Trump in?
Will the impeachment proceedings on Capitol Hill derail Donald Trump's presidency? Christopher Ruddy is CEO of Newsmax and a close personal friend of the US president. He has accused Democrats of playing politics with impeachment, while the President himself calls the impeachment inquiry a witch hunt. How much trouble is Donald Trump actually in?
Nov 22, 2019
Author and explorer - Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Stephen Sackur interviews Sir Ranulph Fiennes. He is an extremist of a very special kind - nothing to do with his political views - but recognition of a lifetime spent embracing physical challenges at the extreme limit of human endurance. He has taken on - and conquered - the polar ice, the world’s highest peaks and the most gruelling deserts. He's been described as one of the world’s greatest living explorers. So what's the motivation for this life of extreme adventure?
Nov 18, 2019
Investigative journalist - Ronan Farrow
How did a Hollywood insider break the story that took the shine off Tinseltown? HARDtalk's Sarah Montague interviews journalist Ronan Farrow, who won a Pulitzer prize for his investigation of Harvey Weinstein. His revelations about the film producer prompted an outpouring of rage at the way women had been treated, and triggered the #MeToo movement – an attempt at breaking the silence around sexual assault. In his new book Catch and Kill he’s posing difficult questions about the powerful media institutions he says tried to suppress his story.
Nov 15, 2019
Minister for Islamic Affairs in Malaysia -Mujahid Yusof Rawa
Malaysia has one of Asia’s most vibrant economies - the result of decades of stability and economic growth. It is also a multi-ethnic, multi-religious federation - but the majority ethnic Muslim Malays dominate the country politically. Zeinab Badawi speaks to Malaysia’s Minister for Islamic affairs Mujahid Yusof Rawa. Are racial and religious divides threatening Malaysia’s stability and future prospects? There is growing concern that such tensions have been getting worse since a new government took office last year.
Nov 13, 2019
Film director - Ken Loach
Can cinema change society? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to film director Ken Loach, one of the most lauded and durable directors in the UK film industry. He’s made 27 films and he’s won the biggest prize at Cannes twice for his socially conscious, realist works. His latest is an unrelenting, bleak take on the exploitation of workers in the so-called gig economy.
Nov 11, 2019
Esther Duflo - Nobel Prize-winning economist
Shaun Ley speaks to the Nobel Prize winning economist Esther Duflo. The experimental trails she ran with two colleagues in Africa and India produced some surprising results. Among their findings: food aid isn’t helping the poor, and the poorest kids don’t need more books, they need more time. A fashionable idea wins the Nobel Prize. But is this really a story of failure of economists to predict the financial crisis, and of economics to offer big solutions?
Nov 08, 2019
Hong Kong’s Secretary for Housing and Transport , 2012 – 2017 - Anthony Cheung
Last weekend in Hong Kong, metro stations were torched, the Chinese state news agency was attacked, police fired water cannon and tear gas, and 200 people were arrested. That is Hong Kong’s new normal. How long can it go on without a major intervention from Beijing? Is there any way out of the impasse between Hong Kong’s government and pro-democracy protestors? Stephen Sackur interviews former senior official in the territory’s administration, Anthony Cheung. Are Hong Kong’s prospects bleak?
Nov 06, 2019
Richard Haass - President, Council on Foreign Relations
Donald Trump wants Americans to bask in the afterglow of the killing of the world’s most wanted terrorist, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. But many are focused on the daily developments of the impeachment investigation. Both say something important about the way Donald Trump conducts national security and foreign policy. Stephen Sackur interviews former senior US diplomat Richard Haass. Trump horrifies the foreign policy establishment, but does that matter to American voters?
Nov 04, 2019
Campaigner and businesswoman Gina Miller
Perhaps inevitably, Britain’s unresolved Brexit agony has led to a general election. The current Parliament could not find a path out of the morass, so the people must now elect a new one. Brexit has exposed profound tensions in Britain’s vaunted system of democracy, raising questions about the relationship between the people, Parliament, Government and the courts. Stephen Sackur speaks to businesswoman Gina Miller, who led two legal challenges to the Government’s Brexit strategy and won both times – how come this non-politician has had such an impact on Britain’s political landscape? (Photo: Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller leaves the Supreme Court for the result of a hearing on the prorogation of parliament. Credit: EPA)
Nov 01, 2019
Casey Legler: What does it take to emerge from darkness?
Imagine having an extraordinary sporting talent, but finding yourself traumatised by the realities of elite-level competition. Imagine being defined by your gender and physicality in ways that crushed your own sense of yourself. Stephen Sackur interviews former Olympic swimmer turned artist, model and now writer Casey Legler about their pain-filled early life, which included a prolonged battle with alcohol and drugs. What did it take to emerge from the darkness?
Oct 30, 2019
Former spy - Willie Carlin
What was it like to be an spy during The Troubles in Northern Ireland? HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur speaks to former MI5 agent Willie Carlin. He became an undercover spy within Sinn Féin, the political wing of the IRA, during the so-called 'dirty war'. He was dramatically extracted after his cover was blown. Now he’s written a book - Thatcher's Spy - about his experiences.
Oct 28, 2019
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan - Minister of Foreign Affairs, Armenia
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Armenia’s foreign minister. Armenia is a small state with outsize strategic significance in a Caucasus region beset with tension and hostility. Last year popular protests delivered a so-called velvet revolution which saw a new government installed in Yerevan amid ambitious talk of reform. Is Armenia looking east or west for political and economic inspiration?
Oct 25, 2019
Alfred Bosch
Last week the whole of Europe heard a howl of rage coming from Catalonia. Since Spain’s highest court sentenced nine pro-independence politicians to a collective one hundred years in prison there have been mass, sometimes violent protests across the region which has left hundreds injured. Madrid says there can be no political dialogue until Catalan politicians condemn the violence and rein in the militants. Where does the pro-independence movement go from here?
Oct 23, 2019
Sally Lane and John Letts, parents of Jack Letts
What will become - what should become - of Jack Letts? HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur speaks to his parents Sally Lane and John Letts. Alongside the humanitarian fall-out from Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria there are grave security concerns. Not least what will happen to the thousands of so-called Islamic State militants imprisoned by Syrian Kurdish forces? British born Jack Letts left the UK in 2014 to live in the so called IS Caliphate. Since then he’s had his British citizenship revoked and his parents have been convicted under UK anti-terror laws for sending him money.
Oct 21, 2019
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Turkey - Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu
Is Turkey creating further instability in Syria? HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi talks exclusively to the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Ankara. Turkey has been condemned for its recent offensive in northern Syria but it says its operations have been necessary to flush out what it describes as Kurdish terrorists.
Oct 18, 2019
British intelligence whistleblower - Katharine Gun
What makes a whistleblower? What prompts someone to break ranks, maybe break the law, in order to expose a secret, often at great cost? Stephen Sackur interviews Katharine Gun. In 2003, she worked at the UK’s signals intelligence agency GCHQ. She leaked potentially explosive information about America’s covert effort to sway UN diplomats to support the Iraq war. She risked everything, including prison, in an act that changed her life. Now her story has been made into a movie; but, 16 years on, has her perspective changed? Image: Katharine Gun (Credit: Lia Toby/Getty Images for BFI)
Oct 16, 2019
Professor of Computer Science at University of California, Berkeley - Stuart Russell
What is the most serious existential threat facing humanity? Artificial Intelligence, warned the physicist Stephen Hawking, could spell the end of the human race. Stephen Sackur interviews Stuart Russell, a globally-renowned computer scientist and sometime adviser to the UK Government and the UN. Right now, AI is being developed as a tool to enhance human capability; is it fanciful to imagine the machines taking over?
Oct 14, 2019
Financier and Brexit backer Stuart Wheeler
Brexit represents a political gamble played for the highest of stakes. If Britain leaves the EU without a deal there will be significant economic disruption, even the most ardent Brexiteers acknowledge that. But they believe the potential rewards justify the risk. Stephen Sackur speaks to Stuart Wheeler, a successful businessman and lifelong gambler who backed his commitment to Brexit with plenty of his own cash. Has his money given him undue influence over Britain’s future? Image: Stuart Wheeler (Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire)
Oct 11, 2019
Suede singer-songwriter Brett Anderson
Rock music inhabits a world of permanent revolution. Today’s biggest bands will most likely be tomorrow’s tired old has-beens. But just occasionally artists and groups find a way of reinventing themselves and outlasting the constant fluctuations in fashion and taste. Stephen Sackur speaks to the singer-songwriter Brett Anderson. His band Suede was hailed as the future of Rock'n'Roll back in the early 1990s. Today they are still making music a generation after Britpop ceased to be a thing. So what keeps him going?
Oct 09, 2019
Brazil's Environment Minister - Ricardo Salles
The number of forest fires burning in the Amazon rainforest may have dropped since the global alarm was raised in August, but Brazil’s Government is still feeling intense political heat. Stephen Sackur interviews Brazilian Environment Minister Ricardo Salles, who is in Europe trying to convince sceptics that President Bolsonaro’s government is not prioritising economic exploitation at the expense of environmental protection. How credible are the Brazilian Government’s soothing words? Image: Ricardo Salles (Credit: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images)
Oct 07, 2019
Actor and activist - Jameela Jamil
Zeinab Badawi interviews British actress, activist and model Jameela Jamil. After breaking into the US with the critically-acclaimed comedy series ‘The Good Place’, she’s been getting attention for her criticism of celebrities like the Kardashians for their promotion of diet products to millions of young women on social media. Is her campaign to make us feel better about our bodies working?
Oct 04, 2019
Daughter of former Chief Minister of Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti - Iltija Mufti
It has been two months since India revoked the special autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir, and Delhi still has the territory in a form of lockdown. Political leaders are detained, troops are on the streets and communication links are disrupted. The Modi Government seems confident its dramatic cancellation of a 70-year-old dispensation has worked; but what of Kashmiri feeling? Stephen Sackur speaks to Iltija Mufti, the daughter of former Chief Minister of Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti, who is currently in detention. Do Kashmiris have any choice but to accept their new reality?
Oct 02, 2019
Lawyer - Kimberley Motley
What have almost two decades of American intervention in Afghanistan achieved? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Kimberley Motley - an American lawyer who went to Kabul in a training capacity and stayed to become a respected litigator fighting for the rights of the abused and the powerless. The death toll in the Afghan conflict far outstrips the losses in Syria and Yemen. But the grim statistics tell only a part of Afghanistan’s story. Does her experience give grounds for hope or despair?
Sep 30, 2019
Former White House Communications Director - Anthony Scaramucci
Is impeachment a trap for President Trump's opponents? HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur speaks to Anthony Scaramucci, former Trump cheerleader, briefly his communications director and now an arch critic. The Trump presidency has seen US politics become ever more polarised and partisan. The Democrats decision to begin impeachment proceedings based on emerging details of President Trump’s dealings with the President of Ukraine has intensified the political warfare in Washington.
Sep 27, 2019
President of Microsoft - Brad Smith
How do we ensure our astonishing technological advances are harnessed for good, not harm? HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur speaks to the President of Microsoft, Brad Smith. Remember the time when the internet was trumpeted as the tech tool that would deliver us a golden age of knowledge, freedom and democracy? Now we’re in a darker, more cynical place – the digital revolution has generated fears about lost privacy, mass surveillance and systemic misinformation. Have the corporate titans of tech failed us? Image: Brad Smith (Credit: Gary He/Reuters)
Sep 25, 2019
Lebanon's Foreign Minister - Gebran Bassil
Why is Lebanon dogged by chaos? HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur speaks to the country’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil. Lebanese politics is a world of complex alliances, delicate inter-communal arrangements, and almost permanent instability. Lebanon currently has a functioning government but it’s dealing with a host of deep problems: the economy is a mess, national debt is spiralling and regional conflict threatens to pull the country apart at the seams. Is the current Lebanese government making a bad situation worse? Image: Gebran Bassil (Credit: Clemens Bilan/EPA)
Sep 23, 2019
South Africa's Minister of International Relations - Naledi Pandor
South Africa's Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor talks about the recent spate of xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Twelve people were killed earlier this month when mobs attacked foreign-owned businesses, mainly in Johannesburg. It follows similar outbreaks in 2008 and 2015 which left dozens of people dead. (Photo: Naledi Pandor (Credit: Mauro Pimentel/AFP/Getty Images)
Sep 20, 2019
Chairman, United Liberation Movement for West Papua - Benny Wenda
Indonesia has the right kind of assets in terms of population, natural resources and strategic position to be a 21st century superpower; but there are clouds on the horizon. For five decades Jakarta has suppressed a Papuan independence movement, and in recent months tensions have flared into violence. Stephen Sackur interviews Benny Wenda, exiled leader of the West Papuan Liberation Movement. Can he take on Jakarta and win? Image: Benny Wenda (Credit: United Liberation Movement for West Papua/AFP)
Sep 18, 2019
Anson Chan - Chief Secretary of Hong Kong, 1993-2001
Extraordinary events have become the norm in the last three months in Hong Kong. The territory has become a cockpit of political protest and sporadic violence as many thousands continue to demand democratic reform. Stephen Sackur interviews Anson Chan; she was the Chief Secretary of Hong Kong during the handover from British to Chinese rule. She is still close to the centre of the storm, as Beijing now accuses her of fomenting the protest. Is Hong Kong’s fragile status quo irretrievably broken?
Sep 16, 2019
Independent MP, UK - Heidi Allen
Is there any clarity and coherence to the opponents of Brexit? Stephen Sackur speaks to MP Heidi Allen who quit the Conservative party earlier this year to co-found a new pro-remain centrist party. With Prime Minister Boris Johnson apparently intent on ignoring the will of parliament and exiting the EU at the end of October the eye of the Brexit storm is fast approaching.
Sep 13, 2019
French MEP and former Europe Minister - Nathalie Loiseau
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has positioned himself as the country’s Brexit champion, but his pledge to take Britain out of the EU on October the 31st is in trouble. Parliament has passed a law requiring him to seek a deadline extension from the EU; so either he negotiates a new exit deal in short order, or he attempts to defy the law. How is this British melodrama being viewed in Europe? Stephen Sackur interviews French MEP and former Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau. Has EU patience with British indecision run out? Image: Nathalie Loiseau (Credit: Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images)
Sep 11, 2019
Former UK Lord Chancellor - Lord Falconer
British politics is in full-on meltdown mode. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has lost a series of key votes on Brexit, AND his parliamentary majority. He’s now seeking a general election in mid-October to let British voters decide whether Brexit should happen, come what may, at the end of next month. But will the Labour opposition agree to a snap poll? Stephen Sackur interviews former Labour cabinet minister Lord Falconer. Is Labour in any fit state to win an election amid Britain’s Brexit chaos?
Sep 06, 2019
Sea Rescue Captain - Carola Rackete
The number of migrants making the sea crossing from North Africa to southern Europe has fallen dramatically in the last two years; tragically, the number of deaths hasn’t declined as fast. Humanitarian activists blame the anti-migration policies of EU member states. Stephen Sackur speaks to Carola Rackete, who defied the Italian authorities to land the rescue-ship Sea Watch 3 in Sicily with 50 migrants on board. To some, she’s a humanitarian hero; but will her actions merely encourage more people smuggling and more suffering? Image: Carola Rackete (Credit: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters)
Sep 04, 2019
IT entrepreneur and philanthropist - Dame Stephanie Shirley
Eighty years ago, hundreds of Jewish children were smuggled out of Nazi occupied Europe by train in a covert humanitarian mission which became known as the ‘kindertransport’. Stephen Sackur speaks to Dame Stephanie Shirley, who was one of those children. She went on to live an extraordinary life of achievement and philanthropy, blazing a trail for women in business, science and technology. What lessons can we learn from a woman determined to make the most of a life so nearly extinguished in childhood?
