Content varies from quarter to quarter.
The Negotiation Course is a structured role play which requires students to work together in groups as they engage in research, undertake simulated negotiations, and draft “real time” policy documents and assessments. The instructors, retired U.S. senior diplomats, utilize a “real world” scenario – the Six-Party Talks on denuclearization of North Korea – to provide instructional context. Students meet formally with the instructors twice each week, but much of the educational value comes from informal student-to-student interactions (negotiations) outside of regular class hours. Required readings are minimal, but students must carefully research national policies and positions related to the negotiation and regularly engage their student counterparts and instructors face-to-face, by e-mail, and via formal written documents throughout the course.
Student learning goals
understanding of diplomatic practice with regard to non-proliferation negotiations
ability to quickly assess new information and situations and effectively communicate positions in reports approximating U.S. State Department formats
capability to work constructively under pressure within and among four-person negotiating teams
effectiveness in interpreting and implementing negotiating instructions and dealing with off-site superiors in written and oral channels
General method of instruction
After an initial session in which instructors explain course organization, tasks, and goals, students interact, individually and as teams, without significant further instructor direction. Instructors instead act as facilitators, ensuring that students are working within course parameters and role playing as assuming “national leaders” in home capitals. One session each week is devoted to plenary negotiations involving all students in their negotiating groups. The timing of the second weekly session is somewhat more flexible, with instructors (as “national leaders”) meeting with each team at different times on the appointed day.
No prior knowledge of nuclear nonproliferation, arms control, or Northeast Asian international relations is required, but this course is best suited for upperclass undergraduates and graduate students with significant prior preparation in international relations.
Class assignments and grading
Students prepare and submit to “national leaders” group reports every week and also interact one-on-one, via email exchange, with instructors at least once each week. Each student also is required to draft a short paper describing and assessing “lessons learned” from the negotiation near the end of the course.
The degree of “active participation” is the most important factor in determing each student’s grade. Class attendance is mandatory and any absences can have a negative impact on a student’s final grade. Student interest, initiative, judgement, leadership, and communication skills are closely monitored, through written reports and direct observation, on a continuous basis. Final grades are based on these observations and assessments of individual performance; evidence of improvement in individual student contributions as the quarter progresses also is an important factor.