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.


Is a Ceasefire Agreement Possible? A Negotiation Analysis of the Russia-Ukraine War 

By Arvid Bell and Dana Wolf. Russia Matters, March 2022.
For more fruitful negotiations to begin, Russia’s interest in a cease-fire must be heightened, even if it remains lower than Ukraine’s.

To Hell with the Cell: The Case for Immersive Statecraft Education

By Arvid Bell and Alexander Bollfrass. International Studies Perspectives, June 2021.
We propose a method for designing crisis environments that are dynamic, deep, and decentralized (3D). These obviate the need for a control cell and enhance the usefulness of exercises in preparing military and policy practitioners by better replicating real-world decision-making dynamics.

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. 

Why Europe Matters: The Case for an Arms Control Negotiation Campaign

By Arvid Bell. Center for Strategic International Studies, September 2020.
Europe should spearhead an arms control agreement for both its own security interests and to bring major powers to the table for a comprehensive campaign, writes NTF Director Arvid Bell.

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.

First Mover’s Toolbox

Negotiation tips from the NTF Insider e-newsletter. 

Dialogue in the Face of Impasse

New avenues for dialogue, taken in the right direction, consistently and over time, may yield surprising diplomatic victories.

The Power of Objective Criteria in Negotiations

Insisting on objective criteria in negotiations will give you more leverage and provide all parties with a reliable framework to settle their dispute.

The Limits of Personal Relationships

Strong interpersonal relationships can be an asset in negotiations. But you should never rely on them alone to produce positive breakthroughs.

Negotiating Within Reiterated Games

It's one thing to negotiate a deal between parties on a singular occasion. It's another entirely to repeatedly negotiate with the same parties from different positions of strength.

Dealing with Lies in Negotiations

Dealing with perfidious negotiators creates uncomfortable situations for those hearing false statements. The best manner of recourse is to verify your own information first, and then, name, frame, and claim the spoken lie.

Building Resilient Negotiations with Democracies

Democratic elections and changes in government introduce uncertainty into negotiations. Designing a deal architecture that reinforces the commitments of all parties and creates contingencies for disagreements can prevent the dissolution of agreements.

How Advanced Negotiators Increase Leverage

BATNA-weakening moves are an option to resolve impasse in a negotiation stalemate. But by pressuring your counterpart rather than persuading them, you may find yourself exhausting any goodwill to negotiate.

Renegotiate Commitments Without Letting People Down

Deep into a negotiation, you realize an issue you fought hard for no longer suits your interests. What should you do now?

Make Your Agreements Crisis-Proof

Create resilient agreements to withstand crises and unexpected events.

What Negotiation Science Can Tell Us about the Coronavirus Pandemic

How can negotiation strategies and research assist leaders in making informed decisions in times of uncertainty?

Master Interconnected Conflicts

The importance of conflict system mapping cannot be understated.