Blog‎ > ‎

ザンビアで交渉する【Negotiations in Zambia】

posted Mar 15, 2017, 5:56 AM by Yoshitaka Uchida Hokudai

   Well, I have mentioned about my trip in February already, but I went to Zambia in January. I have been doing a lot of negotiations, for a week or so. It required me a lot of communication skills. Nowadays, scientists 'collaborate' in many different places. There are many budgets for the international collaborations. However, it is sometimes difficult to see how scientists can benefit from the collaborations. How can we make the world 'better place' through collaborations? We may not be able to see each other very often during the collaboration and agricultural conditions are entirely different in the various countries anyway. 
   So, why do we collaborate? In my opinion, it is to expand my view towards global issues. Another reason is that we target anywhere in the world, where problems exist, out in the field. I firmly believe we have to 'go' to the place where problems are, to solve the problems. 
   The important thing is to negotiate. We may want to use their land to do some experiments or to import some soils to do further analyses. Always negotiations are needed. We cannot say things like 'we paid for it' or 'you have to listen to us because we are right'. We have to seek mutual benefits. We cannot just tell other counterparts what to do. Otherwise, no project will go forward. 
   We want to see something left behind even when our budget ran out. Long story short, I feel like there are few professors who can do these kinds of negotiations. It is not only the language issue but it is all about communication skills. We have to feel how others feel. We have to see how others think. We sometimes have to push things forward but some other times we better shut up and do nothing. I have to teach my students these skills but do not know how to do that yet.