Terry Waite CBE was born in Bollington, England on the 31st May 1939. He was educated locally and received his higher education in London. On leaving college he was appointed as Education Advisor to the Anglican Bishop of Bristol, England and remained in that post until he moved to East Africa in 1969.
In Uganda, Terry Waite worked as Provincial Training Adviser to 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 Amin coup in Uganda and both he and his wife narrowly escaped death on several occasions. From his office in Kampala he founded the Southern Sudan Project and was responsible for developing programmes of aid and development for this war-torn region.
In 1972, Terry Waite responded to an invitation to work as an International Consultant to a Roman Catholic Medical Order and moved with his family to live in Rome, Italy. From this base he travelled extensively throughout Asia, Africa, North and South America and Europe both 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.
In 1980, he was recruited by the Archbishop of Canterbury and moved to Lambeth Palace, London where he joined the Archbishop’s Private Staff. In his capacity as Advisor to the Archbishop, Waite 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 China and has responsibility for travels to Australia, New Zealand, Burma, USA, Canada, The Caribbean, South Africa, East and West Africa to name but a few places.
In the early 1980s, Terry Waite successfully negotiated the release of several hostages from Iran, attracting worldwide attention. In 1983 he negotiated with Colonel Ghadafi for the release of British hostages held in Libya and again was successful.
In January 1987, while negotiating for the release of Western hostages in Lebanon, Waite himself was taken captive and remained in captivity for 1,763 days, the first four years of which were spent in total solitary confinement.
Following his release on 19th November 1991, Waite was elected a Fellow Commoner at Trinity Hall Cambridge England, where he wrote his first book Taken on Trust, which quickly became an international bestseller. Following his experience as a captive, Waite decided to make a career change and determined to give himself to study, writing, lecturing and humanitarian activities. His second book, Footfalls in Memory, is a collection of selections from books, poems and prayers, which Waite had read throughout his life and then remembered during his solitary confinement in Beirut. Published in 1995, it, too, became a bestseller. Waite has contributed articles to many journals and periodicals ranging from the Reader’s Digest to the Kipling Journal and has also contributed articles and forewords to many books.
His book, Travels with a Primate, is a humorous account of his journeys with Archbishop Runcie.