Jean Yves Ollivier, Chairman of Brazzaville Foundation for Peace and Conservation, visited Mumbai to interact with the SFG Research Analysts and some of the key opinion makers in Mumbai.
Jean-Yves Ollivier had an interactive session with key opinion makers in Mumbai including Mr Niranjan Rajadhyaksha (Executive Editor of Mint), Indrajit Gupta (CEO of Founding Fuel and founder Editor of Forbes India), Shaji Vikraman (Resident Editor of Indian Express), Anant Gadgil (Member of Legislative Council), D Shivanandan (former Director General of Police of Maharashtra) and Milind Bharambe (Joint Commissioner of Police of Mumbai City.) The exchange focussed on the comparison of Indian and Chinese engagement with Africa, his experiences in South Africa and the current issues in international politics.
In his interaction with the SFG Research Analysts, Jean-Yves Ollivier introduced his philosophy that an individual can make significant contribution to positive change at national and international levels. He illustrated this with his role in the independence of Namibia, release of prisoners during the African Cold War, withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola and the bearing these developments had on the release of Nelson Mandela from the prison, leading to the end of Apartheid in South Africa.
The research analysts asked him several questions, as on negotiation tactics in parallel diplomacy, the role of the UN in peace-making and the current crisis around ISIS. He suggested that in order to achieve success we must not have any preconditions while going into negotiations. A sense of hope for peace in the parties concerned is also crucial, as this creates trust on smaller issues, which in turn paves the way for greater dialogue and peace. It is important to involve all parties in the talks on the future of their country. In Syria, for instance, the Alawites must be involved in deciding the future of the country.
The UN and parallel diplomacy both can offer solutions to territorial conflicts as “territory is in the gene of the human being”. Negotiations without preconditions can resolve these issues as “peace is always a give and take”. However on the question of ISIS, Jean-Yves Ollivier said that parallel diplomacy could not offer a solution, as their war is that of religion and ideology without any material basis which could be used for negotiations.
The interaction with Jean-Yves Ollivier was speckled with colourful anecdotes from his real life experiences dealing with rebels such as the Lord's Resistance Army as well as his personal association with great leaders like Nelson Mandela.