As a deaf-blind student with very limited sight and hearing, Haben Girma ’13 learned that you must be a self-advocate and come up with creative solutions to the problems you face. If that fails, she says, then the law can be a strong ally.
In recent weeks, a number of HLS faculty have weighed in on issues surrounding the fiscal cliff negotiations.
Professor Robert Mnookin ’68, chairman of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, was honored by the International Academy of Mediators with a lifetime achievement award. The IAM Award is presented to a person who has made exceptional contributions throughout his or her career by personally advancing alternative dispute resolution and inspiring others to do so.
In October 1962, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at Harvard Law School on “The Future of Integration.” It was six months before he would be imprisoned in a Birmingham jail, 10 months before the March on Washington, almost two years before the signing of the Civil Rights Act and almost six years before his assassination. “It may be that the law cannot make a man love me,” he said, “but it can keep him from lynching me.”
Last summer, Professor Robert Mnookin ’68, found himself wanting to know more about U.S.-Cuba relations. “I had an idea that there was a very interesting set of questions related to when, how and whether the two countries would ever negotiate a reconciliation,” he says. He decided to investigate by teaching a reading group—a small, 1-credit class, where 2Ls and 3Ls are able to dig deeply into a given topic in a way that provokes extended discussion among the group. “I am not an expert on Cuba; I’m an expert on negotiation, and what a reading group allowed me to do is learn with the students about an area I didn’t know much about,” he says.
Three times last month, Harvard Law School Professor Robert Mnookin brought in prominent Cuban intellectual Rafael M. Hernández Rodríguez via videoconference to speak to his reading group on the topic of negotiating with Cuba. According to Mnookin, it’s the first time a Cuban scholar has participated in an American seminar from Cuba itself, an event for which took Mnookin weeks of back and forth with Cuba’s Ministry of Culture to obtain permission, giving a glimpse into the continued hold of the Communist bureaucracy in Havana.
Prominent legal and political scholars explored the relationship between terrorism, diplomacy and law in a panel discussion in early October in light of “Laws, Outlaws, and Terrorists” (2010), a book written by Harvard Law School Professor Philip Heymann ’60 and Associate Professor Gabriella Blum LL.M. ’01 S.J.D. ’03.
Harvard Law School Professor Robert Mnookin ’68 appeared on PBS NewsHour on August 25. He spoke with economics correspondent Paul Solman about the rewards and challenges of negotiation. Mnookin is the author of “Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight,” which was published by Simon & Schuster in February.