52900 Ramat-Gan, Israel
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Interdisciplinary Graduate Program
“The Power Of Compromise Is Greater Than That Of A Legal Judgment”
…Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin, 5b
Introduction To Program:
The Conflict Management and Negotiation Program at Bar-Ilan University is an interdisciplinary graduate program that incorporates and integrates advanced research, training, academic seminars, conferences, simulation exercises, and public activities in the areas of mediation, negotiation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The research program was established in 1998, and the first group of 35 MA and PhD students began their studies in the 2000/1 academic year. Participating faculty members are drawn from the social sciences (political studies, psychology, sociology, communications, economics), humanities (philosophy and rhetoric), the law school, education, social work, business administration and Jewish studies. In terms of faculty, course offerings and internships (in addition to a mediation clinic for students, faculty, and campus community), this is widest program in this field in Israel, and the only one that includes specific Jewish dimension. The faculty, students, and other participants reflect the wide spectrum of Israeli/Jewish society, and form the nucleus of a community of scholars that will work together to develop and expand the role of ADR, mediation, and conflict management.
Specific activities include the development of new courses and teaching units designed to address the particular issues and conflicts confronting Israel and the Jewish people. Conference topics have included “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Negotiation and Mediation”, “Jewish Approaches to Conflict Resolution”, “Conflict Resolution and Management in Public Policy in Israel”, and “Religion and Conflict Resolution” (co-sponsored with the Adenauer Foundation). The program also sponsors research seminars on international diplomacy, trains mediators for the Bar-Ilan religious/secular dialogue and the Project for Israel-Palestinian Dialogue.
Professor Gerald M. Steinberg, Director, Program on Conflict Resolution, is a scholar and published author (in Israel and abroad) of international repute. Prof. Steinberg has studied and written about negotiations and conflict resolution in various contexts. His dissertation at Cornell University examined the role of informal negotiation, focusing on verification techniques in US-Soviet arms control agreements. At the Political Studies Department of Bar-Ilan University, he has studied and taught classes on aspects of Middle East negotiations and is a Senior Research Associate at The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and is a Fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He also participates in many substantive discussions, including the Mediterranean Partnerships seminars directed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Track Two meetings involving the multilateral working group on arms control and regional security and the European Union’s Barcelona process.
Prof. Steinberg is also actively involved in efforts to understand and resolve secular-religious conflicts in Israel society and Jewish communal life. His columns on these topics are published in the Jerusalem Post and syndicated around the world. His articles are published in journals such as Security Dialogue, Disarmament Diplomacy and Israel Affairs.
Mission Statement of Program
The essential ingredient in any conflict resolution process is the recognition by all the parties that despite their disagreements, they also have important goals and objectives that can only be met through cooperation. In the language of academic conflict resolution models, this process is known as the transition from zero-sum orientation, in which the perception is that one party’s gain is necessarily another’s loss, to one that is “positive sum”, in which cooperation can serve the interests of both sides. A “zero-sum” framework is one of total conflict, while a positive-sum framework is based on joint efforts to avoid the penalties and costs of conflict, and to realize the benefits of working together. A positive-sum view is not based on some sort of idealist or naïve surrender, but rather the understanding that while important differences and conflicts may continue, there are also common dangers to be avoided, and mutual benefits to be realized.
The objective of this program is to expand the application of mediation, conflict resolution and alternative dispute resolution techniques to developing religious tolerance, promoting pluralism, and accommodation in the Middle East and around the world.
Composition of Students:
The 70 students (chosen out of 250 applicants) that are participating in the MA-Ph.D. Program in Conflict Management and Negotiation come from very wide academic and professional backgrounds. Among the Ph.D. Students is a recipient of Bar-Ilan University’s Doctoral Scholarship for Outstanding Academic Achievement and another is a legal counsel responsible for mediation programs in the Israeli police ministry.
Participants include students with previous degrees from the major universities in Israel including, Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Ben Gurion University. In addition, many have studied a BA or MA in universities outside of Israel. Their previous courses of study include law, Jewish history, Bible studies, political science, communications, social work, management and education.
Many of the students are from varied professional backgrounds and are employed in the following fields: