Great Negotiator 2002: Lakhdar Brahimi

James Sebenius and Kristen Schneeman

Video featuring excerpts from a discussion with Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi regarding his international negotiation experiences, including negotiating a new government for Afghanistan in 2002


Each year, the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School presents the Great Negotiator Award to an individual whose lifetime achievements in the field of negotiation and dispute resolution have had a significant and lasting impact. In 2002, the Program on Negotiation selected Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi as the recipient of its Great Negotiator Award.

Ambassador Brahimi is a universally-admired diplomat whose renowned negotiation skills have been tested in the harshest of circumstances. A native of Algeria, he has devoted the greater part of his four-decade career to convincing people to choose peace over war. Highlights of his extraordinary career include mediating the Taif Accord, which paved the way for an end to the Lebanese civil war; heading special United Nations troubleshooting missions to hot-spots such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Liberia, Sudan, Nigeria, South Africa, the former Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo), and Haiti; and overseeing the production of the “Brahimi Report,” a comprehensive critique of the efficiency and effectiveness of U.N. peacekeeping missions. In 2002, as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy to Afghanistan, Ambassador Brahimi took a lead role in orchestrating both the Bonn Conference that set up an interim Afghan government following the fall of the Taliban, and the June 2002 Loya Jirga, the successor negotiations to Bonn.


The Program on Negotiation honored Ambassador Brahimi in events on October 2, 2002. These began with an in-depth faculty-moderated discussion with a group of students, faculty, and guests at Harvard Business School. On the evening of the 2nd, Ambassador Brahimi received the Great Negotiator Award at a formal dinner at Harvard Law School. This DVD features excerpts from the award discussion with Ambassador Brahimi.

On the DVD, Ambassador Brahimi speaks from personal experience about strategies, tactics, and lessons learned as UN Special Envoy to Afghanistan both before and after the fall of the Taliban; and about general negotiation issues such as knowing what is and what isn’t negotiable, taking account of outside players in a negotiation, the role of deadlines in negotiation, negotiating with parties together or separately, and knowing when to continue negotiating and when to walk away.

The DVD booklet includes a guide to the 24 DVD tracks as well as a complete transcript of the DVD contents. Used alone or with the Lakhdar Brahimi case study, it provides a wonderful opportunity to teach from recent history, using a living, working diplomat as a focus for learning about negotiation. The case study provides a wealth of factual details regarding Brahimi’s negotiations, while the DVD features Brahimi’s personal reflections and observations. An instructor might, for instance, use the case study as a basis for classroom discussion, and use excerpts from the DVD to offer Brahimi’s own thoughts on the issues discussed in class.

DVD run time: 1 hour, 35 minutes


Great Negotiator 2002: Lakhdar Brahimi Attributes

Time required:
Teaching notes available:
Produced by:
Edited by James Sebenius and Kristen Schneeman Program on Negotiation (2004)
Run Time:
1 Hour & 35 Minutes

PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

Close window

Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.