No region of the world is immune from the terrible costs of conflict on individuals, society, and our world. The Harvard International Negotiation Program develops cutting edge ideas to address the systemic challenges of modern conflict. Our work is based on three points:

  • Conflict is devastating. Over the past thirty years, the number of conflicts in our world has nearly doubled. Violent conflict destroys key infrastructures and is hazardous to long-term economic development. Moreover, civilians account for eight times more casualties than military, the inverse of the ratio prior to World War I. An increased number of people are displaced as a result of conflict, and survivors of violence often experience significant psychological trauma, health issues, human rights abuses, and discrimination.
  • The roots of modern conflict are increasingly emotional and identity-based. The world now sees a greater number of intrastate as compared to interstate conflicts. These conflicts are typically fueled by identity-based divisions, deeply held resentments, and historical animosities. In fact, most “new” conflicts actually involve renewed violence in longstanding conflicts.
  • Our world lacks effective tools to deal with modern conflict. The traditional tools of international diplomacy are insufficient to address the emotional and identity-based roots of modern conflict. A political agreement is not enough to “resolve” the deep emotional divisions intrinsic to modern conflict.

To tackle this global problem, the Harvard International Negotiation Program builds theory and practical tools to address the emotional and identity-based roots of modern conflict.  Our faculty have produced foundational negotiation texts, advised such leaders as Nelson Mandela and Jimmy Carter, and field-tested ideas in the crucibles of conflict.

To address the interdisciplinary roots of modern conflict, INP is based in the psychology program at Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital and affiliated with the Harvard Negotiation Project at Harvard Law School. INP leadership also co-direct the Conflict and Crisis Core of the Harvard Global Health Institute, situated under the Office of the President and Provost of Harvard University.