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Terry Waite  

Terry Waite has led a remarkable life as a diplomat and a humanitarian. A world-renowned agent of peace, he is a testament to the power and resilience of the human spirit.

Long devoted to humanitarian causes, intercultural relations and conflict resolution, Waite garnered international recognition in the 1980s when, as a special envoy to the Archbishop of Canterbury, he successfully negotiated the release of hostages in Iran and Libya.

In 1987, while negotiating the release of hostages in Beirut, Waite was himself taken hostage. In captivity for 1,763 days (four years of which were in solitary confinement), he was chained to a wall, often left in darkness, beaten and subjected to mock executions.

Since September 11, Waite is often called upon by CNN, the BBC and other news media to share his views on Islamic fundamentalism, the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and the best way to negotiate with hostage-takers in Iraq. In January 2004, he made headlines when he returned to Lebanon for the first time since his 1991 release to visit refugee camps and research the effects of war on the young.

"What I have tried to do is take the positive side of the experience of being a hostage and build on it," he says. "It has given me increased empathy with those who are victims of warfare or pppression.” Taken On Trust is Waite’s bestselling account of his horrific ordeal. With its “deeply moving... Kafkaesque sequence of events and taut narrative,” reviewers proclaimed it “destined to become one of the classic accounts of man’s survival at the limits of human endurance.”

He was absolutely the most powerful speaker we have ever had. As one of our guests put it, "I was profoundly moved by Terry Waite's presentation." He very much touched our group with his warmth, his sense of humor and his genuine goodness. St. Joseph Health System 

Waite returned home from Beirut harboring no hostility or resentment toward his captors, no regret or self-pity about his experiences. He now devotes most of his time to humanitarian efforts around the world, inspiring people to create better lives for the less fortunate. He is the founder and President of Y Care International, which provides relief to vulnerable and disadvantaged young people. He also is the UK President of Emmaus International (serving the homeless), a Trustee of the Freeplay Foundation and a Patron of the Children’s One to One Foundation. His efforts have included helping street children in Columbia and India gain access to education, bringing clean water to remote areas of Africa and offering trauma counseling to war-ravaged children in Kosovo and the Middle East.

In his speeches, he gives audiences a perspective of world affairs founded on open communication, cooperation and a deep understanding of diverse cultures. Waite has achieved a unique role on the world stage: part pragmatist, part visionary and fully dedicated to the pursuit of social justice.

In addition to Taken on Trust, Waite is the author of Travels With a Primate, a humorous account of his journeys with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Footfalls In Memory: Reflections from Solitude.

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