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Being a Successful Negotiator: Negotiations Theory and Practice Course

Have you ever wondered how to reach agreement on tough foreign policy issues? Are you curious how to negotiate sustainable deals that are in all parties’ interest?

15 May 2019
Being a Successful Negotiator- Negotiations Theory and Practice Course

Being a Successful Negotiator: Negotiations Theory and Practice Course

Have you ever wondered how to reach agreement on tough foreign policy issues? Are you curious how to negotiate sustainable deals that are in all parties’ interest?

From 24 to 26 April, the GCSP Security and Law Programme organised the “Negotiations Theory and Practice“ course at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) Headquarters in Bern. The event was co-directed by GCSP Associate Fellow, Dr Franz von Däniken, and Mr Tobias Vestner, Head of Security and Law Programme, at the GCSP. The course was designed for young Swiss diplomats, providing them with the necessary tools and skills to master negotiations in their further diplomatic career.

One of the highlights of the programme was the combination of negotiation theory, including a self-assessment, with the exchange of hands-on experiences amongst practitioners. The speakers elaborated on key elements pertaining to bilateral and multilateral negotiations as well as the interplay between both processes. Speakers highlighted building bridges and new relationships between diverse cultural and political realms, communication across federal departments, and an understanding of social, political and economic contexts as central factors of diplomatic work. Also, speakers and participants discussed digital communication tools and social media as emerging instruments in diplomacy. Finally, a representative of the Federal Office of Police (fedpol) challenged the diplomats’ perspective with negotiation techniques for negotiations in hostage situations.

The course furthermore provided mentorship to young diplomats and offered them a unique opportunity to exchange with experienced negotiators. This element was very valued by participants.  A course participant reflected on the course by stating: “We had the unique opportunity to gain concrete insights and techniques from key personalities in Swiss diplomacy.”