Egypt’s Mediator

Writing in the Huffington Post, lawyer and author Doug Noll reports on the appointment of Naguib Sawiris to act as a mediator between the opposition and the authorities in carrying through the political reforms. Sawiris is a Coptic Christian billionaire businessman who has criticized both the Mubarak regime and the Muslim Brotherhood, while praising Mohamed El Baradei. Noll questions his appointment:

Nothing in the public reports about Mr. Sawiris suggest that he is trained, experienced, or skilled at mediation. He is probably a good business negotiator. However, the skill set required of a mediator engaged to mediate a transitional government is far larger than simple business negotiation. Having a strong personality, charisma, and flamboyance can be of use at times to a mediator, but a master mediator must know when and how to turn up and turn down his or her personality. . . . [W]e can no longer afford ad hoc mediation or ad hoc mediators acting in the international arena.

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