In 2017, as the conflict between the US and North Korea was escalating, the founder of OEF, Marcel Arsenault, partnered with Harvard’s co-founder of the Program for Negotiation, William Ury, to see if there was any way to interrupt the path to the growing potential of a nuclear exchange.
In 2017, as the conflict between the US and North Korea was escalating, the founder of One Earth Future Foundation (OEF), Marcel Arsenault, partnered with Harvard’s co-founder of the Program for Negotiation and best-selling author, William Ury, to see if there was any way to interrupt the path to the growing potential of a nuclear exchange. What started as a two-week test case became an 18-month pilot program with the single purpose of creating a path to peace while planting the seeds for the Singapore Summit. While pundits criticized the substance of the resulting Singapore agreement, the Summit transformed the relationship between the former US President, Donald Trump, and (Supreme) Leader Kim Jong Un. The conflict was essentially transformed from one that top White House officials privately characterized as having a 50% chance of war to one where the leaders traded love letters and the risk of war all but vanished.
Seeing the success of the methodology, a further commitment was made by OEF to explore ways to bottle Mr. Ury’s magic and transmit those methods to a next generation of practitioners. This crystallized the idea that led to the eXperimental Negotiation Initiative’s (xNI) second chapter with OEF, which was to continue to observe Ury in action as he coached teams working on two deeply intractable conflicts in Israel/Palestine and Venezuela.
Two of our early participants had this to say about their experience:
The methodology we received in Boulder was very enlightening for us… It broadened our scope of action and made us build up some tools that were really very accelerating of all the work. It made us advanced in a strategic and deepening sense. All of the scenario planning. The vision from the balcony. The identifying the parties. All that methodology we received from you guys. Even the methodology of how to address those conversations.
Working in Venezuela
It’s about expanding what’s possible. Expanding the possible. Exploring and excavating the possible.
Working in Israel
Jon Bellish, the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of OEF saw great potential in the methodology:
The broad vision promise of xNI is how you can make step-by-step progress on these problems. You can’t plan it out, you can’t model your way out, you can’t create a sweeping policy to solve it. It’s a step-by-step feeling your way across the river by feeling the next stone.
The shared vision of Mr. Arsenault and Mr. Ury to establish a teachable methodology, what we now call BB3, amounted to the next chapter of this journey together, which we look forward to sharing with you next month.