International peace organization awards grant to study international mediation b

Swedish-based organization the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) has provided a $25,000 grant to Professor Scott Gartner of the School of International Affairs (SIA) and Penn State Law to conduct experiments in international mediation. The grant in part will cover funding for two SIA student fellowships. The research will take place in a new laboratory which has been set up in the Lewis Katz Building's Laddie Montague Jr Library. The lab has been outfitted with computers equipped with experimental software in a mediation roundtable-like setting which will allow test subjects to come together to review and simulate mediation scenarios.

“These types of experiments can help us better understand how negotiators behave under particular circumstances and that in turn can help us predict mediation behavior going forward,” Gartner said. As an example, Gartner said that his prior research has shown that having high level negotiators deal with minor issues normally managed by lower level players can actually derail a mediation process. “Those are the types of questions we would be exploring using hypothetical scenarios; even inventing countries and organizations to focus solely on the mediation process,” he added.

The data and analysis that will be generated through the grant is of particular importance to FBA whose mission is to improve the quality and effectiveness of international peace intervention. Gartner intends to have the members of his Advanced International Affairs Theory class conduct some of the experiments in international mediation which would require students to have Internal Review Board certification. “They would be responsible for recruiting subjects, developing the simulations, and conducting the research. I'm hopeful that some of them might develop and present papers of their own,” he said.