In early January, the president’s Havana negotiators sat down for a closed-door meeting with four special guests: William Uri, a US mediation expert from Harvard University; Joaquín Villalobos, a former Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN) guerrilla who helped negotiate El Salvador’s 1992 peace accords and has since become an outspoken critic of all leftist groups in Latin America; Jonathan Powell, a former British Cabinet chief who helped broker the peace deal with the Irish Republican Army (IRA); and Shlomo Ben Ami of Israel, an ex–foreign minister who played a leading role in the 1978 Camp David peace agreements with Egypt.
Santos seems to have covered all of the political bases with his four-man team of advisors. The four VIPs come from a very diverse background: a Salvadoran ex-guerilla turned British Foreign Service-sponsored peace negotiator and critic of the left in Latin America; a former Israeli Foreign Minister who negotiated for peace at the Camp David Accords; a former British banker and advisor to the Prime Minister who negotiated with the IRA; and a US author and social anthropologist who’s bestselling books have put him in the boardrooms of various peace talks and negotiations.
We thought it would be interesting to provide a bit more information regarding their biographies and their lifelong journey to the Havana Peace talks.
|Photo: Fabrizio León in Observador Juvenil|
Shlomo ben Ami:While the Israeli-supported Salvadoran government forces waged war against the guerillas in the 80s, Ben Ami was acting as the Israeli ambassador to Spain. A fluent Spanish speaker who was born and raised in a Mizrahi Jewish family in Morocco, Ben Ami began his career as a historian at Tel-Aviv University, concerning himself principally with studying the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. As Israel’s Minister of Foreign Relations, Ben Ami participated in the 2000 Camp David Summit. Since then, he has publicly supported the Palestinians’ decision to not accept the terms dictated by Israel. He now serves as vice president for the Toledo International Centre for Peace. .
|Photo from Uri's Web site|
William Ury: A bestselling author of books on mediation and conflict management that deal with a wide range of topics. See his official Web site. “Bill Ury has the remarkable ability to get to the heart of a dispute,” former US President Jimmy Carter recently said. Trained initially as a social anthropologist in Yale and then Harvard, Ury founded and directs Harvard’s Program on Negotiation. He has participated in a wide array of peace talks ranging from family disputes to mediation for the Bushmen of Kalahari and the clan warriors of New Guinea.
|from The Guardian|
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