Archive for the ‘noam ebner’ Category

Guest Blogger 09- Noam Ebner

October 21, 2009

Please enjoy the following submission as the third installment of the 2009 Guest Blogger series.

Today’s guest blogger is Noam Ebner, Assistant Professor and Online Program Chair, Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution, Creighton University School of Law. You can read more about him [here].

It’s not every day that you get to see a discipline in motion. Changes in the way that academics and professional practitioners grasp themselves and what they do are usually minor and incremental; by the time major change has evolved, many of the original instigators are no longer around to enjoy it.

Watching a field collectively consider itself and begin to move, therefore, is like observing a rare natural occurrence, Or, perhaps, like being on a glacier as it shifts. You feel very fortunate to have been there to see it, and you wonder where you are now and how you make your way home.

These were some of the thoughts I had while attending the Second Generation Negotiation conference which took place on October 14-17, 2009 in Istanbul. To understand just what this special conference was about, one needs to put it in the context of the project surrounding it.

While negotiation theory is being constantly developed, one gets the opposite feeling regarding negotiation teaching, particularly at the level of negotiation training. Take any 1-2 day training conducted all over the world, by US or non-US teachers, in corporate settings, open enrollment programs or community contexts, and you will find a great deal of similarity – not only in the content delivered, but in the teaching methods used and the actual exercises that students partake in.

The living spirits behind the 2nd Generation Negotiation Project, Chris Honeyman, Jim Coben and Giuseppe DePalo, set out to explore and address this issue by bringing a large a group of negotiation pedagogy experts to bear on it. Supported by Hamline University’s Dispute Resolution Institute, the JAMS Foundation and ADR Center in Rome, they envisioned and set up a three year project with two primary products: 3 negotiation pedagogy conferences, held in Istanbul, Rome, and Beijing, and 3 books, or editions of a book, one to come out of each conference in an attempt to capture and develop the insights gained at each of them.

At the project’s first conference in Rome, participants observed a standard, run of-the-mill, negotiation training course being given to lawyers and businessman. As a participant, I was presented with a relatively simple question: ‘Here is a ‘first generation’ training, which you have all conducted many times. Given everything you know about negotiation and about teaching – is this what we should all be doing? Are we giving students what we should? Are we giving them all we can? And, if not – what do we need to change, in content and in pedagogy?’

The group – which was comprised of some of the top negotiation and ADR professors in the North American and Europe (with a handful of other countries also in the mix – Israel, China, and Australia come to mind) as well as of some of the most prolific negotiation trainers in the game – responded to these questions with a tidal wave of enthusiasm, as if they had been waiting for years to be asked just that. The beauty of the conference was the realization that we had all been looking for ways to evolve – individually and as a field – and that here was an opportunity for doing so. The output of that conference was a book, Rethinking Negotiation Teaching: Innovations for Context and Culture, which is replete with new ideas as well as with cross-national and cross-culture collaborations that would never have been possible without this program. More about this unique book, and the questions it seeks to raise and address, can be learned by reading the first chapter. Another output was a special volume of Negotiation Journal, dedicated to the same theme as the conference and comprised of articles written by conference participants.

A year and a half later – last week – we got together for the second phase of the project, the Istanbul conference. One thing that immediately stood out was that the group had expanded and diversified, with representatives from more countries participating. The second was that participants already knew the drill – and came to Istanbul with ideas for collaboration and writing that they had been stocking up on in the months that had passed since the previous book came out.

However, not wanting to let us get stuck in a rut, and practicing quite a bit of what we had all been preaching, the organizers threw participants a curve (well, we actually knew about it ahead of time, and were looking forward to it) by providing a new framework and methodology for the conference. This time, in addition to a training course for Turkish businesspeople and lawyers conducted by Ken Fox and Manon Schonewille, which incorporated some of the new ideas developed in Rome (referred to as Negotiation 2.0 ideas or elements), the conference itself went on the road, spending relatively little time inside the conference hall. Different methods, generally dubbed ‘adventure learning’, were used as new tools to learn about negotiation: The first was accompanying, interviewing and observing local businesspeople in action, exposing ourselves to their context of commerce and relationships as they shared their views on business, ethics and negotiation with us.

The second was a direct real-life negotiation exercise, in which we spent hours wandering Istanbul’s famous bazaars and bargaining with the people who do it day in, day out their entire lives. The third was a more oblique and indirect method, in which participants made their way around the city in small groups, with certain missions or goals, with the meta-goal of examining their negotiation and decision-making processes.
These types of ‘adventure learning’ seemed to have strong effect, in shaking participants out of our regular classroom-oriented constraints. Of course, doing it in Istanbul is one thing, doing it back home with students familiar with (and perhaps not as excited by) their hometowns is quite another.
Another question to be explored is whether this type of real-life learning can only be done in an academic framework (given issues of time, motivation, perceived relevance, etc.) or if it might be done somehow in the context of an executive training course as well.

Another important part of the conference were short teaching units, in which participants presented ‘new’ teaching units developed as a result of, or through the perspective of, Negotiation 2.0 as it was conceptualized in the Rome conference and in Rethinking Negotiation Teaching. The participants taking part in each learning unit first simulated being ‘students’, learning the new content, and then transformed back to being teachers – providing feedback, critique and suggestions on content and methods.

For example, in response to the role of gender being spotlighted as a central theme emerging in Negotiation 2.0, Sandra Cheldelin and Andrea Schneider gave a unit on Gender Bias and Stereotyping. Mario Patera gave a unit expanding negotiators’ Emotional Vocabulary. Perhaps directing us eastwards towards the next conference venue, Andrew Lee and Vivian Feng Ying Yu introduced the role of cultural symbols by showing how the words or symbols used in a given culture for depicting negotiation terms affect the way negotiation is grasped and practiced within that culture. I joined these brave presenters (I say brave, as before the conference I had a mental picture of all of these people putting bulls-eyes on their chests and walking into the room to invite all of their peers to throw pedagogical darts at them. In practice, of course, it was a wonderful, enlightening experience!) in discussing E-mail Negotiation – what students need to know about it, and how we might teach it.

Towards the end of this wonderfully orchestrated mixture of novel experiential learning and classroom exposure to the first intentionally crafted elements of Negotiation 2.0, we got down to business. Themes for writing were explored, and as people discovered shared research interests with each other, partnerships were formed. Given the nature of the conference, many of these partnerships are multi-national and multi-disciplinary – promising some fascinating new perspectives.

If I thought I may have overcommitted by promising Jeff I’d blog on the conference, that can’t hold a candle to the writing commitments many of the participants took on themselves! This unique coming-together of people and ideas and opportunities was just too good to pass up.

In addition to theoretical pieces, the organizers are hoping that participants will also suggest and provide what might be called ‘operationalizing pieces’ – class activities, teachers’ guides, simulation-games, etc. – which will help make these ideas accessible to trainers looking to implement Negotiation 2.0 in the classroom. Yael Efron and I developed, field-tested and wrote up one of these pieces on the way home (it’s amazing how much you can accomplish, when your flight gets delayed and you’re stuck in the airport lounge…): A guide for trainers on how they can use the road to the training venue – whether down the block or on the other side of the world – as an adventure learning environment in which they can conduct exercises aimed at getting themselves in the right frame of mind before entering the training room.

Hopefully we’ll be seeing some of the outputs of this conference in the next few months (I’ve only scratched the surface in describing what some of these outputs may be!) and the new volume/edition in about a year. I think that when it comes out – negotiation teaching will begin to change in a very fundamental way.

I think this blog has gone on long enough – I don’t want it to run on into my trip to the final activity of this project – the May 2011 conference in Beijing. Thanks for having me, Jeff and everyone, and I’ll keep you posted!

’09 All Star Guest Bloggers

August 27, 2009

There are many brilliant ADR professionals out there (much more brilliant than me) that for one reason or another, they do not write as much as they should or blog.

A few months ago I had the idea to reach out to some of these all-stars and ask them if they were interested in being part of my 2009 roster of all-star guest bloggers. I can happily say two things:

1) I am honored that each person I asked agreed!

2) I think all the readers will be just as happy as me to be able to read unedited writings from some of the most brilliant people in the ADR field.

The postings will be on the following dates:

September 23rd D.A. Graham [read]

October 7th Jessica Carter [read]

October 21st Noam Ebner [read]

November 4th Alex Yaroslavsky [read]

November 18th Jose Pascal Da Rocha [read]

December Colm Branningan

Listed Alphabetically

Colm Brannigan

After undergraduate and graduate studies in history, Colm received his LL.B. from Queen’s University in 1981 and an LL.M. in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) from Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in 2003.

He holds the designation of Chartered Mediator (C. Med.) from the ADR Institute of Canada and is a Certified Mediator through the International Mediation Institute in the Netherlands.

A former litigation lawyer, Colm has been a full-time mediator since 1999 with a wide range of experience in condominium, commercial, technology, employment, estates and family disputes.

In addition to practice, and writing articles and book reviews on ADR and ODR topics, Colm has been a participant and speaker in various dispute resolution and professional development programs and is a part-time instructor in law at Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning in Toronto.

Colm is a board member of the ADR Institute of Ontario, co-chair of its technology section and co-editor of its newsletter. He also a member of various other professional organizations including the Ontario Bar Association – ADR Section and the Section of Dispute Resolution of the American Bar Association. He is the founder/moderator of “Mediate-Canada” an ADR listserv hosted by Google Groups.

Jessica Carter

Jessica Carter is Senior Advisor Mediation Practice at the Department of Building and Housing in New Zealand and a practising mediator. She is responsible for developing and monitoring standards of mediation practice, building and implementing mediation training programs, and advising on new mediation initiatives and developments for a large mediation team in New Zealand’s public sector.

Jessica is active in mediation, conflict management, negotiation, coaching, delivering training and dispute system design. She is a member of the Australian and New Zealand LEADR Panel of mediators, the Asia-Pacific Mediation Forum, the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution and delivered a Paper on raising mediator quality in New Zealand’s public service at the 2009 Conference in New York. Jessica has completed mediation and negotiation programs at Harvard Law School, a Master of Dispute Resolution in UWS School of Law in Sydney, and attended the International Ombudsman Association program for mediators at the United Nations Office, Geneva.

Jose Pascal Da Rocha

José Pascal da Rocha, JD, is a freelance mediator. He has developed his practice in international mediation.. His practice reaches from resolving humanitarian conflicts in Africa, commercial dispute resolution in the United Arab Emirates to the project management of a center for conflict resolution in Southern Russia. He teaches mediation at several universities, such as the Columbia University, New York, the Southern Federal University of Rostov, Russia and Military Academies of NATO forces. He has published on international mediation as well as diversity management, critical thinking and reflection.

Noam Ebner

Noam Ebner is a negotiation consultant and trainer, an attorney and a mediator. He divides his time between his home and office in Jerusalem and his teaching, training and consulting activities abroad.

He manages Tachlit Mediation and Training, which deals with a wide spectrum of disputes, ranging from business partnership dissolving to employment disputes and divorce mediation.

Noam has been on the faculty of Sabanci University since 2003, teaching the practical aspects of negotiation and mediation in the Graduate Program on Conflict Analysis and Resolution in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Noam is a Senior Fellow at the United Nations’ University for Peace in Costa Rica ( and teaches in the Werner Institute’s Graduate Program on Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at Creighton University’s School of Law (

D.A. Graham

D. A. Graham is the University Ombudsman at Princeton University.

Before arriving at Princeton University, D. A. was the Student Ombudsman at San Diego State University for two years. Prior to that, he served as a U.S. Navy Chaplain participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2001 D. A. received the Military Chaplain’s Association Chaplain of the Year Award for service with the U.S. Marine Corps. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where he earned B. A. degree in Speech Communication in 1990 and was the Founding President of the Alabama Student Society of Communication Arts (ASSCA). He also was selected as the first Student Ombudsman for the University of Alabama in 1994. D. A. attended the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA, where he received his Master of Divinity degree in 1998. During this time he served as a Resident Director at Morehouse College where he received the Student Advisor of the Year Award. While stationed in Okinawa, Japan he received his Master of Human Relations degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2002 with a specialization in Mediation/Negotiation. D. A. is a member of The International Ombudsman Association (IOA), The Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR-GNY) and The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD)

Alex Yaroslavsky

Alex Yaroslavsky, NCM is the founder of Yaro Group, LLC – a dispute resolution consultancy specializing in workplace conflict resolution. Yaro Group’s services include executive coaching, training, facilitation, communication process analysis and electronic brainstorming.
Since 2000 Alex has been working with major clients in the financial services industry, including Citigroup, HSBC, Merrill Lynch, U.S. Trust and WestLB AG. His experience includes resolving commercial, organizational and cross-cultural disputes.

Alex teaches Dispute Resolution at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and is a mediator with New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board. He is also a member of the FINRA and the New York County Lawyers’ Association mediation and arbitration panels. Alex was one of the first mediators to become certified by the New York State Dispute Resolution Association in 2009.