Sep 02, 2019
Gabon's Minister of Forests and Environment - Lee White
Our planet is haemorrhaging natural resources at an alarming rate. Biodiversity is under threat as forests are felled, wild animals illegally hunted. Stephen Sackur speaks to Lee White, newly appointed Environment Minister in the West African state of Gabon. He is on the front line of the effort to conserve and protect what remains, in a country famed for its tropical forests, its elephants and gorillas, but also notorious for systemic corruption and inequality. Can Gabon find a sustainable balance between the needs of man and nature?
Aug 28, 2019
Mia Khalifa: Former adult actress
The human preoccupation with sex is nothing new – but the internet has made it so much easier to explore and exploit every shade of desire. The online porn industry makes billions of dollars in profit every year, but the big winners are corporate players, not the women and men performing the sex acts. Stephen Sackur interviews Mia Khalifa; she was briefly a porn actress, garnering worldwide notoriety when she appeared in a sex video wearing the Islamic hijab. After years of threats and insecurity, she’s speaking out; what does her story tells us about the porn industry and 21st century culture?
Aug 26, 2019
Kang Kyung-wha – Foreign Minister, South Korea
Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed ‘deal maker extraordinaire’ is finding the Korean Peninsula tough going. For all his claims of friendship with the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, Pyongyang seems no closer to giving up its nuclear arsenal. America's strategic partnership with South Korea is looking increasingly strained too. Stephen Sackur interviews South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha. Her country is currently out of step with both the US and Japan; how vulnerable does that make South Korea?
Aug 23, 2019
CEO of Philip Morris International - Andre Calantzopoulos
Tobacco giant Philip Morris International claims it wants a ‘smoke free world’ and the eventual phasing out of cigarettes, hailing its new smoke-free products as the future. But how plausible is that given that globally Philip Morris International still sells almost 800 billion cigarettes a year? The World Health Organisation says there are more than a billion smokers around the world, and that about seven million deaths per year ‘are the result of direct tobacco use’. HARDtalk is in PMI’s research laboratories in Switzerland to talk to the CEO, Andre Calantzopoulos. Are his claims of a smoke free future clever strategic marketing or corporate hypocrisy?
Aug 21, 2019
Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo, Deputy Chairman of Sudan's Sovereign Council
Zeinab Badawi is at the Presidential Palace in Khartoum where a historic power-sharing agreement has been signed between the military and civilians. General Mohamed Hamdan “Hemeti” Dagolo signed the agreement on behalf of the military. He has been described as the most powerful person in Sudan and is the leader of the heavily armed, well equipped Rapid Support Forces. They have been accused of killing or injuring hundreds of civilians during protests in June and July. Can the military be trusted to stick to the power sharing deal?
Aug 19, 2019
Co-founder of Extinction Rebellion - Roger Hallam
Back in 2015, the nations of the world made a formal commitment to keep global warming below 2 degrees centigrade. So much for fine words; global greenhouse gas emissions are still rising. The data suggest the planet is warming at an alarming rate. What to do about it? Stephen Sackur interviews Roger Hallam, the co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, a movement dedicated to mass resistance and civil disobedience; how far are these climate rebels prepared to go?
Aug 16, 2019
Leader of Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement - Shah Faesal
When the Indian Government revoked the special autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir, it knew outrage would follow; which is why Delhi has the Muslim majority Himalayan territory in a form of lockdown. Stephen Sackur interviews the leader of the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement, Shah Faesal. Since recording this interview, there are now reports that Mr Shah has been detained by the authorities in Delhi and prevented from leaving the country. (Photo: Shah Faesal via video link)
Aug 15, 2019
Director of Antiracism Research and Policy Center US - Ibram Kendi
For many Americans, Donald Trump’s incendiary tweets aimed at immigrants show him to be a racist and white nationalist. But maybe we exaggerate the importance of Donald Trump’s contribution to America’s problem with race? Stephen Sackur interviews prize-winning writer on race and founder of the Anti-Racist Research Centre in Washington, Ibram Kendi. He says the roots of racism run deep and an honest assessment of their strength has barely begun. Can the US ever fix a problem so intimately bound up with its past? (Photo: Ibram X Kendi. Credit: Getty Images)
Aug 12, 2019
Former Conservative Party leader- Iain Duncan Smith
The British Government’s Brexit strategy can be summed up in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s three-word phrase: ‘do or die’. As a deal between London and Brussels appears unlikely, what about the alternative? Stephen Sackur interviews Iain Duncan Smith, former Conservative party leader and ardent Brexiteer. Can Prime Minister Johnson deliver a no-deal exit? And what would it mean for Britain’s politics and economy? (Photo: Iain Duncan Smith MP, on the Andrew Marr show)
Aug 09, 2019
Chair of the Irish Senate Brexit Committee - Neale Richmond
Ireland is bracing itself for the scariest of Halloween nightmares. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to take the UK out of the EU on October the 31st, come what may. That may mean a no deal Brexit, with potentially damaging economic consequences for the UK, but also for EU nations, most particularly Ireland. Stephen Sackur interviews Neale Richmond, Chair of the Irish Senate’s Brexit Committee. Can Ireland prevent itself becoming the collateral damage in a Brussels London showdown? (Photo: Neale Richmond)
Aug 07, 2019
Australian scientist - Tim Flannery
Meteorologists at the UN say the last four years were globally the hottest on record. Stephen Sackur talks to one of Australia's most eminent scientists who argues that current warming is 'unparalleled' in 2,000 years. Climate change, he says is happening 30 times faster than the melting of the ice at the last Ice Age. Is the political will to save the planet melting too?
Aug 05, 2019
Former British Foreign Secretary - Jack Straw
The world’s most pressing and potentially dangerous strategic confrontation is playing out in the narrow waterway between Iran and Arabia. The United states is leading efforts to isolate the Government in Tehran. Iran is responding with defiance despite severe economic disruption. Former British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, is a veteran of western diplomatic engagement with Iran. How high is the risk of a calamitous conflict? (Photo: Jack Straw in the Hardtalk studio)
Aug 02, 2019
Leader, Hong Kong Civic Party - Alvin Yeung
Hong Kong is in uproar. Each weekend for the last two months, thousands of people have taken to the streets. Alvin Yueng, who leads the Civic Party shares their fears.
Jul 31, 2019
Albert Woodfox: Life after solitary confinement
There are some human experiences which most of us find it very hard to get our heads around. Stephen Sackur speaks to Albert Woodfox, who experienced the unimaginable torment of more than four decades in solitary confinement, in a tiny cell in one of America’s most notorious prisons. He was the victim of ingrained racism and brutality inside America’s system of criminal justice. He is now a free man, but what does freedom really mean, after everything he’s been through? (Photo: Albert Woodfox, a former member of the Black Panthers, who was put in solitary confinement at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Credit: Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images)
Jul 26, 2019
Olafur Eliasson - Artist
How far can artists and their work change the world? Can artistic endeavour lead to concrete action to mitigate the impact of global warming, or is this fanciful? Zeinab Badawi is at the Tate Modern in London, interviewing award-winning Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson about his new exhibition and why he believes art can be a force for good in the world. Image: Olafur Eliasson (Credit: Neil Hall/EPA)
Jul 24, 2019
Former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India - Raghuram Rajan
Sarah Montague speaks to Raghuram Rajan, until 2016 the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. He says “capitalism is under threat” and if world leaders want to save liberal democracies from a surge in populism they need to give more power to local communities and away from big governments and big businesses. When he left his job as Governor of India’s central bank, he said it was “better to be a doer than an adviser”. Now he is being talked of as one of the front-runners to be the next Governor of the Bank of England. Would he rather do that job than advise in another?
Jul 22, 2019
Mayor of Istanbul - Ekrem Imamoğlu
Have voters in Istanbul dealt a serious blow to Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan? They’ve elected the opposition to the Mayor's office. A city of 16 million, it was the President's power base. Zeinab Badawi talks to the city’s new Mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu. Image: Ekrem Imamoglu (Credit: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)
Jul 19, 2019
Foreign Minister of Iran - Javad Zarif
HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi is in New York, for a rare interview with the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who is attending high level talks at the UN. Hostilities between Iran and the US are at a historic high; recently, President Trump said he was ‘ten minutes away from war with Tehran’. Could the two countries stumble into a war? And is Iran raising the stakes in the Persian Gulf after Washington tore up the nuclear deal last year? Image: Mohammad Javad Zarif (Credit: Khalid Al-Mousily/Reuters)
Jul 17, 2019
Nobel Prize-winning economist - Sir Angus Deaton
Stephen Sackur interviews Sir Angus Deaton, a British-American economist and academic. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics (2015) for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare. He has just launched the Deaton Review with the Institute for Fiscal Studies; a five-year academic investigation into inequalities in the UK, the largest ever conducted. What can Western democracies do to tame capitalism and reduce its worst effects? Image: Sir Angus Deaton (Credit: Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Jul 15, 2019
Prime Minister, Greece - Kyriakos Mitsotakis
Can a new government transform Greece's fortunes? HARDtalk's Zeinab Badawi speaks exclusively to the new Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens. After the centre-right New Democracy party won the elections, he takes over a country traumatised and impoverished by a decade of economic austerity. In his first interview with the international broadcast media since his decisive victory over the populist Syriza party, Zeinab Badawi asks Prime Minister Mitsotakis whether he can deliver on his campaign promises. (Photo:: Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Credit: Milos Bacanski/Getty Images)
Jul 12, 2019
President of the UK Supreme Court - Lady Hale
Stephen Sackur speaks to Lady Hale, President of the UK Supreme Court. The British legal system has long enjoyed an international reputation for independence, integrity and efficiency. But senior judges, lawyers and police officers are now voicing concern about a judicial system close to breaking point. Is one of the world’s most admired justice systems failing the people it is supposed to serve? Image: Lady Hale (Credit: UK Supreme Court/PA Wire)
Jul 10, 2019
Former UK Prime Minister - Sir John Major
What kind of country will emerge from the Brexit mess? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Sir John Major, former British Prime Minister. Within weeks the UK's Conservative party will have a new leader and Britain a new prime minister. As with so much in UK politics the battle between Boris Johnson and Jeremy hunt boils down to Brexit; who do Tories believe is better equipped to navigate the political and constitutional crisis that looms as the departure date of October 31st draws near? Image: John Major (Credit: Carl Court/Getty Images)
Jul 08, 2019
US Republican Senator, Florida - Rick Scott
It's impossible to predict Donald Trump's policy-making and diplomacy. He seeks neither consistency, nor consensus - as is obvious in his approach to China, North Korea, Iran and other challenges at home and abroad. Stephen Sackur speaks to Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida - a key Trump ally back in 2016, who has since parted company with the President on some of his most controversial policies. How effective and how sustainable is the Trump presidency? (Photo: US Senator Rick Scott speaks during Concordia Americas Summit, in Bogota, Colombia, 2019. Luisa Gonzalez/Reuters)
Jul 05, 2019
Former East German sprinter - Ines Geipel
Doped for decades, East German athletes are still searching for truth and justice. When the infamous Berlin Wall was breached 30 years ago, the darkest secrets of the East German police state were soon exposed. Among them was the systematic, coercive administration of performance-enhancing drugs to thousands of young athletes. It was meant to make them into world beaters, regardless of any damage to their health. Stephen Sackur talks to the former East German sprinter Ines Geipel about the abuse she and others were subjected to in what is now known as the East German doping scandal. (Photo: Former East German sprinter Ines Geipel)
Jul 03, 2019
Actor and activist - Michael Sheen
Sarah Montague speaks to actor and activist Michael Sheen. Known around the world for his film, television and theatre work, Michael Sheen made his name for his uncanny ability to portray other people, such as Tony Blair, Brian Clough and David Frost. These roles catapulted him into a life far from his home in Port Talbot in South Wales. But it was acting that also brought him back there, where he is now immersed in tackling some of the problems that face a poor community: poverty, debt and homelessness. How does he straddle such contrasting worlds? (Photo: Michael Sheen attending the premiere of Good Omens at the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square, London. Credit: PA MEDIA)
Jun 28, 2019
Chairman of the UK Brexit Party - Richard Tice
Brexit - not just an event, now a whole political movement. At the end of May, with its leader Nigel Farage at the helm, the Brexit Party swept the board in the European Parliament elections, demeaning the UK’s governing Conservative Party. Five years ago, the same triumph for Nigel Farage, albeit leading a party with a different name. Shaun Ley interviews Richard Tice, chairman of Mr Farage’s party and one of its MEPs. With many experts predicting a costly, bitter departure from the European Union, did the triumph of the Brexit Party bring the United Kingdom and its politics into discredit? Image: Richard Tice (Credit: Andy Rain/European Photopress Agency)
Jun 26, 2019
US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cyber and Communications - Robert Strayer
How dangerous is the superpower rivalry in technology and information? Currently there’s much focus on the tensions between the US and China over the Chinese tech giant Huawei. Soon 5G networks will be a critical part of our world in transportation, power supply, payment systems and so much more. Washington says the Chinese can’t be trusted because they may use their technology infrastructure for spying.  Beijing says this is nonsense. HARDtalk's Zeinab Badawi talks to the US top official on cyber information and security, Robert Strayer. He’s on a mission to dissuade Europeans from doing business with Huawei. But is Washington losing the cyberwar? Image: Robert Strayer (Credit: Shawn Thew/EPA)
Jun 24, 2019
Senior adviser to President Obama (2009-2017) - Valerie Jarrett
How much responsibility should team Obama take for the course American politics has taken since they left centre-stage? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Valerie Jarrett, former advisor to President Obama. It is one of the great puzzles of American politics: how voters could make history by putting Barack Obama in the White House – twice – and then elect Donald Trump as his successor. Valerie Jarrett is a close friend and adviser to Barack and Michelle Obama from early days in Chicago, all the way through the White House years. How will historians view the Obama legacy?
Jun 19, 2019
Writer - Thomas Keneally
Is Australia still a country wrestling with its identity? HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi speaks to Australian writer Thomas Keneally. He's the author of more than 30 novels including Schindler’s Ark, which won him the Booker Prize and was turned into an Oscar winning film. Much of his writing addresses the themes of culture and identity, and Australia’s modern and ancient heritage.
Jun 17, 2019
Cardiac surgeon - Samer Nashef
There is something special about the human heart. We live with, and by, its constant beat. We invest it with our deepest feelings. So naturally we reserve something like reverence for the surgeons who try to fix them when they are broken. Samer Nashef has chosen to write with honesty about the highs, lows and limitations of life and death surgery. He spoke to Hardtalk's Stephen Sackur at the Hay literary festival in Wales.
Jun 10, 2019
Bas Eickhout, Dutch MEP, GreenLeft Party
Political power inside the European Union is no longer going to be easily stitched up between the two big blocks of centre left and centre right. After last month’s European parliamentary election, Europe's Green party will wield significant influence in the next round of EU deal making. Hardtalk speaks to the Green candidate for Commission President, Dutch MEP Bas Eickhout, and asks him how much the Greens are prepared to compromise. Image: Bas Eickhout (Credit: Marcel van Hoorn/European Photopress Agency)
Jun 07, 2019
US Democratic Party funder - Tom Steyer
As Donald Trump and family revel in the pomp and circumstance of a state visit to London, his staunchest political opponents continue to plot a pathway to impeachment. Stephen Sackur interviews Tom Steyer, a Californian hedge fund billionaire turned deep-pocketed backer of liberal causes, who is funding much of that effort. His focus was climate change, now its impeachment. He’s a powerful force in the Democratic Party – but is he in danger of pushing the party in the wrong direction? Image: Tom Steyer (Credit: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
Jun 05, 2019
Iyad El-Baghdadi, human rights activist
HARDtalk speaks to human rights activist Iyad El-Baghdadi. Six months after the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul three of Khashoggi’s friends and associates received warnings that their lives could be in danger. The original source was the CIA. One of those warned is Iyad El-Baghdadi, a long-time critic of Arab authoritarian regimes, who lives in political asylum in Norway using social media to challenge what he calls the Arab Tyrants. After the demise of the Arab Spring is his a lost cause ?
