Wednesday, June 30 – Conflict Resolution

IMG_5404 We wrapped up the negotiation training with Mark Yong and Björn Hoffman today. They’ve provided us with some good tools and things to keep in mind in negotiations. When some of us were wandering around town after class, window shopping, enjoying aperitivos and reflecting on the last couple of days it became clear that not only will those tools be useful in our professional lives, but our personal lives as well. There are some landlords out there that aren’t going to know what hit them we return home from Bologna!

After lunch Maria from Pakistan ran a simulation on multilateral negotiations, based on the case of Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping. Sadly, in reality, the authorities failed to save his life and he was brutally murdered by his militant capturers and our mission was to see if we could, by using our new negotiation tools and training, do a better job and find solutions that would produce a happier ending. Although classroom simulation is of course very different from reality you really learn a lot by doing and we had to deal with all sorts of questions and dilemmas: Do you negotiate with terrorists or militants? Can you address their interests without conceding to their methods? How do you reconcile the need to save a person’s life, local politics, international relations, matters of jurisdiction, principals to produce the desired outcome and what exactly is the desired outcome?

DSC01893 It took a while, and the kidnapping of another innocent citizen (super-organizer Cameroon), but eventually the situation was resolved and both hostages were set free.

That wasn’t the only kidnapping of a staff member today, as on our way to Pedro’s birthday bash a group of us ran into Luke, who was captured and dragged along. In spite of some initial resistance he quickly developed quite the case of Stockholm syndrome and we had a nice night out. Great end to another great day. Good stuff!

Asta Palsdottir, Iceland