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The PIN for Successful Negotiations: The Processes of International Negotiations (PIN) Program

bridges vol. 15, September 2007 / Institutions & Organizations

by I. William Zartman

The Summer Palace of Empress Maria Theresia at Laxenburg, Austria, is the home of a unique experiment in international negotiations. The Processes of International Negotiation (PIN) Program is a group of international scholars whose secretariat is based at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). The purpose of the PIN group is to conduct and organize research on a broad spectrum of topics related to the processes of international negotiation. Its objectives include disseminating new knowledge about negotiation as widely as possible, developing networks of scholars and practitioners interested in the subject, and generally advancing the improved study and practice of negotiation internationally.

The PIN Steering Committee is composed of seven scholars and practitioners from seven different countries and seven different disciplines:

Rudolf Avenhaus Statistician and game theorist from the German Armed Forces University of Munich
Franz Cede International lawyer and Austrian Ambassador to Brussels
Guy Olivier Faure Sociologist from the Sorbonne University
Victor A. Kremenyuk
Political historian from the Russian Academy of Sciences
Paul W. Meerts Political scientist and diplomatic trainer from the Netherlands Institute of International Relations
Gunnar Sjöstedt Political economist from the Swedish Institute of International Affairs and the University of Stockholm
I. William Zartman Political scientist from the Johns Hopkins University


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The program achieves its goals through a number of different activities. Its most important function is to hold workshops and subsequently publish books on aspects of negotiation. The publications began in 1989 with a book edited by Frances Mautner-Markhof, Processes of International Negotiations. This was followed by the flagship publication of the program edited by Victor Kremenyuk, International Negotiation: Analysis, Approaches, Issues, first published in 1991 with a second edition in 2002. This book has been used around the world as a basis for teaching and training in negotiation.

One of the Program's research focuses is on multilateral negotiations, on international regimes (including the first-ever analytical study of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development), and on Negotiating European Union. Another angle is conceptual, particularly important for cases in which a body of knowledge has been developed relevant to negotiation but never really tied to the negotiation process. In such cases, the PIN group seeks to make a link between the two. The current projects of the PIN group include Negotiating with Terrorists, Lessons from Failed Negotiations, and external efforts to assist negotiations in intrastate identity conflicts.

diplomacy_games_cover_small.jpg The published books have introduced some important new elements into the study and practice of negotiation. The book on Negotiating European Union (2004) showed how underlying agreement on an outcome shaped negotiations and also how the institutional procedures of the EU determined the process, just as the process itself determines the evolution of the institutions. The work on International Multilateral Negotiations (1994) redefined international negotiations as a matter of managing complexity, simplifying, orienting, and directing the process to an agreement. The work on Peace versus Justice (2005) showed how the frequent contradictions between these two values could be overcome with particular attention to the sequencing of tasks in the negotiating process. The latest work, Diplomacy Games: Formal Models and International Negotiations (2007), illustrates situations where formal models can be useful in negotiations and others in which their usefulness is limited. A unique work on Preventive Negotiations (2000) addresses this frequently discussed topic, specifically by issue areas, showing how conflict can be avoided by particular negotiation strategies on a number of issues. The book on Getting it Done: Post-Agreement Negotiations and International Regimes (2003) introduces an entirely different perspective on international regimes, not as a matter of compliance, but rather as a matter of recursive negotiations to channel the course of the regime as power, interests, and issues evolve.

PIN on the road: spreading negotiation training around the globe

A second activity of the PIN group is its Road Shows, invited conferences at institutions around the world where it reports on the latest research on negotiation. A road show encourages research and teaching on negotiation, and is often associated with the introduction of new courses on the subject. This has been the effect at such diverse institutions as the Catholic University in Louvain, Forman Christian College in Lahore, Pepperdine University in Malibu, the Center for Chinese American Studies at The Johns Hopkins and Nanjing Universities, and a meeting of diplomatic academies held at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna. The group has also conducted road shows in Stockholm, Casablanca, and Tehran, at Harvard, and elsewhere - in 20 places around the world.

A related activity is PIN's Side Shows, reporting sessions on research at a Conference of Parties (COP) associated with an international agreement. PIN has conducted side shows on a number of occasions in connection with the COP of the Kyoto Protocol of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) and also in connection with the Tehran Convention on the Caspian Environment.

Conference at the Caspian Dialogue project

In connection with the latter, a new and third activity of the PIN group is CaspiLog, a Caspian Dialogue project, at which the group conducts roundtable discussions among representatives of the five Caspian littoral states, to encourage them to discuss issues on which cooperation is needed but difficult because of security rivalries. An important element in the CaspiLog is reports on scientific advances in fisheries, water pollution, transportation systems, and maritime accidents delivered by scientists from IIASA and other institutions to spur thinking among the Caspian states about aspects that need their attention. The first Caspian Dialogue was held in Istanbul in May 2006, the second in Baku in May 2007, and the third will be in Aktau, Kazakhstan, at the beginning of 2008. All five of the Caspian countries participate.

There is no doubt that the congenial atmosphere created by Maria Theresia at Laxenburg has an inspiring and facilitating effect on the work of the committee. Alhough the PIN Group is in Austria only a few days a year, its work is coordinated by a skillful Program Administrator, Tanja Huber, working with typical Austrian efficiency and charm. The scientific atmosphere at IIASA contributes to the focus of the program, while the surrounding forest where the Empress used to hunt is conducive to intellectual walks in the woods that spur cooperation and new ideas. Austria is proud to be the home of this activity as it enters its third decade, an extraordinary exercise in international and interdisciplinary cooperation.


The author I. William Zartman is the Jacob Blaustein Professor of Conflict Resolution and International Organization at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University.

Overview of sample PIN publications:

Kremenyuk, Victor (ed.) (2002): International Negotiation: Analysis, Approaches, Issues, 2nd Edition, John Wiley Inc. and IIASA
Meerts, Paul/Cede, Franz (ed.) (2004): Negotiating the European Union, Palgrave Macmillan
Zartman, I. William (ed.) (1994): International Multilateral Negotiations
Zartman, I. William/Rubin, Jeffrey Z. (ed). (2000): Power and Negotiation, University of Michigan Press
Zartman, I. William/Faure, Guy Oliver (ed.) (2005): Escalation and Negotiation, Cambridge University Press
Zartman, I. William/ Kremenyuk, Victor (ed.) (2005): Peace versus Justice, Rowman and Littlefield

Further Information on the PIN Steering Committee:

Processes of International Negotiation

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)


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