Jun 03, 2019
Historian, geographer, anthropolgist and author Jared Diamond
Jared Diamond’s hugely successful books draw on biology, geography, anthropology and more. So what’s his conclusion about the long term viability of homo sapiens?
May 31, 2019
Eric Wainaina, musician
In Kenya, hope and despair live side by side. There is economic growth, technological transformation and a youthful population hungry for opportunity. There is also grinding poverty, inequality and endemic corruption. HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur speaks to one of Kenya’s most popular musicians – Eric Wainaina. His music addresses issues like corruption but how political is he prepared to be?
May 29, 2019
Libyan author Hisham Matar
Stephen Sackur talks to renowned Libyan writer Hisham Matar. His writing has explored the impact of having a father ‘disappeared’ by the Gaddafi regime. How hard is it to move on? Image: Hisham Matar in Rome in 2017 (Credit: Camilla Morandi - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
May 27, 2019
Justice for the 21, 1974 Birmingham pub bombings - Julie Hambleton
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Julie Hambleton, founder of Justice for the 21. In November 1974 the IRA bombed two pubs in Birmingham and murdered twenty one people. More than forty four years later the inquest into those deaths was reopened, attended by the families of the victims, including Julie Hambleton, who lost her sister Maxine. During the hearings one witness, a convicted former IRA man, named four alleged perpetrators; but justice in this terrible case has never been done. Is it now too late to get to the truth? Image: Julie Hambleton (Credit: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
May 24, 2019
Hamas spokesman - Ghazi Hamad
The movement’s rhetoric is unbending, but do the Palestinian people long for new ideas? Stephen Sackur interviews Ghazi Hamad, a spokesman for Hamas. The surge in Israeli-Palestinian violence in Gaza earlier this month was relatively short-lived, and the status-quo remains intact. But Hamas’s internal grip on Gaza is threatened by rising economic discontent and the Trump Administration will soon unveil a peace plan built on economic incentives for the Palestinian people. Could change be afoot?
May 22, 2019
Former Olympic swimmer - Sharron Davies
How does the sporting notion of fairness cope with the complexities of gender identity? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to former champion British swimmer turned sports commentator Sharron Davies. Elite level sport is ruthlessly competitive. The best male and female athletes push hard against their physical limits in the quest for marginal gains. But what happens when athletes change gender - in particular when individuals born biologically male transition to female after puberty. Should they be allowed to compete as women?
May 20, 2019
Opposition leader of Russia's Yabloko Party - Grigory Yavlinsky
By the time Vladimir Putin’s current presidential term ends he will have dominated Russian politics for a quarter century and already there’s talk of manoeuvres to ensure his grip on power is maintained beyond 2024. He is surely the world’s greatest exponent of strong-man rule. Grigory Yavlinsky, the leader of Russia's opposition Yabloko Party has spent the Putin years in thankless, fruitless opposition. Why has his brand of liberal economics and political reform failed to take root and provide a convincing alternative to Putin's cocktail of authoritarianism and nationalism? (Photo: Grigory Yavlinsky, the leader of Russia's opposition Yabloko Party in the Hardtalk studio)
May 17, 2019
Former captain, Arsenal Football Club - Tony Adams
When we were kids many of us dreamed of being a professional footballer, a star of the world’s most popular game with adulation and riches on tap. For a tiny few the dream comes true, but then reality bites. Professional sport is a brutal business that can chew up young lives. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Tony Adams, former Arsenal and England footballer, who fought his own battles with addiction and mental illness and went on to help other top players do the same. Is elite sport honest about the vulnerability of its stars? Image: Tony Adams at the 2018 Edinburgh International Book Festival (Credit: Simone Padovani/Awakening/Getty Images)
May 15, 2019
Chief executive, Stonewall - Ruth Hunt
Does the debate on trans rights pose a problem for the gay liberation movement? HARDtalk's Sarah Montague speaks to the CEO of Stonewall, Ruth Hunt. Stonewall was founded 30 years ago to campaign for gay and lesbian rights. When Ruth Hunt became its chief executive, she extended its work to include the transgender community. But many Stonewall members have been upset at the line the leadership has taken on gender recognition – that anyone can declare themselves to be male or female – and at their refusal to share a platform with anyone who disagrees.
May 13, 2019
Venezuelan Opposition Ambassador to the UK - Vanessa Neumann
Confident that the socialist regime in Venezuela was in its death throes, the opposition led by Juan Guaido won the backing of elements within the armed forces and appeared to be spearheading a de facto coup d’etat. They seem to have miscalculated. Nicolas Maduro faced down the putsch and continues to occupy the presidential palace. Vanessa Neumann is a member of the diplomatic team backing Juan Guaido’s claim to power. How damaging are the mistakes of the opposition?
May 08, 2019
UK Foreign Secretary - Jeremy Hunt
Britain’s top diplomat, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, is at the end of a five-nation tour of Africa aimed at persuading the continent and the wider world that post-Brexit Britain can and will play a pivotal global role. So HARDtalk has come to Nairobi to talk to Mr Hunt at the end of his latest road trip. If and when the current Brexit chaos comes to an end, how will Britain stack up as a source of global power and influence? Image: Jeremy Hunt (Credit: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images)
May 06, 2019
Vice President, Centre for China and Globalization - Victor Gao
Is China becoming more authoritarian under President Xi JinPing? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Victor Gao, a well-connected think tank analyst in Beijing who once worked as an interpreter for Deng Xiao Ping. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Chinese government’s suppression of the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square. Since then China has undergone a remarkable economic transformation, but what’s happened to the ideological outlook and strategic vision of the country’s Communist party leaders?
May 03, 2019
Former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York - Preet Bharara
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The Mueller Report is out and to noone’s surprise it hasn’t settled the bitter arguments about whether President Trump committed crimes worthy of impeachment. In fact it’s raised new questions about the resilience and integrity of the judicial process. Preet Bharara was one of America's most powerful federal prosecutors until Mr Trump fired him in 2017. He's written a book about Doing Justice - but is America consistently falling short? (Photo: Preet Bharara. Credit: Mike Segar/Reuters)
May 01, 2019
Afghan Presidential Special Peace Envoy - Mohammad Umer Daudzai
What will it take to bring peace to Afghanistan? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to President Ghani’s Peace Envoy Mohammad Umer Daudzai. Just days ago, hopes were high that a peace deal to end Afghanistan’s long war might be in sight. Talks involving the US, the Taliban and Afghan Government representatives were to take place in Qatar. But they didn’t happen. The Taliban objected to the delegation coming from Kabul – and a familiar cycle of recrimination and violence resumed.
Apr 29, 2019
Chairman, Sudan’s Transitional Military Council - Lt General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan
Can Sudan make the transition to a democratic government? Zeinab Badawi speaks to the head of the military council running the country, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. Events have moved at breath-taking speed in Sudan in recent days. Omar al-Bashir is no longer president and is in prison along with his closest associates. And a new military-led council is running the country while protesters continue to call for civilian-led government. So what next for Sudan and how long does General Burhan intend on staying in power? Image: Lt Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (Credit: European Photopress Agency)
Apr 26, 2019
Presidential candidate, DRC - Martin Fayulu
Can the Democratic Republic of Congo set itself on a path of peace and reconciliation? HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi speaks to opposition politician and presidential election candidate Martin Fayulu. Last December's landmark elections ended 18 years of divisive rule by Joseph Kabila when Felix Tshisekedi was declared the winner. But Mr Fayulu claims he was in fact the victor and the presidency was stolen from him. Is Mr Kabila still controlling the DRC - a giant country ravaged by war, poverty and disease - behind the scenes? Image: Martin Fayulu (Credit: Kenny Katombe/Reuters)
Apr 24, 2019
Wole Soyinka, Nobel Literature laureate
Nobel Literature laureate and Nigerian professor Wole Soyinka is one of the giants of African and world literature, and a passionate advocate and campaigner for human rights. His country recently held a general election which saw the incumbent Muhammadu Buhari re-elected as president. As Africa’s most populous country, does he believe Nigeria can lead the continent in the 21st century? Image: Wole Soyinka (Credit: Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images)
Apr 22, 2019
Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister, Germany - Olaf Scholz
Does Germany need to reboot its economic model? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur is in Berlin for an exclusive interview with Germany's Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. 30 years after unification, Germany is Europe's economic powerhouse - but could it be running out of gas? Growth is down, so are exports. Critics point to an economy dangerously reliant on the technologies of the past, rather than the future. Brexit tensions and economic nationalism in the US and China could be dampening the growth prospects of big exporters like Germany. Image: Olaf Scholz (Credit: Adam Berry/European Photopress Agency)
Apr 19, 2019
Chairman, Sudan Reform Now - Ghazi Salahuddin Atabani
How soon can Sudan become a democracy? HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi speaks to Sudanese politician Ghazi Salahuddin Atabani, a former ally of deposed president Omer El Bashir - now a member of the opposition. Events have moved at breath taking speed in Sudan in the past few days. And a new military-led council is running the country. It says it will stay in place for two years. But the African Union is demanding it hand over to a transitional civilian administration in days and the protesters say they won’t give up until that happens. The demonstrations have been led by young professionals who’ve made it clear they want to severe links with Sudan’s military and Islamist past.
Apr 17, 2019
Writer - Edouard Louis
Every so often a writer emerges with a voice so original, distinctive and strong that it is heard far beyond the confines of the book buying public. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Edouard Louis, who produced a raw, harrowing account of his own upbringing in a working class town in the north of France five years ago. Since then, he has written two more books drawn from his own experience of class, discrimination and violence in a fractured France. It’s tempting to see him as the voice of the gilets jaunes generation – is anger the fuel that propels him? Image: Edouard Louis (Credit: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
Apr 15, 2019
Jason Rezaian, journalist imprisoned in Tehran, 2014 - 2016
US-Iranian journalist Jason Rezaian was working for the Washington Post in Tehran when he was arrested in July 2014. He was accused of spying for the CIA, tried and convicted on vague charges. He was held for 544 days before a deal was done to release him in 2016. Three years after his release how is he coping with the effects of his imprisonment? Jason Rezaian is now banned from Iran for life but what does he think of the Trump administration's policy toward Iran now that it has labelled Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organisation? He talks to Shaun Ley. Image: Jason Rezaian (Credit: Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Apr 12, 2019
Apollo 11 astronaut - Michael Collins
50 years on, what was the significance of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur is in Florida to speak to one of the crew members of the Apollo 11 mission. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of one of the most remarkable feats of exploration in the history of humankind, which landed men on the moon. While Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were setting foot on the moon’s surface, Michael Collins was piloting the command module which got them all home. Image: Michael Collins (Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 10, 2019
Former US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns
Stephen Sackur speaks to former US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who worked as a top ranking diplomat for three decades, serving five US presidents. The United States of America is still the most powerful nation on earth but the way it’s perceived by friends and rivals has changed radically in a generation. At the end of the Cold War American supremacy was unchallenged and Washington’s commitment to multilateral global engagement was unquestioned. Are we now in a very different era? Is the US losing its capacity to lead?
Apr 08, 2019
Philippe Lamberts MEP
Stephen Sackur talks to the Belgian MEP and member of the European Parliament's Brexit steering group, Philippe Lamberts. Will Britain get another extension to leave the EU?
Apr 04, 2019
Bernard Chan of the Hong Kong Executive Council
Zeinab Badawi is in Hong Kong to speak to Bernard Chan who sits on the territory’s Executive Council. There have been complaints by pro-democracy activists that Beijing is increasing its control of the region and eroding its freedoms in contravention of the 1997 handover agreement between Britain and China. How much autonomy does Hong Kong really enjoy and what does the situation there tell us about the direction that China as a whole is moving?
Apr 03, 2019
Writer - Angie Thomas
Can literature help bridge America's racial divide? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Angie Thomas, a writer whose first novel, The Hate U Give, electrified America with its unflinching portrayal of a teenage black girl confronting police violence, inner city gang culture and a society rooted in discrimination. When it comes to issues of race and racism, the gap between America’s promise of equality and the reality of entrenched inequality seems depressingly wide. Can hope win out over fear and hate? Image: Angie Thomas (Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 03, 2019
Former Trump campaign adviser - George Papadopoulos
Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence that the President colluded with the Russians during the 2016 presidential election. Even though Mueller left open the question of obstruction of justice the President is claiming exoneration. George Papadopoulos was the first Trump campaign member to be convicted as a result of the Mueller probe. Are we any closer to the truth? (Photo: George Papadopoulos. Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Mar 29, 2019
Ken Clarke MP – Former Conservative Chancellor
MPs are currently trying to find a Brexit consensus in defiance of the wishes of Prime Minister May. How close to breaking point is Britain’s political system? Image: Kenneth Clarke (Credit: UK Parliament)
Mar 27, 2019
Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of Nato
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is 70 years old this year, but despite its achievements and longevity, celebrations are muted. That’s because NATO's cohesion and long-term viability are being questioned as never before. Is the Secretary General simply papering over the organisation’s widening cracks? Image: Jens Stoltenberg (Credit: European Photopress Agency)
Mar 25, 2019
Interim President, World Bank - Kristalina Georgieva
Is the World Bank braced for turbulence ahead? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the bank's interim President Kristalina Georgieva. For more than seven decades, the World Bank has been a pillar of international consensus forged in Washington – where ‘rich world’ money has been funnelled into poorer nations prepared to play by its rules. But maybe the consensus is breaking down. The World Bank is about to get a new Trump-nominated president who has been sharply critical of its past activities. (Photo: Kristalina Georgieva. Credit: Stephanie Lecocq/European Photopress Agency)
Mar 20, 2019
Former chief constable of Kent Police, UK - Michael Fuller
Is UK policing fit for purpose? Stephen Sackur speaks to Michael Fuller, former chief constable of Kent police, and the only black Briton to have run one of the country’s regional forces. There has been an alarming rise in knife crime in the UK and this prompted a bout of soul searching about the causes and responses. Many of the questions focus on the police. Are they doing an effective job? How well do they handle the challenges of policing in disadvantaged and minority communities? (Photo: Michael Fuller, former chief constable of Kent police
Mar 18, 2019
Deputy of Venezuela’s Voluntad Popular party - Juan Andres Mejia
Is there a way out of Venezuela’s protracted agony? Stephen Sackur speaks to Juan Andres Mejia, Deputy of Venezuela’s Voluntad Popular party. For millions of Venezuelans every day is a struggle for survival. This is an oil rich country where the shops are empty, the power is out and healthcare is collapsing. And politics offers little hope of salvation. The Maduro Government is clinging to the trappings of power while the country’s other self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido leads mass protests against him. Juan Andres Mejia is one of Guaido’s key allies in the Venezuelan parliament. Is there a way out of Venezuela’s protracted agony? (Photo: Juan Andres Mejia. Credit: Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images)
Mar 15, 2019
Israeli author Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
Stephen Sackur speaks to Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, a prize-winning Israeli novelist who brings a trained psychologist’s eye to compelling stories set in her home country. Hers is a world of moral ambiguity where truth, memory, right and wrong aren't necessarily what they seem. Does her work tell us something important about the Israeli psyche?
