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Negotiations in the International, Private and Public Sector

The second Negotiations.ch conference took place at the School of Management and Law of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences on November 6, 2015. Its goal is to transfer knowledge from experienced professionals and academics to the audience of students and professionals with diverse backgrounds including Law, Economics, Mathematics and Theology. The event is organised by the Center for Competition and Commercial Law at the ZHAW School of Management and Law in cooperation with AGON Partners.

Dr. James T. Peter, Attorney and Partner at Krepper Spring Partner and Business Mediation Trainer, introduced the mediation practice during dispute solving. Mediation, often overseen and questioned by corporate lawyers, provides various advantages in situations of dispute between parties. An independent third party steps in between the disputing parties if the disputing parties agree on a mediation process. The advantages of mediation are that it preserves relationships between the parties and it is significantly more time as well as cost efficient. Further, the mediator, with no in-depth involvement, constrains the parties to explain themselves in the simplest way possible. Finally yet importantly, the mediator will be neutral and has now decision-making power.

Dr. Vitalijs Butenko, from NECOM ETH Zurich, explained the principles of negotiation engineering. The basics of this method were explained based on Q&A’s with the participants and included how these solutions are transferred into the aspects of game theory and overall negotiations. The importance of the game theory and the principals of the Harvard School of Negotiations were presented with examples of the negotiations between Iran and the United States about the nuclear strategy, where Switzerland acted as the mediator. Mr. Butenko showed how the outcome of these negotiations was calculated and then published as a non-paper, which simplified the matter resolving process.

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Vitalijs Butenko during his presentation about the principles of negotiation engineering.

Ms. Alessandra Vellucci, Chief of Intergovernmental Support at UNCTAD, introduced multilateral diplomacy, which is applied when parties with various settings, such as, different beliefs, cultures, nationalities, mindsets, and politics, meet to discuss. She presented the different challenges in particular a case study about the crisis in Syria. The discussion showed that it is impossible today to draw a straight line between interests, especially with regard guilt and innocence. The challenge of multilateral negotiations, in politics as well as business, is to address these interests while at the same time develop a sustainable solution for all parties involved.

The next event on the topic of Negotiations and Public Relations will take place on February 19 at the ZHAW School of Management and Law.

Contact: Patrick Krauskopf, Center for Competition and Commercial Law

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