In Their Shoes: The Art of Becoming Your Enemy
Sun Tzu said “to know your enemy, you must become your enemy.” After a career in counterterrorism for the CIA Clandestine Service, Amaryllis Fox adds “and once you have become your enemy, you will know he is not your enemy.” In this interactive session, Amaryllis shares the CIA’s practice of “red-teaming,” becoming method actors channeling the adversary, and explains how this practice, which helped end the Cold War and find Osama bin Laden, can enable us to stop caricaturing our adversaries and find pragmatic paths to peace. Amaryllis will invite the participants to take on roles within a particular global or community conflict, from Syria to the everyday workplace, challenging them to understand how they might make the same choices as their adversary in the same position. The session concludes with an interactive discussion about applications of red-teaming to daily life in order to solve conflicts, build empathy, and empower communities to stop finger-pointing and work together to solve their divergent needs.
Understanding Humans: Lessons from My Life in the CIA
Whether at home, at work, at school, or at war, understanding the human beings around us is the most critical, and often the hardest, step to creating the life, home, community, and planet we want. Why is that person always fighting me when I’m doing the right thing? Why is he standing in the way of my dreams? How can I get what I want when she wants something different? How could those people do such a thing? We’ve all asked ourselves these questions about our friends, spouses, bosses, political opponents, and global adversaries. In this talk, former CIA Clandestine Service Officer Amaryllis Fox shares invaluable insights on human nature from her years working with those risking their lives in conflicts around the globe. And offers lessons on how to apply these insights to daily life, vastly enriching our relationships and unlocking the power to communicate, collaborate, and together achieve our dreams.
Would You Kill?
Every nation, religion, and culture in history has instructed us not to take a human life. And yet almost a million humans are killed by other humans each year. Homicide, self defense, police action, military conflict, euthanasia, capital punishment, terrorism. In this interactive session, former CIA Clandestine Service Officer Amaryllis Fox challenges participants to answer the uncomfortable question “Would you kill?” in a variety of challenging circumstances, using a custom-designed app to immerse participants in real-life scenarios. Drawing on a career in counterterrorism and intelligence, Amaryllis will share insights into the complex choices faced by those society gives the right to take human life and the impact of lethal force on conflicts and communities around the globe. Finally, she will share the group’s own answers to the question “Would you kill?” in visually compelling slides, exploring whether their personal willingness to take human life reflects the reality of our laws and culture today.
Speaker Spotlight: Amaryllis Fox
A New York Times bestselling author, peace activist, former CIA Clandestine Service Officer and Host of Netflix's Hit Documentary Series The Business Of Drugs, AMARYLLIS FOX has stopped at nothing to improve the world we live in. From interviewing Suu Kyi for the BBC while working with the Burmese democracy movement – which briefly landed her in prison – to spending time in Dili, East Timor, working to settle IDPs in the world’s newest country, Fox dedicated years to doing hands-on work to drastically enhance global communities. Later, at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, she developed an algorithm to predict terrorist activity. Asked by the University's CIA Officer in Residence to share the algorithm with the Agency, she soon began work as a political and terrorism analyst for SE Asia, eventually moving into the operational training program and serving as a Clandestine Service officer overseas. Her remarkable story of spending a decade hunting the world’s most dangerous terrorists in sixteen countries – all while marrying and giving birth to a daughter- is chronicled in her bestselling memoir Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA. She is the host of Netflix's hit documentary series The Business of Drugs, which ranked #1 in the United States on Netflix the week of its release.
Sought-out to speak at TED, Fox's remarks are equal parts informative and inspiring. She shares invaluable insights on human nature from her years working with those risking their lives in conflicts around the globe and offers lessons on how to apply these findings to daily life, vastly enriching our relationships and unlocking the power to communicate, collaborate, and together achieve our dreams.
Amaryllis Fox is a bestselling writer, journalist, and CIA veteran. She is the host of Netflix's hit documentary series THE BUSINESS OF DRUGS, which ranked #1 in the United States on Netflix the week of its release. Her recent book, Life Undercover, has been translated into 23 languages and was chosen by Time Magazine, the Washington Post, the New York Times and People Magazine as a notable book of the year. It is being adapted into a television series by Apple, featuring Brie Larson.
Her viral video about listening to our enemies has been viewed over 130 million times worldwide. Previously, she hosted History Channel’s AMERICAN RIPPER and starred in FREAK POWER, a feature film about Hunter S. Thompson's campaign for Sheriff of Aspen in 1970. Amaryllis has offered guest commentary on global events for CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, NatGeo, BBC, Al Jazeera, and other global news outlets.
She holds a Bachelor's Degree from Oxford University in theology and international law and a Master's Degree from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in International Security and Conflict Resolution. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two daughters, and a dog called Scamp.