Mar 13, 2019
British rapper Professor Green
Mental health is not easy to talk about, least of all for young men, so often brought up to regard emotional vulnerability as weakness. In a special edition of HARDtalk filmed in the BBC’s Radio Theatre, Stephen Sackur speaks to Stephen Manderson who is better known as the British rapper Professor Green. He has been very honest about his own struggles with mental health issues and is determined to break the taboos around the subject. Can we all learn from Professor Green? (Photo: British rapper Professor Green)
Mar 11, 2019
Prime Minister of Italy (2016 – 2018) - Paolo Gentiloni
Theresa May’s European parliamentary elections could be a defining moment in the struggle for the EU's future; a continent wide clash between the forces of liberalism and populism exists - perhaps best personified by French President Emmanuel Macron up against Hungary's Viktor Orban. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Italy’s former centre-left Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. Politically he’s with Macron, but his country is led by populists sympathetic to Viktor Orban. Whose message is resonating with European voters? Image: Paolo Gentiloni (Credit: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images)
Mar 08, 2019
Former British diplomat, and National Security Adviser - Lord Ricketts
As the political debate over Brexit grows ever more polarised in the UK exposing deep fractures within the political parties, questions are also being asked about the how the machinery of government is working. Lord Ricketts, a former top diplomat, and national security adviser has very publicly condemned the current government’s handling of Brexit negotiations describing them as a fiasco and expressing the fear that Brexit will leave Britain permanently and significantly weakened. This public airing of views has created the impression that the supposedly apolitical civil service, particularly the foreign office, is institutionally and temperamentally opposed to Brexit – a policy which was of course approved by a national referendum in 2016. Does this represent a real problem in Britain’s democracy and in the relationship between the people and the government?
Mar 06, 2019
Russian journalist - Galina Timchenko
Is President Putin crushing press freedom in Russia? Since coming to power nearly 20 years ago, Vladimir Putin has been accused of gradually taking control of the media in Russia, and silencing those who would criticise him. Galina Timchenko was editor of Lentu.Ru until she was fired – she claims as a result of pressure from the Kremlin. She left Russia and with some of her former colleagues set up another news organisation - Meduza – in exile, in Latvia. It reaches millions of Russians. But what does her self-imposed exile say about media freedom in Russia? And should she have stayed to defend her journalism there?
Mar 01, 2019
Hungary's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade - Péter Szijjártó
Can Hungary's ruling party win Europe’s battle of ideas? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur is in Budapest to speak to the Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó. Hungary is led by a nationalist, populist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán who believes his opposition to immigration and his defence of so called Christian values can transform not just Hungary but the whole of the European Union. Image: Péter Szijjártó (Credit: Robert Ghement/European Photopress Agency)
Feb 27, 2019
US-Lebanese comedian - Nemr Abou Nassar
Does comedy have the power to transcend borders, religions and politics and can it build bridges between different communities who may mistrust and misunderstand one another? HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi speaks to one guest that thinks so. He is one of the Arab world’s most popular comedians- Nemr Abou Nassar. Brought up in the USA and Lebanon, he quit his job as an insurance broker to become a stand-up comic. He believes humour can change the world. But does he risk promoting misunderstanding and perpetuating stereotypes through his comedy?
Feb 25, 2019
Photographer - Marilyn Stafford
What makes a great photograph? Stephen Sackur speaks to one of the great women pioneers of photo journalism, Marilyn Stafford. She was born in the United States but moved to Paris where she became the protégé of the brilliant Henri Cartier-Bresson. Like him, Stafford loved to capture intimate portraits of ordinary people. She has photographed everything from refugees fleeing war to models on the fashion catwalks. Now at 93 her work is being admired by a new generation.
Feb 20, 2019
Yemen's Foreign Minister - Khaled Alyemany
Is there any political or diplomatic initiative capable of saving Yemen? The current limited ceasefire in Yemen between the warring parties has barely alleviated the suffering of the country’s people. The situation is the world’s worst humanitarian disaster and millions of people are in dire need of food and medical assistance. HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur speaks to Yemen’s foreign minister Khaled Alyemany.
Feb 18, 2019
Deputy President, Kenya - William Ruto
Is Kenya's ruling political partnership in danger of collapse? Kenya’s big ambitions to be the economic and infrastructure powerhouse of East Africa cannot be truly realised without political stability. HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur talks to the country's Deputy President William Ruto about fragmentation and factionalism at the top of Kenyan politics. Image: William Ruto (Credit: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images)
Feb 15, 2019
March for our Lives co-founder Cameron Kasky
Stephen Sackur is in Florida to speak to Cameron Kasky, who survived the Parkland School shooting in February 2018 and went on to co-found the March for our Lives movement. This organisation was committed to taking on America’s gun lobby and organised a demonstration in Washington D.C. that was attended by hundreds of thousands of people. But one year after the attack, has anything changed? Image: Cameron Kasky (Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives)
Feb 13, 2019
Writer - Leila Slimani
What draws the novelist to such dark visions of femininity? Sarah Montague speaks to Leila Slimani, one of France’s most famous, and most controversial, authors. Her first book Adele, just published in English, shocked readers for breaking taboos about women and sex addiction. Infanticide is the subject of her second novel, Lullaby, which became a publishing sensation and has been translated into 40 languages. (Photo: Leila Slimani in the Hardtalk studio)
Feb 11, 2019
Ireland's former Prime Minister - Bertie Ahern
Ireland's former Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, negotiated the Belfast Agreement which brought peace to Northern Ireland. Sarah Montague asks if Brexit is a threat to that peace. Image: Bertie Ahern (Credit: Getty Images)
Feb 08, 2019
Former Venezuelan Supreme Court Justice Christian Zerpa
Up until last month, Christian Zerpa was a Justice on Venezuela’s Supreme Court; now he is a high-profile defector from the Maduro regime. With two men claiming to be the country’s President and protestors on the streets, Stephen Sackur asks: is Venezuela's socialist revolution in its death throes?
Feb 06, 2019
Writer - Carl Hiaasen
Is Florida the state where the American dream turned sour? HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur talks to the writer Carl Hiaasen whose hugely popular newspaper columns and darkly comic novels cast a jaundiced eye on the Sunshine State where he was born and continues to live. His writing is fueled by anger - at rotten politics, crooked business and environmental vandalism.
Feb 04, 2019
Laura Boldrini MP, Former Speaker, Chamber of Deputies in Italy
Laura Boldrini is a centre-left Italian politician. Until last year she was the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, the Italian Parliament’s lower chamber. She has received many online threats wishing her dead or raped. Zeinab Badawi asks the Sicilian MP about her experiences, and what her current situation tells us about the state of politics in Italy and Europe’s changing mood. (Photo: Laura Boldrini. Credit: European Photopress Agency)
Feb 01, 2019
Former Interior Minister, Afghanistan - Amrullah Saleh
Shaun Ley talk to former spy chief Amrullah Saleh, now a candidate for vice-president in Afghanistan. Seventeen years on after the American-led invasion, the US and the Taliban are at last talking peace. With 45,000 Afghans who served their country dead in the last five years, and the Taliban still fighting, isn't it time for this war exhausted country to give peace a chance? (Photo: Amrullah Saleh (R) is embraced by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Credit: Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)
Jan 30, 2019
Explorer and aviator Bertrand Piccard
What drives an exclusive band of human beings to push beyond the boundaries of existing knowledge and experience? Hardtalk talks to Bertrand Piccard, the renowned explorer and aviator; the first to fly non-stop around the world in a hot air balloon. Right now, he’s using his own experience with solar powered aircraft to encourage sustainable tech innovation, but is decarbonising the global economy a challenge too far, even for this pioneer? (Photo: Bertrand Piccard. Credit: Remy Gabalda/AFP/Getty Images)
Jan 28, 2019
UK's Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell
In little more than two months from now, Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union. That beguilingly simple statement is at the heart of a political crisis which deepens by the day. The ruling Conservative party is riven with splits; so too is the Labour opposition. If Parliament’s Brexit paralysis persists, then Britain will leave with no deal in place, no orderly transition, and the prospect of economic disruption. What will Labour do in this moment of political truth? HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur talks to the UK's Shadow Chancellor, Labour's John McDonnell. Image: John McDonnell (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Jan 25, 2019
Malaysia's Minister for Youth and Sport - Syed Saddiq
Until last year, Malaysia hadn't experienced a real change of government in the sixty years since independence. Prime Minister Mahatir, sailing back into power in opposition colours, can remember when Malaysia threw off the British colonial yoke. He was in his thirties then. Now in his 90s, he says next year he'll hand over to a former rival in his 70s. Malaysia’s Minister of Youth and Sport, Syed Saddiq, is the youngest cabinet minister in Asia at 26. Is it time to skip a generation?
Jan 23, 2019
Tanzanian Opposition MP - Tundu Lissu
Tanzania is one of Africa’s fastest growing nations economically and demographically. It’s also governed by one of the continent’s most controversial leaders, President John Magufuli. Tundu Lissu is one of his most prominent domestic opponents; at least, he was, until gunmen pumped more than a dozen bullets into his body in 2017. Lissu survived and, after recovering in hospital in Europe, he is determined now to rejoin the fight against a ruler he describes as a petty dictator. Image: Tundu Lissu (Credit: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images)
Jan 21, 2019
Economy and Finance Minister, France - Bruno Le Maire
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur is in Paris for an exclusive interview with the country’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. The political and economic mood in France has shifted dramatically in a few short months. Last summer President Macron was pushing ahead with his reform agenda claiming that France was back. Now he is besieged by critics, forced into retreat by the Yellow Vest movement and grappling with problems inside and outside the EU. Has the Macron moment already passed? (Photo: Bruno Le Maire leaves after the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee palace in Paris. (Credit: Francois Guillot/AFP)
Jan 18, 2019
Adviser to President Trump's 2020 campaign - Mica Mosbacher
If the normal political rules applied to Donald Trump he would be holed up in the white house in a state of deep despair. He’s at war with Democrats in Congress, the federal government machine is partially shutdown, his relationship with Putin's Russia is under fierce scrutiny, and his standing at home and abroad continues to take heavy hits. And yet, every day he come out punching; raising the stakes, not retreating. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Mica Mosbacher, Republican strategist and member of the National Advisory Board of Trump 2020. Is the Trump Presidency making America great, or greatly diminished?
Jan 16, 2019
Jonathan Coe - Writer
Britain is in the grip of Brexit. To leave, or to remain in the European Union: that question has divided families, generations, and communities. Everyone seems to be shouting, no-one seems to be listening. Well, that’s not quite true. Jonathan Coe has been listening to and writing compelling fiction about contemporary Britain for decades. Can this novelist, whose latest novel looks at the impact of Brexit, help us understand Brexit better than a parliament full of politicians? (Photo: Jonathan Coe. Credit: Getty Images)
Jan 14, 2019
President, Conference of European Rabbis - Pinchas Goldschmidt
There is plenty of disturbing data pointing to a significant rise in overt anti-Semitism in Europe and the United States. What are the reasons and how should the Jewish community respond? How much reassurance and protection is being offered to Jews whose past has so often been written in blood? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Pinchas Goldschmidt, Chief Rabbi of Moscow and president of the Conference of European Rabbis. Is rising anti-Semitism a symptom of a liberal democratic order that is starting to crumble? Image: Pinchas Goldschmidt (Credit: Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS via Getty Images)
Jan 11, 2019
General Secretary, Unite Union, UK - Len McCluskey
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Len McCluskey, leader of Britain’s biggest trade union and biggest donor to the Labour party. Brexit is tearing at the fabric of British politics. Theresa May’s proposed deal is hated by many in her Conservative party. It may well be rejected in a parliamentary vote next week. But the opposition Labour party is riven by division too. A clear majority of Labour members seem to want a second referendum as a pathway to reversing Brexit. But party leader Jeremy Corbyn says Brexit can’t be stopped. Could Brexit break the left apart? Image: Len McCluskey (Credit: Jeff Overs/BBC)
Jan 09, 2019
Dr William Frankland, Allergist and WW2 Prisoner of War
Dr William Frankland is a world renowned expert on allergies and one of the last remaining British survivors of the Japanese prisoner of war camps in World War Two. His is a death-defying, life-affirming story. But at the age of 106, what keeps him going? (Photo: William Frankland. Credit: John Stillwell/AFP/Getty Images)
Jan 07, 2019
Jack Reacher author Lee Child
Stephen Sackur speaks to the author Lee Child. Storytelling is one of the most basic human impulses. But few are the storytellers who can draw in millions of readers all over the world, fewer still those who can do it repeatedly. Lee Child’s first thriller featuring former military policeman Jack Reacher was published 21 years ago. His latest is his twenty third and his book sales have topped a hundred million. Fans speculate endlessly about what drives Jack Reacher, but what drives Lee Child? Image: Lee Child (Credit: WireImage/Getty Images)
Dec 19, 2018
Gulnur Aybet, Senior Adviser to President of Turkey
Stephen Sackur speaks to Gulnur Aybet, senior adviser to President Erdogan of Turkey. The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul put Turkey at the heart of a story about a shocking abuse of power and a total disregard for human rights. Turkey was the accuser, Saudi Arabia the accused. And yet for all its appeals to the international community, the Turkish Government itself faces condemnation for violations of basic human rights. When it comes to respect for universal rights and norms how much authority does Turkey have?
Dec 17, 2018
Finance Minister of Pakistan - Asad Umar
It took former cricketer Imran Khan two decades of political slog to win power in Pakistan. It’s taken his critics just months to decide he’s out of his depth. They point to the country’s crippled economy, propped up by emergency loans despite the Prime Minister's promise to end the begging bowl culture. Is the PTI government strong enough to put Pakistan on a new course? Stephen Sackur speaks to Pakistan’s Finance Minister, Asad Umar. (Photo: Asad Umar. Credit: Reuters)
Dec 14, 2018
Musician - Mark Knopfler
What drives musical creativity? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to songwriter Mark Knopfler. In the pantheon of rock ’n’ roll greats, a special place is reserved for guitar virtuosos – think Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page or Mark Knopfler, front man of Dire Straits, one of the biggest bands in the world in the 80s and 90s. Unlike so many other rock stars, Knopfler never fully embraced the world of excess and celebrity. He forged a solo career writing, performing and working with the likes of Bob Dylan, Tina Turner and Emmylou Harris. Image: Mark Knopfler (Credit: BBC)
Dec 14, 2018
Nicaraguan Dissident Felix Maradiaga
President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua has been in power for the past 11 years, but this year he has faced popular protests and demands that he step down. His response has been repression and defiance. Stephen Sackur is in Washington DC to speak to leading Nicaraguan dissident Felix Maradiaga, now leader of an opposition in exile. Is change finally coming to Nicaragua? Image: Felix Maradiaga (Credit: United Nations)
Dec 10, 2018
UK Astronomer Royal - Sir Martin Rees
How do we decide what's important? How do we balance the priorities of the here and now with the big picture challenges that will determine the future of human civilisation? HARDtalk speaks to Sir Martin Rees, one of the world’s leading astrophysicists, who has recently been gazing into the future of our own planet. The next century, he says, will determine humanity's long term destiny; so are the prospects good, or grim? Image: Sir Martin Rees (Credit: Getty Images)
Dec 07, 2018
Pro-Brexit Conservative MP, Owen Paterson
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a mutiny inside her own Conservative Party, which threatens to scupper her Brexit deal and quite possibly her premiership too. If she loses the key parliamentary vote on her deal in just a few days time, the UK could plunge into political chaos. The stakes could hardly be higher for Owen Paterson, a Conservative MP and former Minister intent on rejecting Mrs May’s Brexit. Is it too late to avert a damaging national crisis? Image: Owen Paterson (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Dec 05, 2018
Brexit Steering Group, European Parliament - Danuta Hübner MEP
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Danuta Hübner, an influential Polish MEP who sits on the Brexit Steering Group of the European Parliament. In just a few days time the UK parliament will make a fateful decision; to accept or reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal painfully negotiated with the EU. Right across Europe the vote will have huge repercussions. For all of the focus on Britain’s political crisis, this is Europe’s problem too. Is the EU ready to deal with potential Brexit chaos?
