The Third Side in the Middle East


William Ury

Director of the Global Negotiation Project, Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

And people have always said to me, "What about the Middle East, that's the hard one, that's the icon of all conflicts, that's impossible, right?" My answer is, "Have we tried? Have we tried to play the roles we play in even in a single family? Who's healing right now in the Middle East? Where is our really large systematic effort to heal deep wounds? Who's peacekeeping? How much refereeing is there going on, how much dealing with justice and the arbiter? How much needs of the human beings are going on?" If you look at those and those aren't present, don't expect the conflict to be transforming anytime soon. So when we begin to try systematically, then I think we have a chance. So I would sum up by saying perhaps there's no more important challenge facing humanity today than the challenge of conflict and how we deal with our differences. And perhaps there's no more promising approach than the age-old human technology of the third side.