The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School: Three Decades of Scholarship and Practice

By — on / Negotiation Skills

Founded in 1983, the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School is a pioneer in the fields of negotiation, mediation, and alternative dispute resolution.

In commemoration of the program’s 30th anniversary this year, the Program on Negotiation is proud to present a video describing many of PON’s various educational and research activities.

According to Chair Robert Mnookin, at its core the Program on Negotiation is devoted to improving the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution.

PON is also dedicated to educating, training, and fostering future scholars, students, and practitioners of negotiation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

Program on Negotiation Chair Robert Mnookin explains that while conflict is inevitable, a fair resolution of such conflict isn’t always a foregone conclusion.

Because conflict is prevalent in human society, the skills and knowledge obtained through the research and instruction provided by the Program on Negotiation have been instrumental in changing how many people think about and approach conflict.

In addition to its academic activities, each year the Program on Negotiation honors an accomplished negotiator for his or her achievements in the field of negotiation and alternative dispute resolution with the Great Negotiator Award.

Professor James Sebenius highlights the diversity of conflicts negotiated by the Great Negotiator Award winners. For example, PON honored George Mitchell’s work leading negotiations between Northern Ireland’s Catholics and Protestants and former Secretary of State James Baker‘s work forming the Gulf War Coalition.

Program on Negotiation faculty member Gabriella Blum describes the Program on Negotiation’s unique approach to conflict resolution as the need for integrative bargaining (win-win) solutions rather than solely distributive bargaining (win-lose) solutions.

What this means is that it is important to keep in mind that negotiation is rarely a zero-sum game; rather, it is a process of collaboration and relationship building in areas of mutual interest.

Tufts University Fletcher School of Diplomacy and PON faculty member Jeswald Salacuse and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor Lawrence Susskind describe the history of collaboration between Tufts, Harvard, and MIT and the unique opportunities  that such an arrangement affords a research program like PON.

In addition to instructing students at Harvard, Tufts, and MIT, the Program on Negotiation also offers executive education courses geared toward training professionals who either currently work in the field of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or who utilize negotiation as a regular part of their job.

Professor Mnookin highlights that we live in an increasingly interconnected world and that it is essential for us all to learn how to navigate conflict and work with others to achieve a successful resolution:

In the 21st century, what is plain is that peoples all over the world are ever more independent. It is going to be essential that we know how to communicate with and resolve our differences with people who are very different from ourselves. We are no longer isolated. And in fact, in this world, I think the work of conflict resolution and dealing with people fairly and efficiently becomes even more important.

The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
501 Pound Hall
1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
tel 1-800-391-8629
tel (if calling from outside the U.S.) +1-301-528-2676
fax 617-495-7818