about

PDP is based at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School (PON). PON is an inter-university consortium (Harvard, MIT, and Tufts) devoted to improving the theory and practice of dispute resolution. It was created in the early 1980s to make it easier for scholars from a variety of disciplines to work together and for scholars and practitioners to interact more effectively.

PON has eight component projects under its umbrella. Several deal with international conflict (i.e. war and peace). Some deal with issues in the workplace. One focuses on business negotiations of various kinds. PDP is the project at PON that deals most directly with public policy disputes within countries.

Many of the students and faculty who work with PDP are also based in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT -one of the three departments in the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Within that department, there is a group focused on environmental policy (called the Environmental Policy and Planning Group or EPP). Many EPP graduate students work simultaneously at PDP while completing their graduate studies.

While PDP intervenes in the world in various ways, it is basically an applied research operation. Our goal is to build "grounded theory" through careful reflection on practice. While we take on actual dispute resolution assignments from time to time, we are not a consulting organization and our goal is primarily theory-building (although as our colleague Roger Fisher likes to say, "There is nothing so practical as a good theory!").

leadership

Paul Berkman
Director of Science Diplomacy Project

Paul Arthur Berkman is the Associate Director of Science Diplomacy with the Harvard-MIT Public Disputes Program and a Faculty Associate with the Program on Negotiation at the Harvard Law School. He also is an Associated Fellow of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), coordinating global initiatives with science diplomacy and informed decisionmaking, including the UNITAR Executive Summer Program on Science Diplomacy and Technology in Boston with MIT, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston University and Swissnex.

David Fairman
Associate Director

David Fairman is Managing Director at the Consensus Building Institute and Associate Director of the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program. For 28 years, he has built consensus and enhanced collaboration capacity on complex public and organizational issues internationally and in the U.S. His primary focus is building effective multi-stakeholder partnerships, organizational strategies, and dispute resolution systems to meet challenges of sustainable development.

Patrick Field
Associate Director

Patrick Field is Managing Director at the Consensus Building Institute and Associate Director of the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program. For 24 years, he has built consensus and collaboration capacity on complex public and organizational issues in the U.S. and Canada. His primary focus is building agreements on and finding solutions for the built and natural environment across sectors, interests, disciplines, and organizations.

Lawrence Susskind
Director

Lawrence is the Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning at MIT, the co-founder of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the co-director of the MIT-Harvard Program on Public Disputes. His research interests focus on the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution, the practice of public engagement in local decision-making, entrepreneurial negotiation, global environmental treaty-making, the resolution of science-intensive policy disputes, renewable energy policy, climate change adaptation, socially-responsible real estate development and the land claims of Indigenous Peoples.

partners

Takeo Kuwabara
Manager of Communications

Takeo is a lecturer with the Bernard M Gordon MIT Engineering Leadership Program, teaching negotiation, leadership, and influence. He works with the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program in the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, the Science Impact Collaborative at MIT, and serves as the Communications Coordinator for the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. In addition, he is a Fulbright Specialist with the U.S. Department of State.

Susan Podziba
Manager of the Sacred Lands Project

Susan Podziba, a public policy mediator for more than 25 years, has designed and mediated scores of cases across the policy spectrum for clients including the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, and Transportation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Senate, U.S. Institute of Peace, and the United Nations.

Bruno Verdini
Executive Director, MIT-Harvard Mexico Negotiation Program

Bruno Verdini is a political science and international affairs expert, with ministerial experience in negotiations involving the IEA, IAEA, IRENA, OPEC, United Nations and World Bank. A recipient of MIT’s Award for Excellence in Education and Harvard Law School’s Raiffa Award for Best Research of the Year, he has led executive trainings on conflict resolution, public persuasion, and leadership across five continents. He lectures at MIT, Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation, and the Asia School of Business + MIT Sloan School of Management.