Veteran Peacemakers O'Malley, Maharaj on Iraq Veteran peace negotiator Padraig O'Malley worked on the conflicts in Northern Ireland and South Africa. Mac Maharaj played a role in the latter nation's anti-apartheid movement. Both took part in recent closed-door negotiations in Finland, aimed at bringing reconciliation among rival factions in Iraq.

Veteran Peacemakers O'Malley, Maharaj on Iraq

Veteran Peacemakers O'Malley, Maharaj on Iraq

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Satyandranath Ragunanan "Mac" Maharaj stepped down as South Africa's transport minister when Thabo Mbeki replaced Nelson Mandela as president. African National Congress hide caption

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African National Congress

Padraig O'Malley has aided peace negotiations in Northern Ireland, South Africa and most recently, Iraq. Seppo Samuli/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Seppo Samuli/AFP/Getty Images

Political activist Mac Maharaj fought apartheid with Nelson Mandela, and spent four months in the South African prison on Robben Island.

Padraig O'Malley is a veteran peace negotiator who wrote a book about Maharaj, and who worked to help settle the conflicts in both South Africa and Northern Ireland.

Now the two are trying to help Iraq's rival factions bridge their differences and build a future for their country.

Maharaj, once charged with terrorism by his country's apartheid-era government, went on to be democratic South Africa's first Minister of Transport. O'Malley, who has written widely about the conflicts in South Africa and Northern Ireland, told Maharaj's story in Shades of Difference: Mac Maharaj and the Struggle for South Africa.

Both men participated in closed-door negotiations last year in Helsinki, Finland, where Sunni and Shiite representatives met to discuss a way forward.