Dec 03, 2018
Former UK Transport Minister Jo Johnson
On December 11th, two and a half years of posturing, politicking and poisonous disagreement come to a head: the UK Parliament will vote on whether to accept the Brexit deal Prime Minister Theresa May has negotiated with the EU. Her case boils down to this: it’s the least worst option. But many in her own party, as well as the opposition, simply don’t buy it. Stephen Sackur speaks to former minister Jo Johnson, who resigned in order to oppose the deal. Does he have a credible alternative? Image: Jo Johnson (Credit: Reuters)
Nov 30, 2018
Saudi exile - Abdullah Alaoudh
Can anyone or anything challenge Saudi authoritarianism? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Abdullah Alaoudh, a Saudi exile whose father is facing charges that carry a death sentence. President Trump says he doesn’t know whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and frankly he doesn’t seem to care. Safe to assume then that he also doesn’t care about the hundreds of clerics, intellectuals, and dissident activists locked up by MBS’s security forces. Image: Abdullah Alaoudh (Credit: Getty Images)
Nov 28, 2018
Israeli Education Minister and Leader of Jewish Home - Naftali Bennett
Israel’s seemingly indestructible Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dodged another political bullet. After the recent flare up of violence in Gaza, his defence minister quit and another key cabinet hawk- Naftali Bennett, said he would go too if he wasn’t given the defence portfolio. The prime minister called his bluff, and Mr Bennett, who speaks to HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur has decided to stay put after all. What’s behind the chaos in Israeli politics? Are the right wing factions putting their own interests before those of the nation? Image: Naftali Bennett (Credit: Reuters)
Nov 26, 2018
Senior US District Judge - Mark L. Wolf
How do you stop prime ministers and presidents lining their own pockets with the country's wealth? US Judge Mark Wolf is lobbying for the creation of an international anti-corruption court. Judge Wolf knows the territory well, having helped expose the corrupt links between the FBI and a notorious gangster in Boston. He says countries that cannot or will not hold government thieves to account should let the court do the work. But when his own government suggests it wants international justice to "die", what hope is there of holding the corrupt to account? (Photo: US Senior District Judge Mark L Wolf in the Hardtalk studio)
Nov 16, 2018
Mohamed El-Erian - Chief Economic Adviser at Allianz
Mohamed El-Erian’s career has been at the top end of economic advice. Along with writing several best-selling books, he spent 15 years at the International Monetary Fund, headed the investment giant PIMCO, advised President Obama on global development and is now the chief economic adviser at the insurance company, Allianz. The American economy is booming. Growth is well above 3% and unemployment is near a 50 year low. President Trump claims it’s the best it has ever been and has claimed the credit for that. But he’s threatening a trade war with China at a time when many economists are warning that the US and the world face another recession. Hardtalk’s Sarah Montague asks Mohamed El-Erian, if he sees dark days ahead for the American - and therefore the world’s - economy? (Photo: Mohamed El-Erian)
Nov 14, 2018
Editor, The Washington Post - Martin Baron
In a special interview to start the BBC’s Beyond Fake News season, Stephen Sackur speaks to The Washington Post’s editor Martin Baron about the fractious relationship between the White House and the US media. Image: Martin Baron (Credit: Getty Images)
Nov 12, 2018
Former Commander ISAF and US Forces, Afghanistan - General Stanley McChrystal
The US mid-term elections were a mixed picture for President Trump. Democrats took control of the House of Representatives and that will allow them to block the President’s legislative agenda. As a leader Donald Trump has been accused of dividing the country and now Congress is split. Sarah Montague speaks to one of America’s best known and celebrated military leaders. General Stanley McChrystal oversaw the American war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since leaving the military he has studied and taught the principles that make good leaders effective. So what kind of leadership does he think the US needs now?
Nov 09, 2018
Professor of Behavioural Genetics - Robert Plomin
It is an age old debate that engages scientists and philosophers; which is the more powerful influence on who we are, nature or nurture? In recent years, genetic science has done much to reframe the debate by highlighting the connections between our individual DNA and our traits and behaviours. At the forefront of this research is Robert Plomin, a professor of behavioural genetics at Kings College London. To what extent are our genes our destiny?
Nov 02, 2018
American Civil Liberties Union Legal Director - David Cole
American politics in the era of President Donald Trump is a polarised, partisan arena. But still there are pillars of the US system of governance such as the constitution and the courts that are supposed to safeguard the liberty of all, irrespective of creed, colour or politics. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to David Cole, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union - the century-old guardian of citizen rights. Has the ACLU betrayed its mission by putting partisanship before principle in the age of Trump? Image: David Cole (Credit: Getty Images)
Nov 02, 2018
Deputy Energy Minister, South Africa - Thembisile Majola
Cyril Ramaphosa replaced Jacob Zuma as leader of the ANC and President of South Africa with a promise to revive the country’s economy, tackle poverty and root out corruption. Maybe he underestimated the scale of the challenge, because South Africa is currently in recession, and popular discontent is rising. One key sector- energy, threatens the stability of the entire economy. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Deputy Energy Minister Thembisile Majola. Is the ANC incapable of delivering the change South Africa needs?
Oct 31, 2018
UK Labour MP - David Lammy
In just five months, Britain will be out of the European Union. But on what basis, and under whose leadership? And could it yet not happen? Brexit uncertainty is coursing through the veins of British politics leaving little room for anything else. The governing Conservative party is deeply divided, as is the Labour opposition. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to David Lammy - a prominent Labour advocate of another referendum on any final Brexit deal. But how would that help Britain move beyond its Brexit breakdown? Image: David Lammy (Credit: UK Parliament)
Oct 29, 2018
National Security Adviser of Afghanistan - Hamdullah Mohib
Afghans will have to wait until next month to get the results of last Sunday’s parliamentary election – but in one sense the verdict is already in; the ballot again exposed widespread insecurity and the absence of government control in many parts of the country. Stephen Sackur speaks to President Ashraf Ghani’s recently appointed National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib. Has the US Government decided to engage with the Taliban regardless of the wishes of the Afghan Government? (Photo: Afghanistan's National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib (Centre). Credit: Atta Kenare/AFP)
Oct 26, 2018
Minister of State, UK Foreign Office - Alan Duncan MP
Turkey’s President Erdogan says the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a savage crime meticulously planned in Riyadh. He wants all those responsible to stand trial in Turkey. As the pressure on the house of Saud mounts, will the kingdom’s partners in the West take punitive action? Stephen Sackur speaks to Alan Duncan, Minister of State in the UK Foreign Office. Has the time come for Britain to stop lucrative arms exports to Saudi Arabia? (Photo: Alan Duncan MP in the Hardtalk studio)
Oct 24, 2018
Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah
What gives each of us our sense of who we are? At the most personal level we all have our own family background. In the most general sense we are, all of us, part of the human species. But it’s the stuff in between that puts us in groups or tribes and often motivates our behaviour. Gender, religion, ethnicity, nationality- these are the persistent fault lines that seem to separate us from them. Stephen Sackur speaks to Kwame Antony Appiah, an academic and public intellectual who says we need to rethink identity to escape the myths of the past. But how? Image: Kwame Anthony Appiah (Credit: Getty Images)
Oct 22, 2018
Malawi's Vice President - Saulos Chilima
HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi speaks to Vice President of the small southern African state of Malawi, Saulos Chilima- a former business executive turned politician. Mr. Chilima was President Mutharika’s running mate in elections in 2014. Now he has left the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and says he will run against him in presidential elections next year to - as he put it - ‘save the country from destruction and corruption’. Why is he criticising a government of which he still is a member? And if corruption is really as bad as he describes, why didn’t the Vice-President use his influence to stop the rot? Image: Saulos Chilima (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Oct 19, 2018
Vice President of European Parliament, Mairead McGuinness
The Brexit endgame is underway. This is the week the UK Government and the European Union earmarked for agreeing a deal on the divorce and outlining a future relations. But on the eve of another EU summit, there is still talk of an impasse- focusing on the Irish border and Northern Ireland’s status after Brexit. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Mairead McGuinness, an Irish MEP and vice president of the European parliament. Is Brexit about to get very messy and very costly? Image: Mairead McGuinness (Credit: Getty Images)
Oct 17, 2018
Professor at Columbia Law School - Kimberlé Crenshaw
The United States of America is a republic divided. The Trump presidency has exposed fissures that run along lines of race, gender, education, and culture. In next month’s mid-term elections the fight for political power will be between the two traditional parties, Republican and Democrat, but perhaps a different sort of activism is needed to deliver real change? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Kimberlé Crenshaw - a professor of law, a social activist and influential advocate of the idea of intersectionality. Is it the group, not the individual that matters most in today’s America? Image: Kimberlé Crenshaw (Credit: Getty Images)
Oct 12, 2018
Is Saudi Arabia Heading Down a Dangerous Path?
The Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week. Amid a welter of speculation and lurid allegations, a cloud of suspicion now hangs over the Saudi Government. The record of Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, the Kingdom’s de facto ruler, suggests a determination to silence all criticism. Stephen Sackur speaks to Saudi academic Madawi al-Rasheed and former senior US diplomat, Nicholas Burns. Is ‘MBS’ taking his kingdom down a dangerous path? (Photo: Saudi academic Madawi al-Rasheed)
Oct 12, 2018
Imam of Mariam Mosque in Copenhagen - Sherin Khankan
Almost two billion of the world’s people are Muslim, and yet half of them, the female half, have traditionally played little or no role in the institutions of their faith. That is changing, albeit very slowly. Stephen Sackur speaks to Sherin Khankan who became Scandinavia’s first female Imam when she opened the Mariam mosque in Copenhagen. Her focus on women’s rights in a 21st Century brand of Islamic practice has stirred controversy and debate far beyond Denmark’s borders. Is Islam ready to empower women? (Photo: Sherin Khankan. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Oct 10, 2018
Cuban conceptual artist Tania Bruguera
Tania Bruguera's pieces and immersive performances have attracted international acclaim but prolonged harassment from the Cuban authorities. Is she artist, activist or both?
Oct 08, 2018
Cuban Conceptual Artist - Tania Bruguera
Tania Bruguera's pieces and immersive performances have attracted international acclaim but prolonged harassment from the Cuban authorities. Is she an artist, activist or both? (Photo: Cuban artist Tania Bruguera poses in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern. Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP)
Oct 04, 2018
Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia
HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi speaks to the world’s oldest head of government, Malaysia's Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad. He came back to office in May after election victory against his own former ruling coalition. The country has been mired in allegations of corruption swirling around the previous government, which have dented confidence at home and abroad. First time round, he was Prime Minister for more than 20 consecutive years until 2003. Can Mahathir Mohamad leave his own chequered past behind and lead Malaysia to a brighter future? Some people might find opinions expressed toward the end of the interview offensive. Image: Mahathir Mohamad (Credit: Reuters)
Oct 03, 2018
Former Greek Finance Minister - Yanis Varoufakis
Is the left losing the political argument in Europe? Stephen Sackur speaks to Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s radical leftist finance minister at the height of the economic crisis, and an advocate of a new global progressive politics. The old certainties in European politics are crumbling. Voters seem fed up with the long established supremacy of the parties of centre right and centre left. The politics of identity and raw emotion have fuelled populist insurgencies from Italy to Sweden to eastern Europe. Mostly it’s the right, not the left in the ascendant. (Photo: Yanis Varoufakis. Credit: AFP/Getty)
Oct 01, 2018
Former Conservative Party Leader, UK – Lord Howard
Is Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit strategy in deep trouble? Stephen Sackur speaks to Lord Howard, former Conservative leader. Britain's Conservative party is about to hold its annual conference; it promises to be a fascination spectacle, with the party riven by deep divisions over Brexit; divisions which threaten to derail Theresa May's Brexit strategy and perhaps her premiership as well. At stake is not just the future of a venerable political party, but the future of Britain. (Photo: Lord Howard in the Hardtalk studio)
Sep 28, 2018
Editor in Chief, Guardian News & Media (1995-2015) - Alan Rusbridger
What is journalism for? To inform and bear witness, uncover inconvenient truths and hold power to account? Those are surely values most of us share, but have we collectively lost faith and trust in the news and those who report it? Stephen Sackur speaks to Alan Rusbridger- who edited the UK’s Guardian newspaper for 20 years in the midst of a digital revolution, which transformed the news business forever. If the established media is no longer trusted, who is to blame? (Photo: Alan Rusbridger in the Hardtalk studio)
Sep 24, 2018
CEO, UK Space Agency - Graham Turnock
Will post Brexit Britain be left behind in the race to reach new scientific frontiers? Stephen Sackur speaks to Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK space agency. Britain’s exit from the European Union has generated intense scrutiny of borders, tariffs and trade. But the shock waves will spread much further. A complex web of scientific collaboration and partnership is in jeopardy – most obviously in the field of space and satellite technology. The UK stands to be frozen out of the Galileo project which will deliver a European rival to the American GPS system.
Sep 21, 2018
Former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince
Deploying troops overseas, whether to fight or protect, is a costly business. It is one of the reasons why throughout history, wars and long term military commitments have often been contracted out to private operators – mercenaries – whose methods, personnel and costs can be very different. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Erik Prince, the founder of the Blackwater security contractor used by the US Government in Iraq until things went badly wrong. A decade on, he is pitching to replace the US military in Afghanistan – is it an idea President Trump might just buy?
Sep 19, 2018
Nury Turkel - Uyghur Human Rights Project, Washington
'Sense the party's thought, obey the party's words, follow the party's lead' are the words printed in red on a building at an internment camp in Xinjiang, China. It is one of the country's wealthiest provinces, and also one of its most restive. It has one and a half per cent of China's population, yet over 20 per cent of its arrests. Meanwhile, there are reports of over a million people currently in detention. The Government says the camps are needed to "re-educate" the people. Nury Turkel, chairman of the Uyghur Human Rights Project, disagrees. Uyghurs, an ethnic group who practice Islam, say Xinjiang has become a giant prison. Yet armed groups have killed hundreds in recent years, and the US and UK among others have placed the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, based in the region, among those they call terrorists. Is he being duped, or is China duping the rest of the world?
Sep 17, 2018
Matteo Salvini - Italy’s Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur is in Italy to speak to Matteo Salvini, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister and arguably the most important populist politician in Europe today. He has risen to power with strident denunciations of immigration and the European Union. What does his success mean for Italy and Europe? Image: Matteo Salvini (Credit: Reuters)
Sep 14, 2018
Spain's Foreign Minister - Josep Borrell
Does Spain's new government have any fresh solutions for the country's problems? HARDtalk speaks to Spain’s Foreign Minister Josep Borrell about a tumultuous year for the country, dominated by the prolonged political stand-off in Catalonia and a series of scandals in Madrid which eventually saw the centre-right government fall and the socialists take over. Image: Josep Borrell (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Sep 12, 2018
Former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich
Stephen Sackur is in northern Italy for the annual discussion of global politics known as the Ambrosetti Forum. High on the agenda for many European politicians are the challenges posed by Vladimir Putin's Russia. Arkady Dvorkovich was until this spring Russia's Deputy Prime Minister. Amid the mutual suspicion and the sanctions, is there any way to avert deepening hostility between Russia and the West? Image: Arkady Dvorkovich (Credit: Reuters)
Sep 10, 2018
Former US Secretary of Homeland Security - Michael Chertoff
Has the internet left every one of us dangerously exposed? HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur speaks to Michael Chertoff, former US Secretary of Homeland Security during the Bush Administration and now a leading thinker on cyber-security. Most of us have embedded the internet and smart technology in our lives. We might like to believe we’re autonomous digital citizens, but what if our behaviours are now being monitored, and modified by private and state actors over which we have no control? Image: Michael Chertoff (Credit: Getty Images)
Sep 07, 2018
Israel’s ambassador to the UN - Danny Danon
In the turbulent recent history of the Middle East, has there ever been a time when Israel has seemed more powerful – militarily, diplomatically and economically? Israel has the fulsome support of the Trump Administration and also has common strategic interests with Saudi Arabia and Arab nations preoccupied with perceived threats from Iran. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon. Is Israel making wise choices from its position of strength? Image: Danny Danon (Credit: European Photopress Agency)
Sep 05, 2018
Artist - Suleiman Mansour
In troubled times like these, does art really matter? Stephen Sackur is in Ramallah, more than five decades after the Israeli occupation of the West Bank began, to meet perhaps the most renowned Palestinian artist of his generation, Suleiman Mansour. His paintings have come to define a sense of Palestinian identity.
