Negotiation Skills, Exchange & Leadership
As they build their independence, secondary school students find themselves negotiating all the time: with friends about what to do on the weekend, with parents about where/what to study or travel plans, with teachers about special projects, with employers about work conditions. Gaining more real-world experience, young negotiators begin to reinforce habits and attitudes about what’s possible to achieve and how, often feeling caught between a sense that they must be aggressive and “hard” to pursue what they care about and to avoid getting taken advantage of, or that they have to be accommodating and “soft” so as not to rock the boat and to be liked by others.
Through highly experiential workshops with students from a paired secondary school from another commune or region, students learn how to “change the game” of negotiation – from competitive to collaborative, distributive to creative. They discover how they can more effectively uncover and address their and their counterparts’ interests, be a leader and social entrepreneur, and collaboratively solve problems, broadening their sense of possibility for what they can achieve together with others.
Game Changers program highlights:
– Student workshops: in experiential two-day workshops held at paired schools during the school week, students will learn problem-solving negotiation based on methodology developed at the Harvard Negotiation Project, practice English in an immersive and motivating context, and get to know peers from their partner school. In 2019-2020, we will have 16 Francophone and Flemish schools from in and around Brussels. Over 320 students will take part.
– Educator Community: participating teachers will meet to build connections between schools and plan together how to bring the program to life in the classroom and beyond.
– Negotiation Leaders workshop: Students who complete the two-day student workshop will be invited to apply for an elective (and selective) follow-up “Negotiation Leaders” workshop to be held over two Wednesday afternoons at KBR – the Royal Library of Belgium. In this advanced workshop, participating students will have the opportunity to meet and learn together with motivated students coming from all 16 participating schools how problem-solving negotiation concepts can be creatively and proactively applied to their own social initiatives and projects, large or small. A variety of guests will be invited to share with students their experiences and lessons learned initiating and mobilizing others around social and creative projects in Brussels.
– Negotiation Leaders reception: Students who took part in the Negotiation Leaders workshop will be invited to a special reception to share their experiences with one another and with teachers, headmasters and program partners who will also be invited. Past receptions have been held at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium.
– Closing Event: We will close the academic year with an event hosted at a leading university to which all students taking part in the program will be invited, along with program partners. Participants will be presented with certificates as we recognize and celebrate the learning, creative and interpersonal journeys that they took together.
Impact on students:
- Build a new vocabulary to organize thinking about when and how to negotiate
- Become leaders in “changing the game” from competing or avoiding to creatively collaborating
- Discover tools for constructively asserting their perspectives, problem-solving, and managing conflict in daily life
- Build skills relevant to future studies, professions, social engagement and family life
- Gain confidence for taking initiative as a social entrepreneur and change maker
- Serve as role models in their schools and communities
- Build an interconnected leadership network with students across regions and communes
- Improve English language skills
Our workshops are conducted in English, providing students with a shared opportunity for immersive and motivating practice.
The Program is supported by the U.S. Embassy in Belgium and run in partnership with GO! Scholengroep Brussel, Fulbright Belgium & Luxembourg, and KBR – the Royal Library of Belgium.
Watch a video made by students to hear from them about the experience:
“I learned how to negotiate and after taking part into the project, I started defending my interest differently. As of now, I know that no matter the situation I will be able to look for a solution that meets my interests and in the meantime keep good relations with people. Although my level in English is not that good, I handled it. I learned that there are always different possibilities; it is not a simple question of winning and losing.” – Student
“It was a highly interesting experience that worked on several levels: it gave our students insight into negotiating skills, an essential asset in many private, academic and public situations; it allowed them to discover cultures and social backgrounds other than their own, thus broadening their minds; it was also an opportunity to practice and improve their English in real-life communication situations led by an American native speaker.” – Teacher