Negotiation Workshop Students Offer U.S. Assistant Attorney General Advice on Guantanamo Bay

By — on / Negotiation Skills

Guantanamo Bay is a location firmly fixed in the public mind as one of the many physical symbols associated with the age of terrorism. Before becoming President of the United States, Barack Obama promised the closure of this controversial site. Yet that promise was fraught with many political considerations, such as how to close a detention facility without appearing weak on national security?
In a recent article for the Harvard Law School website “Students travel to Washington to present plan to close Guantanamo,” Lewis Rice describes students in a new advanced negotiations workshop preparing for prime time in D.C. by practicing advanced negotiation skills in a team setting.
The team of students selected from among those participating in Clinical Professor Robert Bordone and Lecturer on Law Rory Van Loo’s workshop traveled to Washington, D.C. on January 27th to meet with Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich, head of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the Justice Department, to discuss the closure of Guantanamo Bay from a human rights and national security perspective.

Prior to their arrival, the students competed with their classmates in the advanced negotiations workshop for the chance to meet with Weich. In the workshop, the students learned the skills necessary for effective collaborative negotiation.
The meeting used all of the skills the students had learned over the course of the advanced negotiations workshop, ranging from deciding on a strategy before beginning negotiations to group dynamics in decision making. Indeed, students highlighted the importance of preparation prior to beginning negotiations or as Krista deBoer (HLS ’12) says, “All the prep work you do before negotiation is as important if not more important than what you actually do at the table.”

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