crisis mediation

Laurence Brahm is often invited to serve as a mediator or interlocutor providing second track dialogues for sensitive political situations when normal diplomatic channels become stagnant. Brahm's belief in a multi-stakeholder and cross-cultural approach seeks to find consensus points where progress can be made over difficult impasses. Brahm's years in Asia immersed in local culture allow him to seek flexible solutions when political constituencies often fossilize the potential response of government institutions. The second track dialogue is often required to resolve complex disputes.

Brahm's negotiation and mediation skills were honed over years as a lawyer settling complex commercial disputes between foreign multinational companies and Chinese companies. While other lawyers worked through the mechanisms of court and arbitration tribunal, Brahm adopted back channels using government leverage and often trading between interests of governments in order to achieve solutions that would best benefit the parties and allow "the knot of a dispute to be untied." He wrote a number of books on negotiation in China including "When Yes Means No", "36 Strategies of Negotiating in China," and "Sun Tzu's Art of Negotiating." His reputation as a negotiator emerged in 1992 when he settled the largest historic technology transfer dispute between the USA and China involving Kodak and Xiamen Fuda.

African Consensus Forum will seek to establish a Crisis Mediation and Prevention Center as a foreseeable outcome in the near future. As part of the preparation Brahm is seeking advice and guidance from Nobel Peace Laureate Maatti Ahtisaari, who has been globally recognized for his peacekeeping efforts in Africa. His Crisis Mediation Initiative based in Helsinki is advising the African Union on peacekeeping efforts. The Uongozi Institute which is an outcome of the Helsinki Process is the local host of African Consensus Forum in Dar es Salaam and it is envisioned that the Crisis Mediation and Prevention Center will be housed within the Uongozi Institute.

As executive director of the African Consensus Forum, Brahm is seeking to establish a Crisis Mediation Center under the African Consensus Forum Secretariat. The purpose of this center will be to seek through the Forum back channels for pre-mediating crisis in Africa and addressing the need for economic empowerment of communities to prevent social breakdown. He has sought the support of the Crisis Mediation Initiative in Helsinki founded by Nobel Peace Laureate Marrti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland known fondly in Africa as "the father of Namibia" for his peace keeping efforts there.

NGO observer on the “United Nations Committee for Protection of Inalienable Rights of Palestinians.” Conducted a second track dialogue between Israel and Palestine in the run-up to both national leaders simultaneous state visits to Beijing in spring 2013.

Participating in a conference of the Palestinian Authority in Jericho on the future of Palestinian access to Jerusalem

Jericho, Palestine, April 2013
On site at Palestinian Refugee Camps, 2013
Peace Prayers at Wailing Wall, Jerusalem, 2013

In 2007 Laurence Brahm served as interlocutor in dialogue with Nepalese Maoist guerrilla leader Pushpakamal Dahal, alias "Prachanda" ('the sharp one') who led a decade long insurgency in the country, as the rebel forces laid down arms and entered Kathmandu politics as a legitimate political party. This represents a unique case where rebel insurgents upon surrounding the capital, ceased armed struggle in favor of coalition politics. As part of this mediative process, Brahm provided the first one-on-one interviews with Prachanda for international media offering insight into the demands and future policies of the rebel leadership. In 2008 Prachanda became elected Prime Minister of Nepal. On his first state visit was to China, Brahm received him in Beijing.

In 2008 Prachanda was popularly elected Nepal’s prime minister after the Maoist guerillas put down arms and entered Nepali politics as a legitimate party. Prachanda arriving in Beijing on his first state visit as prime minister.

The South China Morning Post

In autumn 2004 Brahm shuttled between Taipei and Beijing conducting under the radar discussions with top levels of then President Chen Shuibian's government and Beijing authorities. It was following the height of tensions across the Taiwan Straits. A proposal was tabled by Chen Shuibian to renew flights between Beijing and Taipei in Chinese New Year 2005 as a confidence building measure toward further talks. Chen's proposal accepted that flights be conducted as had previously been the case through a neutral airport such as Hong Kong or Macao. Beijing upon understanding this offer upped with a counter offer that flights be conducted directly between Beijing and Taipei without going through any third port. This was a breakthrough in cross-Straits relations, previously unprecedented, almost unthinkable. At the time Brahm wrote wrote about this in his weekly column in South China Morning Post. The column presented a public narrative eluding to the second track one that he was conducting between Beijing and Taipei.

In 2004-2005 Laurence Brahm served as an interlocutor between Beijing and Dalai Lama working to resuscitate negotiations. During this time he was the only foreigner to ever have access to the 11th Panchen Lama appointed by Beijing and brought messages from China’s United Front Department to Dalai Lama and back.

Brahm drafted the Wutaishan Proposal that called for a visit by Dalai Lama to the holy Wutai Mountain as a confidence building measure. It became a key talking point that led to the revival of talks and arguably the most positive round of negotiations that occurred in Zurich during July 2005, at which time then Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche of the Tibetan exile government described the first time that Beijing had finally understood that “Dalai Lama is the key to solving the problem, not the problem.”

In 2008, following riots that erupted across the Tibetan plateau, Brahm was asked by the Chinese government to once again provide a second track channel to the Tibetan exile government. He helped to orchestrate the Shenzhen round of talks and confidence building measures that led to the final round of negotiations in Beijing, which unfortunately ended in stalemate in July 2008. During this time he shuttled frequently between Beijing and Daramasala as interlocutor.