Fotografía de Wendy Sherman con ilustraciones decorativas azules en el fondo|Imagen de una mesa de negociaciones circular junto a una imagen de Wendy Sherman

What Is Negotiation?

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Negotiations are how diplomats from different countries find solutions to, or compromise on, contested issues. Negotiating is a vital skill that leaders within the State Department must master. Even though diplomats often have these conversations behind closed doors, the results may be seen across the world.

In this video, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman shares tips on the nuances of diplomatic negotiations.

Discussion Questions

Use the following discussion questions to guide your classroom conversations about this video. Refer to the timestamps to find the answers to these questions.

  1. What is negotiation? (Start – 0:10)
  2. What should be considered when heading into a negotiation? (0:50 – 1:25)
  3. Explain your thinking about this quote from the video, “There are usually more than two sides [to an issue]…[there are] other players in the world who care about a particular issue and what their interests are.” Who might those other players be surrounding a global issue? (1:58 – 2:15)
  4. What are the advantages of making human connections and building relationships with adversaries? (3:00 – 3:44)
  5. Why is it important to be ready for failure when negotiating? (3:45 – 4:20)
  6. To what extent does a country’s culture and system of government impact diplomacy? (5:07 – 5:20)
  7. Identify some current or previous negotiations that the United States has had with other countries.
  8. What is one thing you learned from the video that you found interesting, surprising, or confusing?
  9. What is one question you would ask the speaker in this video?
  10. Summarize what you learned about how the State Department and its diplomats negotiate with other countries and people.

Video Vocabulary

The following terms are referenced in this video.

  • Negotiation – Careful dealings on an issue.
  • Adversary – An enemy or opponent.
  • National security – The safekeeping of a country including its citizens, economy, and territory
  • Stakeholder – A group or individual who has an interest in a topic, social movement, or practice.
  • Social worker – Worker focused on the improvement of people’s lives.
  • Community organizers – Leaders who guide communities towards social justice goals.
  • Brainstorm – Thinking about solutions to a problem or coming up with new ideas.
  • Bilateral – Involving two nations.
  • Multilateral – Involving three or more nations.

AP and IB Course Connections

Use this video in your Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes. Below are prompts for each course.

AP Comparative Government

Suggested Course Units: Unit 1: Political Systems, Regimes, and Governments, Unit 2: Political Institutions, Unit 5: Political and Economic Changes and Development
Question Type: Argument Essay
Prompt: Develop an argument as to why the United States must work with its adversaries to achieve its national interests. Use one or more of the following course concepts in your response:

  • Power and Authority
  • Internal/External Forces

In your response, you should do the following:

  • Respond to the prompt with a defensible claim or thesis that establishes a line of reasoning using one or more of the provided course concepts.
  • Support your claim with at least TWO pieces of specific and relevant evidence from one or more course countries. The evidence should be relevant to one or more of the provided course concepts.
  • Use reasoning to explain why your evidence supports your claim or thesis, using one or more of the provided course concepts.
  • Respond to an opposing or alternate perspective, using refutation, concession, or rebuttal.

IB Global Politics

Paper Type: Paper 1: Stimulus-based paper on a topic from one of the four core units.
Prompt: According to the video and examples you have studied, what are three reasons why it is important that adversaries work together in global politics?