Harvard Kennedy School Negotiation Project

Advancing the theory and practice of collaborative negotiation to strengthen leadership with impact.

The Harvard Kennedy School Negotiation Project (KSNP) is an innovative, interdisciplinary collaboratory for advancing “leadership with impact.” KSNP promotes practitioner-oriented student learning by encouraging the open flow of information, ideas sharing, and rapid prototyping of new forms of collaborative negotiation.

Drawing on the insights, expertise, and world-class research and teaching of the Center for Public Leadership and the Harvard Kennedy School, KSNP is an integrative bridge between the studies and practice of leadership and negotiation. KSNP seeks to equip next-generation collaborative leaders with the skills necessary for negotiating across organizational boundaries, sectors, and networks.

KSNP’s student-focused programming includes HKS course work, co-curricular skill-building simulations and workshops, and experiential learning opportunities such as summer internships, that provide students with comprehensive, integrative leadership and negotiation training applicable in a range of careers.

Students benefit from KSNP’s position:

  • At the Harvard Kennedy School, where KSNP will integrate its teachings and research with the school’s broader focus on tackling the most challenging public problems.
  • Within the Center for Public Leadership, where KSNP’s work will complement CPL’s initiatives training students to exercise leadership in a rapidly changing world.
  • At Harvard University, where KSNP will harness the institutional strength and research of Harvard’s other professional schools.

These advantages uniquely position the Kennedy School Negotiation Project to equip students with the foundational academic knowledge, practitioner experience, and professional networks they will need in order to exercise adaptive leadership as cross-boundary, collaborative leaders advancing change across the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Why Negotiation and Leadership

Today’s complex, high stakes public problems require approaches to negotiation and leadership with a strong collaborative dimension. Negotiation is a critical tool for navigating the complex interests of multiple parties in complex environments. Leaders must harness critical collaborative negotiation skills: how to communicate with diverse stakeholders, navigate complex multiparty environments, negotiate across boundaries, and creatively identify value and non-traditional solutions. To be effective, public policy decision-makers must master negotiation as a core competency of leadership.

KSNP's Value Proposition

KSNP works at the growing intersection of leadership and negotiation. We know that, to stay relevant and be impactful in a changing world, HKS students must understand the theory and practice of negotiation while also employing concepts and skills informed by the exercise of adaptive leadership. We equip future leaders with the cross-boundary knowledge, experience, and expertise to make measurable progress on today’s most important social problems.

Getting Involved

KSNP promotes opportunities for student learning and mastery both in and outside the classroom, encompassing foundational theory, academic knowledge, and applied skill building.

Academic Training: KSNP promotes top scholarship and theory in the classroom, equipping students with critical foundational knowledge of leadership and negotiation.

Experiential Learning: KSNP will offer:

  • Complex, challenging simulated exercises that allow students to practice core leadership and negotiation skills, learn from their peers, and receive tailored feedback.
  • Master classes in negotiation concepts
  • Negotiation skills speaker series
  • Exposure to top negotiation-leadership practitioners through speaking engagements and field trips.


In integrating the best thinking from the study and practice of negotiation and leadership, KSNP provides students with a more expansive, robust, and highly adaptable skillset that prepares them to work across sectors and boundaries, and navigate the complex multi-stakeholder environments they will encounter in their careers. The result: students will possess the skills and tools needed to deal with value-laden conflicts, change processes, and impasses, in order to address society’s most pressing public problems and create new sources of public value.