Terry Waite – Keynote Speaker

Former envoy, held hostage in the Lebanon for four years

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Terry Waite Profile Picture

Specialist Subjects

  • Negotiation
  • Motivation
  • Humanitarianism


  • English


Terry Waite is a former envoy, famously held hostage in Lebanon for four years.

He moved to East Africa in 1969 where he worked as Provincial Training Adviser to the first African Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi and in that capacity travelled extensively throughout East Africa. He witnessed the Amin coup in Uganda and both he and his wife narrowly escaped death on several occasions. From his office in Kampala he founded the Southern Sudan Project and was responsible for developing programmes of aid and development for this war-torn region.

In 1972 he worked as an International Consultant to a Roman Catholic Medical Order and moved with his family to live in Rome, Italy. From this base he travelled extensively throughout Asia, Africa, North and South America and Europe both conducting and advising on programmes concerned with Institutional Change and Development, Inter-Cultural Relations, Group and Inter-group Dynamics and a broad range of development issues connected with both health and education.

In 1980 he moved to Lambeth Palace, London where he joined the Archbishop’s Private Staff. In his capacity as Advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury he again travelled extensively throughout the world and had a responsibility for the Archbishop’s diplomatic and ecclesiastical exchanges.

In the early 1980s he successfully negotiated the release of several hostages from Iran and this event brought him to public attention. In 1983 he negotiated with Colonel Ghadafi for the release of British hostages held in Libya and again was successful. In January 1987 while negotiating for the release of Western hostages in Lebanon he himself was taken captive and remained in captivity for 1,763 days, the first four years of which were spent in total solitary confinement.

Following his release on 19th November 1991 he was elected a Fellow Commoner at Trinity Hall Cambridge England where he wrote his first book Taken on Trust. The 25th anniversary edition of Taken on Trust was released in 2016.

Following his experience as a captive he decided to make a career change and determined to give himself to study, writing, lecturing and humanitarian activities. His fifth book, Out of the Silence a book of memories, poems and reflections was published in 2016.

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