IGA-109: Great Negotiators, Effective Diplomacy, and Intractable Conflicts

Semester: Not Offered

Credit: 1.0


Day Time Location
First Day
Meet Day


What can we learn from studying great negotiators and diplomats grappling with some of the world's most challenging problems? This course explores how modern diplomacy and negotiation can effectively address seemingly "intractable" international conflicts and overcome barriers to agreement in civil wars, interstate conflicts, and in trade and finance. Drawing on in-depth cases from global politics and business, the course will develop diagnostic and prescriptive characteristics of effective negotiation and diplomacy as tools of political, military, economic and financial statecraft. The course will pay close attention to the "how" of negotiation and diplomacy. How do officials conduct diplomacy at the highest levels? How can leaders use negotiations and the combination of diplomacy and the threat of force effectively? How do statesmen and business leaders most effectively overcome daunting barriers to a desired agreement? In service of these objectives, the course will draw on case studies of some of recent history's greatest negotiators both in politics and business, look at in-depth, personal interviews from the instructors' American Secretaries of State Project, and study examples where negotiation and diplomacy paid off and where they failed. Students should come to class having done all readings and prepared to engage in discussion and debate. We require active class participation with cold calling as the norm. Course readings beyond the case studies will be eclectic and interdisciplinary. This class will help you practice the skills that are critical to success in public service as well as the private sector -- deep intellectual knowledge of the core issues of our time, analytical thinking, and effective writing skills. This course will require (a) three short paper assignments (1,000 words maximum per paper),and (b) a final exam. With the advance permission of an instructor, students may submit a 4,000-6,000-word term paper on an approved topic in lieu of the final exam. Grading will be on the basis of the quality and frequency of class participation, the short paper assignments, and the final exam or paper. For Law, Business, and Kennedy School students, the final course grade will be the responsibility of the professor from that school.

Also offered by the Law School as 2733 and the Business School as 2218. Note: The class will be limited to 75 students with the initial expectation of equal numbers of students from the each of the Law, Kennedy, and Business Schools. Not offered in 2015-16.







John F. Kennedy School of Government 79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-495-1100 Get Directions Visit Contact Page