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Renowned US writer awarded honorary degree

One of the world’s leading experts on negotiation and mediation has received an honorary degree from the University.

American author, academic and anthropologist William Ury has been awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor honoris causa in a ceremony at the Scottish Parliament.

Conflict resolution

The award was presented by the University's Senior Vice-Principal, Professor Charlie Jeffery. It was given in recognition of Dr Ury's outstanding contribution to and leadership in conflict resolution.

In presenting Dr Ury for the degree, Laureator Professor John Sturrock – an Edinburgh alumnus and Honorary Fellow - said Dr Ury had changed the lives of many, including his own.

Professor Sturrock told the audience that Dr Ury's work is of great importance in our world at the present time. It had inspired thousands, indeed millions, to seek peace.

Harvard role

Dr Ury is co-founder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation. He is co-author of Getting to Yes, a 15 million copy bestseller which has been translated into more than 35 languages.

He is also the author of Getting Past No, The Power of a Positive No, The Third Side and – most recently – the award-winning Getting to Yes with Yourself.

Influential adviser

Over the past four decades, Dr Ury has served as a negotiation adviser and mediator in conflicts ranging from the Cold War to ethnic and civil wars in the Middle East, Chechnya, Yugoslavia, Myanmar, and most recently in Colombia.

For the past seven years, he has been a senior advisor to President Juan Manuel Santos in Colombia's peace process. During the Cold War, Dr Ury served as a consultant to the Crisis Management Center at the White House.

Korean role

He is currently a Distinguished Fellow of the Harvard Negotiation Project where he directs the Korea Negotiation Initiative. This is a collaborative inquiry into the obstacles to a negotiated resolution of the Korea nuclear crisis and how to overcome them.

Dr Ury is founder of the Abraham Path Initiative. This seeks to bring people together across cultures by opening a long-distance cultural walking route in the Middle East that retraces the footsteps of Abraham and his family.

Dr Ury has spent his career spent building bridges; helping nations, institutions and individuals to overcome enmity and find hope in their common humanity.
Professor John Sturrock Honorary Fellow

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Honorary graduates