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Chairman, the Abraham Path Initiative

February 8th, 2010

Area of Expertise: Civil Society, Law and Human Rights, Media, War and Conflict
Geographical Expertise - Region: Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North Africa and Middle East, North America, Subsaharan Africa
Geographical Expertise - Country: Indonesia
Languages: English, French
Field of Work: Activist/Humanitarian, Author/Novelist, Non-Governmental
City: Boston
Country: USA
Continent: North America


Bill Ury Bill UryBill Ury is chairman of the Abraham Path Initiative, a project which seeks to create unity between faiths through creating a permanent path of tourism and pilgrimage in the Middle East that retraces the footsteps of Abraham, the unifying figure in the three Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. He is also the co-founder of Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation, where he currently directs the Global Negotiation Project.

Mr. Ury is a highly experienced conflict negotiation adviser and mediator, having worked in this field for the last thirty years. The conflicts he has dealt with range from corporate mergers to wildcat strikes in a Kentucky coal mine to ethnic wars in the Middle East, the Balkans, and the former Soviet Union. He has carried out conflict meditation research not only in the boardroom and at the bargaining table but also with the Bushmen of the Kalahari and the clan warriors of New Guinea, and held important roles in conflict mediation around the world. His most recent accomplishment was as a third party involved in helping to end a civil war in Aceh, Indonesia. He was also involved in conflict mediation to prevent a civil war in Venezuela.

Even before his efforts in Asia and South America, Mr. Ury played an important role in conflict mediation during the fragile times of the Cold War. He helped the U.S. and Soviet governments create nuclear crisis centers in the 1980s which were designed to avert an accidental nuclear war. He also served as a consultant to the Crisis Management Center at the White House during this era.

Seeking to utilize his experiences in the field, Mr. Ury co-founded the International Negotiation Network with former United States President Jimmy Carter. This non-governmental body seeks to end civil wars around the world. Mr. Ury also co-founded e-Parliament (, an Internet-based forum where members of Congress and Parliament around the world can learn from one another about legislatives solutions that work. Together these world leaders can use this forum to help tackle such global problems as climate change, energy efficiency, and terrorism.

Along with the foundation of important negotiation projects and institutions, Mr. Ury has also disseminated his knowledge of conflict negotiation to a large number of professionals. By teaching corporate executives, labor leaders, diplomats, and military officers worldwide, Mr. Ury helps organizations try to reach mutually profitable agreements with customers, suppliers, unions, and joint-venture partners, thereby illustrating the importance of conflict meditation even outside of the realm of politics.

Mr. Ury is also the author of The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No & Still Get to Yes (2007). He co-authored (with Roger Fisher) Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, a five-million-copy bestseller translated into over twenty languages. Mr. Ury is also author of the award-winning Getting Past No: Negotiating with Difficult People and Getting To Peace (released in paperback as The Third Side).

The contributions Mr. Ury has made to the field of conflict mediation and negotiation have not gone unrecognized. In honor of his work, Mr. Ury was the recipient of the Whitney North Seymour Award from the American Arbitration Association. He has also received the Distinguished Service Medal from the Russian Parliament.Trained as a social anthropologist with a B.A. from Yale and a Ph.D. from Harvard, Mr. Ury’s work has been widely featured in the media, including in The New York Times, The Financial Times, the BBC, and ABC.

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