William Ury: The Walk from “No” to “Yes” (Full Transcript)

And in that sense, the Abraham Path is a game-changer. Let me just show you one thing. I have a little acorn here that I picked up while I was walking on the path earlier this year.

Now, the acorn is associated with the oak tree, of course — grows into an oak tree, which is associated with Abraham. The path right now is like an acorn; it’s still in its early phase.

What would the oak tree look like?

When I think back to my childhood, a good part of which I spent, after being born here in Chicago, I spent in Europe. If you had been in the ruins of, say, London in 1945, or Berlin, and you had said, “Sixty years from now, this is going to be the most peaceful, prosperous part of the planet,” people would have thought you were certifiably insane. But they did it, thanks to a common identity, Europe, and a common economy.

So my question is, if it can be done in Europe, why not in the Middle East? Why not, thanks to a common identity, which is the story of Abraham, and thanks to a common economy that would be based, in good part, on tourism?

So let me conclude, then, by saying that in the last 35 years, as I’ve worked in some of the most dangerous, difficult and intractable conflicts around the planet, I have yet to see one conflict that I felt could not be transformed. It’s not easy, of course. But it’s possible. It was done in South Africa. It was done in Northern Ireland.

It could be done anywhere. It simply depends on us. It depends on us taking the third side.

So let me invite you to consider taking the third side, even as a very small step. We’re about to take a break in a moment.

Just go up to someone who’s from a different culture, a different country, a different ethnicity — some difference — and engage them in a conversation. Listen to them. That’s a third-side act. That’s walking Abraham’s Path.

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After a TED Talk, why not a TED Walk? So let me just leave you with three things.

One is, the secret to peace is the third side. The third side is us. Each of us, with a single step, can take the world, can bring the world a step closer to peace. There’s an old African proverb that goes: “When spiderwebs unite, they can halt even the lion.” If we’re able to unite our third-side webs of peace, we can even halt the lion of war.

Thank you very much.

 

Recommended for Further Reading: 

The Third Side: Why We Fight and How We Can Stop

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