Chaque année, NERA Humanity en association avec UNESCO Artist for Peace Guila Clara Kessous, remet le prix NERA Humanity Prize for a better future, aux acteurs de la société civile, négociateurs, psychologues, chercheurs, etc.. qui contribuent par leurs actions à rendre le monde meilleur.
William Ury, co-founder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation, is one of the world’s leading experts on negotiation and mediation. He is co-author with Roger Fisher and Bruce Patton of Getting to Yes, a fifteen-million-copy bestseller translated into over thirty-five languages, and the author of Getting Past No, The Power of a Positive No, The Third Side, and, most recently, the award-winning Getting to Yes with Yourself.
In this exclusive interview, Professor William Ury will be receiving the prestigious Nera Humanity prize for a better future given to one outstanding individual who dares to change the world with innovative thinking for a better world. This prize is given once a year on International Peace Day to negotiators, peacemakers, psychologists, researchers and more, who contribute to making this world a better place by the founders of Nera Humanity, Dr. Julien Pelabere, Director of NERA Institute on negotiation and Dr. Guila Clara Kessous, UNESCO Artist for Peace.
– Retransciption –
Guila Clara Kessous, PhD : And really this is all about William Ury. This is a man who has been dedicating all his life for the benefits of others’ life for all the relationship especially for diplomatic to be better, and for me having him as a professor was a privilege; so it’s a big day today for me to have the pleasure to interview him and to share also this important knowledge that he has because he has a lot to teach to us, and Julia you were kind enough to introduce Julien Pelabere, but Julien Pelabere is very important here today because he is representing Nera Humanity. Nera is the national institute of negotiation. He has been working a lot on negotiation and we have been founding this Nera Humanity together in order to help young people and people who feel helpless to better understand negotiations of course based on all the work of William Ury, and that’s why today is an important day for me and for Julien as well.
So William, welcome. Thank you so much for giving us some of your time. We know how busy you are. First of all, of course, the first question I would like to ask you is really your definition of peace making. We are in a world where today relationship became harder and harder especially in terms of trust and what should be your definition of peace making today?
William Ury, PhD : First of all, thank you Guila, and thank you Julia, and thank you Julien and thank you all actually. It’s a real pleasure to see all your faces and your names and from all around the planet, so thank you again. And merci. So I guess, Guila, I would say that today in today’s world, as we know, conflict is a growth industry. You know, everywhere you look, you know, domestically in our societies, internationally, globally, every issue from war to climate to hunger, you know we are faced with conflicts that are seemingly impossible, and to me what is peace-making; peace making is continuous transformation of those conflicts because these conflicts seem impossible; I don’t think they are impossible, and when I began working in this area 45 years ago with my colleague R.Fisher, you know we were working on the cold war and that seemed impossible to people that ever they’d be ending the cold war you know that Berlin war was going to be there for ever; and as we know the Berlin War fell; that relationship between the United States and the then Soviet Union was transformed.
The same was true for South Africa: we were working on South Africa and the problem of apartheid, people said there was going to be race war in Southern Africa you know for as long as anybody could envision. And I watched, and was there as people like Nelson Mandela xxx but just countless individuals working for peace both in South Africa and around the world helped transform that situation. Same thing in Europe between you know in the xxx of Northern Ireland people the Catholics and Protestants they’ve been fighting each other for centuries, they are going to be fighting each other for centuries; and in each of those cases, the conflict was not ended. Sometimes we have this illusion that peace making means ending the conflict like you wrap it up like a present. No but the form changes; it changes from a destructive form to a violence and destructive confrontation, and the destruction of values, the destruction of lives for so many into a more constructive, creative form.
That’s to me the definition of peace making; peace making never ends; it’s not like oh you get to a yes and that’s a final yes. What I think of peace making being as the impossible yes. The yes that may seem impossible but is actually a whole series of yeses over time because the game of conflict is not a final game. It’s not a win-lose final game. It’s an infinite game. It goes on. Relationships go on. The United States and Russia still have problems. But you know there are still problems in Northern Ireland, there are still problems in Southern Africa but the conflicts, they were transformed and to me actually in the world today as you look around the world today there are still so many injustices. I would argue that in fact paradoxically the world needs more conflict not less because we need to, we need to…conflict is the way that we deal with injustice. At the same time we need constructive conflict, creative conflict and to me that’s what peace-making is, Guila. Peace-making is continuous transformation of those conflicts through methods like negotiation.
