Disclaimer: due to the coronavirus pandemic, this course description might be subject to changes.
Topics/Disciplines: multilateral negotiation, simulation, The Hague Peace Conference Simulation, diplomacy
Skills: (multilateral) negotiation, reflection on process and relations, analytical skills
Students will learn how to use international and EU negotiations as an instrument in politics and diplomacy. This will be done by a combination of lectures, exercises and debriefings. This makes the course learning by doing. The aim is to help students to get a better understanding of their own behaviour, thereby creating awareness about processes, people, perceptions, preferences and power.
The students will start with the Hague Peace Conference Simulation which will be an opportunity to experience before the start of the lectures with their negotiation style. The warming up simulation will be done with 50-60 students and will take a full weekend.
This course is an (extracurricular) Honours Class: an elective course within the Honours College programme. Third year students who don’t participate in the Honours College, have the opportunity to apply for a Bachelor Honours Class. Students will be selected based on i.a. their motivation and average grade.
The course is extensive, however the rational is simple. Negotiation is a skill which needs to be practiced. Therefore, students will actively engage with the theoretical material in several ways, through exercises, simulations, case studies and video reviews.
The course kicks off on Saturday with an opening by the Young Diplomat, introducing the topic of the Young Diplomat Conference. Students will receive a briefing on which state they will represent in which body. In the second half of the afternoon there will be a lecture on a topic in relation to the conference. On the second day there will be another lecture relating to the conference topic, and a discussion with a diplomatic panel.
Each seminar will highlight certain aspects of international negotiation. The exercises during the seminars will gradually become more complex and challenging. The students in their progress will learn about the theoretical aspects on international negotiation, and they will directly apply their new knowledge, and will train their skills during the exercises.
During the final weekend students will partake in the Young Diplomat Conference. Here students will have to apply the skills and knowledge they have gained throughout the course in a two day simulation. Each body will have a professional from the Young Diplomat to make observations about the performance of the students which will serve as an input to the reflection. During the course students will need to do research on the position of their actor (through desk research but also by contacting and meeting with the actual Embassy of their actor in the Hague). They will submit their position statement to the course lecturers who will provide it with feedback. The position statements will also be distributed among all other participants. Students will have to submit a final position statement with a negotiation strategy as part of their final assignment.
During the weeks of the course students will go on field trips within The Hague to the International Criminal Court, the Peace Palace, embassies, they will join a networking event with NGOs, and they will attend a formal dinner during the Young Diplomat Conference.
By applying for this class you confirm that you are physically available on all the dates of the class, which also includes two weekends and 5 Saturdays. You will also attend all the meetings with the NGO's, diplomats and will visit the Peace Palace.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will:
have a better understanding of the relationship and inner workings of supranational and intergovernmental organizations as well as among government, science and society;
have gained valuable skills on bilateral and multilateral negotiation skills, as well as on personal leadership and public speaking;
applying skills and theoretical knowledge through different simulations varying in complexity, while also applying knowledge to case studies;
have a better understanding of international political and diplomatic negotiation;
learn how to manage complexity, their own emotions and representing interests, while dealing with those of others;
have a better understanding of their own behavior and that of their fellow students/negotiators;
have gained analysis and research skills in relation to international political and diplomatic negotiation;
have gained a network of NGOs for potential internships and career opportunities;
have gained insights into the reality of working in international politics and diplomacy.
Programme and timetable:
5th of February 13.00 – 17.00: Opening, introduction to the topic of the Young Diplomat Conference and first lecture.
6th of February 13.00 – 17.00: Second lecture and diplomatic panel discussion.
12th, 19th, 26th of February, 5th, 12th, and 19th of March 10.30 – 12.30 (30 minute lunch break) 13.00 – 15.00 lecture by dr. P.W. Meerts and H.B. van den Berg, MSc.
26th and 27th of March 9.30 – 17.30 final simulation of the Young Diplomat.
Please find below a more detailed information about every session.
5th of February 13.00 – 17.00:
Students will be welcomed and be given an introduction on the topic of the Young Diplomat Conference followed by a related lecture.
6th of February 13.00 – 17.00:
Students will follow another lecture on the topic of the conference followed by a discussion with a diplomatic panel.
