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2017 School ofInternational Relations’ Tenth International Forum
文章作者:   点击数:    更新时间:2017-06-27 15:36:44

 

OnFriday, June 16th, 2017, sophomore students from every class in theSchool of International Relations took part in the  Tenth InternationalForum. After studying techniques of negotiation and international communicationthroughout the semester, students participated in activities that measuredtheir ability to understand opposing parties’ interests and work with them toreach an agreement. Each class spent time during the semester practicing theseskills and working through preliminary rounds. Students were evaluated on theirability to reach a wise agreement, use of lessons taught during the semester,and their oral English abilities. When asked about the International Forum, Eleanore,a student in Class 6, said, “I think it’s very interesting. And I used what Ilearned in class when I negotiated with other teams, which was very useful. Forexample, we should focus on interests rather than people. And we tried to makean agreement with other teams.”

 

Asthe final forum approached, Erez and John chose four students to represent eachclass in Grade 2015. Each team was given the portfolio of an internationalcorporation and told to prepare for three possible rounds of negotiation. Thecompanies represented a diverse array of industries and sectors, with studentstaking on the challenge of portraying the leadership of Pfizer, Walmart,Volkswagen, and Qatar Airways to name a few. Each portfolio contained companydescriptions, their history, SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities andThreats) as well as the company’s financial situation. Each company alsoreceived a Game Situation which happens in the background of the game. Forexample, the company British Petroleum received a game situation inwhich there was an oil spill in a European factory and the last company CEO wasfired on corruption charges.

 

Withinthe forum, each company was required to achieve a resolution in a competitivescenario. During each stage, the groups were asked to divide a continent amongthe groups. Each company established itself in different countries, withoutsharing. During the first two rounds, every group began with 20 million dollarswith each country valued at 3 million dollars. Buying a country gave teams 1factory and 1 store in the country, while any extra factory or store cost theteams 1 million dollars. Students were also allowed to exchange money withother Classes 6, 8, and 9 with judges Erez and John   companiesas a part of a bargaining deal.

Inthe first round, 6 sessions were held, each between 2 different class groups.The winners from each session moved on to the second stage, in which 3 sessionswere held, each between 2 different class groups. In the final stage, the best3 groups competed in one last session, held simultaneously between the 3 bestclass groups. Each session lasted for 15 minutes, preceded by a 15 minutepreparation time, and was judged by Erez Levin and John Zeleznak.

 

Whilenerves showed during the early rounds, eventually negotiators found theirfooting and began competing to not only achieve their goals, but to learn aboutthe other side’s strategy and to reach a fair agreement. Demonstrating boththeir poise and their extensive research, sophomore students consulted withtheir teammates, questioned other teams about their intentions and tried toreach a logical compromise. “Negotiation is nearly a totally new area for uswhile this class has taught us more than to cooperate and compromise, but totalk to our counterparts from different countries. In the forum, one of themost interesting things is to observe our counterparts. If they are soft, thenwe become hard and ask more. If they are tough, then we will do everything tocompromise and cooperate, but keep our basic interest from being harmed,”remarked Class 9 rep and eventual winner of Best Speaker, Vincent.Whether competing to make the best deal or sticking to the principlednegotiation, every team worked hard to secure the best investments for theircompanies.

 

Aftertwo rounds of active listening, fierce emotions, and competitive negotiating,the finalists were chosen. Class 6 representing Disney, Class 8 representingAlibaba, and Class 9 representing McDonald’s worked in an extended final roundto come to an agreement over investment in European markets. Although twentyminutes proved too short of a negotiating round, each team displayed theirresearch and negotiation prowess. Ultimately Class 8 emerged with the Firstprize with Classes 6 and 9 receiving.                                                 FirstPlace Winners, Class 8                      Secondand Third place respectively. In reflecting on the events of  the day, theForum’s Best Negotiator, Daisy of Class 8 stated that “With negotiationsinvolved in the forum, agreements may not be achieved, but our innovative ideasare exchanged, skills enhanced, and friendships established. It’s such agod-given and unique chance for us to experience this exhilarating event.”

 

Throughoutthe day, students demonstrated fluency in not only business vernacular, but innegotiating techniques that impressed their classmates and made their teachersproud. More than anything, this year’s International Forum was a learningexperience for both the students and the event organizers. Thereis clearly great potential for future Forums to both hone students’communication skills and explore creative ways to simulate negotiation. Withsuch a strong foundation set this year, it is exciting to see what the 2018International Forum will hold in store!

 


 

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