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Jonny Lee Miller
In the 1980s, Michael Young was head of communications for Consolidated Gold Fields, a British mining company with significant assets in South Africa — assets that would be at risk if boiling race relations were to explode. Young recognized that a volatile South Africa was bad for business, but a peaceful resolution would be in everyone's interest.
At the behest of African National Congress (ANC) president Oliver Tambo and at great personal and professional risk, Young initiated a series of covert talks between representatives of the exiled ANC and powerful Afrikaner elite — more than a dozen meetings over five years — at the company's Somerset mansion.
It was not Young's first foray into conflict resolution. In the 1970s at the request of former British Prime Minister Edward Heath, Young worked on one of the first contacts between a major British political party and the IRA in an attempt bridge the divide fueling the bloody civil war in Northern Ireland. Young had also advised political leaders in both Portugal and Spain as the two countries transitioned from dictatorships to democracies.
Today, Young runs his own company advising businesses and governmental organizations around the world on strategic change management.