During the week of February 7:
A visit will be made to the International Criminal Court in The Hague where students will receive a guided tour and presentation on the workings of the court. The International Criminal Court is the only international tribunal which can rule on international crimes based on the Rome statute. This visit will highlight the importance of the court in international relations and politics and what the consequences are in relation to which states are and are not signatory to the Rome statute.
12th of February 10.30 – 12.30 and 13.00 – 15.00:
Session I of the seminar: introduction to International Negotiation and Bilateral Bargaining.
An introductory lecture on the topic of international negotiation will give students an overview of the important elements of the topic. Next students will work together on establishing a definition of international negotiation. Followed by two exercises on distributive (win/lose) and integrative (win/win) bargaining.
19th of February 10.30 – 12.30 and 13.00 – 15.00:
Session II of the seminar: Trilateral and Minilateral Bargaining.
In this session, the process of negotiation between more than two parties and the impact of internal and external processes will be studied and practiced. Students will get a better understanding of the options for win/win solutions, hampered by elements like trust, entrapment, power and interest imbalances, the differences in character and effectiveness of the actors involved and the (non-)chemistry between them. They will get more insights into the tensions between competition and cooperation. The session will start with a discussion of the Kuechle case in which three parties try to come to a – for them - acceptable agreement, followed by a mixed distributive / integrative exercise. In the afternoon there will be a negotiation between five member states of the European Union concerning a crisis in the Mediterranean.
During the week of February 21st:
Students are expected to visit or meet up with a representative of the embassy of the actor they represent in the Young Diplomat Conference. This will give them input for their concept and final position statement. It will also offer them the opportunity to meet in a small setting with a diplomat to ask questions about their work and the field.
26th of February 10.30 – 12.30 and 13.00 – 15.00:
Session III of the seminar: Negotiation behaviour.
Several models and exercises will serve to enhance the understanding and management of negotiation behaviour and its effectiveness. After all, bargaining and negotiation are not only about interest, but very much about personalities, their ego, etc. This is true for diplomats, but probably even more for politicians. The module starts with a discussion of chapter IV of ‘Diplomatic Negotiation’ and a discussion on the issue of the skilled negotiator. Followed by a discussion and application of strategy and tactics in negotiation processes. The third hour will be devoted to the questions about perception and emotion, which play an important role in negotiation processes. The session will be concluded by a self-assessment exercise on unconscious negotiation behaviour: negotiation styles.
5th of March 10.30 – 12.30 and 13.00 – 15.00:
Session IV of the seminar: Multilateral Negotiation / Conference Diplomacy.
In order to get a better understanding about multilateral complexity, students will negotiate and draft a resolution on the creation of the United Nations Disaster Relief Organization (UNDRO) in the context of the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Geneva. This session is the preparatory phase. It starts with a lecture on the issue and a discussion on the Kent article, followed by the phase for preparation in delegations, which can be used for lobbying as well. After the break will be the official starting point of the conference with a plenary session where short statements will be made and the draft resolution will be explored, followed by a first round of formal and informal consultations.
During the week of March 7:
A visit will be made to the Peace Palace where the students will receive a guided tour. The Peace Palace is an active court and plays an important role in international relations, law and negotiations.
12th of March 10.30 – 12.30 and 13.00 – 15.00:
Session V of the seminar: Multilateral Negotiation / Conference Diplomacy.
In this session the negotiations of session IV will be finalized. An ECOSOC Resolution on the coordination in cases of natural disasters will be drafted and debriefed. In parallel sessions each member of the ten delegations (including the presidency) will be involved in a process of drafting a single text under consensus rule. After the break there will be debriefings with reflections on the performance of the students and as groups. The session will be concluded by a film of the drafting process as it happened in reality, followed by a reflection on the course so far by discussing the article of Lempereur and Colson.
19th March 10.30 – 12.30 and 13.00 – 15.00:
Session VI of the seminar: Chairing negotiations and conferences. Negotiations and international political conferences can be a hot bed for tensions. Chairing such events requires a particular approach, a chair can have significant influence over the process and outcomes. While on the other hand one can find themselves excluded from any affairs by a single mistake. In this session students will reflect on characteristics of a chair, the importance of procedure, tips and tricks, and different styles of chairing. Through experience from previous sessions, videos and exercises students will engage and be prepped for a potential chairpersonship during future conferences and negotiations.
During the week of March 21:
Students will attend an NGO networking event. Here they will have speed date during a drinks event with several NGO’s. This way students are enabled to build a network and get to know different NGO’s in the field. The purpose is to help students find an internship or even a job and career opportunities.
26th of March 09.30 – 17.30:
The first day of the Young Diplomat Conference. The international bodies in which the students will act are the UN Security Council, NATO or the EU Heads of Government. Some actors will be represented in all bodies, while others will not. In all situations students will have to coordinate their actions and approach across the bodies, and if they have no representation in one or two of the other bodies, then work with allies to ensure their interests are served. Students will start negotiations on the topic of the conference and will have to coordinate with their fellow delegates and allies across different bodies. The goal is to have a final resolution or statement by the end of the weekend. Each body will have a professional from the Young Diplomat to make observations about the performance of the students to serve as input for reflection.
19.00 – 22.00:
Dinner at the hotel VOCO in The Hague. The dinner serves several purposes
1) during dinner, as during real-life negotiation and diplomatic conferences lobbying continues and deals are struck;
2) an introductory course on etiquette will be provided;
3) this is the final weekend of the course, a moment for students to bond and build connections among each other.
27th of March 09.30 – 15.00:
After a first day at the conference students are expected to come to a final outcome with either a statement or resolution. Again, each body will have a professional from the Young Diplomat that will make observations about the performance of the students and will serve as an input for reflection.
15.30 – 17.30:
After the conference there will be a break. During the first part of the reflection, each body will reflect on their performance with the Young Diplomat professional. After this reflection the group will get together to review the outcome of the conference and will reflect on the general performance across the different bodies.
February 5 and 6 and March 26 and 27 will take place in Wijnhaven.
Lectures on February 12, 19, 26 and March 5, 12 and 19 will take place in Living LAB
The students will have to read:
‘Diplomatic negotiation, Essence and Evolution’. This book will be – electronically - made available for free.
‘International Diplomacy’ by the Young Diplomat. This book will be – electronically – made available for free.
‘The UN, A Suitbale Place for Disaster?’, Kent, R.
Other academic literature relevant to the course will be announced in class or on Brightspace.
Course load and teaching method:
This course is worth 5 ECTS, which means the total course load equals 140 hours.
Contact hours: 48
8 hours spread over the 5th and 6th of February on case study and presentation.
24 hours over 6 seminars of 4 hours each on the 12th, 19th, 26th of February, 5th, 12th, and 19th of March.
16 hours on the final simulation of the Young Diplomat on the 26th and 27th of March.
20 hours on the group essay of the case study assignment.
20 hours on the concept position paper final simulation and final position paper and negotiation strategy.
52 hours studying relevant literature.
Concept position paper final simulation: In the weekend of 26th and 27th of March students will take part in a two day simulation. Small groups of students (2-3) and will represent an actor (state, organisation or other). The students will write a statement on the position of the actor they represent in relation to the topic of the simulation. This assignment is due on the 4th of March 2022. Students will receive feedback on the position statement and the position statements of the other actors in the simulation.
Final position statement and negotiation strategy (50% of the final grade): Building on the second assignment students are expected, in their respective groups for the final simulation, to write a final position statement and, based on the other position statements, to develop a negotiation strategy. This is due on the 25th of March 2022. Total word count of 1500 words (with a 10% margin).
Case study (50% of the final grade): Students will have to pick a current or historical negotiation situation and analyse it. Here students will have to pick a specific piece of theory to use to analyse a real life situation and make sense of it. They are expected to provide a short literature overview of the theory they will use in the analysis, a summary of the case, and finally their analysis with potential recommendations. This is due on the 1st of April 2022. Total word count of 2000 words (with a 10% margin).
The final grade will be reduced with 0.5 point of the grade for every missed lecture or participation on both the case study weekend or the final simulation of the Young Diplomat. The total reduction of the grade can therefore reach a maximum of 5.0 (6 lectures, 2 days of the opening conference and 2 days of the Young Diplomat final simulation).
Brightspace and uSis:
Brightspace will be used in this course. Upon admission students will be enrolled in Brightspace by the teaching administration.
Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Bachelor Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.
Submitting an application for this course is possible from Monday 1 November 2021 up to and including Thursday 11 November 2021 23:59 through the link on the Honours Academy student website.
Note: students don’t have to register for the Bachelor Honours Classes in uSis. The registration is done centrally before the start of the class.