David Fairman

David Fairman is Managing Director at the Consensus Building Institute (CBI), Associate Director of the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program, and Lecturer in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from MIT and a B.A. from Harvard College. At MIT, his academic focus is the application of negotiation and consensus building principles and tools to public planning and decision making in developing countries.

As a practitioner, Fairman designs and facilitates consensus building processes, coaches and trains leaders in negotiation and collaboration skills, and researches and teaches the application of negotiation and consensus building tools to challenging public issues.

He leads CBI’s international program, working with multilateral development agencies, governments, and other national partners to institutionalize collaborative approaches to planning, policy and project decision making.

Fairman is Senior Mediator on the rosters of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution. He is also a founding board member of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, founding Director of CBI’s Workable Peace program, member of the Advisory Board for the Massachusetts Office of Dispute Resolution, and life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a Principal on the Leadership Team of the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Initiative, and was Co-director of the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project.

Awards: Rotary International Peace and Understanding Award

Research interests:

-Development planning and decision-making

-Institutions for public engagement in developing countries

-Relations between Muslim societies and the U.S.

-Climate change

-International public health

-Human rights

-Post-conflict transitions

-International voluntary standards

Selected Courses/Presentations/Trainings:

Planning for Sustainable Development, MIT 11.366

Selected Publications/Reports:

Negotiating Global Health Challenges: A Guide for Public Health Officials and Advocates. Lead author with Diana Chigas, Liz McClintock and Nick Drager. New York: Springer Publishing, forthcoming 2011.

Changing Course: A New Direction for U.S. Relations with the Muslim World. A Report by the by Leadership Group of the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project. David Fairman (Author), Rob Fersh and Paula Gutlove (Editors). September, 2008.

“The Negotiator’s Fieldbook: the Virtues and Limits of a Kaleidoscope.” Lead author with Patrick Field and Hal Movius. Negotiation Journal July 2007.

The First State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR): The North American Carbon Budget and Implications for the Global Carbon Cycle. A Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global  Change Research. King, A.,  Dilling, L., Fairman, D., Houghton, R., Marland, G., Rose, A., Wilbanks, T. (eds.). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Climate Program Office, Silver Spring, MD, USA, 2007.

“Resolving Public Conflicts in Developing Countries: From Experiments to Institutions,” Dispute Resolution Magazine, Spring 2006.

“Environmental Conflict Resolution in the U.S.: practices, trends and lessons learned,” presented at International Conference on Comparative Studies in Public Conflict Resolution, KDI School of Public Policy and Management, Seoul, Korea, September 22~23, 2005.

“The Integration of Conflict Resolution into the High School Curriculum: The Example of Workable Peace.” Co-author with Stacie Nicole Smith. In N. Noddings, ed., Educating Citizens for Global Awareness.  New York: Teachers College Press, 2005.

“Fulfilling the Promise of Environmental Conflict Resolution.”  Co-author with Lisa Bingham, Dan Fiorino, and Rosemary O’Leary.”  In L. Bingham and R. O’Leary, eds., Evaluating Environmental and Public Policy Dispute Resolution Programs. Washington, D.C.: Resources for the Future Press, 2004.

“Producing Consensus.” Co-author with Sarah McKearnan.  In The Consensus Building Handbook, L.Susskind et al., eds.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1999.

Reforming Natural Resource Policies in Developing Countries:  The Politics of Forest Policy Reform in the Philippines, Thailand and Costa Rica, 1980-1996.  Cambridge, MA: MIT Department of Political Science (dissertation), 1998.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Practitioners Guide. Co-author with Scott Brown and Christine Cervenak.  Washington, D.C.: United States Agency for International Development, 1997.

“The Global Environment Facility: Haunted by the Shadow of the Future,”  In Robert Keohane and Marc Levy, eds., Institutions for Environmental Aid: Pitfalls and Promise. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996.

“Old Fads, New Lessons: Learning from Economic Development Assistance.” Co-author with Michael Ross.  In Robert Keohane and Marc Levy, eds., Institutions for Environmental Aid: Pitfalls and Promise. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996.


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