Research & Analysis

The world we live in is rapidly changing. Conflicts in Eurasia are becoming increasingly complex and have repercussions on other continents. The Negotiation Task Force provides innovative analytical tools to decode the dynamics that shape regional conflict systems.

A unique component of NTF research projects is the combination of negotiation science frameworks with network analysis methods into negotiation systems research. Our current research agenda focuses on impact-oriented negotiation research on current security issues in the Euro-Atlantic sphere and Eurasia. Our scholars produce academic research as well as strategic analysis that can inform policy-making.


The Art of Negotiation Exercise Design: Five Basic Principles to Produce Powerful Learning Experiences

By Arvid Bell and Taylor Valley. Negotiation Journal, Winter 2020
Negotiation exercise design is rooted in core principles that can be harnessed to produce simple to moderately complex exercises to engage participants in dynamic environments and reinforce learning. 

A Puzzle Too Complex? James Baker’s Mediation Mission in Western Sahara, 1997-2004

By Arvid Bell and Tom O'Bryan. HKS Case 2158.0. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Kennedy School Case Program, 2019.
This new case study of one of the world’s most protracted conflicts—the peace process in Western Sahara—incorporates NTF research into the dynamics of complex conflict systems and their concomitant negotiation and mediation challenges. It explores the linkages between regional actors in North Africa and important external stakeholders such as France, the United States and the Russian Federation.

Dispute Regulation in the Institutional Development of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: Establishing the Normative Legal Implications of the Belt and Road Initiative

By Malik R. Dahlan. International Organizations and the Promotion of Effective Dispute Resolution, AIIB Yearbook of International Law, 2019.
Principled dispute regulation can provide a new dimension to underpin regional governance. In this study, NTF Senior Mediation Fellow Malik R. Dahlan discusses the implications of this argument for China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

A Saudi’s Advice for Kushner: How Your Peace Plan Can Still Avoid Catastrophic Failure

By Malik R. Dahlan. Haaretz, July 3, 2019.
NTF Senior Mediation Fellow Malik R. Dahlan, on peacemaking in the Middle East.

Why Venezuela Needs Russia: Moscow hopes Caracas will pay off its debts and be an enduring geostrategic location for Russian influence

By Taylor Valley. The National Interest, June 20, 2019.
"As long as Russia still has cards to play, it will, for better or for worse, remain at the negotiating table,” writes NTF Program Coordinator Taylor Valley, REECA '18, on the enduring Russo-Venezuelan partnership.

Cognitive Maelstroms, Nested Negotiation Networks, and Cascading Decision Effects: Modeling and Teaching Negotiation Complexity with Systemic Multi-Constituency Exercises

By Arvid Bell and Brian Mandell. Negotiation Journal, Winter 2018
Negotiation practitioners today struggle to manage complex political, economic, and cultural disputes that often involve an array of intertwined issues, parties, process choices, and consequences – both intended and unintended. To prepare next-generation negotiators for these multifaceted challenges, negotiation instructors must keep pace with the rapidly evolving complexity of today's world. In this article, we introduce systemic multiconstituency exercises (SMCEs), a new educational tool for capturing this emerging reality and helping to close the experiential learning gap between the simulated and the non-simulated environment.

Perspectives in Post-Soviet Conflict: The 2017 Davis Center Negotiation Task Force Research Report

Bell, Arvid, Ed. Cambridge, MA: Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, December 2017.
This collection of interviews with scholars and practitioners from the U.S., Russia, and other European countries provides insight into Russia’s complex security environment. It is especially relevant for scholars and students of Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian issues who are interested in U.S.-Russia relations, strategic stability, and the war in Ukraine.

Negotiating Conflict in the Middle East and North Africa: A System Analysis after the Arab Spring, the Iran Nuclear Deal, and the Rise of ISIS

By Eileen Babbitt, Arvid Bell, Alain Lempereur, Brian Mandell, and Dana Wolf. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Kennedy School Negotiation Project, May 2017.
This conflict system analysis report identifies and analyzes the conflicts, parties, issues, and relationships that shape the current political situation in the Middle East and North Africa.