Sep 03, 2018
German MEP - David McAllister
The pictures are chilling – a handful of people in the German city of Chemnitz giving Nazi salutes. They were among thousands who took to the streets to demonstrate against immigrants after an Iraqi and a Syrian were arrested following a fatal stabbing. Some of the protesters chased down people they believed were immigrants. All this comes as politicians struggle to agree how to handle the migrant crisis in Europe. HARDtalk speaks to German MEP David McAllister, who chairs the European Parliament’s committee on foreign affairs. Have European leaders ignored the threat from the far right for too long? Image: David McAllister (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Aug 31, 2018
President of Kenya - Uhuru Kenyatta
Zeinab Badawi is in Washington for an exclusive interview with the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta. He has been holding talks with President Trump at the White House on trade, investment and security. But how can President Kenyatta invite investors to Kenya when the country remains mired in corruption which pervades all walks of life and enriches the few at the expense of the many? Image: Uhuru Kenyatta, pictured in October 2017 (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Aug 29, 2018
Executive Director, International Trade Centre - Arancha Gonzalez
Could a trade war escalate between the US and some of its trading partners? It’s not an easy time to be involved in international trade, with the world’s two biggest economies- the US and China trading insults and imposing tariffs on each other. Beijing says it is reporting Washington to the World Trade Organisation. The current tensions were sparked by President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on billions of dollars on imports from China, the EU, Canada and Mexico. HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi speaks to Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, which is co-owned by the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations. Her mandate is to help small and medium businesses in developing countries participate in global trade. But with an international trading system that some believe is discredited and outmoded, is she pursuing the wrong ambitions?
Aug 27, 2018
President of Colombia - Iván Duque
Stephen Sackur is in Bogotá for an exclusive interview with Colombia’s new President Iván Duque. He is a youthful centre-right technocrat who faces momentous decisions early in his Presidency. Will he uphold his predecessor’s fragile peace deal with the FARC guerrilla group? How will he respond to the economic and humanitarian crisis unfolding in neighbouring Venezuela? President Duque is a relative political novice in a volatile region and he is about to be sorely tested. Image: Iván Duque (Credit: European Photopress Agency)
Aug 24, 2018
Kofi Annan – Former UN Secretary General (1997-2006)
World figures have been paying tribute to the former UN secretary-general and Nobel laureate Kofi Annan, who has died at the age of 80. HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi spoke to him in April at a special event to mark his birthday and the tenth anniversary of the Kofi Annan Foundation. In a career spanning six decades at the United Nations, he held several senior positions including two terms as Secretary-General. There were high points such as the award of the Nobel Peace Prize as well as tragic events such as the Rwandan genocide and the Srebrenica massacre of Bosnian Muslims. But what were his biggest worries and did he have any regrets? Image: Kofi Annan (Credit: Getty Images)
Aug 22, 2018
Outgoing Director, Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute - Bobby Duffy
Never before in the history of humankind have we had so much information, so many facts at our finger tips, and yet much of what we think we know is wrong. What on earth is going on? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Bobby Duffy, social scientist, opinion pollster and managing director of the Ipsos Mori Social Research Institute. How can we the people make informed decisions if we're not truly informed?
Aug 20, 2018
Imam, Oxford Islamic Congregation - Dr. Taj Hargey
A tiny proportion of Muslim women in Britain wear the burqa or niqab; forms of dress which keep the face partially of fully covered. Nonetheless, those women find themselves at the heart of a sometimes bitter argument about religion, values and tolerance in Western society. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the Islamic scholar and imam- Taj Hargey, who has long stirred controversy amongst fellow Muslims by condemning the burqa and demanding a new form of Islam. Will his ideas ever gain traction in the Muslim community?
Aug 17, 2018
Professor Mohammad Marandi – Tehran University, Iran
When Iran’s President Rouhani was convincingly re-elected last year, Iranians seemed hopeful their living standards might improve. However, inflation, poverty, water shortages and corruption are all things that appear to be getting worse. Now, Iran is again facing US sanctions after President Trump walked away from the nuclear deal with Tehran. Stephen Sackur speaks to Iranian political analyst and erstwhile nuclear talks adviser Mohamed Marandi. Is Iran on the brink of an economic and political crisis? (Photo: Professor Mohamed Marandi)
Aug 15, 2018
Writer and Equality Campaigner - Vicky Beeching
The Christian religion is divided on issues of sexuality; not least the degree of acceptance and inclusion offered to gay men and women of faith. Amid the fierce theological arguments are stories of individuals torn between their faith and sexual orientation. Stephen Sackur speaks to Vicky Beeching, a popular Christian singer-songwriter, turned public advocate for LGBT rights, whose remarkable story has seen her described as one of the most influential Christians of her generation. Has she found peace after years of turmoil? (Photo: Vicky Beeching in the Hardtalk studios)
Aug 13, 2018
Dutch MEP - Sophie In't Veld
Stephen Sackur speaks to Dutch MEP, Sophie Int’ Veld, deputy to the European parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator. British Prime minister Theresa May is running out of time to avoid the Brexit cliff edge. Her proposals for a post Brexit trade deal with Brussels got short shrift from the EUs chief negotiator – she seems to be hoping to get more joy from some of Europe’s national leaders. But with every passing day the prospect of a no deal, potentially chaotic Brexit grows more real. Is Brexit brinkmanship a game no one can win? (Photo: Dutch MEP, Sophie Int’ Veld)
Aug 08, 2018
Clinical Psychologist - Jordan Peterson
Anger is a powerful force in politics and there's a lot of it about. Donald Trump, Brexit and a host of populist movements have been fuelled by anger with the way things are. Where does it come from? How best to respond? One much discussed, provocative perspective comes not from a politician but the Canadian clinical psychologist, Jordan Peterson, whose defence of traditional values has won him a worldwide following. Is his diagnosis liberating or dangerous? (Photo: Dr Jordan Peterson. Credit: Carlos Osorio/Getty Images)
Aug 06, 2018
Minister of National Development Planning, Indonesia - Bambang Brodjonegoro
Zeinab Badawi speaks to Bambang Brodjonegoro, Indonesia's Minister of National Development Planning. President Widodo of Indonesia was recently re-elected to a second term in office and he says he has big ambitions to raise the standard of living of his people. Indonesia is the most populous country in South East Asia and has the biggest economy. But it faces a series of challenges from poor infrastructure to corruption and extreme income inequality. He is in London to try and attract investors, but is the government doing enough to tackle its problems?
Aug 02, 2018
Mother and Baby Homes Survivors, Ireland - Paul Redmond
It was front page news around the world when a mass grave was discovered at a Mother and Baby Home in Ireland. The remains of almost 800 babies were found. But research by Paul Redmond showed that this was only "the tip of the iceberg". He collected evidence of high death rates at homes for illegitimate children across Ireland and also claimed the catholic nuns who ran them were trading in adoptions; being paid to send children to the United States for adoption often against the mother's wishes and sometimes without her knowledge. He was born in one of those homes and adopted before he was a month old. Now he feels he has a duty to expose what went on. (Photo: Paul Redmond in the Hardtalk studio)
Aug 01, 2018
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights - Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein
The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Zeid Al Hussein, is stepping down in August after four years in the post having said he doesn’t want a second term. In an exclusive interview the veteran Jordanian diplomat tells Zeinab Badawi why he didn’t want to stay in the job. After being criticised for being too outspoken – especially about the US president Donald Trump’s policies – was he too vocal to be effective in promoting human rights globally, or is that just what the job demands? Image: Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Jul 30, 2018
Kenyan Film Director - Wanuri Kahiu
In August it will be 20 years since more than 200 people were killed when simultaneous truck bomb explosions were carried out on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Zeinab Badawi speaks to the acclaimed Kenyan film-maker Wanuri Kahiu who made an award winning film on the tragedy. Her latest film depicting a lesbian love affair however has been banned in Kenya. What does her film making tell us about African society today and how they are viewed by wider audiences? (Photo: Director Wanuri Kahiu attend the screening of Leto at Cannes Film Festival. Credit: Dominique Charriau/WireImage)
Jul 25, 2018
Writer - Tim Winton
Is Australia redefining what it means to be a good bloke? Stephen Sackur speaks to internationally acclaimed author Tim Winton whose prolific output of fiction is rooted deep in the soil and the shoreline of his native western Australia. His latest novel, The Shepherds Hut, focuses on a troubled young man wrestling with demons, and it comes at an opportune time with the Me Too movement demanding an end to ingrained sexism, misogyny and toxic masculinity.) (Photo: Tim Winton in the Hardtalk studio)
Jul 23, 2018
Elmar Brok - Member of the European Parliament
Stephen Sackur speaks to Elmar Brok, MEP - the longest serving member of the European parliament and a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel. The EU is bedeviled by problems that simply won’t go away – from Brexit to immigration to an increasingly vexed relationship with the Trump Administration. Germany is the EU’s most powerful economy, but is its political clout on the wane? (Photo: Elmar Brok prior to the beginning of the EU foreign ministers meeting on the constitution in Brussels, 2004. Credit: Thierry Monasse/AFP)
Jul 20, 2018
Minister for Law and Justice in India - Ravi Shankar Prasad
There are growing concerns that India, the world’s most populous democracy is in the grip of a divisive brand of populism. The ruling BJP Hindu nationalist party has been accused by the country’s 180million plus Muslims of treating them as second class citizens. India may be one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women because of the high risk of sexual violence. Stephen Sackur speaks to India’s Law and Justice Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is at the centre of many of these storms. Is India facing its darkest hour since independence? (Photo: Ravi Shankar Prasad, Law and Justice Minister for India)
Jul 18, 2018
Hameed Haroon, CEO of Dawn Media Group
Stephen Sackur speaks to Hameed Haroon, CEO of the Dawn Media Group. In just a few days’ time Pakistanis will go to the polls to elect a new Government. Democracy rather than military dictatorship is becoming a habit. Or is it? Accusations are flying inside the country of military meddling - intimidation of critical media voices, and tacit support for friendly politicians. Is Pakistan's democracy in danger? (Photo: Hameed Haroon, CEO of the Dawn Media Group)
Jul 16, 2018
CEO, Newsmax Media Inc. - Christopher Ruddy
How far will Trump take his love of disruption? Stephen Sackur speaks to Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax Media Inc. President Donald Trump seems to value his gut instinct more than expert advice; and appears to respect raw power more than traditional alliances. This is not a President ready to make nice with Europe simply because of shared values. Amid the constant churn of Administration staff his informal advisers seem to know him best - like long time Trump ally and conservative media mogul Christopher Ruddy. (Photo: Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax Media Inc)
Jul 13, 2018
Prime Minister of Macedonia - Zoran Zaev
For nearly three decades the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has been locked in a bitter dispute with neighbouring Greece over its name. There’s a Greek province called Macedonia. Last month the two countries signed a historic accord to change the name of this small Balkan state to the Republic of North Macedonia - subject to a referendum. The agreement paves the way for Macedonia to join the EU and Nato. This would be a welcome step for a country that is one of the poorest in Europe. But challenges from nationalist hardliners, the opposition and the President signal stormy times ahead for the social democratic government. Zeinab Badawi speaks to Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. Does he have what it takes to change hearts and mind and set his country on a path of greater prosperity? (Photo: Prime Minister Zoran Zaev speaks at signing ceremony renaming Macedonia to Republic of North Macedonia, 2018. Credit: Sakis Mitrolidis/AFP)
Jul 11, 2018
Sue Black: Looking death in the face
HARDtalk goes to the Hay Literary Festival in Wales where we are joined by an audience to meet a world-renowned specialist in death. For many of us, it is the hardest subject of all to think and talk about - yet for author Sue Black it is the very business of life. She's a professor of forensic anthropology whose ability to read the clues and stories in human remains has made her a world renowned investigator. What does she see when she looks death in the face? Image: Sue Black (Credit: BBC)
Jul 09, 2018
Mayor of Jerusalem - Nir Barkat
HARDTalk is in Jerusalem, an ancient city which arguably stirs more passion, argument and hostility than any other. Israel claims all of it as its eternal, undivided capital - a claim at odds with international law and much world opinion, but boosted by President Trump's decision to move the US embassy there. Stephen Sackur talks to Jerusalem's two term mayor Nir Barkat. Can Israel conclusively win the struggle for Jerusalem? Image: Nir Barkat (Credit: Getty Images)
Jul 06, 2018
US Deputy National Security Adviser, 2009 - 2017 - Ben Rhodes
Sarah Montague speaks to Ben Rhodes who was Deputy National Security Adviser for President Barack Obama. During his time at the White House he developed such a close bond with the President that he earned a reputation for being able to anticipate his thinking and administration insiders described him as the single most influential voice shaping American foreign policy aside from Obama himself. So how does he feel about the new occupant of the White House and what he has done with their legacy? (Photo: Ben Rhodes speaks about the President Obama's upcoming trip to Cuba during a daily press briefing at the White House, 2016. Credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP)
Jul 04, 2018
Computer scientist and author - Jaron Lanier
The internet is perhaps the defining technological advance of the last fifty years. It has opened up a new world of possibilities, but what if it also represents an existential threat to humanity? That is the alarming possibility raised by computer scientist Jaron Lanier. He is no tech-phobic sensationalist; he is a Silicon Valley insider who was a hugely influential pioneer in Virtual Reality and a consultant to some of the biggest tech giants. In what ways are we sowing the seeds of our own destruction? (Photo: Jaron Lanier in the Hardtalk studio)
Jul 02, 2018
Iranian Environmental Scientist - Kaveh Madani
Since the beginning of 2018, the Iranian Government has locked up a number of environmental scientists and campaigners. One respected conservationist was found hanged in his cell in what the authorities said was a suicide. What is going on? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Kaveh Madani, a scientist invited back to Iran from an academic post in London to be deputy head of the Environment Department. He got caught up in the crackdown and fled Iran in April. Why has environmental activism become so dangerous in Iran? (Photo: Kaveh Madani)
Jun 27, 2018
Former Director of the FBI James Comey
When historians write their versions of Donald Trump’s extraordinary ascent to the Presidency, prominence will surely be given to the former Director of the FBI James Comey. He was a Republican hired by a Democratic President, whose handling of two key investigations; into Hillary Clinton’s emails and allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, polarised America. His recent memoir was a withering condemnation of the man who fired him, President Trump. But has James Comey sullied his own reputation by stepping into America’s political swamp? (Photo: FBI Director James Comey testifies before the House Intelligence Committee hearing into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election. Credit: Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
Jun 25, 2018
Austria's Foreign Minister - Karin Kneissl
One issue more than any other that is polarising European politics and dividing the European Union is migration. In Germany, it threatens Angela Merkel’s grip on power, whilst from Italy to Austria and Hungary and Poland, it is driving policies which threaten to smash any continental consensus. Stephen Sackur speaks to Karin Kneissl - the foreign minister in Austria's right wing, nationalist coalition government. Are Europeans finding their authentic voice or is a dangerous brand of populism poisoning politics? (Photo: Austria's Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl arrives for a cabinet meeting in Vienna, Austria, 2018. Credit: Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters)
Jun 22, 2018
Chairman of the Senate of Kazakhstan - Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
Can Kazakhstan move beyond one party rule? Stephen Sackur talks to the chairman of the Kazakh Senate, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. The country's shiny new capital city, Astana, tells you plenty about the country’s oil wealth and its big ambition to be Central Asia’s regional powerhouse. But all of this cannot mask a nagging question - what happens in this country when the long serving President Nursultan Nazarbayev finally leaves power? (Photo: Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (L), chairman of the Senate of Kazakhstan's Parliament. Credit: Alexander Shalgin\TASS\Getty Images)
Jun 20, 2018
President of Sinn Féin, Ireland - Mary Lou McDonald
Mary Lou McDonald is the leader of Sinn Féin - the party of Irish Republicans in the Irish Republic and in Northern Ireland. Ireland is going through a period of extraordinary change. Social attitudes have shifted profoundly on abortion, gay rights and the role of the Catholic Church. Now Brexit poses a challenge to the island, north and south. Can Sinn Féin take advantage? (Photo: Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald after delivering a keynote speech for the first time during the annual party conference. Credit: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Jun 18, 2018
Ethiopian Opposition Politician Andargachew Tsege
The new Ethiopian government is making dramatic reforms in the country: the state of emergency had been lifted, the military and intelligence chiefs have been replaced and opposition politicians have been released en masse from prison. One of those released is Andargachew Tsege a prominent opposition leader from the organisation Patriotic Ginbot 7. He had been on death row in an Ethiopian jail for four years. Will his group renounce violence and will he go back to Ethiopia to help build the country's future? (Photo: Andargachew Tsege)
Jun 15, 2018
Maria Lourdes Sereno - Former Supreme Court Chief Justice, Philippines
Rodrigo Duterte has been President of the Philippines for two years. His war on drugs has cost thousands of lives, with his human rights record attracting international condemnation, and prompting charges of authoritarianism. Yet he has an approval rating unheard of in most democracies. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to former Chief Justice of the Philippines- Maria Lourdes Sereno, who was removed from the Supreme Court by her fellow justices. Was that a victory against official corruption or a devastating Duterte-inspired blow to democracy? (Photo: Ousted Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno waves to supporters. Credit: Ted Aljibe/AFP)
Jun 13, 2018
Afghanistan's Chief Executive - Abdullah Abdullah
Stephen Sackur speaks to Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive officer of the Afghan unity Government. The Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has ordered an unconditional ceasefire in the army's military campaign against the Taliban. But Afghans can be forgiven for being sceptical. The pause is for just two weeks. The Taliban has given no sign it will respond in kind; and the broader security, economic and political condition of the country remains parlous. Does he and President Ghani have a coherent plan for rescuing Afghanistan?
