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The objectives of this Site

What the Site is intended to be

All Web Sites are works in progress.

This Site started out as an attempt to produce a resource for international negotiators. It is my view of what I have learnt during negotiations in a number of countries, together with links to relevant books and articles that I have found useful.

It is developing into a view of developments in key areas and countries which condition how the process of negotiation can take place.

This is a personal view of those issues and facts which are commercially significant. For example it is difficult to overlook the profound impact that AIDS is having on African societies and their economies, and you do not have to be a green activist to be concerned by "Peak Oil", the falling off of available oil reserves.

At a time when we can still remember the claim that history was at an end, we live in a World where the tectonic plates of major events threaten the certainties we have created for ourselves. If you are an international negotiator you must be aware of these changes and not fall into the mistake of believing the stories spun by politicians and their crew of "communications" specialists. Communications in this context has an Orwellian ring to it.

If you have got this far I would be grateful if you could email me - to give your suggestions and ideas.

The importance of hypertext and the creation of new connections

The Web enables you to write a few paragraphs on a subject and provide what you hope are relevant links. A Web Site is therefore very different from a lineal system like a book or a TV program. There is no right way to read a Web Site, it's just a series of sign posts. However for the author of the Site this process requires that you create a multi-dimensional model in your mind of what the Site should look like, but once the production of the Site was under way it developed a dynamism of its own. As a result certain subjects developed an importance that I had not foreseen; for example there is far more about culture than I had planned, I also saw that new elements, such as trust, which is a sub-set of a culture, were also critically important in making relationships work. I also saw that globalization is important to negotiators, because many cross-border deals are about making globalization work. Allied to culture is the whole question of how effective different cultures are (which calls for a comparison and judgement) and the problems of cross-border negotiation. In an age when the pressure in many organizations is to create a series of international joint ventures and alliances it is important to assess how such a joint ventures can best be constructed in different cultures.

The power of the Web is that we can link elements which do not at first have an obvious connection, but once made become important. For example when looking at the problems of Africa, AIDS is an important issue, because the very large numbers of AIDS/HIV victims are shortening lives, removing productive people from of the economy and taking resources in order to nurse and care for the dying; but AIDS also has military effects, it is one of the reasons for the declining effectiveness of the South African Defence Forces. The World is the environment in which the negotiator works, it is vital that the long and medium term issues are understood without prejudice of opinion or preconception.

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