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Center for International Affairs and Diplomacy

Negotiations in International Setting


International negotiation has become the most widely used means of conflict resolution and management, decision-making and rule-making in international affairs. It concerns not only tangible matters such as diplomatic relations, wars, and material resources but also identity issues, symbols, rules and norms, and regime and relationship building for cooperative ventures, governance and conflict prevention. A classic text on negotiation pointed out already some 27 years ago: “Ours is an age of negotiation. The fixed positions and solid values of the past seem to be giving way, and new rules, roles, and relations have to be worked out. –From bipolarity to polycentrism, from colonialism to independence, from nuclear stalemate to disarmament [...] (t)he transition in each case, requires negotiation.”1 Negotiations of international significance are today conducted not only between individual states, but also within and beyond them. At the same time negotiation practice itself is undergoing much change with changing patterns of conflict and intervention, new urgent issues on the global agenda, new actors and new emerging norms. This course provides an overview of negotiation theories and practices of international importance – bilateral, regional and multilateral. The emphasis is on different approaches to understanding what drives negotiation process and explains the outcome. Why do some negotiations succeed, while others keep failing? We will examine not only the official negotiation process but also the important functions of pre-negotiation, second-track diplomacy and post-agreement negotiations concerned with implementation and compliance. Among the themes covered in the course are the role (impact) of power, leadership, justice, the use of mediation as well as violence, and non-governmental 1 I. W. Zartman, ed., The 50% Solution, pp. 2-3 (Yale University Press, 1983). 3 (22) organizations. Case studies and examples from different issue areas – ranging from ethnic-sectarian conflict and civil war to the environment and international trade - are used to learn more generally about contemporary international negotiations: their features and many faces, their limitations and possibilities for greater effectiveness. The course covers a number of specific topics which are divided into four parts. Parts One and Two are mainly conceptual and thematic and concerned with the components, processes and contexts of international negotiation. Part Three discusses and analyzes actual cases of negotiation in detail, using concepts and themes covered earlier. Part Four concludes with hands-on negotiation games, simulations and discussion

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