Jun 11, 2018
Labour MP, UK - Chuka Umunna
With Brexit the main preoccupation for politicians in Britain, the opposition Labour Party has announced a shift in policy which would see the UK retaining most of the elements of its current relationship with the EU. It wants Britain to have full access to the single market and stay a member of the customs union. But that does not go far enough for some staunchly pro-EU members of the party who want Britain to stay part of the European Economic Area. HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi speaks to Labour MP and prominent EU campaigner Chuka Umunna about challenging the Conservative government and his own Labour Party leadership on Brexit. Image: Chuka Umunna (Credit: Press Association)
Jun 08, 2018
US Ambassador to Russia, 2012-14 - Michael McFaul
It's hard to imagine how the US-Russia relationship could be any more dysfunctional. Each accuses the other of consistently malign action and intent. 'Worse than the Cold war' was the way it was described by Russia's foreign minister. And yet, the two presidents, Trump and Putin, appear to have some regard for each other. What does it all mean? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to former US ambassador to Russia, and Obama adviser- Michael McFaul. How deep does the poison in the relationship run? (Photo: Michael McFaul in the Hardtalk studio)
Jun 05, 2018
Imran Khan - Chairman, Movement for Justice Party, Pakistan
The National Assembly in Pakistan has been dissolved ahead of the general election in late July. Just as eyes were turned on him when he was a top international cricket star, much attention is focussed on Imran Khan who abandoned sport for the far less gentlemanly arena of Pakistani politics. He established his own party- the Movement for Justice Party, more than 20 years ago and says he wants to create a new Pakistan. In the last elections in 2013, his party came third. So can he make it to the position of Prime Minister this time round? And is he the right person to steer Pakistan given criticisms about his performance? (Photo: Imran Khan on Hardtalk)
Jun 04, 2018
Biochemist - Jennifer Doudna
Sarah Montague speaks to biochemist Jennifer Doudna. Crispr Cas9 has been described as the greatest biological breakthrough in decades. It is a gene editing tool and the hopes that rest on it are immense - that it can be used to cure cancer and other intractable diseases, stop mosquitoes carrying malaria, create drought resistant crops and food that does not rot, even that it can recreate extinct animals. What does she make of the breathtaking pace of innovation since her discovery and does she fear where it may lead?
Jun 01, 2018
Author and Former Islamist - Ed Husain
Zeinab Badawi speaks to the British writer and commentator Ed Husain, who believes the gulf between Islam and the West is widening and that westerners see the religion as something to be feared rather than understood. He spent several years as a radical Islamist and then turned his back on jihadism and has written about his own personal journey as well as trying to explain why people join extremist groups. Now he is calling on moderate Muslims to reclaim their religion from the extremists. But is he oversimplifying a complex issue and playing into the hands of Islamaphobes? (Photo: Ed Husain in the Hardtalk studio)
May 30, 2018
Former News International Executive Chairman Les Hinton.
For more than fifty years Les Hinton was the right hand man of one of the most powerful press barons of modern times - Rupert Murdoch. Hinton was a top executive at News Corp during some of its most tumultuous times. He has just lifted the lid on his time at the corporation in a new memoir. How much personal responsibility does he bear for some of the excesses at News International like the phone hacking scandal in the UK and did he have a career he can be proud of?
May 25, 2018
Egyptian Writer and Activist - Nawal El Saadawi
Zeinab Badawi speaks to Egyptian activist and writer Dr Nawal El Saadawi. She has been described as the Arab world's leading feminist. She is a medical doctor, writer, activist, campaigner and outspoken political critic. She was banned from speaking in the Egyptian media and imprisoned under the government of President Sadat for her outspoken views. How much freedom of expression is there currently under President Sisi? And what about the status of women in Egypt today? (Photo: Dr Nawal El Saadawi)
May 23, 2018
Sinead Redmond and Caroline Simons - Pro and Anti Abortion Activists
What does Ireland's abortion referendum say about the country today? On 25 May Irish voters face a choice - by way of a referendum they can either keep a constitutional amendment which outlaws abortion in all but the most exceptional circumstances, or they can change their constitution and pave the way for the legalisation of abortion. Given Ireland's history, culture and religion it is a fierce debate. Hardtalk's Stephen Sackur is joined by two campaigners - Sinead Redmond, an advocate of expanding abortion rights, and Caroline Simons, an opponent. (Photo: Caroline Simons (L) pro-life campaigner and Sinead Redmond (R) abortion rights advocate)
May 21, 2018
Former President of Brazil - Dilma Rousseff
Can anyone clean up Brazilian politics? HARDtalk’s Shaun Ley speaks to former Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff. Brazil was one of the success stories of the early 21st century – under her mentor, President Lula da Silva, rapid economic growth was combined with radical redistribution of money to the poor. Dilma Rousseff, who was tortured under the military dictatorship, succeeded him, but under her presidency the economy faltered. In 2016 she was forced from office accused of fiddling the figures to boost her chances of re-election. She’s in London drumming up support for Lula’s bid to be re-elected President – only he’s currently in a prison cell in Brazil having been convicted of corruption. Can he stage a political comeback? (Photo: Suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff speaks to supporters at the Planalto presidential palace, 2016. Credit: Igo Estrela/Getty Images)
May 18, 2018
President Erdogan of Turkey
In a special edition of the programme, Zeinab Badawi is in the Turkish capital of Ankara to speak to the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He’s busy preparing for elections which he has called a year and a half early. Is he trying to preempt a possible slide in his popularity, or simply trying to tighten his grip on power? And how worried is he about escalating tension in the Middle East? This episode was recorded on Thursday 10th May 2018.
May 15, 2018
Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister- Tzipi Hotovely
President Donald Trump has blown a superpower sized hole in the international agreement designed to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions. The US has given up on carrot and stick diplomacy with Tehran, in favour of just stick. So what now? The other signatories to the nuclear deal are trying to keep it alive, but ominously in the Middle East, tension is rising; most particularly between Israel and Iran. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely - how close are we to a major Middle East conflict? Image: Tzipi Hotovely, Credit: Getty Images
May 11, 2018
Ukraine's Health Minister - Ulana Suprun
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Ukraine’s Health Minister, Ulana Suprun. Four years after the Maidan revolution, Ukraine is a country of unfulfilled expectations. Huge external pressures remain - not least Moscow's hostility - but many of the problems are internal; stalled reforms, political in-fighting and endemic corruption. Ulana Suprun, a Ukrainian-American doctor, is now the country’s health minister trying to drive through big reform of the healthcare system. It's a hugely symbolic test - can she deliver?
May 04, 2018
Chairman of the Pakistan People's Party - Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari
Elections are due in Pakistan in July and running for a seat in the National Assembly is the heir to the country's main political dynasty. HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi speaks to Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari - son of Benazir Bhutto, the two time prime minister of Pakistan who was assassinated in 2007. He is Chairman of the Pakistan People's Party - founded by his grandfather 50 years ago. The PPP has seen its popularity plummet in recent years - can Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari restore its fortunes and turn around a political legacy tarnished by allegations of corruption, patronage and incompetence? (Photo: Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari speaks during an interview with AFP, 2017. Credit: Rizwan Tabassum/AFP)
May 02, 2018
EU Commissioner for Justice - Věra Jourová
How is the European Commission coping with an increasingly fractious Europe? Hardtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova at the headquarters of the EU's executive body, the Commission - the engine room of the EU. But how smoothly is that engine running? For all the focus on Brexit, perhaps the bigger challenge to EU unity comes from a growing fault-line between east and west within the European club. (Photo: EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vera Jourova talks to the media at the EU headquarters in Brussels, 2016. Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 30, 2018
Syria's MP for Aleppo - Fares Shehabi
The recent US-led missile strikes on several military installations in Syria changed precious little in the country's horrific civil war. On the ground, the bloodshed, displacement and suffering continue. Regional and global divisions over Syria are as deep as ever. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to a Syrian politician close to the Assad regime. Fares Shehabi is a powerful Aleppo business leader and self-styled 'independent' MP. Is Syria as we knew it broken beyond repair? Image: Fares Shehabi, Credit: Reuters
Apr 27, 2018
President, The Gambia - Adama Barrow
Can President Barrow live up to people’s expectations? HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi speaks to President Adama Barrow of The Gambia who has been attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London. He came to office in January 2017 after his electoral victory over the incumbent Yahya Jammeh who ruled over The Gambia with an iron first for more than 20 years. President Barrow found a bankrupt nation, scarred by years of living under fear and intimidation. With nearly half the population living in poverty, things may have improved but not fast enough.
Apr 23, 2018
Former UN Secretary General (1997-2006) - Kofi Annan
HARDtalk is in Geneva, the headquarters of the Kofi Annan Foundation which marks its tenth anniversary this year. Zeinab Badawi speaks to the former Secretary-General of the United Nations as he reaches his eightieth birthday, in front of an audience. In a career spanning six decades at the United Nations, he has held several senior positions including two terms as Secretary-General until 2006. There were high points such as the award of the Nobel Peace Prize as well as tragic events such as the Rwandan genocide and the Srebrenica massacre of Bosnian Muslims. What are his biggest worries today and does he have any regrets?
Apr 20, 2018
Russia's Foreign Minister - Sergey Lavrov
Stephen Sackur is in Moscow for an exclusive interview with Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. In recent days the world has been alarmed by the very real possibility of a direct military confrontation between the United States and Russia. Syria is of course where the current tensions are highest, and where missiles have been fired, but the hostility is deep-seated on a number of fronts. We’ve had diplomatic expulsions, sanctions, there’s talk of a new cold war. What is Russia’s next move?
Apr 18, 2018
Northern Ireland Peace Negotiator - Monica McWilliams
Twenty years ago the historic Good Friday Agreement was signed in Northern Ireland which put an end to three decades of bloody sectarian conflict. Politicians from Northern Ireland, the UK, the Republic of Ireland and the US who were involved in the marathon negotiations will mark the anniversary this month. Monica McWilliams represented the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition then, and continues to play a significant role in post conflict Northern Ireland. Given the uncertainty that hangs over Northern Ireland today, is there much to celebrate? (Photo: Monica McWilliams)
Apr 16, 2018
Middle East adviser to President Obama (2013-15) - Philip Gordon
US military action against President Assad's forces in Syria seems imminent. President Trump told the Russians- Assad's military backers - to "get ready" by way of a tweet. A spiral of events which began with an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian army is heading towards a dangerous confrontation between Washington and Moscow. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Philip Gordon- Barak Obama's senior adviser on the Middle East in 2013 when Assad's use of chemical weapons came close to prompting a US military response. Did hesitation then sow the seeds of today's crisis?
Apr 12, 2018
Director, UK Serious Fraud Office - David Green
Politicians will always tell us they're tough on crime, but the evidence suggests they find it easier to be tough on murderers, muggers and robbers than they do on corporate white collar criminals engaged in fraud, and money laundering. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the outgoing head of Britain's Serious Fraud Office, David Green. For six years he has been out to apprehend corporate criminals; but has he ever been given the tools and the backing to do the job properly?
Apr 11, 2018
Norway's Finance Minister - Siv Jensen
The outside world tends to view Scandinavia as a haven of prosperity, progressive politics and social liberalism, but look closer and you find a powerful strand of right-wing populism fuelled by a suspicion of immigration. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Siv Jensen- Norway’s Finance Minister and the leader of the right-wing Progress Party, a partner in Norway’s Coalition Government for the past five years. How does populism work in a country rated one of the world’s richest and happiest? (Photo: Siv Jensen of Norway attends the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony at Oslo City Town Hall 2017. Credit: Nigel Waldron/Getty Images)
Apr 09, 2018
Artist - Michael Rakowitz
The best art helps us to see and feel in new ways - it can challenge and provoke. Michael Rakowitz uses sculpture, installation, and site specific experiences to transmit a vision which reflects his Iraqi Jewish heritage and preoccupations which range from war to family, to food. He has made it his mission to test the boundaries of what we think of as art and has won plaudits around the world. What does his work tell us about the state we are in? (Photo: Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz at the unveiling of his work, the new fourth plinth sculpture titled The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist, Trafalgar Square, London, 2018. Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 06, 2018
Author and Oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee
In 2010 Siddhartha Mukherjee wrote a book about the history of cancer which won the Puliter Prize the following year. He's also a practising cancer physician in New York. Hundreds of billions of dollars is poured into cancer treatment and research every year. We understand it better and have more effective tools to combat it than ever before, yet it kills millions of people each year. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Siddhartha Mukherjee. His book, The Emperor of Maladies - a self-styled biography of cancer paints a unique picture of the disease. Eight years on from its publication, is cancer any less of a curse? (Photo: Siddhartha Mukherjee. Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 02, 2018
Ambassador Donald Yamamoto
Stephen Sackur talks to America's Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto. Is the US in danger of losing friends and influence in Africa?
