Harvard Kennedy School Negotiation Project

You can’t lead if you can’t negotiate.

Climate Change. Civil War. Nuclear arms. Trade deals. Cyber security. Congressional deadlock. Political polarization.

Today’s public leaders are faced with increasingly complex problems that require cross-boundary, collaborative leadership. The Kennedy School Negotiation Project seeks to equip next-generation practitioners with a comprehensive toolkit and repertoire of negotiation skills to enable leaders to tackle the world’s toughest problems.

KSNP seeks to train leaders in the business, government, and non-profit sectors with skills found at the critical intersection of negotiation and leadership.  KSNP will provide students, practitioners, and the broader negotiation and conflict resolution (NCR) community avenues to study, research, and design new ways of practice within this critical interface.

KSNP Director and HKS Senior Lecturer Brian Mandell established KSNP to bring together affiliated faculty from the Harvard Kennedy School whose work on negotiation, conflict management, alternative dispute resolution, and intersectional leadership expands the way our community and the broader field studies leadership and negotiation.


  • To equip HKS students with the leadership and negotiation training to strengthen their performance in an increasingly demanding world.

  • To expand research opportunities for next generation negotiators.

  • To provide the training and expertise found within HKS to the broader community.

  • To expand the field of experiential learning and motivate advances in teaching advanced negotiation skills in simulated environments.

  • To advance the interdisciplinary study of developments and trends at the intersection of negotiation and leadership.


Brian Mandel

Brian Mandell

Mohamed Kamal Senior Lecturer in Negotiation and Public Policy
Director, Kennedy School Negotiation Project

Current courses and recent work:

Advanced Workshop on Multi-Party Negotiation—MLD-280M
Executive Education—Mastering Negotiation
Negotiation Journal—Sources of Power in Public Negotiation
Negotiation Journal—Modeling and Teaching Negotiation Complexity

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.