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Open letter to Nicola Sturgeon

Dear Nicola,

I had the good fortune to be present at the Scottish parliament on Saturday, 12 May 2018 when William Ury, international negotiator and mediator, and co-author of ‘Getting to Yes’ addressed the International Academy of mediators and members of the public on the subject of ‘Common Good Politics: A New Enlightenment: How Can Mediators Lead the Way?’. You responded to him on the same topic.

William’s writing over the years has focused on how to negotiate disputes at macro and micro levels; both between states, inside states and between companies and individuals who are in dispute. He has always sought to encourage principled negotiation and negotiation where there can be a win-win outcome rather than a winlose; where people use cooperative forms of negotiation, rather than purely competitive or adversarial forms of negotiation. At its best mediation is a form of cooperative negotiation. Notwithstanding that, William has also always argued that one should always remain true to one’s own values in a negotiation, and that one ought not to give in, or accommodate, just to get to a bad, easy, yes. He describes this as the power of a positive no - or how to say no and still get to yes!

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iScot Magazine
July 2018
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