On Monday, October 7, the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School will tackle the future of ground zero. With countless visions for the space, the conference will examine how a consensus can be reached. A wide range of panelists will present some of the financial, legal, cultural, spiritual, and design constraints involved in redeveloping the site. The event will begin at 6:45 p.m. in the Arco Forum at the Kennedy School of Government.

“What to do with the World Trade Center site is a hugely complicated and emotional problem, and everyone has an opinion. How do you reconcile the needs and wishes of victims’ families and the community with the legal and financial constraints of rebuilding?” said Susan Hackley, managing director of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. “This event, organized by graduate students from Harvard’s professional schools as well as MIT, will look at how to build consensus in a very complex and difficult context.”

Panelists will include Courtney Cowart of the NYC Nine-Twelve Community, an organization founded to reconnect the people of ground zero; and Hugh Kelly of Hugh Kelly/Real Estate Economics, an economics consulting firm. The discussion will be moderated by Lawrence Susskind, a professor of urban and environmental planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After the panel presentations, the audience will work to generate consensus-building ideas in light of the various constraints.

The event will conclude with commentary from consensus-building experts Brian Mandell, a lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government; Maria Volpe, professor of sociology and director of the dispute resolution program at John Jay College, CUNY; and Michael Wheeler, professor of management practice at Harvard Business School.

The Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation was founded in 1983 to design, implement, and evaluate better dispute resolution practices; to promote collaboration and communication among practitioners and scholars; to develop educational programs and materials for instruction in negotiation and dispute resolution; and to increase public awareness and understanding of successful conflict resolution efforts.

For those who are unable to attend, the event will be webcast live beginning at 6:45 p.m.

Please note: President Bush’s speech to the nation about the situation in Iraq will be shown immediately following the event.

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