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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Reconciliation Nonprofit Helped With U.S.-Cuban Relations

People stand outside the Little Havana restaurant Versailles after news that U.S. contractor Alan Gross was released from a Cuban prison and U.S. President Barack Obama's announcement on United States-Cuba policy change on December 17, 2014 in Miami, Florida. Obama announced plans to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, over 50 years after they were severed in January 1961. In a prisoner exchange, U.S. contractor Alan Gross was freed after being held in Cuba since 2009, with three Cuban spies who had been imprisoned in the U.S. since 2001 going back to Cuba. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

People stand outside the Little Havana restaurant Versailles after news that U.S. contractor Alan Gross was released from a Cuban prison and U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement on United States-Cuba policy change on December 17, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Many things went into this week’s announcement of a reconciliation of sorts between the U.S. and Cuban governments, including input from a conflict resolution nonprofit in Cambridge, Mass.

Beyond Conflict has worked around the globe, including in Northern Ireland, South Africa and El Salvador, to try to get adversaries to sit down and try to find a way to rapprochement.

For the past four years, Beyond Conflict has enlisted leaders from those areas to travel to Miami and Cuba to try to pave the way towards a future reconciliation.

Then during a planning session in Washington, a light bulb went off for Beyond Conflict’s Tim Phillips. Why not get President Obama to sit down with the pope to talk about Cuba?

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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