On Wednesday 27th January 2021, Forward Thinking convened a meeting with the Tunisian Young Leaders programme, with Pat Hynes to explore principles of negotiations. Given Pat’s rich and unique experience in the realm of political negotiation, particularly during his notable role as the Special Advisor to Ireland’s former Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, Pat has an intimate insight into the pressures, approaches and decisions that are in the minds of politicians, civil society, local government and central government. Pat has worked with numerous ministers in the early years of the Northern Ireland peace process and later leading up to the Good Friday Agreement / Belfast Agreement. He has extensive international experience in the Middle East in particular, and also more broadly, particularly having worked closely with the United Nations.

Tunisia faces a myriad of complexities. Not only is it enduring the ramifications of political tensions, it finds itself in the midst of growing geopolitical tensions. Understanding how negotiation processes can come into effect in such contexts was one of the main concerns of young leaders in Tunisia. Questions were raised regarding social and political identity, exclusion and alienation as well as the impact of geopolitical tensions on negotiation and political dialogue. The wealth of the Northern Irish experience enriched the scope of the discussion and strengthened the Young Leaders Programme of negotiations and the principles of peace processes.