William Ury, co-founder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation, is one of the world’s leading experts on negotiation and mediation. He is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Harvard Negotiation Project.
Over the past thirty-five years, William has served as a negotiation adviser and mediator in conflicts ranging from Kentucky wildcat coal mine strikes to ethnic wars in the Middle East, the Balkans, and former Soviet Union, and most recently in Colombia, where he serves as a senior advisor to President Juan Manuel Santos. With former president Jimmy Carter, William co-founded the International Negotiation Network, a non-governmental body seeking to end civil wars around the world. He has taught negotiation and mediation to tens of thousands of corporate executives, labor leaders, diplomats, and military officers around the world.
During the 1980s, he helped the U.S. and Soviet governments create nuclear crisis centers designed to avert an accidental nuclear war. In that capacity, he served as a consultant to the Crisis Management Center at the White House. William is co-founder of the Climate Parliament, which offers members of congress and parliament across the world an Internet-based forum to address practical solutions for climate change. Time magazine described the organization as a “Google for global politics.”
William is founder of the Abraham Path Initiative, which shines a light on the ancient path of Abraham, the legendary common ancestor of over half of humanity, celebrated for his kindness and hospitality toward perfect strangers. The initiative supports trails along this path and inspires walks that create unlikely connections across cultures, fostering local livelihood and global understanding. Christiane Amanpour calls the Abraham Path “an unprecedented initiative to break down barriers and foster communication in the most divided region of the world.” He has a popular TED talk about the Abraham Path, entitled “The Walk from No to Yes.”
William is the recipient of the Whitney North Seymour Award from the American Arbitration Association and the Distinguished Service Medal from the Russian Parliament. His work has been widely featured in the media, including TheNew York Times, TheFinancial Times, CNN, and the BBC.
Trained as a social anthropologist, with a B.A. from Yale and a Ph.D. from Harvard, William has carried out his research on negotiation not only in the boardroom and at the bargaining table, but also among the Bushmen of the Kalahari and the clan warriors of New Guinea.