On Nov. 2, the Baker Institute and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) co-hosted "Twenty Years After Madrid: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward for Arab-Israeli Peacemaking," an all-day conference in Washington, D.C.

The conference began with opening remarks from Baker Institute founding director Edward Djerejian and USIP president Richard Solomon, followed by a video interview with former President George H.W. Bush. Below, The Honorable James A. Baker, III, is pictured with members of the U.S. delegation to the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference (from left to right): Gemal Helal, The Honorable Daniel Kurtzer, Baker, Djerejian, The Honorable Dennis Ross and Aaron David Miller.

Photo courtesy of USIP

Baker, who served as 61st U.S. secretary of state, gave the keynote address, in which he recalled the historic 1991 conference, the first official face-to-face peace negotiation involving Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians.


  • PDF iconText of Baker's remarks is available for download, and video is above.
  • View President George H.W. Bush's video interview.
  • View the full conference agenda and other conference video, audio and content on the conference event page.
  • Download a PDF iconpolicy report with recommendations from the conference.

"Madrid revealed the critical importance of the United States as a credible and effective broker. We were reassuring, but also tough and fair," Baker told the conference. "We never made threats or promises that we were not prepared to carry out, and there was a cost imposed on the parties for willfully saying 'No.'"

Addressing the current situation in the Middle East, Baker said the current U.S. leadership needs to do more.

"The peace process may not be dead -- but it"s clearly on life-support. It lacks both leadership and will -- particularly, I regret to say, on the part of the United States," he said. "And that is not a political comment because the lack of leadership and will has occurred in both Republican and Democratic administrations."