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This course provides a thorough conceptual framework to help practitioners structure their efforts in negotiation, with theoretical and practical investigations of hard-bargaining vs. problem-solving approaches, interests vs. positions, value distribution vs. value creation, coercive leverage vs. normative leverage, short-term agreements vs. long-term relationships, and other considerations necessary to the development of effective overall negotiating strategies.

Note: This course is no longer active, but remains a resource for peacebuilders worldwide. For archival purposes, it will be kept available. Please note, however, that we are unable to respond to any inquires or troubleshoot any technical issues encountered. To view a list of our current online course offerings, please visit our courses page

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Whether in far-reaching international diplomacy or the immediate response to a local crisis, developing successful alternatives to violent conflict requires firm command of the practice of negotiation.

Whether in far-reaching international diplomacy or the immediate response to a local crisis, developing successful alternatives to violent conflict requires firm command of the practice of negotiation.

These principles are illustrated in two extended case studies: the negotiation to bring a peaceful end to apartheid in South Africa, and the U.S., Soviet, and worldwide bargaining process that led to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The course then concludes by focusing on keys to successful negotiation, and practical steps to help you negotiate more effectively in real-world situations.

Introduction to Negotiation and Conflict Management

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Course Objectives:

In completing this course, you will gain proficiency in the following skills:

  • Preparing for negotiation, including identifying key stakeholders and analyzing their positions, interests, and sources of leverage
  • Cultivating relationships with constituents and counterparts, especially across cultures, including through active listening and trust building
  • Focusing on interests, including those that are shared, conflicting, or compatible
  • Solving problems by separating them analytically, establishing criteria, and generating options
  • Implementing agreements, including establishing verification, dispute resolution, and enforcement mechanisms

This course includes numerous perspectives on the subject of negotiation, as well as on the specific cases of the negotiation to end apartheid and the negotiation to establish the NPT. These perspectives come in the form of media clips culled from over forty hours of interviews that we have conducted with specialists from USIP and elsewhere, including some who were directly involved in the negotiations in our two case studies.

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