Must We Fight? From the Battlefield to the Schoolyard – A New Perspective on Violent Conflict and Its Prevention



In this book, William Ury (director of the Global Negotiations Initiative at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School) and a panel of experts from several scientific disciplines challenge the commonly held notion that violence is “human nature.” Must We Fight? presents new research and insights into human nature which demonstrate that humankind is not doomed to continue the seemingly endless cycle of violent conflict.

In October 1999 and September 2000, the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School held public symposia in which scholars from different disciplines sought to address the question of whether violence is an inherent and inevitable part of human life–in other words, must we fight? The first symposium, entitled “Violent human nature? Telling a new story,” brought together representatives of the primatology, anthropology, and conflict resolution fields to discuss new scientific insights into the human capacity for violence and peacemaking. In the second symposium, entitled “The Third Side: Mobilizing Communities to Prevent Urban Violence,” Ury presented a conceptual framework for community-based conflict management, while experts in sociology and political science presented case studies illustrating the framework in action.

The first two sections of this book are edited transcriptions of the symposia presentations and discussions. The final section is a “Third Side” simulation designed for classroom use. Based on actual events, the simulation asks students to put themselves in the place of an administrator faced with a community conflict — in this case, a racial incident at a public high school — and to attempt to mobilize the Third Side to address the conflict.

The symposia presentations and the simulations are collected here to stimulate thinking among students, theorists, and practitioners about the Third Side and how it might be used to prevent, contain, and resolve conflict.



“Bill Ury has a remarkable ability to get to the heart of a dispute and find simple but innovative ways to resolve it.” – Jimmy Carter

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 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.