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Q: What's the connection between drafting and mediation? What qualities made Bunche so successful as a negotiator?

A: Bunche was easily the best diplomatic draftsman I have ever seen. And the essence of drafting is to listen to the violently opposed views, very often, of two parties who are in conflict on a subject which they both feel very strongly about, to take those views and gradually bring them together and by writing out a proposal to get something that both sides can agree on which they couldn't agree on in any other way.
It's a very very very taxing, tiring job. And Bunche was brilliant at it because he understood very clearly the difficulties that everybody had with making some progress. He not only understood it but he was then capable of thinking up new ideas which could in some way bring the opposing parties nearer and nearer together. And he was extraordinarily good at it. And I think it came actually not only from his very accurate, analytical capacities and his long training in writing very clear papers and speeches, but also an extraordinary capacity to understand the problems of other people, and to put himself in their shoes and understand them. And that's why he was so successful.


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