Managing Conflict in the Middle East

The Consensus Building Institute and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School

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Note: Purchase of the teacher’s manual for this Workable Peace Curriculum Unit includes a site license, which grants the user permission to reproduce its contents (including the role simulation instructions) for academic purposes at a single site, such as at a school or organization, for an unlimited number of students. The individual role simulation for the Managing Conflict in the Middle East curriculum (entitled “The Future of Hebron”) may be purchased on a per-participant basis. If you have any questions about the scope of the site license, please contact Stacie Nicole Smith, Director of Workable Peace, at or 617-492-1414 ext. 124; or PON’s Director of Curriculum Development at 617-495-1684.


Managing Conflict in the Middle East

This unit explores the long history of conflict between Zionists and Arabs in the Middle East. Students are introduced to Zionist and Arab perspectives regarding Jewish immigration to Palestine in the late 1930s. The Hebron Role Play, set in 1998, focuses on issues of land, security, and borders in the West Bank city of Hebron. To discuss these issues, an EU mediator convenes negotiations with representatives of the Israeli and Palestinian governments, the Israeli military, and Palestinian police (who share responsibility for keeping the peace in the city), and the Jewish settlers and militant Muslims who have been clashing in Hebron.

Overview of the Workable Peace

Workable Peace is an innovative high school humanities curriculum and professional development project for secondary school classrooms. Using new teaching materials and strategies, Workable Peace integrates the study of integroup conflict and the development of critical thinking, problem-solving, and perspective-taking skills into social studies and humanities content. It gives teachers academically rigorous tools for teaching the major themes and key events of history in ways that enliven the imagination, awaken moral reasoning, and impart social and civic skills that students can use throughout their lives.

By inviting students to examine history and current events from multiple perspectives, Workable Peace develops students’ abilities to understand the underlying sources of intergroup conflict, and allows them to practice skills for resolving conflicts without violence. Workable Peace integrates the study of intergroup conflict with core social studies and humanities subjects, and helps students understand and make connections between conflicts around the world, the U.S., and in their own schools and communities. In these ways, Workable Peace makes the teaching and learning experience more productive, creative, and meaningful.

A team from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education evaluated the Workable Peace curriculum and found significant improvements in students’ tolerance for differing points of view, understanding conflicts and strategies for resolving them, and listening and perspective taking skills. In addition, students demonstrated deeper understanding of the historical content they were studying, and a stronger ability to connect this with other historical conflicts, and conflicts in their own lives.

The Workable Peace curriculum reflects core concepts and key content areas in the Curriculum Standards for Social Studies of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and similar state standards. It is designed to be integrated into secondary school social studies and humanities classes. It can also be used in after-school or out-of-school settings.

Each Curriculum Unit contains five sections (each with a detailed Teacher’s Guide):

1. An analytical framework that teaches the sources of intergroup conflict and conflict management strategies;

2. Introductory activities to teach conflict analysis, using historical events and primary source documents;

3. An in-depth role play that challenges participants to voice their group’s needs, understand the needs of others, and seeks ways to meet their goals through negotiation with representatives of other groups;

4. Additional resources, including an annotated bibliography of additional information on the issues in the role play, as well as civic learning activities that apply the conflict resolution skills to parallel issues in students’ lives; and

5. Additional negotiation and mediation skill-building activities.

PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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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 are then permitted to view the document on your computer and either print the number of copies you purchased, or forward the electronic file as many times as the number of copies you purchased. You will only receive a link to one electronic file per document. So, if you order 25 soft copies, you may either forward copies of the link to 25 people via e-mail, or print (and/or photocopy) 25 hard copies of the document.

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

The purchase price and handling fee are the same for both soft and hard copies. Soft copies do not entail a shipping fee.

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 781-966-2751 (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 781-966-2751 (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, then you should order a single Teacher’s Package for that role simulation. A PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package is also available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. There is no need to order participant materials as well as a Teacher’s Package, as 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. Please note that the materials in Teacher’s Packages are for the instructor’s review and reference only, and may not be duplicated for use with participants.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

If you wish 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 “Participant Copies.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required; 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 “Participant Copies.” 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.