Harvard experts too pro-Tiger, too liberal, says Govt. paper
[TamilNet, Sunday, 12 February 2006, 20:19 GMT]
"It [Sri Lanka Government Peace Team] learnt that two Harvard specialists who were coaching the peace team on some aspects of conflict resolution, for instance, were thought of as being too liberal and possibly too pro Tiger in their views," said Sri Lanka's state-run paper Sunday Observer in its latest edition. The paper also quoted a source close to the consultation process as saying, "Harvard and other institutions of repute, may wittingly or otherwise place Sri Lankan strategy in channels that could be available to the Tigers."
The briefings were held early last week ahead of the sessions by the Harvard Negotiation Project team Thomas Schaub and Elizabeth McClintock on Saturday and Sunday, at the Presidential Secretariat.
"We run the risk of the Tigers knowing what the Sri Lankan strategy is, even before we reach the negotiating table,'' the paper said.
The paper said the consultants, however, alerted the participants on "possible pitfalls when negotiating with the LTTE," and "mapped out some of the possible sharp practices of the LTTE that might be expected at the talks."
The paper was critical of the contents of the early sessions, saying that "The first few coaching sessions were not on the hard aspects of bargaining and negotiations, but an exercise in creating a peace sentiment."
UNP's Leader of negotiating team, Prof G.L.Peiris, and Secretary of Defence Austin Fernando were also invited to brief the participants.
Ministers Nimal Siripala De Silva, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Mangala Samaraweera, Rohitha Bogollagama and Douglas Devananda, Attorneys S.L. Gunasekera, Udaya Gammanpila, Plan Implementation Ministry Secretary Nivard Cabraal, Foreign Secretary H. Palihakkara, Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapakse, Intelligence Chief Kapila Hendavitharana, Director General, Peace Secretariat, John Gunaratne, IGP Chandra Fernando and the three service chiefs, Sarath Fonseka, Donald Perera and Wasantha Karannagoda attended the briefing sessions, said Sunday Leader.
Robert Fisher, Harvard Negotiation Projects director, is one of the authors of a highly acclaimed book "Getting to YES: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In," which presents the development of the theory of "principled negotiation."
The Harvard Negotiation Project's mission is to improve the theory, teaching, and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution, so that people can deal more constructively with conflicts ranging from the interpersonal to the international, says the Project's official website.
The Project, or HNP as it is commonly known, was created in 1979 and was one of the founding organizations of the Program on Negotiation consortium. The work of faculty, staff, and students associated with HNP routinely moves back and forth between the worlds of theory and practice to develop ideas that practitioners find useful and scholars sound.