Mar 29, 2018
Director General of the WTO- Roberto Azevêdo
Stephen Sackur is in Geneva to talk to the head of the World Trade Organisation Roberto Azevêdo. The WTO is supposed to oversee free and fair global trade but right now, the organisation risks looking impotent and even irrelevant. President Donald Trump is making good on his promises on tariffs and protectionism and the Chinese are threatening to respond in kind. What can the WTO do to avoid a global trade war? (Photo: Roberto Azevedo at the second day of the summit of G7 nations 2015. Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Mar 28, 2018
Actor - Mahira Khan
In culturally conservative, male dominated Pakistan, can an actress be an agent of change? Stephen Sackur speaks to the country's biggest female movie star Mahira Khan. Women in the movie industry have taken the lead in a movement for equality, respect and an end to abusive male behaviour. The mantra #MeToo has become a cultural phenomenon in the United States but how far can it reach? (Photo: Pakistani actress Mahira Khan at the Beirut International Awards Festivals (BIAF), 2017. Credit: Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images)
Mar 26, 2018
Former Governor of New Mexico, US - Bill Richardson
What is Trump’s brand of disruption doing to US foreign policy? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Bill Richardson, former Clinton cabinet secretary and one time US North Korea emissary. The next couple of months will present President Donald Trump with foreign policy choices that could define his presidency. A summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is looming, so too a decision on whether to dump the nuclear deal with Iran. And never far from the surface, how to handle relations with Vladimir Putin's Russia.
Mar 23, 2018
Former Editor of Cumhuriyet, Turkey - Can Dündar
In the battle for Turkey’s future and its soul, who is winning? More than 150 journalists are currently in prison in Turkey. President Erdogan’s government stands accused of an all-out assault on freedom of expression. Stephen Sackur talks to Can Dündar, former editor of the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, who has experienced imprisonment, life threatening violence and exile in the last couple of years after publishing material which infuriated the Turkish president. (Photo: Can Duendar, Turkish journalist, during an interview at the 2017 Frankfurt Book Fair. Credit: Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images)
Mar 21, 2018
Prime Minister, Democratic Republic of Congo - Bruno Tshibala
Can the DRC find a path to prosperity? The Democratic Republic of Congo boasts assets that ought to be the envy of Africa – vast productive lands, abundant natural resources and a youthful population. But DRC’s potential remains unfulfilled thanks to political instability, communal violence and corruption. HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur speaks to the country’s Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala – a one-time opponent of President Kabila who now serves him.
Mar 19, 2018
Investigative Journalist - Seymour Hersh
Are journalists still able to tell the truth to power? On March 16th 1968 US soldiers committed a war crime during the Vietnam war. More than 500 men, women and children were systematically slaughtered in the village of May Lai. The terrible truth was exposed thanks to the work of investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur speaks to him about a lifetime of reporting that has been punctuated by scoops, prizes and plentiful confrontations with the powers that be.
Mar 16, 2018
Co-founder Black Lives Matter - Patrisse Khan-Cullors
Can a movement founded on a hashtag really change the world? HARDtalk’s Sarah Montague speaks to Patrisse Khan-Cullors, the woman who first coined the slogan Black Lives Matter. She used it as a hashtag on a friend's Facebook post back in 2013. Since then Black Lives Matter has taken off as a political movement around the world. She’s now written about her own experience growing up in a poor black family in California, and how she’s convinced that if racism and state violence against African Americans can be stopped then other problems in the black community - such as poverty, poor education and crime - would disappear too. Is she right? Image: Patrisse Khan-Cullors (Credit: BBC)
Mar 14, 2018
Writer - Mohsin Hamid
Why does migration frighten so many of us? HARDtalk speaks to writer Mohsin Hamid whose novels have explored cultural, economic and religious tensions between East and West. Globalisation is a trend based on movement - of money goods, ideas and people - across continents and national borders. In a world of glaring inequality, it has stirred a powerful backlash manifested in the rise of nationalism and identity politics. This clash of human impulses is fertile territory for the Pakistani novelist.
Mar 12, 2018
Boris Titov, leader of Russia's Party of Growth
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to, Boris Titov, leader of Russia’s Party of Growth. Seven candidates are challenging Vladimir Putin in this month's Russian presidential election; but none of them has much hope of victory. One of the seven 'other' candidates - Boris Titov - is a Putin appointee as government ombudsman for business. Does Russia need reform rather than authoritarianism? Image: Boris Titov (Credit: BBC)
Mar 09, 2018
Ahmad Tibi - Leader of the Arab Movement for Change in Israel
Stephen Sackur speaks to Ahmad Tibi. He is a veteran Arab Israeli MP and one time adviser to Yasser Arafat. President Donald Trump claimed he could broker the deal of the century between Israel and the Palestinian. Instead he seems to have entrenched the hostility after recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Is the Arab-Israeli experience a sign that the status quo is the only viable response to the conflict between Jews and Arabs? (Photo: Ahmad al-Tibi, speaks to the media at a Jerusalem district court in Jerusalem. Credit: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)
Mar 07, 2018
Elizabeth Eckford of the Little Rock Nine
In September 1957 nine African American students, including Elizabeth Eckford, entered the all white Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, thereby breaking for the first time the racial segregation barrier in US schools. They became known as the Little Rock Nine. Two years earlier the US Supreme Court had ruled segregation in schools to be unconstitutional. The first time Elizabeth Eckford tried to enter Little Rock Central High she was turned away and the image of her surrounded by a hostile crowd of local white people is one of the most famous photographs of the American civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 60s. Later in September 1957 Elizabeth and her fellow group of African American students were finally able to enter the school. But their troubles didn't stop there. The Little Rock Nine were regularly abused and shunned by white students and for Elizabeth Eckford her time at the school led to suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. HARDtalk is at her familyhome in Little Rock from where she left to attend Central High more than 60 years ago. (Photo: Elizabeth Eckford)
Mar 05, 2018
Prime Minister of Kosovo - Ramush Haradinaj
It is ten years since Kosovo became Europe’s newest nation. It has not been an easy decade. Relations with neighbouring Serbia remain hostile and international recognition has been patchy with Kosovo is still struggling to get on top of endemic poverty and corruption. Stephen Sackur speaks to Ramush Haradinaj – Kosovo’s Prime Minister. Can Kosovo escape its troubled history? Image: Ramush Haradinaj (Credit: BBC)
Mar 02, 2018
Psychologist Steven Pinker
The HARDtalk programme, like so many others in the churn of 24/7 news tends to focus on people and places facing problems and challenges. More often than not we hold the powerful to account for things that went wrong, not right. Are we missing the bigger picture about the world we live in? Stephen Sackur speaks to the psychologist and writer, Steven Pinker. His new book, Enlightenment Now, is a paean to human progress driven by reason and science. How convincing are his reasons to be cheerful? (Photo: Psychologist and writer Steven Pinker)
Feb 28, 2018
Petroleum Minister, South Sudan - Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth
Who or what can deliver South Sudan's people from despair? Its first six and half years as an independent country have been an unmitigated disaster. A brutal civil conflict, a broken economy, famine and epic levels of corruption - on any and every measure the world’s newest country is failing. This comes despite some of the largest oil reserves in sub-Saharan Africa. HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur speaks to South Sudan's Minister of Petroleum, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth. Image: Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth (Credit: BBC)
Feb 26, 2018
Former humanitarian aid worker - Amira Malik Miller
Gross misconduct and sexual exploitation in the humanitarian aid industry - what's gone wrong and why? Oxfam is at the centre of a storm of allegations of abusive behaviour, shoddy recruitment and management cover up. Now the entire aid sector is under scrutiny for safeguarding failures which appear to go back decades. Stephen Sackur speaks to Amira Malik Miller, an experienced aid worker who has witnessed misconduct and is prepared to speak out. Image: Amira Malik Miller (Credit: BBC)
Feb 23, 2018
Peter Boehringer - MP, Alternative Party for Germany
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition deal with the Social Democrats looks fragile, with Germany's biggest opposition party now the right wing Alternative for Germany Party. Peter Boehringer is an AfD MP and newly elected chairman of the influential Parliamentary Budget Committee. How will the AfD seek to use its expanded influence? (Photo: Peter Boehringer, member of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, poses for a portrait in Berlin. Credit: Reuters)
Feb 21, 2018
Former mayor of El Hatillo, Venezuela - David Smolansky
HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to David Smolansky, anti-regime activist who was the mayor of a district in Caracas until he fled the country to escape a jail term for aiding last year’s street protests. There was a time last year when it seemed President Maduro's grip on power in Venezuela was loosening. Yet here we are two months away from a presidential election with Maduro oozing confidence and his opponents seemingly in disarray. Why does Venezuela's opposition so consistently promise more than it delivers?
Feb 19, 2018
Breaking the Silence - Avner Gvaryahu
The Israeli Defence Force sees itself as an institution that binds the nation together. Most young Israelis serve in its ranks after leaving school. It claims to combine defence of the state with a sense of moral purpose. Avner Gvaryahu served in the IDF but he sees an institution in denial – corroded and corrupted by the military occupation of Palestinian communities over a fifty year span. Avner Gvaryahu and like-minded soldiers turned dissidents say they are breaking the silence. Are they patriots or traitors? Image: Avner Gvaryahu (Credit: BBC)
Feb 16, 2018
US Political Strategist - Roger Stone
Is the long-time friend and sometimes adviser to President Trump a symbol of all that is currently wrong in US politics? They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps. If that is true, Roger Stone - a hugely controversial and divisive figure in American conservatism - should provide telling insights into the character of the president. (Photo: Roger Stone at Politicon at Pasadena Convention Center. Credit: Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images)
Feb 14, 2018
Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, Mehmet Simsek
The Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, Mehmet Simsek, talks about Turkey's recent military operation in the north western Syria enclave of Afrin. How long will the operation last and does it risk increasing tensions with the United States who are helping Kurdish fighters in Syria? (Photo: Mehmet Simsek on Hardtalk)
Feb 12, 2018
Secretary General of the Jubilee Party, Kenya - Raphael Tuju
HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi speaks to Raphael Tuju, Secretary General of Kenya’s ruling Jubilee Party. Has the Kenyan government over-reacted to the self-inauguration of the opposition leader Raila Odinga as the so-called “People’s President”? Image: Raphael Tuju (Credit: BBC)
Feb 09, 2018
Leader of the National Super Alliance, Kenya - Raila Odinga
When it comes to politics, Kenya has a history of disputed and often violent elections. In this exclusive interview, Zeinab Badawi speaks to the opposition leader Raila Odinga: he claims he and not Uhuru Kenyatta is President and he's had himself self-inaugurated as the people's president at the end of January. It's been slammed as a treasonous act by the Kenyan authorities and rejected by the world. Given Kenya's volatile electoral history, is Raila Odinga not acting illegally, irresponsibly and trying to stir up violence? Image: Raila Odinga (Credit: European Photopress Agency)
Feb 07, 2018
Argentina’s Foreign Minister - Jorge Faurie
Argentina is stepping up efforts to re-engage with the world, especially through its presidency of the G20. It says wants better relations with the United States after years of poor relations. Zeinab Badawi speaks to the Argentine Foreign Minister at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Just six months into the job, what is his assessment of ties with the Trump administration which has been unsettling its neighbours in Latin America. Image: Jorge Faurie (Credit: Reuters)
Feb 02, 2018
Former President of the UK Supreme Court - Lord Neuberger
Stephen Sackur speaks to Lord Neuberger who was until last year President of the UK Supreme Court. Britain prides itself on its system of justice. Centuries of common law, a proudly independent judiciary and a reputation for fair dealing has made it an international centre for dispute arbitration. But are the cracks starting to show in a system steeped in tradition ? Does the British judicial system need a 21st century reboot? (Photo: Lord Neuberger on Hardtalk)
Feb 02, 2018
Actor - Shah Rukh Khan
Zeinab Badawi speaks to the actor Shah Rukh Khan. He has been given an award for his philanthropic work advancing women’s rights. How far is he using his voice to do that ? (Photo: Indian Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan poses during a press interaction, 2015. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Jan 31, 2018
South Africa’s Deputy President - Cyril Ramaphosa
Currently deputy president of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa could become president very soon if Jacob Zuma heeds calls to step down. But is this ANC stalwart and wealthy businessman the right person to create a new South Africa from a country mired in cronyism and corruption allegations? In his first interview with the BBC since he became leader of South Africa’s ruling ANC in December, Cyril Ramaphosa talks to Zeinab Badawi for Hardtalk. (Photo: Deputy President of South Africa, and newly elected African National Congress (ANC) President, Cyril Ramaphosa at Pre-World Economic Forum (WEF) Breakfast, 2018. Credit: Gulshan Khan/Getty Images)
Jan 29, 2018
Former UK Conservative Cabinet Minister - Ken Clarke
Is it futile to try and resist Brexit? Hardtalk's Sarah Montague speaks to one of the big beasts of British politics. Known as the Father of the House because he is the longest serving member of the UK’s House of Commons, he has also held more cabinet posts than any other living British politician. And yet Ken Clarke says we are now in "the maddest situation" of his lifetime and talks of the political system being "broken". It's one of the reasons he couldn't quite bring himself to retire at the last election, staying on to fight against Brexit and for the Conservative Party. Is it a fight he can win? Image: Ken Clarke, Credit: Getty Images
Jan 26, 2018
French-Moroccan Writer - Zineb El Rhazoui
Living with death threats for daring to speak out against Islamist jihadist violence. The former Charlie Hebdo journalist and French-Moroccan writer Zineb El Rhazoui knows the risks can be a matter of life and death. She was working for the satirical magazine when 12 people were murdered in the Paris office in 2015. She happened to be on holiday. Subjected to a multitude of death threats because of her determination to speak out against what she sees as the malign and dangerous influence of Islam, she now lives life under police protection. El Rhazoui has since written a book on what she calls Islamic fascism. She tells Hardtalk's Stephen Sackur that she feels like she's fighting a war. (Photo: French-Maroccan journalist Zineb El Rhazoui, a former columnist at French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Credit: Joel Saget/AFP)
Jan 24, 2018
Russian Ambassador to the EU - Vladimir Chizhov
Russia is calling on the EU to stump up billions of dollars to help rebuild Syria. Russia’s representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, says if they don’t they will “bear the responsibility for that”. But Russian planes are still destroying parts of the country and rather than support the peace process at the UN, they have set up their own parallel talks. Sarah Montague asks Ambassador Chizhov - what responsibility do the Russians themselves have for ending the war in Syria? (Photo: Vladimir Chizhov on Hardtalk)
Jan 22, 2018
Former White House Communications Director - Anthony Scaramucci
The White House has never before seen a president like Donald Trump. He does not play by any conventional political rules – that much is obvious from his Twitter feed, his hiring and firing of staff and his apparent relish for outrage. Stephen Sackur speaks to Anthony Scaramucci, the White House Director of Communications for all of 11 days before he was fired in a media firestorm in 2017. He has stayed loyal to his former boss – why? (Photo: Anthony Scarmuccin on Hardtalk)
Jan 19, 2018
Chair of Republican National Committee, 2009-2011 - Michael Steele
A year after President Trump’s inauguration and not a day goes by without a new media storm over a presidential comment, tweet or announcement that has Democrats decrying him as unfit for office. What do Republicans feel and do about their de facto party leader? Stephen Sackur speaks to Michael Steele, a former Chairman of the Republican National Committee. (Photo: Michael Steele on Hardtalk)
Jan 17, 2018
Actor and UN Goodwill Ambassador - Ashley Judd
Stephen Sackur is in New York to speak to the actor and activist Ashley Judd. The movie and entertainment industries have been rocked by allegations of systemic sexism, misogyny and abusive behaviour. Ms Judd was one of the first women to go public with her accusations about the producer Harvey Weinstein. What began with voices of anger and pain has become a movement demanding radical change. How far can it go? (Photo: Ashley Judd accepts the WMC Speaking Truth To Power Award, Oct 2017, New York. Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
Jan 15, 2018
Former Zimbabwean Cabinet Minister - Jonathan Moyo