Cornell University

International Programs

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News

April 12 2006

Professor Kuruvilla’s Negotiations Class Goes to Canada

Sarosh Kuruvilla, professor and faculty chair of ILR International Programs, recently headed north to Canada with students in his ILRCB 708 class: Professor KuruvillaNegotiations in Practice, for a weekend of negotiations with industrial relations graduate students at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. The Queen’s University class is led by ILR alumnus Professor Rob Hickey, PhD ’06.

After a smooth border crossing and a warm welcome the students quickly got acquainted in a controversial negotiation over the international trade dispute between Canada and the United States on softwood lumber. The complexities found in international negotiations such as this were highlighted as students assumed various roles ranging from environmentalist to trade representative in order to discuss their oftentimes competing interests. Students from Cornell learned a great deal about the different dynamics in the Canadian political system and were amazed at how much the Queens students knew about American politics.

Relations warmed significantly as the Queen’s University students introduced the Cornellians to Canadian youth culture (on-campus pubs!), thus causing a very late night. Since we were starting early on Saturday, we required several refills at a Canadian landmark, the local nearby Tim Horton’s coffee shop. Students then spent the morning and afternoon in a group negotiation and decision-making exercise. Negotiating with a different set of students was interesting. Both Cornell and Queen’s students were able to practice their interest-based negotiation skills in an environment that brought together different backgrounds, ideas, and techniques that made for very interesting discussions.Professors during the negotiation exercise

Cross-cultural exercises such as this exchange between Cornell and Queen’s are critical components to a well-rounded, competitive graduate program. As MILR student Sharon Kim put it, “The opportunity to practice cross-cultural learning advances education to a new level.”

 Dina Gabriel, MILR '07