An internationally-recognized professional peacemaker and negotiation specialist, William Ury is a founding member of Integral Institute's Politics branch, and has made a career of defusing conflicts around the world. Possessing an unparalleled prowess for informed intervention, Ury has mediated situations ranging from corporate mergers to Kentucky coal mine strikes, from family feuds to ethnic wars, from playground skirmishes to political deadlocks.
As co-founder of Harvard Law School's Negotiation Program, a multi-university consortium that trains mediators, business people, and government officials in negotiation skills, Ury's work represents the leading edge of global crisis-consulting and conflict resolution and has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time Magazine, and CNN. Visionary in its scope, Ury's expertise has been utilized by Fortune 500 companies, the White House, and the Pentagon.
Enrolled in Boston's Andover Academy in 1968, Ury read voraciously and spent hours in the library "trying to figure out the meaning of life." Inspired by his English teacher's passion for film and literature, a whole new world opened up to him, and after graduating high school early, he devoted his studies to anthropology, linguistics, and classics at Yale.
Pursuing graduate work in anthropology, Ury realized an integrative grasp of the seemingly disparate disciplines and resultant divides which so intrigued him. Intuiting anthropology's critical and untapped role in informing issues of war and peace, Ury submitted a paper on this topic to Harvard Law professor Elliott Fisher, who was so impressed with the prescience of the piece he invited Ury to collaborate on a book. Having sold over five million copies to date, the resulting Getting To Yes is considered a seminal work on the imperative of peace and a negotiation-primer par excellent.
Ury's principled solutions to conflict are born of the benefit of first-hand fieldwork which has taken him around the globe in search of perspectives and practices proven to foster peace. From the Bushmen of Kalahari to the battlefields of Chechnya, Ury's approach has been one of participation, and in his book Getting To Peace, Ury reflects his engaged orientation by advocating the adoption of ten roles people can assume in their daily lives to contribute to a new culture of coexistence.
Current, Ury is devoting time to The Global e-Parliament, a project dedicated to furthering democracy through the creation of an ongoing forum in which the world's democratically-elected legislators engage with civil society in a joint search for effective solutions to global problems. He also continues to consult on dispute systems design and prevention responses to ethnic conflict, and maintains his working relationship with Harvard as the acting director of The Global Negotiation Project.
Convicted that conflict is not the enemy but the servant of peace, Ury concedes that peace is a more difficult proposition than war, but remains optimistic in working toward the realization of his belief that "we can apply our innovative genius not only to devising new computers and jet planes, but to better ways of dealing with differences. Conflict is inevitable, violence is not."
Bill Ury's books include:
Getting Past No: Negotiating Your Way from Confrontation to Cooperation
Getting to Yes: Negotiation Agreement Without Giving In
Penguin Books (1991)
Getting to Peace: Transforming Conflict at Home, at Work, and in the World
Viking Books (1999)
The Third Side: Why We Fight and How We Can Stop
Penguin Putnam (2000)