G: Through method like negotiation. You were talking in your new way of seeing negotiations of possibilism and I like this notion also of peace-making. In fact when I hear you talking about this notion of unwrapping almost the conflict trying to have a change in terms of energy, a change in burning value, it’s also a way to change perspective and to realize that in the conflict there is an interdependency that we cannot put away. So, could you give us a little more, a little more information about this notion of possibilism?
W: For sure. Well, you know for so long I have been working 45 years in xxxx, I was trying as an anthropologist and I wander around the world in different war zones, and you know people would ask me, yeah but at the end of 45 years here are you an optimist though? You know when you deal with all these impossible situations, are you a pessimist? And I used to say, you know I am constitutionally an optimist of course but I’d like to say now I am a possibilist; and a possibilist is someone who believes in human potential; of course, there are possibilities that we would kill each other but there is also the possibility we can create, at least find ways, to deal with even the most intractable, the most impossible situations; and the reasons I say that is I have seen it happen with my own eyes; and I have had the privilege of participating, I mean just more recently, in the last decade about ten years ago I got a call from the President of Colombia who wanted to see if there is any way to put an end to transform a civil war in Colombia that has been going on for fifty years ever since the sixties. Fifty years of civil war over 250 000 dead, 8 million victims of a conflict mostly women, women, children, the innocents. You wanted to know, is there any way to transform this conflict? And he was willing to spend his political reputation in capital cause that’s the thing; peace is the hardest work that people can do. People think wars are, peace is even harder in the sense of, it takes more of us as human beings and so my colleagues and I worked with him for over 8 years, with the President Santos for we made 25 different trips down to Colombia. This is even before the process began with a secret process and trying to see whether it could be transformed and it did get transformed. Is the conflict over in Colombia? No but it’s transformed. The armed conflict came to an end and that’s what’s possible I think in every conflict facing the world today. That’s why I am a possibilist.
G: and so today regarding how change in terms of getting to yes, what would be the tendency, I mean you know facing the stereotypes that you might think could be the most common, what could be a good way to transform the conflict in order for people to simply change their minds? What is the shift, what is the paradigm, shifts that should happen in the mentalities and especially regarding very specific stereotypes, what would be the most common stereotypes you would see today?
W: well, let me actually just begin by telling you one of my very favourite stories on negotiations, which I think kind of crystallizes and answer to your question Guila, which is an ancient story that comes from the middle east, and maybe some of you may have heard before but it’s a story of like three sons who receive from their father an inheritance, and they receive an inheritance of 17 camels; and the first son being xxx receives half the camels, the second son receives a third of the camels and the youngest son receives a ninth of the camels. Well, the three sons get into a little bit of a negotiation about dividing up their inheritance, and it’s not so easy as it isn’t after negotiation, right? Because 17 dozens divide by two, and it doesn’t divide by three and it doesn’t divide by nine and each one wants more and they get into a little bit of an argument,t and the argument even risks becoming violent; so finally, in desperation, they go and they consult a wise old woman. And the wise old woman thinks about the problem for a long time and finally she comes back and she says “well, I don’t know if I have an answer to your problem but if you want I have a camel; would you like my camel?” So the three sons say well okay; so, then they have 18 camels. And then they go to dividing it again; well 18 does divide by 2. You know, half of 18 is 9, so the first son takes 9; 18 does divide by 3, so the second son takes 6, which is 18 divided by 3; and the youngest son takes his 9, the nine of 18 is 2; and so if you had nine and six you get fifteen plus 2 you get seventeen; they have one camel left over; they don’t know what to do with it; so they give it back to the wise old woman. Now, if you think about that problem for a moment, that conflict; I think you’ll find it resembles of a lot to the negotiations that we get engaged in.
At first sight it seems impossible. What’s the secret to that paradigmatic change, Guila that you are talking about is, that wise old woman what does she do? She steps back from the situation for a moment; she goes to what I would call a balcony, which is like you are in the theatre right? The balcony is the place where you overlook the stage; it’s a place of perspective, it’s a place where you can rise above the fray, above the conflict where you can kind of see the picture more clearly, where you can keep your eyes on the prize (???) and then what does she do? She comes up with an 18th camel and what is that ? That is building what I would call building the parties a golden bridge, a golden bridge to advance across because there is this big chasm of disagreement. How do we build them a bridge over that chasm? How do we make it as easy as possible for them to say yes? and that’s the 18th camel, and then where does that 18th camel come from? It often comes not from the parties themselves, it comes from the surrounding community, which is what I call the third side of any conflict. We often see conflicts as two-sided you know; it’s Arabs versus Israelis, it’s Catholics versus Protestants but in fact there is a third side always which is that surrounding community, which is the third side, that circle surrounding the conflict and that’s in this case the wise old woman; she is the third party that’s where the 18th camel comes from. So for me, that paradigmatic shift, if I had to look back over 45 years and say ok how do I sum all this up? It is the ability in order to get to that impossible yes; we need to step back and go to the balcony in order to be able to see new possibilities then we build them a golden bridge in order to create new possibilities, being creative, and finally we use the third side to act on those new possibilities; that’s the paradigmatic shift; it’s balcony, bridge, third side and to make it short I call it BB3, and that to me is the key to finding those impossible yeses.
And then just you had a question about stereotypes. And so, you know, as I wandered around that article “the strain and the stem”, what is behind all these conflicts around the world? They are on their own (???) very different of course but what’s behind them? What’s behind almost every one of them is a feeling of scarcity that there isn’t enough, right? And that scarcity even if you actually scratch behind the scarcity, there is a feeling, a sense that we are all separate. There is no interconnexion that you were talking about Guila, we are all separate, separate little parties and there isn’t enough and therefore the only way we can satisfy our interests is engaged in a win-lose battle. Those are the stereotypes behind conflicts: the scarcity, separation and the win-lose mindset. And what’s required from us to make that paradigmatic shift is to realize in fact that quite possibly there is not scarcity; of course there is scarcity in one sense but there may be enough for everyone just like those camels; we are not separate, we are interconnected. We are in this case the whole family, the brothers right, and in some sense we are all human family and what’s then required is a mindset to shift from win-lose to not only win-win, which has you know become a phrase now, which was kind of popularized by Getting to Yes but we need a third win, we need a win not just for both sides of a conflict, we need a win for the whole; we need a win for the community, we need a win for the world, we need a win for the world’s environment. We need that triple win. That’s the new game that we need to learn to play.
G: and this triple win includes the possibility of getting out, the willingness to getting out of the conflicts. Is that correct? So it means that the two parties shall not be so in love with their conflicts. That is they are accepting to take a step back and go to the balcony; when we are talking about stereotypes that are gender stereotypes with what happened in Afghanistan, for example, in the negotiation shall it be a question that would be close to men and change and paradigmatic approach to woman for example? Is it something that you could, you know, advise? What could be something that could be a help in terms of this mental switch that is supposed?
W: Well, it’s really hard to generalize about gender but I would say, at least with my experience in the sub-scientific research to back this up, men tend to be more, they really get more sucked in to that win-lose; who’s gonna win this one in the short term, right? Women I think, evolutionarily, are trained to pay a little more attention to relationships in the long term, and so I found that the more women are involved, and certainly the feminine whether it’s women themselves, in a negotiation, you know, there is more tendency, there is more tending to those relationships which are also key. Men, you know, often make the mistake, I would say, in negotiation of you know you’ve got to be hard on the problem, you know, and really solve that problem so that means to be hard on the person and hard on the people; well okay that’s what’s possible. Women sometimes make the opposite mistake, which is, you know, we want to be soft on the persons, we got to tend to the relationships so we are soft on the problem, and we give in too easily; and the success for negotiator, in my experience, is soft on the people, respectful to the people and hard on the problem, on the really trying to solve the problem in a way that works for everyone; so I think we need both the masculine and the feminine, and we need expecially (??) in the peace-making field, we need a lot more women and the leadership of women; and I think that’s starting to happen and it’s really an extremely promising trend (trait??).
G: well, so over your career have you seen an evolution of ego in front of negotiation? Would you say that the ego of the countries have changed now that they know all the protocols that you have been, together with Rodger Fisher, giving to the world? so do you see, I would say, an ego education thanks to the trainings of some countries for example? Would you say that some countries understood the mutual gain and got softer in some relationships?
W: I would say that’s what happens in conflict is people start to xxx in conflict is people, you know, especially the men you know, there’s a syndrome I call the misyndrome which stands for male-ego syndrome right, you know with bad heads (??) and then there is something that happens in these peace-making processes where suddenly the ego starts to diminish, people start to realize that there are things that stay like the future, their children; you know, I was just, I don’t know why I was just remembering back to Northern Ireland, you know that the Head, the reputed Head of the IRA was a man by the name of Mark McGuiness, and this is back in the eighties or nineties, yeah probably the eighties actually, back in the eighties early nineties maybe, the IRA declared a ceasefire and then had broken the ceasefire, and the terrorists acts were going on and he was confronted at home by going back to the role of women here by his wife and by his daughter over the dinner table, and he said “you hold us, you’re going to stop”; and you know, that’s to me, that’s the third side you know. That’s the third side, that’s the community and that’s when ego starts, especially the male ego in this particular case, starts to “oh, okay”; and Mark McGuiness made the most remarkable turnaround where he led the IRA together with Gerry Adams into an agreement, you know the Good Friday agreement, but he later served in government, he became the Minister of Education and his colleague, the one he worked most closely with was his most bitter adversary on the protestant side, the loyal side who is the Minister you may remember by the name of Ian Paisley and the two of them would build this radical fire xxx actually formed a friendship and that’s where the ego starts to diminish, and a lot of it was through the role of women.
G: In business relationship it’s also the same thing you know; I’ve been working with lots of businesses in negotiation, and sometimes in terms of salary negotiation, bosses for God that even if they don’t have money to give, they forget that in fact what the person wants to take back home it’s not only money, it’s also a little bit of something to answer this third party whether it’s a wife, whether it’s a past (???) significant order just to say yes I’ve got something, you know I’ve been working so hard and you know what? I had the guts to ask for a salary, and guess what? I’ve got something; so just a little bit of something and sometimes, you know, a hierarchy would forget that there is this conversation that will happen right after the negotiation and if they don’t give anything this is a disaster for the relationship and of course they are losing the employee. Would you say that this could be also an illustration of this third party?
W: Absolutely, there is no question about it. In fact, you know one of the most useful exercises I find to use when you are preparing for a negotiation is to imagine the other side, maybe the employee, accepting your proposal and then having to go to the people that they care about, it might be their family ,for example as you were saying, and explain why this was a victory. In other words, sit down, take out a piece of paper, write out in advance the other side’s victory speech. What are they going to say to their constituency, the people they care the most about, about why accepting your proposal is a victory for them and then work backwards from that. How do you help them deliver that victory speech?
G: Excellent! In terms of role games, it is true that it helps for this paradigmal (???) shift to get the other better prepared to this positive No the way you call it. Excellent! We are international day of peace and so I would like to ask you also this question, do we learn, do Nations learn from conflicts? Can we say that the harm, the difficulties, the aggressivity, the violence is something that serve the world to get better?
W: well paradoxically, you know, human beings I find, unfortunately, when we are offered a choice between learning the easy way, by like learning, or we learn the hard way, we often choose the hard way, right; and we learn, sometimes we learn through (?? To??) the destructiveness of the conflicts that, you know, just like people learned there was World War I in Europe, which was a great great war and there wasn’t enough learning, then there was World war II; and then that’s how the UN got borne, right. The League of Nations got borne under World War I, and that was not quite enough and you know slowly slowly the world is making progress; I mean it may not seem this way from looking at the news but actually the numbers of wars, the numbers of people killed in wars has been gradually going down for the last 50 years; there has been some upxxx here and there you know which are very serious but there has been a slow learning process ; I mean it used to be that war, you know, a century ago was glorious when people, you know, in Paris there, when in 1914 in August all the women and their lucky man wished them “oh it’s going to be a glorious success” and then all the soldiers were sent off; you know since then there’s been a lot of learning that war is a terrible thing; no one wins in war, no one wins in war and in the end everyone loses; and, you know, even in the most powerful countries in the world like the United States, for example, with all its power in Afghanistan against a very small force, comparatively small force of the Taliban, was not able to win. They had to leave. So you know it’s just an example, one more example that war does not work, that’s why we need negotiation.
G: Well, you mentioned BB3 and I know and I would like to say hello to two of your most precious collaborators, Hildy Kane who is your assistant and David Landers. I know they are here and I am saying hello to them. So would it be an advice that you give to any of us to make more peace. To make peace with ourselves, in our relationship with the others. Would BB3 be the magic formula, would you have any advice you could give us?
W: well, yes first of all I would say, I mean in the last 45 years you know I started off “getting yes” actually its anniversary of its publication, its 40th anniversary is actually this week so (Guila says Happy Birthday) this is a celebration here, 40 years; and “getting yes” was focused on how to influence the others right, how do you influence the others most effectively. And probably the lesson if there is one lesson I have learnt most the last 40 years is that if we want to be able to influence the other we need to learn how to influence ourselves first. You know we keep on thinking we want to change the other side’s mind but in fact it starts right here; the single biggest obstacle for me in my personal life or xxx to me getting what I need, satisfying my interests is not that difficult person on the other side of the table, it’s not that difficult person in life as difficult as that person might be; it’s right here. I am the most difficult person. The most difficult person is the person you look at in the mirror every single morning; and if we can learn to, that’s a lot of what’s going to the balcony is about, you know there is a saying that when you are angry you’ll make the best speech you ever regret. And I think that’s very true you know. Human beings we naturally you know we get frustrated, we get angry but then we say things that we come later to regret and that happens a lot in conflict; you know Gandhi noticed this he said you know an eye for an eye and what happens we all go blind, you know. So the ability not to react; you know neuroscientists tell us it takes about 90 seconds for any emotion like anger, or fear or whatever to go through your system; if you could learn to pause, just introduce pause, a little bit of silence; you know there is even an interesting study done by one of my colleagues and xxx on negotiation where they studied different negotiation groups and all they did was they measured the number of pauses in the conversation; that was it. And there was a direct correlation between the number of pauses and how collaborative the process was and how successful the outcome was. So just slowing down, you know; you want to go fast, we live in a very fast world, we need to go slow, we need to pause, we need to go to the balcony just we need to take some time for ourselves. We live in a very fast world xxx is very fast you know. Like with emails for example; you get an email or you get a text that makes you irritated from a colleague or from someone whoever and you know the temptation to hit the reply button and get it out of your system and you hit reply all and then the whole thing xxx right. You know there is a balcony button on that screen which we never use but it’s like “save as draft”; you know write it out, save it as a draft then go to the balcony, meditate, go for a walk, have a coffee with a friend, do something, sleep on it, go back and look at that message, you’re going to hit “delete”. And then you’re going to pick up the phone and you’re going to try and talk to that person with voice or in person even better but to try to listen to that person because that’s the key in negotiation cause we think of negotiation as talking but successful negotiation is more about listening. So learning to pause, learning to listen effectively not just listen from your perspective, the hard thing is to listen from the other side’s perspective, to put yourself in their shoes, in their frame of reference; we can learn to do that then I think that’s a success, that’s the secret of success for negotiation.
G: So one of my last questions of the day before having Julien coming and us giving you this beautiful prize that we would like to offer you, what could you tell us, could you share with us, what’s your balcony William? What is your way to find peace and you have a style (??) of peace-making things with you yourself?
