"I think empathy is very important because if you don’t have empathy, you hate the other side. if you don’t develop empathy then you are not able to build trust. The mediator has to be trusted by the parties; the parties have to trust each other but a more daunting task is to get the public to trust the [peace] process because a political conflict involves the whole country even though it’s a conflict with one armed group."
Miriam Coronel-Ferrer is a retired professor of political science at the University of the Philippines. She is a former Senior Mediation Adviser to the United Nations and a founding member of the Southeast Asian Women Peace Mediators.
In 2010, she was appointed as Chief Negotiator of the Philippine government panel on the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front by President Benigno Aquino III. She is hailed as the #FirstFemaleNegotiator to sign a final peace accord with a rebel group. At present, she is a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Crisis Group.