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Terry Waite CBE (born May 31, 1939 in Styalmarker, Cheshiremarker, Englandmarker) is a British Quaker and Anglican, humanitarian and author. In the 1980s he was Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie's Assistant for Anglican Communion Affairs. As an envoy for the Church of England, he travelled to Lebanonmarker to try to secure the release of four hostages including journalist John McCarthy. He was himself held captive between 1987 and 1991. He is also President of the charity Y Care International (the YMCA's international development and relief agency) and Patron of AbleChildAfrica. He is also one of the Patrons of Emmaus UK, a charity for formerly homeless people,

On 27 May 2009 he announced in The Times that he is considering standing for parliament as an independent .

Early life

The son of a village policeman, Waite was educated at Stockton Heath County Secondary school where he became Head Boy. Although his parents were only nominally religious, he showed a commitment to Christianity from an early age.

Early career

As a young man Waite joined the Grenadier Guards at the Caterhammarker Barracks, but an allergy to a dye in the uniform obliged his departure after a few months. He then considered the monastic life, but rejected this idea and instead joined the Church Army, the evangelistic arm of the Anglican church, and underwent training and studies in Londonmarker. While he was held captive in the 1980s many Church Army Officers wore a simple badge with the letter H upon it, to remind people that he was still a hostage, and was being supported in prayer daily.

In 1963 Waite was appointed as Education Advisor to the Anglican Bishop of Bristol, Oliver Tomkins, and assisted with Tomkins' implementation of the SALT (Stewardship and Laity Training) programme in the diocese, along with Canon Basil Moss. The position required him to master psychological T-group methods, with the aim of promoting increased active involvement from the laity of the Church. During this time he married Helen Frances Watters.

In 1969 he moved to Uganda, where he worked as Provincial Training Adviser to Erica Sabiti, the first African Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, and in that capacity travelled extensively throughout East Africa. Together with his wife Frances and their four children he witnessed the Idi Amin coup in Uganda, and both he and his wife narrowly escaped death on several occasions. From his office in Kampalamarker he founded the Southern Sudanmarker Project and was responsible for developing programmes of aid and development for this war-torn region.

His next post was in Romemarker, where from 1972 he worked as an International Consultant to the Medical Mission Sisters, a Roman Catholic order that was seeking to adapt to the leadership reforms of Vatican II. From this base he travelled extensively throughout Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe, 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.

Archbishop's Special Envoy

Waite returned to the UKmarker in 1978, where he took a job with the British Council of Churches. In 1980 Robert Runcie appointed him as the Archbishop of Canterbury's Assistant for Anglican Communion Affairs, having been recommended by Tomkins and Bishop John Howe. Based at Lambeth Palacemarker, he again travelled extensively throughout the world and had a responsibility for the Archbishop’s diplomatic and ecclesiastical exchanges. He arranged and travelled with the Archbishop on the first ever visit of an Archbishop of Canterbury to Chinamarker and had responsibility for travels to Australia, New Zealandmarker, Burmamarker, U.S.marker, Canadamarker, The Caribbeanmarker, and South Africa, to name but a few places.

Hostage negotiator

In 1980 Waite first became famous when he successfully negotiated the release of several hostages in Iranmarker: Revd Iraj Mottahedeh (Anglican priest in Esfahan), Dimitri Bellos (diocesan officer), Revd Nosrat Sharifian (Anglican priest in Kerman), Fazeli (church member), Jean Waddell (who was secretary to the Iranian Anglican Bishop Hassan Dehqani-Tafti), John Coleman, and Coleman's wife. In 1984 he negotiated with Colonel Gaddafi for the release of Britishmarker hostages held in Libyamarker and again was successful.

