2012 Great Negotiator Award event will honor former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III on March 29th

By — on / International Negotiation, News

The Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School and the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) will jointly honor former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker, III with the 2012 Great Negotiator Award on Thursday, March 29, 2012, at the Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall, Harvard Law School.

The Great Negotiator Award event will include discussions with Secretary Baker and faculty from the Program on Negotiation and the Future of Diplomacy Project about the negotiation challenges he faced during his time as Secretary of State. The discussion is free and open to the public from 1:30- 4:30 p.m.

The Great Negotiator Award was created twelve years ago by the Program on Negotiation to recognize individuals whose lifetime achievements in the field of negotiation and dispute resolution have had a significant and lasting impact. The Program on Negotiation is a network of faculty and scholars dedicated to developing the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution from Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University and other Boston-area schools.  In 2011 and 2012, the Great Negotiator Award event has been co-sponsored by the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School, which aims to explore the importance of diplomacy in a globalized world.

James A. Baker, III has served in senior government positions under three United States presidents. After serving as an Under Secretary of Commerce for Gerald Ford and Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan, he was Secretary of State in the George H.W. Bush administration. During his tenure at the State Department, Secretary Baker traveled to 90 foreign countries as the United States confronted the unprecedented challenges and opportunities of the post–Cold War era.

Some of the notable challenges Secretary Baker faced included the reunification of Germany within NATO, the Gulf War, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Secretary Baker’s 1990 Camp David meeting with President Bush and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl established critical trust and opened the doors for a reunified Germany and its entrance into NATO despite deep Soviet misgivings. The following year, in an effort to avoid war with Iraq, Secretary Baker represented the United States in the historic Geneva Peace Conference, where he faced a difficult negotiation with representatives of Iraq. In tandem with winning a United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing all necessary means to eject Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, Secretary Baker took the lead in building the international political and military coalition that defeated Iraqi forces in Kuwait. Later that year, he played a key role in the landmark Madrid Peace Conference involving Israel and its Arab neighbors.

James A. Baker, III is the tenth recipient of the Great Negotiator Award.  Previous recipients are: Senator George Mitchell; U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky; United Nations Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi; Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat; Ambassador Richard Holbrooke; former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata; Bruce Wasserstein, Chairman and CEO of Lazard; the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude; and the former president of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari.

“A peerless master of negotiation strategy and tactics, James A. Baker, III has overcome daunting barriers to forge agreements that have benefitted the United States and the world.  We at Harvard are thrilled to honor him and learn from his rich negotiation experience,” said James Sebenius, co-chair of this year’s Great Negotiator event who serves on the Program on Negotiation executive committee and is the Gordon Donaldson professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.

“James A. Baker, III was, without any question, one of the most effective American Secretaries of State in the post-World War II era. His dynamic leadership in helping to manage the end of the Cold War, the unification of Germany, and the Gulf War coalition against Saddam Hussein all testify to his brilliance as a negotiator and statesman,” said Nicholas Burns, faculty director of the Future of Diplomacy Project, professor of the practice of diplomacy and international politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, and co-chair with Jim Sebenius of the 2011 and 2012 Great Negotiator Award Committees.

Sponsorship of this year’s Great Negotiator award by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School provides the unique opportunity for cross-campus dialogue of negotiation and international politics.

The Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School is an interdisciplinary center focused on negotiation and conflict resolution.  Drawing from numerous fields of study, including law, business, government, psychology, economics, public policy, anthropology and education, PON works to connect rigorous scholarship with applied practice. PON presents lectures, discussions, classes and conferences, in addition to producing publications and teaching materials such as the Negotiation newsletter. Founded in 1983 and based at Harvard Law School, PON is a consortium of faculty, researchers and staff at Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University and other Boston-area schools.

The Future of Diplomacy Project is dedicated to supporting new means of international conflict prevention in a globalized context. Its activities are based around an understanding that military force alone cannot solve the complexity of challenges facing individual nations and regional alliances. The program aims to redefine ‘statecraft’ in a modern context through the lens of leading practitioners that are engaging in innovative means of conflict prevention and resolution at the negotiation table and beyond.  The project brings leading diplomats and practitioners to the Harvard Kennedy School to critically reflect on the changing nature of international relations, with experts, students and the wider community.  For more information, click here.

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