Wednesday, June 30 – Conflict Resolution

IMG_5435 Today, our schedule started with the last set of negotiation training sessions with our hono(u)rary guests, Mark Young (from the Harvard Program on Negotiation Trainer) and Bjorn Hofmann (from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs). Initially, we were meant to work through a hypothetical scenario as negotiators dealing with a case that involved Harborco, a newly created national consortium interested in building and operating a deep-water port off a coast of Seaborne that sought to gain the support of various parties (e.g. an environmental group, Federal Department of Coastal Resources, various ports in the same region, and the Governor) in order to pursue their project. However, the Harborco activity was replaced by the guest trainers’ “BATNA” (Best Alternative to A Negotiated Agreement).

The alternative exercise the trainers prepared for our class was a contract negotiation activity which would involve a role-play between a project manager and an intern negotiating the terms of a work contract suitable for both parties. The two participants who volunteered for the roles in front of the class were our two Canadians, Craig Ashbourne (intern) and Craig Vandermeer (project manager) (I’ll refer them as “C & C” for sheer brevity). Craig A. was branded as the natural “looper” by Mr Young for his skilful ability to summarise the other party’s positions and interests. Craig V. was commended for his use of body language in sync with his verbal positions by our fellow “IPSIite,” James Deane (yes, that’s his real given name) from Australia (yay, go Aussie!) (but James, the Maroons still trump the Blues! =P ;)). Personal jokes aside, C & C performed outstandingly in their given roles with much poise and their professionalism exuding in their efforts.

IMG_5467 Following the final negotiation workshops with Mr Young and Mr Hofmann, and our beloved lunch break, several IPSIites participated in the simulation conducted by Maria Saifuddin Effendi (Assistant Professor for Peace and Conflict Studies at the National Defence University) focusing on the Daniel Pearl case. To much credit to all those who were involved, I feel the need to give them recognition in today’s blog. Their passion and enthusiasm were not unrealised, and their hard work in their acting roles not ignored. Hats off to: Chinmay Thakkar (CIA negotiator), Azadeh Joharifad (Interior Minister for Pakistan), Anthony Cerella (President of Pakistan), Michael Martin (Chief Minister), Jose Salgado (U.S. President), Francesca Varda (IG police), Jaroslav Petrik (militant), Sophie Georgeson (CIA chief), Goranka Slavujevik (CIA negotiator), Asta M. Palsdottir (Detector), Ourania Dionysiou (CIA Negotiator), Lee B. Todd (political militant), Nicholas Knowlton (Pakistini President), Jasmine-Kim Wastendorf (US special envoy on South Asia), Michael McEvoy (ISI Chief), IMG_5476 Katherine J. Mote (militant, hardliner), Benjamin Greenlee (Pakistani Governor), Renad Mansour– (political leader of militants), Nicholas Duff (militant), Matthew Hughes (militant), and of course Maria Saifuddin Effendi who coordinated the simulation. Well done guys: your tireless dedication for the work of peace and conflict resolution is truly an inspiration! (On a side note, Katherine and Azadeh, your militant costumes were very creative! They rocked!)

As the official IPSI program for the day came to an end, some members headed to play a match of soccer (from where they gain their incessant energy is a deep mystery), others walked back to their hotel rooms to: rest; read; prepare to go out for dinner with Gareth Evans, to Pedro Pontes’ Birthday Party at the Irish Pub, or to Sophie Georgeson’s Birthday celebrations at the Opera.

IMG_5489 I was one of the eight IPSI members fortunate enough to be booked to have dinner with Professor Evans tonight. I was in awe of how humble and engaging he was with us despite his vast accomplishments and successes throughout his life. There was no lack of laughter during our dinner with him, especially as Mr Evans showed us his very animated side. (A word of advice to those who are booked for Dinner with him later this week: keep table knives away from him!!! He likes to use them as pointers or pretend he’s a Musketeer -.-;;;). It was a great pleasure to meet Gareth Evans, and I was grateful that he signed my book with a personalised message (if someone could please help me decipher 50% of his message, I’ll shout you coffee!) I hope to some day meet Professor Evans again and share with him the wonderful opportunities the IPSI Bologna Symposium will undoubtedly present themselves to the 2010 members upon our graduation.

There is so much more to journal about today’s events, but I have already exceeded Cameron Chisholm’s recommendation of three paragraphs per blog, so I must say Ce vediamo! Although the written account of our time in Bologna will be limited, our unwritten memories as IPSI members will be embedded in our minds for a long time to come…

“La dotta, la grassa, la rossa!”

Joo Hong, South Korea