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Program on Alternative Dispute Resolution

2012 Lawrence Negotiation Lecture

The Secret Talks that Led to the Fall of Apartheid

March 7, 2012 | 4 - 6 p.m. | Saxbe Auditorium | Watch Now

Michael Young

Michael Young
Apartheid Negotiator

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.” Mr. Young was a key player in the fall of apartheid in South Africa.

In 1986, Young set up secret meetings in Mells Park House, a private mansion in Somerset, UK, between the South African Government and the leadership of the African National Congress.  There were over 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 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 movie Endgames.  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.

Watch Now.

The Program on Dispute Resolution offers the annual Lawrence Negotiation Lecture in coordination with the Lawrence Negotiation Competition. Each year, the Program hosts a speaker with a distinguished career as a negotiator. This year’s speaker will provide a particularly relevant talk for students who are preparing to participate in the Competition.

The Lawrence Lecture and Negotiation Competition are named in honor of James K. L. Lawrence, class of 1965, a partner with Frost Brown Todd in Cincinnati. Following graduation from law school, Mr. Lawrence worked as an attorney at the National Labor Relations Board. He left the Board to join his firm and, for more than 30 years, has practiced labor-relations and employment law. He is a skilled advocate in arbitration and an astute negotiator in collective bargaining and settlement discussions. He has given generously of his time, talent, guidance and resources to Moritz, including teaching the annual Negotiation and Mediation Advocacy course over the Fall Break.

The Program on Dispute Resolution annually hosts a speaker with a distinguished career as a negotiator.

Previous Lawrence Lectures: Pauline Tessler; Steven A. Fehr