Former Finnish President to Receive the 2010 Great Negotiator Award at Harvard Kennedy School
September 15, 2010
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Future of Diplomacy Project
A highly respected world leader and peace negotiator is the recipient of the 2010 Great Negotiator Award, co-sponsored by the Future of Diplomacy Project at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and Harvard University’s Program on Negotiation.
This year’s honoree is Martti Ahtisaari, former president of Finland and recipient of the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize, for his work on diplomacy and negotiation throughout his career. Ahtisaari will receive the award during a visit to Harvard on September 27.
Ahtisaari played a pivotal role in negotiations for Namibian independence from South Africa in the late 1980s, served as the chief U.N. negotiator on Kosovo from 2005 to 2006 and helped end hostilities between the province of Aceh and Indonesia that claimed as many as 50,000 lives over the years of conflict. Among the eight previous recipients of the award are U.S. Senator George Mitchell, United Nations Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, and Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.
“President Ahtisaari is one of the globe's most experienced and successful diplomats,” said Nicholas Burns, faculty chair of the Future of Diplomacy Project and professor of the practice of diplomacy and international politics at Harvard Kennedy School. “I worked with him closely on the effort to secure independence for Kosovo and believe that his insights and wisdom will be of great benefit to our students and faculty. We look forward to welcoming this Nobel laureate to campus for an in-depth discussion of the power of diplomacy and negotiation in the modern world."
The newly created Future of Diplomacy Project aims to explore the importance of diplomacy in a globalized world. The project, which is based at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School, will host other distinguished practitioners of diplomacy throughout the academic year, supported by its research on innovation in conflict resolution and multi-party negotiation.
Cathryn Clüver, the executive director of the Project, said that she hopes the cross-campus sponsorship of President Ahtisaari’s visit will encourage further debate on negotiation and international politics.
“It is a rare opportunity in politics to be able to revisit seemingly intractable multi-party, international negotiations with a key protagonist to closely examine both the strategy and tactics that ultimately led to success. The Great Negotiator series offers a unique chance for experts, students and practitioners from across the University to do just that,” said Clüver.
During his visit to Harvard, Ahtisaari will participate in panel discussions about his involvement in the Kosovo final status talks and the negotiations between the province of Aceh and the Indonesian government. The panels will take place from 1:30-5 pm September 27 in the Spangler Auditorium at Harvard Business School. Co-chairing the event with Burns is James Sebenius, director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, who serves on the executive committee on the Project on Negotiation and is Gordon Donaldson professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. Faculty panelists will include Professors Iris Bohnet (HKS), Brian Mandell (HKS), Deepak Malhotra (HBS), and Eileen Babbitt (Fletcher School, Tufts).
This event is free and open to the public.
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