Survival in solitude

Crawford School of Public Policy
Terry Waite CBE

Event details


Date & time

Monday 05 February 2018


Miller Theatre, Level 1, Old Canberra House Building 73, Lennox Crossing, ANU


Terry Waite CBE, Founder and President, Hostage UK.


Yanhong Ouyang

Terry Waite CBE has a long experience of negotiating for the release of hostages. He has successfully negotiated with General Amin in Uganda, Col Ghadaffi in Libya, Revolutionary Guards in Iran and Hezbollah in Beirut. It was in Beirut that he was himself taken hostage and spent almost five years in strict solitary confinement. In his address he will discuss some of his negotiating experiences and also how he was able to keep mentally alive in solitary confinement. He is a co-founder of Hostage UK and is active in helping to develop Hostage International.

Terry Waite CBE was born in England in 1939 and worked for much of his life from a Church base, including in the areas of conflict resolution and development.

In 1980 Robert Runcie, the Archbishop of Canterbury, appointed Terry Secretary for Anglican Communion Affairs to work with churches abroad. During this time Terry played the key role in securing the release of several European and Iranian captives. He established contact with Colonel Muammar Gadaffi in Libya, where three Britons had been detained following the murder of a policewoman outside the Libyan Embassy in London, and was instrumental in aiding their release.

In 1987, Terry travelled to Lebanon to negotiate for hostages there. He was captured on 20 January 1987 and spent almost five years in captivity, nearly four of which were in solitary confinement. During his incarceration, he was blindfolded, beaten, and subjected to a mock execution. He lived much of the time chained to a wall in a room without natural light. He was finally released in November 1991.

Following his release he has written a number of books, including Taken on Trust, the account of his years in captivity and today he is deeply engaged on humanitarian causes.

This event is presented by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Crawford School of Public Policy, at The Australian National University.

Updated:  24 March 2017/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team