Ben Hoffman


Ben Hoffman

Ben Hoffman a Canadian who lives near Ottawa, came to peace negotiations though prison administration in Ontario.  His formal studies in peace and conflict continued in the US at the Fletcher School and at Harvard. He was recruited to the Carter Centre in 2000.

When he left he continued working in peace negotiations in Africa and is co-founder of Canadian International Institute of Applied Negotiation.

Manuscript available

Rebels, Spies And
Some Good Guys

When children are being slaughtered can peace guerrillas help?

Ben Hoffman is a prominent peace negotiator specializing in intractable African conflicts. In working with The Carter Centre founded by former US President Jimmy Carter, he was embroiled in a high wire and terrifying negotiation. 

Joseph Kony, a violent rogue thug in Uganda with his own militia, was abducting child soldiers and terrorizing the population.  Kony achieved world notoriety when he abducted Aboke schoolgirls and held them hostage.

The political situation complicated the misfortune of the young girls and their distraught parents. To the fury of Uganda, Sudan provided safe harbour to Kony and his army. Meanwhile, Uganda supported Sudan’s Rebel militia led by the brutal John Garang and his Sudan People’s Liberation Army.

Ben Hoffman writes a vivid and revealing memoir of negotiations with the four parties.  There is tension when he travels deep into the African bush to meet face to face with Kony. There are insights on every page on topics ranging from negotiating techniques, US diplomacy and African leadership. And there is the heartbreak of failure and its tragic consequences.

Ben Hoffman has written a remarkable memoir that will become a classic in the field of foreign affairs, African Studies, US foreign policy and violence prevention courses. Hoffman also illuminates the process of trying to deal with fearsome brutal leaders one would be afraid to have dinner with –and why we should do so. He discovers that a mediator must discard neutrality in favour of a bias for peaceful agreement. Above all, a mediator must wage peace with the same intensity as the guerrilla fighter pursues violent domination.