International Center for Conflict Resolution

Pitt campus in summer

Mission Statement

The International Center for Conflict Resolution (IC4CR) provides decision makers with an in-depth understanding of the negotiating positions of all parties and recommends implementation guidelines, based on preferences and priorities, to facilitate resolution of otherwise intractable conflicts.

An Example of What the Center Can Accomplish: The Pittsburgh Initiative

For over seven years, small groups of distinguished Israeli and Palestinian experts met under the auspices of conflict resolution researchers from the University of Pittsburgh. At the core of this privately-funded project is the application of an advanced “trade-off” model based on the “Analytic Hierarchy Process” (AHP) developed by the late mathematics Professor Thomas L. Saaty. The Pittsburgh Initiative produced a preference-based-priority road map for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, made available to national leaders and decision makers.

The Foundation of the Center

The Center approach to conflict resolution is based on the Analytic Hierarchy Process. The tradeoff model is based on following seven ideas:

1. Each party identifies a set of concessions (trade-offs);

2. Each trade-off that a party gives away yields for that party a set of costs (not necessarily monetary) and a perceived set of benefits for the party receiving it;

3. Each trade-off that a party receives generates a set of benefits and a perceived set of losses for the party giving it away;

4. The benefits, costs, perceived benefits and perceived costs are prioritized using the AHP;

5. The trade-offs are evaluated according to the benefits, costs, perceived benefits, and perceived costs;

6. The trade-offs of the parties are paired to decide which pairs are acceptable. Acceptable means both parties benefit from the trade-off and that they receive more than they lose from the trade-off they give away. Acceptability of a pair of trade-offs is implemented using the gain-loss ratio. Gain-loss ratios are not symmetric for the parties. This is not a zero-sum game;

7. Acceptable pairs of trade-offs are identified with the additional condition that the gain-loss ratio of a pair of concessions is as close as possible to each other for the parties (i.e., within a small percentage of each other) yielding the desired for balanced agreement.

The Leadership Team

H. Jerome Zoffer, Dean Emeritus and Professor of Business Administration, The Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, Executive Director

Luis G. Vargas, Professor of Business Analytics and Operations, The Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, Managing Director

Amos N. Guiora, Professor of Law, S. J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah, Distinguished Fellow and Counselor

Marcel C. Minutolo, Professor of Management, School of Business, Robert Morris University, Distinguished Fellow