South Africa’s “Negotiated Revolution” and Mandela’s Legacy: A Conversation with Roelf Meyer and Tim Phillips

Event Date: Friday April 11, 2014
Time: 12:00 - 1:30 PM
Location: Hauser 102, Harvard Law School Campus

The Program on Negotiation is pleased to present:

South Africa’s “Negotiated Revolution” and Mandela’s Legacy


Roelf Meyer

Former Chief Negotiator for President DeKlerk in the talks to end Apartheid
Former Minister of Constitutional Affairs and Former Minister of Defense, South Africa


Tim Phillips

Co-Founder of Beyond Conflict (formerly the Project on Justice in Times of Transition)

Moderated by

Bruce Patton

Distinguished Fellow of the Harvard Negotiation Project


Friday, April 11th
12:00 – 1:30 PM
Hauser 102
Harvard Law School Campus

 Please bring your lunch; drinks and dessert will be served.

Join us for a discussion with Roelf Meyer and Tim Phillips on South Africa’s remarkable “negotiated revolution” and its transition to a democratically elected government. What is Nelson Mandela’s legacy today? What lessons can leaders in current conflict situations learn from South Africa?


About the Speakers:

Roelf Meyer was one of the principal architects of the South African transition from Apartheid to democracy. As Minister of Constitutional Affairs, Mr. Meyer led the negotiations that resulted in the first democratic elections in South Africa at the end of April 1994. In this capacity, he negotiated the end of apartheid together with Cyril Ramaphosa who was Chief Negotiator for the African National Congress (ANC). After the election Meyer continued in the portfolio of Constitutional Affairs in the Cabinet of then-President Nelson Mandela.

Prior to undertaking this historic transformation, Mr. Meyer served as Deputy Minister of Law and Order and subsequently of Constitutional Development (1968-1991) and Cabinet Minister of Defense and subsequently of Constitutional Affairs (1991-1996).

Meyer is currently a management consultant and serves on the boards of various companies and acts as a consultant on peace processes and constitution making. In this capacity he has been involved in various regions around the globe including Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Burundi, Kosovo, the Basque Region, Guyana and Bolivia.

In 2009 President Kgalema Motlanthe awarded Meyer the Order of the Baobab in Silver for “his immense contribution in providing special support in the birth of of the new democratic South Africa through negotiations and ensuring that South Africa has a Constitution that protects all its citizens”.


Timothy Phillips is co-founder of Beyond Conflict (formerly the Project on Justice in Times of Transition), a pioneering and widely respected conflict resolution and reconciliation initiative that has made important contributions to the consolidation of peace and democracy around the world. Beyond Conflict brings together leaders from a broad spectrum of countries to share firsthand experience in ending conflict, building civil society and fostering peaceful coexistence and is currently active in Bahrain and Cuba. Beyond Conflict has achieved international recognition for its significant contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process, national reconciliation in El Salvador and Nicaragua, the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, and its catalytic role in helping launch the field of transitional justice.

Tim Phillips has taught courses on the critical role of leadership in conflict transformation. He has published on transitional justice, conflict resolution and national reconciliation and is a frequent advisor to governments, nongovernmental organizations and international organizations such as the Council of Europe and the United Nations. He also serves as a strategic consultant to a number of early-stage nongovernmental organizations on issues of democratization, civil society, conflict resolution and technologies to bridge the digital divide in the developing world.


About the moderator:

Bruce Patton is a Distinguished Fellow of the Harvard Negotiation Project (HNP), which he co-founded with Roger Fisher and William Ury in 1979 and administered as Deputy Director until 2009. With Fisher, Patton pioneered the teaching of negotiation at Harvard Law School, where he was Thaddeus R. Beal Lecturer on Law for fifteen years. He continues to teach the Basic and Advanced Negotiation Workshop in the Harvard Negotiation Institute, as well as the Negotiation and Leadership Program.

Patton has extensive experience in corporate, labor-management, and international contexts, including training the White Afrikaner Cabinet and African National Congress Negotiating Committee in South Africa before the constitutional talks that ended apartheid, mediating at the behest of the U.S. and Iran in the 1980 hostage conflict, working with President Oscar Arias on the Esquipulas II Central American peace agreement, and enabling the Boston Public Schools and the Boston Teachers Union to negotiate several contracts for educational reform.  His corporate work focuses on relationship management in alliance, outsourcing, and merger contexts; managing internal executive teams or cross-matrix conflict; and on negotiation advice and capacity building.

Patton is the co-author with Roger Fisher and William Ury of Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Second Edition, Penguin, 1991), and with Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen of Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Viking/Penguin, 1999).


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