W: well, Guila it’s a good question; you know when I was a boy, when I was 6, I moved from the United States to Switzerland to the Swiss Alps for a year, and I fell in love with the mountains and for me I live right here on Colorado, I live in the mountains, which is like Switzerland in the US; and for me the mountains are my personal balcony. Now I travel around the world, I go to Afghanistan, I go to the Middle East you know, I go to Korea, but I come back here to the mountains and the mountains they’ve always been here you know, they are always here, they’ve been here for millions, tens of millions of years, you get perspective; for me like going out for a walk in the mountains every day, if I can, is my way of regenerating myself in this world of conflicts; so that’s my personal balcony is taking a walk; nature; beauty you know, there is nothing like beauty; I see some beautiful flowers behind you; you know to give you a little bit of hope because there’s so many problems, it is so easy to fall in despair, beauty awakens the heart again, brings a sense of wonder and then it gives you the strength to go back into the fray, fight a good fight, transform conflicts because it’s never ending. This game never ends; this is a game that never ends but it’s a game in which everyone can benefit as opposed the usual games, which are great for sports where you know someone wins and everyone else loses; this is a game where we all benefit; everyone benefits not just us but our children, our grandchildren, and successive generations.
G: Thank you for sharing this and this is our sponsor Heartfulness who will also be very moved by the what you are saying because of the power of meditation and I’m saying hello to all the people coming from Heartfulness. Julien, I’ll let you describe a little bit about peace and having you, you know, coming on stage please. Julien Pelabere from Nera Institute
Julien Pelabere, PhD : I am very glad to be with all of you and to be with you William. It’s really an honour to be present for this evening and we would like to give you the 2021 United Nations and Nera Humanity Prize for a better future in recognition of your efforts to promote innovative thinking, to change the world for a better future and for all of what you did and in your life to help us to better understand what is negotiation and how we can live all together for a better life, a better future. So, thank you, thank you very much William for all your work; it’s really inspiring us to be a better version of ourselves. Thank you (take care???)
W: Merci Julien.
G: Thank you yes. At Nera institute we are trying to find, I would say, a future of negotiation. So of course we are extremely scrupulous regarding how well things are followed in terms of the badna(??), we have to share what is the badna with our audience. It is the best alternative to negotiate an agreement which is the plan B; saying that in front of the master of the badna is very strange but that’s great; and so we are really trying to bring that to the world also. And so Nera is really something that is trying to help with, I would say, getting the negotiations more popular especially in countries that are in difficulties; so that’s why it was very important for us to have this prize given to you. So Julien, maybe you wanted to ask some questions to William that could be important for our Nera Humanity.
J: Yeah, I really love what you say about the fact to look for a third win and how negotiation is not like sport with a loser and a winner. Can you give us more clue to understand what is winning in negotiation?
W: thank you Julien. Winning a negotiation to me is satisfying your interest. Your interests are your deep desires, your aspirations, dealing with your concerns, with your fears and in the end it’s basic needs, everyone of us, every human being has a basic need for well-being, you know to put food on the table, put food on the table for your family and so on, for security and safety right; for some kind of recognition of yourself, for some sense of autonomy; for dignity, right; and so, to me that’s success. Success is when there is dignity for everyone, there a well-being for everyone, there is safety, a sense of safety for everyone. Then that’s the goal of negotiation is to meet the basic needs, you may not always get everything that you want, that you say you want, your possessions you know the things you say everyone I want, this sum of money, I want that territory, but it’s the basic needs that are met; and let me just give you one example, about two decades ago I was involved in mediating with a Swiss institution. A conflict in Indonesia, a civil war that had been going on for many years, 50 years in Indonesia, over the Province of Aceh and I was sitting in Geneva with the leaders of the Free Aceh movement, the Gam; and I said, you’ve been fighting, what do you want, what’s the purpose, your question, what’s the purpose of the negotiation you’ve been fighting for 30 years for independence you know what do you want? We want independence, we want independence, we want independence that’s what we want. Okay, I got it. Why do you want independence? I mean, why do you want independence? What’s independence going to give you? You know they’ve been fighting for years or thousands for that independence but I can tell you round that table in Geneva there was silence; they didn’t quite know how to answer that question. They knew what their position was, independence but they hadn’t quite thought through what they really wanted the independence for. I said, is it because of economics you want control over your natural resources, you know all that offshore resources that are there? Is it political, you want your seat at the United Nations, you know, is it symbolic? Is it that you want autonomy like your culture and your children can go to school in your own language? What does independence mean to you? And then because the thing is, the truth is that they said they realized that militarily they were never going to be stronger than the Indonesian army, they weren’t going to defeat the Indonesian army; so the question was could they meet those other interests, those other interests of why they were fighting without necessarily getting independence? They could still keep the dream of independence. And you know five years later, they reached an agreement, which gave them full autonomy, political autonomy. The people who were the leaders of Gam became the Governor and the Vice-Governor of the Province; you know, in the parliament, the province their own language was respected, they got control over their natural resources. Did they get independence? No but their basic needs were beginning to be addressed and the basic needs of the people were addressed. And that’s really the purpose of negotiation.
