Arab and Jewish Students Offered Negotiation Training with Support from the Program on Negotiation

By — on / Middle East Negotiation Initiatives

On October 1, 2013, nearly 300 Jewish and Arab students from twelve Israeli high schools convened for a conference on negotiation, co-sponsored by the Program on Negotiation.  Having learned core negotiation methodology and acquiring concrete tools and skills previously, these students were offered a special opportunity to learn directly from skilled negotiation practitioners in various fields and to discuss how negotiation skills can be applied in real life.

The students were welcomed by representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and Professor Gabriela Shalev, Israel’s former Ambassador to the UN, as they began a thought-provoking and challenging day.  Many of the Arab and Jewish youth expressed their belief that the way forward is through constructive

negotiation – in their daily life as well as in political conflicts.

The workshop was part of a program conducted by Amal school network in collaboration with the Program on Negotiation, and supported by the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), US Embassy. This program teaches the young adults how to negotiate their needs while considering carefully the needs of others in order to reach constructive and sustainable agreements.  As leaders of the future, teaching them to engage productively with other people and reach an understanding is essential to a socially cohesive and peaceful future for both communities.  The program was initiated three years ago, and has been developed and directed since then by Dr. Shula Gilad, Senior Fellow at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and Dr. Rachel Tal, Director of the English Program.  This special conference, which concluded the 2012-2013 program, was co-sponsored by Ono Academic College and prepared with major contributions from Dr. Elad Oreg, a negotiation and mediation lecturer at Ono.

The keynote afternoon speaker was Jim Tull, who came from Cambridge, MA, to share with the students his story of being taken hostage in Nicaragua and successfully negotiating his release using the same methodology that the students have been learning.  Between two inspiring plenary sessions, the students were paired into five Arab-Jewish groups and assigned to workshops throughout the day, where they participated in panels moderated by negotiation experts from the field.

Some of the workshops included: “Negotiations in Business –Israel’s Gas Opportunity,” with Amir Foster and Noa Foster, “The Power of Trust and Relationship in International Negotiation,” with retired Generals Mansour Abu Rashid (Jordanian) and Baruch Spiegel (Israesli)“Creative Solutions in Land Disputes,” with Dr. Hussein Tarabeih and Dr. Dafna Ben Baruch, “Negotiation in the Shadow of the Law – the New Lawyer” with Adv. Michal Fein, and “Negotiation in the World of Arts,” with Asher Bitansky, well known in Israel’s music industry. The day ended with a moving and joyful concert by artist, songwriter, actress and activist, Mira Anwar Awad, who shared her thoughts about negotiation and her songs in English, Hebrew and Arabic.  

Click below for a glimpse of the workshop and the concert!

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