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Negotiating Complexity: Lessons from Food Security

Virtual Conference

22-23 February 2023 - afternoon CET

Russia’s war in Ukraine triggered a sharp rise in food, fuel and fertiliser prices, leading to a spiralling food crisis that has affected the whole world. The war has merely exacerbated an already precarious situation with global food supplies reeling from the effects of other conflicts, economic pressure, the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Addressing these complex challenges involves a range of actors with patient negotiation and mediation skills key to finding successful solutions both in the short and long term. This online conference examines cases related to food security to draw lessons for the conduct of complex negotiations. 

The conference is part of an annual series on the dynamics of global cooperation organised by the Institute for Global Negotiation in partnership with the Chair of Political Philosophy at the University of Zurich. The aim of the series is to provide students and young professionals with the chance to explore contemporary issues in the field of global cooperation with senior practitioners and academics. To this end, the virtual conference includes a keynote address and three expert-led panel discussions.

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Keynote AddressThe Role of Mediation in the Russia-Ukraine Grain Deal 

In this keynote address Richard Wilcox outlines how in the midst of the war in Ukraine mediation was able to play a crucial role in securing an agreement that helped to mitigate the global food crisis.  

Expert: Richard Wilcox, Senior Advisor Conflict Mediation, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue


Moderated by Francis Cheneval, University of Zurich and Jack R. Williams, IGN

Panel 1: Negotiating on the Ground

How do negotiators approach complex situations where some of the potential parties might have ethically questionable positions? How can you identify and engage relevant stakeholders in a crisis situation? What are the unique situations of dealing with a crisis situation on the ground?

Expert: Abdulrahman Najeh, World Food Program 

Chaired by: Vera E. Hauser, IGN

Panel 2: Stakeholder Engagement: A Case Study from EU Agriculture and Food Policies 

Laws are not simply created and applied in a vacuum. This panel explores how stakeholder engagement can be used to shape EU agriculture and food policies to address environmental challenges.   

Expert: Lara Fornabaio, Agriculture Lead, Client Earth

Chaired by: Erika Zanellato, IGN

Panel 3: Mediation and Moral Responsibility between Competing Needs

How can competing needs be balanced? What are the ethics of weighing access to food against economic growth and environmental sustainability? What responsibilities do different actors have and (how) can they be held accountable? What impact does climate change have on food production, what role do governments play in addressing food security and what role should they play?

Expert: Alexandria Poole, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Twente


Chaired by: Alexandra Pintilie, IGN


You can find the schedule and program for the full conference here.

Panel Participation

The conference aims to give the opportunity to early-stage researchers and professionals to discuss with the expert panelists prior to a general discussion. Those who are interested in applying should send a copy of their CV and a short letter of motivation outlining which panel you'd like to take part in and why to Further information can be found in the Call for Panelists.


Panel applications are accepted until 17:00 (CET) on Friday 10 February 2023.

General Participation

Participation in the conference is ​open to all who are interested - simply complete the registration form below by 17:00(CET) on Monday 21 February 2023.


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