Briefing Room


Moritz to host mediator who helped bring down South African apartheid

February 8, 2012 | Events

The annual Lawrence Negotiation Lecture this year will feature Michael Young, who will be speaking on “The Secret Talks that Led to the Fall of Apartheid.” Young was a key player in the fall of apartheid in South Africa. The lecture will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. March 7 in the William B. Saxbe Auditorium.

In 1986, Young set up secret meetings in Mells Park House, a private mansion in Somerset, U.K., between the South African Government and the leadership of the African National Congress. There were more than a dozen covert meetings over a five-year period, all of which were purposefully kept out of the media spotlight. The secret negotiations eventually led to the end the end of the apartheid system and to the release of Nelson Mandela.

Young graduated from The University of York and started his career working for Prime Minister Edward Heath before moving to the private sector.During the negotiations, he worked for a British mining company, not the government, a point he has said was key to the success of the negotiations.

The negotiations and Young’s role were the subject of the 2009 movie Endgame. Today, Young runs his own company advising businesses and governmental organizations around the world on strategic change management.

This will be only the second time Young has spoken in the United States.