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International Negotiation


Admission requirements

Only students of the Advanced MSc International Relations and Diplomacy can take this course.


One of the major tools in interstate decision-making are international diplomatic negotiation processes, both bilateral and multilateral. The instructor will offer participants an opportunity to examine the theoretical and practical aspects of negotiations, conference diplomacy and decision-making in international governmental organisations. Students will read and reflect on the prescribed literature, analyse actual cases, practice and enhance their negotiation skills in simulation exercises. Among the main topics of this course are the dynamics of the negotiation process and the impact of different types of interests on international decision-making, the role of rules and procedures in diplomatic negotiations, the behaviour of actors and the various levels of the negotiation process. The course will draw on the long-standing experience of the Clingendael Negotiations Team.

Central to the teaching methodology is the conviction that reading about negotiation theory is better after experiencing similar negotiation processes. The sessions are based on negotiation simulations. With the help of self-assessments and group discussions, students will reflect on their own behaviour and of the other negotiators. Each workshop will start at 9 and last to roughly 17, but this will depend on the speed of which some of the simulations will be played out. It might run to 17.30. Students need to prepare for simulations outside of class and also hand in strategy papers and reflection sheets. The literature is provided during the course. Some of it needs to be read during the weeks that the course takes place. Mostly though it is for the exam which wraps-up the course. This is a take home exam that needs to be handed in three weeks after the final class.

Course objectives

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Explain main theories on negotiations and their relationship to wider international relations theory;

  • Describe the key principles underpinning a successful negotiation or (conflict) mediation;

  • Have a better understanding of their own skills and competencies in negotiations via simulations and role-plays;

  • Increase their effectiveness in (international) negotiations;

  • Create strategies for negotiation processes;

  • Recognise bargaining tactics and respond correspondingly.


On the right-hand side of the programme front page of the E-Prospectus you will find a link to the online timetables.

Mode of instruction

The following methods will be used:

  • Interactive lectures;

  • Individual and group assignments;

  • Discussions, including reflection in groups on lessons learned;

  • Multiple bilateral negotiation simulations;

  • Multilateral negotiation simulations;

  • Individual negotiation profile and self-assessment.

Attendance Policy
Attendance is mandatory, subject to course structure (see syllabus for details).

Assessment method

The final mark for this course is based on components testing knowledge, and oral and written academic skills:

  • Participation during class: 20%

  • Competence development: 25%

  • Preparation assignments for the simulations: 30%

  • Assignment: 25%

You can find more information about assessments and the timetable exams on the website.
Details for submitting papers (deadlines) are posted on Brightspace.
On the front page of the programme you will find links to the website, uSis and Brightspace.

Failed partial grades or components should be compensated by passed partial grades or components. The calculated grade must be at least 5,5 to pass the course. It is not possible to re-sit a partial grade or component once you have passed the course.

  • Passed partial grades obtained in the academic year 2022-2023 remain valid during the academic year 2023-2024.

  • Passed partial grades obtained in the academic year 2023-2024 remain valid during the academic year 2024-2025.

  • Should a student fail the overall course, s/he can complete the course in the second year of the programme.

Reading list

No purchases of specific books or literature are necessary. The literature will be communicated by the lecturer at a later stage.


Register yourself via uSis for each course, workgroup and exam (not all courses have workgroups and/or exams). Do so on time, before the start of the course; some courses and workgroups have limited spaces. You can view your personal schedule in MyTimetable after logging in.

Registration for this course is possible from Wednesday 13 December 13.00h

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in uSis you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.


Mr. Jeremy Dommnich, Clingendael Institute, Academy Programme

Mr. Tobias von Lossow, Clingendael Institute, Sustainability Research Unit


This course is offered by The Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’.
This course is intensive, with all sessions taking place in the month of January.