Faculty member and South African anti-apartheid hero Mac Maharaj and his biographer Padraig O’Malley appeared on the nationally syndicated public radio program Fresh Air with Terry Gross on Monday, May 12, to discuss their recent reconciliation work with 36 Iraqi leaders.
In September of 2007, Maharaj and O’Malley helped to form the Helsinki Agreement, a 12-step outline for peace in Iraq. Maharaj worked with Sunni and Shiite delegates, using lessons learned from South Africa and Northern Ireland sectarian struggles to resolve political differences. In April, the second round of these peace talks began in Helsinki, with Maharaj and O’Malley playing key roles once again. The initiative was launched as an effort between UMass-Boston, the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University, and the Crisis Management Initiative out of Helsinki.
O’Malley’s biography, Shades of Difference: Mac Maharaj and the Struggle for South Africa, was published in 2007. Detailing Maharaj’s life as an African National Congress (ANC) freedom fighter, his twelve-year imprisonment on Robben Island, and later role in shaping South African democracy, Shades of Difference was released to much acclaim, praised by The New York Times Book Review as “a striking success.”
Listen to the full interview online.