Each week on First Person, we conduct a narrative-driven conversation with one person whose experience illuminates something timely and important about our world. Our guests tend to be people who have participated directly in events, either as protagonists or eyewitnesses. We get them to tell their story, not just offer analysis. First Person is hosted by FP deputy editor Sarah Wildman. Sarah is an award-winning journalist whose stories have appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Vox and the New Yorker online. She is the author of Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind.
Sarah Wildman is an award-winning journalist whose stories have appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Vox and the New Yorker online. She is the author of Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind.
The President Who Played One on TV
Journalist Franklin Foer on the peculiar rise of Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine and his role in the Trump impeachment ordeal
Advising John McCain
A former foreign-policy advisor looks back at the 2008 U.S. presidential election campaign.
The Rise and Rise of Vladimir Putin
New Yorker staff writer Masha Gessen on how the Russian president is planning to rule for life.
A Fateful Decision That Led to the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis
The journalist David Kirkpatrick on how President Jimmy Carter was pressured into letting the Shah of Iran into the United States.
The Persian Puzzle—Iran, Iraq, and the United States
What a trove of leaked Iranian cables tells us about Iran’s influence in Iraq.
The Truth About the U.S. War in Afghanistan
Former Pakistani Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani on how the Taliban won.
The Documentaries of 2019
A look back at the documentaries we featured on First Person in the past year.
Corbyn and Anti-Semitism
How allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party became a central issue in Britain’s election campaign.
An American in Mosul
Journalist Mike Giglio provides an eyewitness account of a key battle against the Islamic State.
Iranian Spy Games Revealed
What a trove of leaked Iranian cables tells us about Iran’s influence in Iraq.
The Syrian Filmmaker Who Risked Her Life to Document the Atrocities in Aleppo
Waad al-Kateab’s film focuses on one of the hardest-hit cities in Syria’s ongoing conflict.
The Jerusalem Murder That Set Off a War
An Israeli drama series on HBO about the 2014 murder of a Palestinian teen stirs compassion and controversy.
Lebanon’s Arab Spring?
Protesters are directing their anger at the political elite for years of corruption and mismanagement.
When the U.S. Turns Its Back on Allies
A former U.S. intelligence officer explains what happens to locals who helped the United States when troops leave a conflict zone.
How North African Migrants Ended Up in Permanent Detention
The Irish journalist Sally Hayden has traced the story of many of them.
Why Hong Kongers Are Still Protesting Against Chinese Rule
A democracy activist describes how the demonstrations got underway and where they go from here.
Why for Some Spaniards the Wounds of the Civil War Never Healed
A new film traces the stories of people still seeking justice for Franco's crimes.
Haven America or Fortress America?
Harvard historian Jill Lepore on the long and tortured history of the U.S. immigration debate.
Roots of a Quagmire
On the podcast: America’s first post-9/11 envoy to Afghanistan recounts the early months of the war there.
The Future of Kashmir
How India decided to end the area’s autonomous status and what it means for the region.
How an Upscale Chef Came to Serve Those in Need
On the podcast: José Andrés on food insecurity, Puerto Rico, and battling hunger.
How War Traumatizes the Victims and the Perpetrators
On the podcast: A new film explores the experience of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.
The Dark Legacy of China’s One-Child Policy
On the podcast: The filmmaker Nanfu Wang tells the harrowing story of her own family’s one-child ordeal.
Trump, Immigration, and the Fight for America’s Soul
On the podcast: Where Trump’s effort to block asylum-seekers fits in the history of U.S. immigration policy.
A Survivor’s Struggle to Care for Her People and Herself
On the podcast: The filmmaker Alexandria Bombach followed the Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murad for the film “On Her Shoulders.”
A U.S. Marine Looks Back at Fallujah
On the podcast: Elliot Ackerman served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Argentina, Iran, and the Enduring Mystery Surrounding the Death of a Special Prosecutor
On the podcast: Alberto Nisman accused Argentina’s president of covering up Iran’s role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires. Then he was shot in the head.
A Dream Deferred
On the podcast: The journalist Laura Wides-Muñoz traces the lives of several immigrants brought illegally to the United States as children.
The Dirty Residue of Brazil’s Car Wash Probe
On the podcast: The editor in chief of Americas Quarterly explains why investigators are now under scrutiny in Brazil’s largest corruption inquiry.
