Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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Negotiating: Conversation with Lakhdar Brahimi, UN Special Envoy; April 5, 2005, by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our distinguished guest is Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations Secretary General's former envoy to Afghanistan and to Iraq. A native of Algeria, he has devoted the great part of his four-decade career to convincing people to choose peace over war. He has mediated efforts to bring peace in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Yemen, Liberia, Sudan, Nigeria, South Africa, the former Zaire and Haiti. He also oversaw the production of the Brahimi Report, a comprehensive critique of the efficiency and effectiveness of UN peacekeeping missions. Most recently, he was a key player in the steps leading to the establishment of a new government in Afghanistan and represented the UN in efforts to create a government in Iraq.

  1. Background ... war of liberation ... "Battle of Algiers" ... empathy with the underdog ... drifting into diplomacy
  2. Being a Diplomat ... solution is with the people ... navigating by sight ... always new discoveries ... UN's moral authority
  3. Afghanistan ... external actors ... prescient pessimism in 1999 ... after 9/11 ... identifying the players ... hard work and patience ... each situation is unique ... limits to the UN mandate ... doublespeak
  4. Failed States ... too little, too late ... Rwanda ... coordinating resources after a conflict ... mixed motivation of "helpers"
  5. Terrorism ... why moderation has been abandoned ... blind international terrorists vs. liberation struggles ... understanding the motivations ... narrow ideologies
  6. Conclusion ... understanding and respect
Brahimi Brahimi Brahimi

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