The Room Where It Happens

Hrair Balian
Kay Hinton

Course Title

LAW 842: Advanced International Negotiations

Course Description

What really takes place when leaders from different countries gather around a table to work through a shared problem? This high-level School of Law seminar course explores complex international negotiations, including decades-long disputes over borders, territories, and rights to natural resources. Using live documents and reams of relevant articles, students are required to research an international conflict or business transaction and develop real-world, creative solutions to the inevitable legal and practical challenges. Ultimately, in-class simulations guided by the expert faculty and frequent guests from The Carter Center help future leaders develop critical negotiation and mediation skills—including strategy planning, communication style, and breaking the dreaded deadlock.

Professors' CV

Emory Professor of Law Paul Zwier is director of the Program for International Advocacy and Dispute Resolution and a nationally recognized expert in advocacy and skills training. Adjunct professors include Hrair Balian, director of the Conflict Resolution Program at The Carter Center, who has worked on elections, human rights, and dispute resolution in countries around the world. Associate director Tom Crick helped facilitate the Carter Center-brokered 1995 Guinea worm cease-fire in Sudan, the Great Lakes peace initiative from 1995 to 1997, and the center’s mediation between Sudan and Uganda.

Today's Class

Third-year law student Anne Jun 18L presents her project examining a centuries-old stalemate between South Korea and Japan over the Liancourt Rocks, a nearly uninhabitable island located almost exactly between the countries. As early as the seventeenth century, South Korea laid claim to the small island in the East Japan Sea. Japan claims they annexed the territory in 1905, which South Korea denies. For Japan, the island represents an important military and economic territory, giving them fishing rights, access to shipping lanes and oil reserves, and serving as a militarily strategic position. For South Korea, it represents a philosophical stand not to yield to Japan, with whom they’ve shared a historically adversarial relationship. Jun’s task is to lead the class in an exploration of the conflict and suggest potential solutions that could conceivably lead to a real-life resolution.

Quotes to Note

“We have had a Chinese student thinking it better for China to negotiate between Israel and Palestine, a Korean student who served in the Korean Navy in Southest Asia and her views of North Korea, and a US anthropology student who worked with the Hadzas in Tanzania. A student from India had strong views on Nepal, and another Chinese student had experience with the recent Hong Kong election. A Cuban student struggled with US negotiations with Cuba in light of his family’s immigration experience, and Nigerian students struggle to understand the curse of oil on Nigeria. The scenarios vary from semester to semester so that they are as close to ‘live’ as possible. This helps to make the challenges more realistic.” —Paul Zwier

Students Say

“Both sides are very adamant on this; there are public campaigns in each country, and people are very passionate about this issue in part because of nationalism. Considering the struggles between the nations between 1905 and the end of WWII, the Koreans view this as another move against their sovereignty and nation. Both countries should want to resolve this because Korea and Japan could be strategic allies, especially in light of the surge in Chinese power.” —Anne Jun 17L

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