From 1985 Waite became involved in hostage negotiation in Lebanonmarker, and he assisted in successful negotiations that secured the release of Lawrence Jenco and David Jacobsen. However, his use of an American helicopter to travel secretly between Cyprusmarker and Lebanonmarker and his appearance with Oliver North meant that he was compromised when the Irangate scandal broke. Against advice, Waite felt a need to demonstrate his continuing trust and integrity and his commitment to the remaining hostages. He arrived in Beirutmarker on 12 January 1987 with the intention of negotiating with the Islamic Jihad Organization, who were holding the men. On 20 January 1987 he agreed to meet with the captors of the hostages as he was promised safe conduct to visit the hostages, who he was told were ill. The group broke trust and took him hostage on 20 January 1987. Waite remained in captivity for 1,763 days, the first four years of which were spent in total solitary confinement, and it was not until 18 November 1991 that he was released.

Release and after

Following his release he was elected a Fellow Commoner at Trinity Hall in Cambridgemarker, England, where he wrote his first book Taken on Trust. This quickly became an international best-seller and headed the lists in the UK and elsewhere. He also decided to make a career change and determined to give himself to study, writing, lecturing, and humanitarian activities. His second book, Footfalls in Memory, was published in the UK in 1995 and was also a best-seller. His latest book published in October 2000, Travels with a Primate, is a humorous account of his journeys with Robert Runcie. He has contributed articles to many journals and periodicals ranging from Reader's Digest to the Kipling Journal, and has also contributed articles and forewords to many books. In 1992, Durham Universitymarker awarded him an Honorary Degree. He currently holds the position of Visiting Fellow at Magdalen College, Oxfordmarker.

He has been in constant demand as a lecturer, writer, and broadcaster, and has appeared in North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and throughout Europe. There has been a particular interest in the lectures he has delivered relating his experiences to the pressures faced by business executives, as stress, loneliness, and negotiating under acute pressure are but some of the issues with which he has a unique experience. His ability to communicate clearly and with good humour has meant that he is in constant demand as a speaker not only to the business community but also to professionals in religious groups, social work, education, and medicine.

In January 1996, he became Patron of the Warrington Male Voice Choir in recognition of the humanitarian role adopted by the choir following the Warrington bomb attacksmarker. Since then, he has appeared with the choir for performances in prisons in England and Ireland to assist rehabilitation programmes. Prison concerts have become a regular feature of the choir’s Christmas activities.

He is also a co-founder of Y Care International, a development agency linked to the YMCA movement. Recently he founded Hostage UK, an organisation designed to give support to hostage families. He is also president of Emmaus UK and patron of the Romany Society.

On March 31, 2007, Waite offered to travel to Iranmarker to negotiate with those holding British sailors and marines seized by Iran in disputed waters on March 23 2007.[23390]

Waite was awarded an honorary degree (D.Univ) by the Open University at an award ceremnony in Ely Cathedral on Saturday 30th May 2009. [23391].

Faith perspective

Waite has a particular regard for Eastern Orthodoxy, and for the writings of C.G. Jung. In 2008, he joined the Religious Society of Friends.

Waite in popular culture

  • Waite was the subject of a song by the British post-punk group The Fall in 1986, entitled "Terry Waite Sez".
  • For a while in the 1980s, Waite was known for his catchphrase, "Hello, I'm Terry Waite."
  • Before he was taken hostage, Spitting Image featured a puppet of Waite returning from his foreign trips laden with Duty Free which he would bring surreptitiously to an eagerly waiting Robert Runcie.
  • The term "Terry" is synonymous with the method of cutting a straight line into the back of someone’s hair on the nape of the neck. This is due to the rhyming slang Terry Waite - Straight.
  • Controversial right wing Macclesfield rock band The Macc Lads mention Waite in their song Buenos Aires '90 with the lyric "They can give us back fat Terry Waite/ Or get a Dr Marten in the face".
  • Waite had a curry named after him, the "Terry Waite Special", which was allegedly what he ordered on his release from captivity from a restaurant in Blackheath (SE London). It consisted of a bed of curried beef, curried eggs, a whole curried chicken and rice with cheese melted over the top, accompanied by two nan breads.
  • Robin Soans used an interview with Waite as a character for his Verbatim style play Talking to Terrorists. The interview is used as the dialgoue for the character "Archbishop's Envoy".


See also

Fellow hostages



External links

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