M Jane Meyerding
Content varies from quarter to quarter.
The Negotiation Course is a structured role play exercise based on the Six-Party Talks on denuclearization of North Korea in which students will work in groups representing the United States, China, Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Groups will engage in policy research, undertake negotiations with students representing other nations, and draft “real time” documents and assessments. The instructors, retired U.S. senior diplomats, will work to create a realistic scenario and will mentor students intensively as they engage in negotiations throughout the quarter-long exercise.
While students will necessarily learn much about the nations they represent and about Northeast Asian political, diplomatic and security issues, the educational focus of this class is to help students develop competencies key to success in diplomacy and international negotiations. Students will define national interests, debate positions within their teams, brief national leaders, creatively carry out negotiating strategies based on instructions from capitals, react to others’ diplomatic approaches, and develop their writing and interpersonal skills.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Students will be divided into teams representing the six nations for the duration of the role play exercise. The first task of each team will be to prepare background and strategy papers and then brief these to home nation leaders (played by the instructors). After receiving initial instructions, students will engage in weekly plenary negotiation sessions and side meetings. During the exercise, teams will seek progress as defined by their individual national goals in the negotiation. Teams will interact with their national leaders each week both through drafting a reporting cable on each negotiating session and through direct interaction with their nation’s leaders. Instructors will mentor both individuals and teams throughout the exercise. Learning will come through practice rather than academic reading and instruction and there is no set outcome for the negotiation.
There are no course prerequisites for this class, but instructors expect students with previous classes in security studies and international relations to be best prepared to succeed.
Class assignments and grading
Students in groups will produce concise background and policy recommendation papers over the first two weeks of the course, brief suggested negotiating strategies to home government leaders (played by the instructors), then produce regular reporting cables based on plenary sessions and side meetings. Individuals will also produce regular “back channel” e-mails to their superiors in home bureaucracies. Each student will produce a short paper giving an assessment of the negotiation near the end of the course.
Instructors will observe and critique each participant’s interpersonal interactions as well as the quality of, and improvement in, their team and individual written products. Top students will be those who flexibly, intelligently and skillfully address emerging challenges, thus demonstrating their command of key competencies. Active participation in all course exercises is of course critical to individual success.