Mohamed Morsi and the Passing of Egypt's Democratic Moment
On the podcast: Shadi Hamid recounts the rise and fall of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
How an Extradition Bill Became a Red Line for Hong Kongers
On the podcast: A former China correspondent traces Beijing’s gradual effort to erode human rights in Hong Kong.
Death and Debris at 30,000 Feet
On the podcast: An American adventurer describes climbing over bodies to reach the top of Mount Everest.
Shot by Israelis, Healed by Israelis
On the podcast: Yousef Bashir describes growing up in Gaza during the second Palestinian uprising.
The Referendum That Changed Ireland
On the podcast: A look back at the vote in Ireland that ended the abortion ban.
How Richard Holbrooke Represented America’s Best and Worst Impulses
On the podcast: George Packer, in conversation with Stephen M. Walt, on America’s long-serving diplomat.
How Algerians Ousted Bouteflika
On the podcast: Algeria’s Arab Spring has been peaceful so far, but its future remains uncertain.
Thirty Years After Tiananmen Square
On the podcast: A look back at the student protests that changed China’s trajectory.
The Butcher of Bosnia on Trial
On the podcast: A film on the war in Bosnia probes the psychology of genocide and justice.
How Israel’s Netanyahu Uses Fear and Loathing to Win Elections
On the podcast: The Israeli journalist Anshel Pfeffer looks back at Bibi’s first general election campaign in 1996.
How to Defeat Political and Religious Extremism
On the podcast: A former State Department official who led the outreach to the Muslim world after the 9/11 attacks.
Inside the Fall of the Islamic State
On the podcast: A reporter who embedded with U.S.-backed forces in Syria describes the battles there.
How Citizen Journalists Solved the Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
On the podcast: The founder of the group Bellingcat on using open sources to investigate war crimes and abuses.
Toward a More Feminist Foreign Policy
On the podcast: Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom on how to give women a voice in an arena dominated by men.
Inside the Battle to Decriminalize Homosexuality in India
On the podcast: A human rights lawyer describes the 10-year fight for LGBT rights.
How the Taliban Won
On the podcast: Former Pakistani Ambassador Husain Haqqani on America’s endgame in Afghanistan.
An American Captive in Iran
On the podcast: The Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian recounts his grueling 18 months in an Iranian prison.
Climate Change Prophet
On the podcast: A scientist who is also an evangelical Christian wants conservatives to understand the dangers of climate change.
The China Syndrome
On the podcast: A former CIA analyst on Beijing’s interference in the affairs of other countries.
Why Economists Hate Tariffs
On the podcast: How the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930 embroiled the U.S. in a trade war and prolonged the Great Depression.
The Brexit Rubik’s Cube
On the podcast: Inside the British campaign for a second vote on leaving Europe.
Shot in Sri Lanka, Shelled in Syria
On the podcast: War correspondent Marie Colvin documented the horrors of war until one of them took her life.
Costa Rica’s War on Climate Change
On the podcast: How a tiny Central American country became a leader in reducing carbon emissions.
Inside China’s Re-education Camps
On the podcast: A Uighur journalist describes the plight of her relatives interned in Xinjiang.
'To Be a Journalist in Turkey Means You're Ready to Sacrifice Everything'
On the podcast: the price one Turkish newspaper editor is paying for angering President Erdogan.
‘How Do You Balance a Million People Murdered Against 22 Defendants?’
On the podcast: The last living Nuremberg prosecutor describes the Allied trials against Nazi leaders.
Not Just Bombs but Economic Warfare
On the podcast: How a Saudi-led campaign has starved Yemen’s children.
Flirting With Fascism
On the podcast: How Brazilians grew tired of democracy and rallied around a strongman.
Other Foreign Policy podcasts:
And Now the Hard Part
From Foreign Policy and the Brookings Institution: Each week we look at one of the world’s toughest problems and suggest a way forward—all in under 30 minutes.
Spies don’t talk—it’s the cardinal rule of the business. But here at Foreign Policy, we get them to open up. On I Spy, we hear from the operations people: the spies who steal secrets, who kill adversaries, who turn agents into double agents. Each episode features one spy telling the story of one operation.