Today's focus is on an individual who spent much of his professional life not as a mediator but rather as a party to mediations. Many of them. Of great historic importance.
Shimon Peres, who passed away last week at age 93, probably played a role in nearly every major issue that the nation of Israel has faced since its founding -- and over the years, he has written smart, often pithy, and insightful observations.
Much of those observations concern the positive, can-do attitude one can chose to bring to the negotiation/mediation table. Perhaps his words below will provide encouragement -- both to mediators as well as to those who find themselves on either side of that table:
There are no hopeless situations, only hopeless people.
You don't make peace with friends; you make peace with very unsavory enemies.
For peace, one must remember: As a bird cannot fly with one wing, as a man cannot applaud with one hand, so a country cannot make peace just with one side, with itself. For peace, we need the two of us.
I don't think anybody who carries a rifle carries the future -- because I don't believe you can really change the world by killing and shooting. I believe you can change it by creating and competing.
For me, dreaming is simply being pragmatic.
There are two things that cannot be achieved in life unless you close your eyes a little bit. And that’s love and peace. If you want perfection, you won’t obtain either of them.
Our problem is not to submit to differences but to overcome them.
When you have two alternatives, the first thing you have to do is look for the third that you didn't think about, that doesn't exist.
Optimists and pessimists die the exact same death, but they live very different lives!
Finally, it is noteworthy to read of his proposal, made only two years ago in a meeting with Pope Francis, for an international multi-faith coalition, continually on-call for crisis resolution around the world:
To hear more from Shimon Peres in his own words, you can listen here: