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Global Negotiation Conference 2023

Navigating Humanitarian Negotiations

Hosted by the University of Zurich

From 11 to 14 July 2023, the 10th Global Negotiation Conference was hosted by the University of Zurich. Students from France, Germany, the Netherlands and various universities and institutes in Switzerland joined in Zurich. The participants attended three days of workshops and presentations, and applied their knowledge in a negotiation simulation with the goal of passing a resolution as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on providing humanitarian aid to Syria.

The conference program included presentations and workshops from Jack Williams (IGN), Corneliu Bjola (University of Oxford), Géradine Goh Escolar (University of Singapore and The Hague Conference on Private International Law), Eemeli Isoaho (ETH Zurich), Smadar Cohen-Chen (University of Sussex Business School), Manisha Thomas (Women’s Refugee Commission) and Fiorella Erni (Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation). The topics covered throughout the conference included fundamentals of negotiation, digital diplomacy, negotiation practices and the psychology of negotiations, mediation skills, and the challenges of humanitarian negotiations in high pressure situations.

The keynote address was delivered by Peter Maurer, former President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (2012-2022). Mr Maurer shared his reflections on the Challenges and Opportunities of Humanitarian Negotiation with the large audience on site and online and gave insights based on years of experience.

On the final day of the conference, the teams of participants took part in a day-long negotiation simulation devised and facilitated by the IGN team. The simulation was based on the UNSC and the delegations urged for international cooperation on the provision of humanitarian aid, including border-crossing access, monitoring mechanisms and authorities capable of transporting the aid.

After a long day of intense negotiations, the delegations passed a resolution. After successfully voting on a draft resolution, delegations faced challenging questions from the international press, having to explain how the agreement was reached and what this means for both people on the ground and the international community.

After eight hours of successful non-stop negotiation the conference ended with a celebration dinner in downtown Zurich.


The full program for the conference is available here:

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