Friday, January 31, 2014

Director’s Letter

Dear Friends,

Fall 2013 marked the beginning of the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program’s (HNMCP) seventh year and the first full year in our newly renovated space on the fifth floor of Pound Hall.

For the first time, our students have dedicated meeting, lounge, and work space, along with a kitchen area stocked with snacks for late night research, writing, and conversation. The new space has transformed the kinds of interactions that students have with each other and with us on a daily basis. The result has been that our offices are abuzz with student energy and activity from morning til late night, creating a vibrant and warm community of students and colleagues.

In addition to the new space, we also welcome Rachel Viscomi ’01 as our new Assistant Director. Rachel’s energy and vision, coupled with her extensive experience in teaching conflict management, have already begun to shape the clinic in new directions and strengthen our core mission.

We were pleased to work on six exciting projects this past fall. I myself had the pleasure of traveling with a team of students to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to  assist them as they improve their internal dispute management systems and in early January traveled with another team of students to Dubai where we trained promising leaders from Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan through our ongoing work with Seeds of Peace. These two projects underscore the wide range of conflict management and negotiation opportunities available to our students through HNMCP.

Despite the demands of our clinical work, HNMCP continues to make contributions to the negotiation field through academic and scholarly work, op-ed writing, and producing new pedagogy. This year also has afforded me several opportunities to grow our curriculum, research, and activities in areas that reflect my pedagogical interests. My second book, Designing Systems and Processes for Managing Disputes—co-authored with august colleagues Nancy Rogers, Frank Sander, and Craig McEwenwas reviewed in several forums. During fall semester, I also launched both a new advanced course entitled “The Lawyer as Facilitator” and a new series of community dialogues around current events, facilitated by HNMCP staff and students trained in facilitation.

HNMCP has a great many plans for the upcoming year related to civil discourse and public dialogue, including the Harvard Negotiation Law Review 2014 Symposium on March 1st, “Political Dialogue and Civility in an Age of Polarization.”

Our students, too, have been making their own contributions to the field  through competitionsprizes, and academic publications. As educators we feel privileged when we are able to learn from our students even as we teach them.

As always, we’d love to hear from you if you have ideas of clients and clinical projects for which our efforts and pedagogy might make a difference. Wishing you a wonderful spring semester!

Warm Regards,


Robert C. Bordone
Thaddeus R. Beal Clinical Professor
Director, Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program