Nicolas Rofougaran

Adjunct Associate Professor of Public Service

Dr. Nicolas Rofougaran is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Public Service. He is also an educator, independent scholar, certified mediator and consultant in the fields of negotiation and alternative dispute resolution. As such, he provides non-profit organizations with advice, training, and coaching in negotiation and conflict resolution and he has taught negotiation at Harvard and Bentley Universities. He currently teaches negotiation at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in NYC.

Dr. Rofougaran was a visiting scholar at the Program On Negotiation at Harvard Law School conducting research on the cultural dimensions of science-intensive negotiations with a focus on the negotiations between the European Community and Iran on the Iranian Nuclear Program. He founded the Forum On US-Iran Relations at Harvard Law School, a workshop series for academics and diplomats with an expertise in US foreign policy with respect to Iran and the Middle East. He conducted the same line of research at the Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs, in the Managing Atom Project (The Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University). Dr. Rofougarna was also a post-doctoral research fellow at the National Academy of Sciences, where he focused his research on the role of science in environmental disputes and the design of collaborative decision-making processes integrating science and other forms of knowledge for sustainable outcomes in natural resource management.

He is the author of The Politics of High Energy Physics, According to Peter Galison and co-author with Dr. Herman Karl, of San Fransisquito Creek: The Problem of Science in Environmental Disputes, Joint Fact Finding as a Transdisciplinary Approach toward Environmental Policy Making, published as a Professional Paper by the US Geological Survey. 

Nicolas Rofougaran earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in the history of science, DEA, a pre-doctoral degree, in science ethics from the Sorbonne, Paris, France, Masters degree in philosophy of science from Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany and a Bachelor of Science in physics, with a minor in Mathematics from the University of Paris VII, Jussieu. 

The public/non-profit administrator, whether primarily concerned with management, policy or finance, is called upon to manage or becomes involved in a wide variety of conflicts. Conflict is ubiquitous - within and between organizations and agencies, between levels of government, between interest groups and government, between interest groups, between citizens and agencies, etc. The increasing complexity and interrelatedness of the issues that the public sector is called upon to address, and the increasing sophistication and engagement of groups representing both public and private interests, compounds the challenge. In this environment, it is essential for public and non-profit administrators to know how to manage conflict effectively.

Effective conflict management involves analyzing a conflict, understanding the dynamics between the parties, and determining the appropriate method of conflict resolution. In the absence of confidence and skill in conflict management, most public officials resort, often counterproductively, to the use of power, manipulation, and control. Possessing confidence and skill, one can exercise other options.

Through readings, discussions, and simulations you will develop an understanding of conflict dynamics and the art and science of negotiation and will be introduced to the role that can be played by conflict resolution techniques such as mediation. The course will emphasize the theoretical as well as the practical, the reflective as well as the applied. I encourage you to keep a journal, as you should learn a lot about yourself regarding your relationship to conflict and negotiation and the ways you typically deal with them; you will be asked to report on that learning during the course.

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Beyond the basics of conflict management and negotiation lie areas of greater complexity.  One such area is the realm of culture.  Though culture includes etiquette and behavior, at a deeper level it is about deeply ingrained attitudes and assumptions.   Culture impacts how people regard and approach situations – it affects what someone considers to be “conflict” and how it should be handled, and if affects how people think about and engage in negotiation.  And, of great importance to people contemplating a career in multi-cultural organizations, it affects how people relate to organizational superiors and subordinates and how they behave in teams.  This course will explore these differences and consider the various models scholars have been developing to help us cope with cultural challenges. Indeed, these models suggest ways to transform cultural barriers into bridges.

The course will take up the following themes:

·        The challenges of doing cultural analysis;

·        Understanding one’s own cultural biases;

·        Basic differences in how various cultures deal with individuals’ “core concerns”;

·        Ways in which cultural variables affect how people negotiate and otherwise deal with conflict;

·        Best practices for becoming an effective inter-cultural negotiator;

·        The challenges of working on multicultural teams and some guidelines for working through the challenges;

·        The interplay of culture and today’s media and technologies;

·        Culture and mediation.

The course will utilize two major simulations – one about inter-cultural human resource management and the other about working on multi-cultural teams.  Two other exercises will have the students think through how to deal with challenging inter-cultural situations, and a third activity will involve working in small groups to grapple with the intellectually challenging problem of comparing and synthesizing two models for understanding the relationship between culture and negotiation.

In addition to several assignments to write short memos about specific questions during the course, the final paper assignment will ask students to apply the lessons of the course and some assignment-specific literature to propose a strategy for holding community reconciliation workshops in a disputed area on the border between Sudan and South Sudan – a very real and current problem.

Download Syllabus

The public/non-profit administrator, whether primarily concerned with management, policy or finance, is called upon to manage or becomes involved in a wide variety of conflicts. Conflict is ubiquitous - within and between organizations and agencies, between levels of government, between interest groups and government, between interest groups, between citizens and agencies, etc. The increasing complexity and interrelatedness of the issues that the public sector is called upon to address, and the increasing sophistication and engagement of groups representing both public and private interests, compounds the challenge. In this environment, it is essential for public and non-profit administrators to know how to manage conflict effectively.

Effective conflict management involves analyzing a conflict, understanding the dynamics between the parties, and determining the appropriate method of conflict resolution. In the absence of confidence and skill in conflict management, most public officials resort, often counterproductively, to the use of power, manipulation, and control. Possessing confidence and skill, one can exercise other options.

Through readings, discussions, and simulations you will develop an understanding of conflict dynamics and the art and science of negotiation and will be introduced to the role that can be played by conflict resolution techniques such as mediation. The course will emphasize the theoretical as well as the practical, the reflective as well as the applied. I encourage you to keep a journal, as you should learn a lot about yourself regarding your relationship to conflict and negotiation and the ways you typically deal with them; you will be asked to report on that learning during the course.

Download Syllabus