G: This notion of meaning is extremely important. Do you think that, and that’s going to be our final question, do you think that this willingness of meaning is also something that we have to look for in a world of Covid? We know that’s going to be a spiral, we know that we’re going to have a lot of violence, things will also be complicated regarding everything we’ll have to do regarding what you were saying was extremely important in the pyramid of Maslow, the security and regarding for us, for children, and children of children. So would you say that this notion of meaning is the most important to keep no matter what conflict we are going through or negotiation we are trying to do?
W: there is a basic human need for meaning, people want their lives to be meaningful and that’s to me one of the great opportunities with peace-making; it’s to redefine, it used to be that war game people’s lives meaning. Can peace give people’s lives meaning? Can peace give people’s lives even more meaning? And we can, and that’s why the peace-making profession, the negotiation profession, to me you know I started putting it well (???) after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He said there’s a race going that’s now started between the human beings technological genius to devise weapons of incredible destructiveness they can put an end to all of life on Earth and our moral, emotional, political, social capacities are genius to find ways to live together and create meaning together, right, and create meaning; and create meaning that’s to me the great challenge we face today; and that’s the ongoing challenge which is how do we make peace genuinely meaningful and not just some kind of abstract thing? And to me, what that is it goes back to your first question Guila, it’s in the game of the impossible yes, the game, you know what if for example, let me just give you a dream here; what if there was, in addition to the Olympic games, we had the peace games, right, which were, there were teams organized around the world tackling the world’s toughest conflicts, right; not competing with each other but competing against the problem, against the challenge of these impossible conflicts; a league, you know a league like a league of nations, called it a league of possibilists of teams all playing working with each other and I think we could do it, I really think we can transform these impossible conflicts and that’s what the world needs is these peace games. There were war games, we need peace games. And that would bring meaning to people, people love to play games as you know and so, may we all become possibilists and join, form this league of possibilists.
G: I am in really. You’re right by saying also about this notion of playfulness needs to be here because even if people want meaning they don’t want to have sad meaning, they want to have joyful meanings, they want to have an objective meaning, they want to have dynamism and the willingness to just live and live is also a way not only to make efforts but progresses with flourishing people you know getting to yes with happiness and this is something that we’ll see in the next conversation with Tal-Ben Shahar. William, I want to thank you so very much for those very very precious moments that we spent together. It has been a great pleasure to have you as a speaker. Julien and I were very honoured that you accepted this prize, and we would like to thank of course our great host, which is the center for executive education at the University of peace. We would like to quote Mohid Mukharjee and Julia Delafield who is the Director who hosted us so nicely. We would like to thank our sponsor, we would like to of course mention Heartfulness and their event “Connecting for Peace” together with Nera and UNESCO artist for peace representing the work that I am doing regarding a way of bringing peaceful art and culture which is also something very important and that negotiation is also a way to illustrate these negotiations of course in art so thank you, thank you for talking to us so sincerely coming from the heart. We wish you all the very best. What could we wish you to help you continue in this wonderful direction that you are having?
W: join me in forming this league of possibilists and let‘s play this peace games and let’s tackle these world problems and so that would give me joy to welcome you all into this league
G: definitely, you heard professor William Ury. We are all invited to this possibilism movement that he is creating for more peace in the world to create those Olympics, Olympics you know what I mean so please join him. Thank you again William for accepting our invitation. I wish you a wonderful evening and of course I’ll see you in an hour to welcome Tal-Ben Shahar on this notion of happiness together, with Ernie Ross who is here and I’m saying hello too, discussing how politics psychology together with peace is also a way to be possible today. Thank you again.
W: my pleasure. Thank you all. Un grand plaisir. Merci. Infiniment.
G: Merci. Bye Bye