Two seasoned diplomats sat down for a timely discussion about the situation in Syria Oct. 23 in the Jackson Institute’s Horchow Hall.
Staffan de Mistura, former Undersecretary General of the UN and Special Representative for Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and Robert Ford, Jackson Senior Fellow and former U.S. ambassador to Syria, addressed the topic, “Syria and the Crisis of World Order: Where Do We Go From Here?” to a standing-room-only crowd.
The conversation was an insider’s account of the years-long upheaval in Syria. De Mistura relayed an anecdote about a “magic moment” when a negotiated peace in Syria felt possible. All parties, including the U.S. and Russia, “had a common interest in finding a solution,” de Mistura said, and negotiations between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and former Sec. of State John Kerry extended into the early morning hours. “When you’re negotiating after midnight, it means you’re serious,” de Mistura quipped.
The public talk was part of de Mistura’s three-day visit to Yale, during which he visited six Global Affairs classes and met with faculty and students. De Mistura was invited to take part in Jackson’s new Visiting Fellows Program being rolled out this fall. The program brings distinguished practitioners to Yale for an immersive multi-day program, highlighting their extraordinary contributions to global affairs. The Visiting Fellows enrich the Jackson and broader university community through attending classes, giving public talks, and interacting with students and faculty through a variety of engaging events.