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Town Hall Seattle: Civics Series

Town Hall’s Civics series highlights everything from local policies to world politics. These events offer perspectives on a range of topics as diverse as Seattle itself—a bustling forum for activism, discovery, and thought-provoking discussion.

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Oct 30, 2017

In 2014, Washington-born journalist Jere Van Dyk traveled to Afghanistan searching for answers regarding the mystery of his own kidnapping six years prior. Unsatisfied with the troubling secrecy surrounding the details of his release, Van Dyk sought the facts withheld by employers, family, and government investigators. Now Van Dyk takes our stage to share his firsthand experiences in The Trade: My Journey into the Labyrinth of Political Kidnapping. He recounts how his investigation took him beyond his own ordeal, granting him an unprecedented, chilling view into the shadowy realm of international kidnapping.

Jere Van Dyk was born in Washington state and raised in a family of Plymouth Brethren. He first went to Afghanistan in 1973 when he and his younger brother drove an old Volkswagen from Germany to Kabul. He returned in 1981 as a young reporter for the New York Times and lived with the mujahideen, our allies fighting the Soviet Union. There, and later when he became the director of Friends of Afghanistan, a non-profit organization overseen by the National Security Council and the State Department, he got to know the leaders who were linked from the beginning with al-Qaeda, and the Taliban, with Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, and from which emerged the Islamic State.

After 9/11, he returned to Afghanistan and Pakistan for CBS News, for which he covered the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl in Karachi. In 2008, he was the next American journalist kidnapped in Pakistan. He is the author of Captive and In Afghanistan.

Recorded live at PATH by Town Hall Seattle Friday, October 20, 2017