Sydney alumnus Martin Indyk leads peace talks between Israel and Palestine

21 August 2013

Former United States Ambassador to Israel and University of Sydney alumnus Martin Indyk was responsible for facilitating peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine earlier this month.

The appointment of Indyk, who is to receive the 2013 Alumni Award for International Achievement in September, was announced by the US Secretary of State John Kerry on 29 July.

"He knows what has worked, and he knows what hasn't worked. And he knows how important it is to get this right." Kerry told the media in Washington, DC. "Going forward, it is no secret that this is a difficult process. If it was easy it would have happened a long time ago."

Indyk, who was born in London before relocating to Sydney with his family, graduated from the School of Economics in 1972. In 1985, he was responsible for the establishment of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which is a think tank based in Washington, D.C. that focusses on US foreign policy in the Middle East.

Following this, he became an adviser to the US president Bill Clinton and then the US Ambassador to Israel twice, between 1995 and 1997 and 2000 and 2001. He was the first, and currently the only, foreign-born ambassador for the US. Prior to his appointment as the US Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations in July, Indyk served as the Vice President and Director for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Indyk said the objective of the talks was eventually to allow for "two states, living side by side, in peace and security". He described the goal as a "daunting and humbling challenge".

"I am pleased that ambassador Martin Indyk will lead the US negotiating team as US special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations," US President, Barack Obama, said in a statement. "Ambassador Indyk brings unique experience and insight to this role, which will allow him to contribute immediately as the parties begin down the tough, but necessary, path of negotiations."

The 2013 Alumni Awards Presentation Ceremony will be held in the Great Hall on Friday 27 September.