The Abraham Path: A Thousand Miles on Foot

By — on / Abraham Path Initiative, Teaching Negotiation


The Abraham Path is a cultural route tracing Abraham’s footsteps across the present-day Middle East. The path offers hikers the opportunity to engage with the peoples and landscapes of the region firsthand, and to see the region from a new perspective. The path offers an intriguing case of very challenging, long-term negotiations to establish a contiguous route through often-hostile countries; if fully successful, the Abraham Path could have powerful regional implications for economic development, mutual engagement, and peace-building. Dr. William Ury, founder of the Global Negotiation Initiative at the Program on Negotiation, was instrumental in the envisioning and development of the Abraham Path. Today, the Program on Negotiation serves as the intellectual and academic home of the Abraham Path Initiative.

The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) is pleased to announce that the Abraham Path negotiations have been adapted into a role play simulation by Stefan Szepesi. The Abraham Path Simulation is a six-party, multi-issue, non-scorable negotiation between the Abraham Path Initiative (API) and local counterpart organizations in the Middle East attempting to agree on a public 1,000 mile cross-border trail through the region.

Abraham Path: A Thousand Miles on Foot – NEW Simulation 

The Abraham Path Initiative (API) is an international NGO which plans to sponsor and co-organize a 1,000+ mile journey on foot across the Middle East to raise publicity, money, and to celebrate its achievements in helping to develop local walking trails across the region. Apart from the adventure filmmaker that it sponsors, API has partnered with four local partner organizations, each of which have their own interests at stake in the final design for the walk. Before the walk can move forward, the parties must deal with two main issues:

  1. The Route – what the route will be and which of the four national trails will be included.
  2. Branding & Communication – what the brand of the thru-hike event will be and how substance will be communicated to global and local audiences.

The negotiation takes place in two phases:

  • Phase 1: the pre-meeting phase of the negotiation. In this phase, only two participants (API and the Adventurer) may initiate contact with other participants and only bilaterally.
  • Phase 2: the in-person meeting phase, where all parties negotiate at the World Trail Conference.

Major lessons in this simulation include:

  • Coalition formation and spoilers in multiparty negotiations. How do parties in negotiation deal with spoilers and develop an effective spoiler management strategy?
  • The role of values in negotiation. How do parties negotiate core values?
  • How public perceptions can impact the positions parties take at the negotiation table.

To learn more, download a free Abraham Path Teacher’s Package today!

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