Arvid Bell is a scholar and entrepreneur specializing in complex conflict analysis, negotiation strategy, and international security. He is a Lecturer on Government at Harvard University, the Director of the Negotiation Task Force at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, and Partner at Negotiation Design & Strategy (NDS), a training, advisory, and research development group.
Bell founded the Negotiation Task Force at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard, which promotes innovative solutions to Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security challenges by creating spaces for cross-cultural negotiation research, training, and strategic analysis. He is also a member of the Executive Board of the Arms Control Negotiation Academy (ACONA), a Fellow with the Institution Quraysh for Law & Policy (iQ), and an International Negotiation Expert with the Conflict Analytics Lab at Queen’s University, a research-based consortium concerned with the application of data science and machine learning to dispute resolution. An expert in negotiation and crisis management simulation design, Bell has launched a new generation of immersive case exercises used internationally to train decision-makers in academia, government, and the private sector.
Bell’s research interests include space, force, and great power relations in Eurasia; U.S., EU, Russian, Chinese, and German foreign policy; NATO-Russia relations; Afghanistan and Central Asia; the Middle East and North Africa; conflict escalation and de-escalation; arms control and disarmament; regional connectivity in conflict systems; political and military decision-making in crisis situations; negotiation tactics and strategies in high-risk environments; human motives and emotions in international conflict; dynamic simulation design; system effects in multi-constituency networks He has published research in International Negotiation, Negotiation Journal, and International Studies Perspectives and was a Co-Investigator of the Middle East and North Africa Negotiation Report, a collaborative effort of scholars and students from Harvard University, Tufts University, Brandeis University, and IDC Herzliya.
As an expert on security issues, he has testified on international conflict at the German and the European Parliaments and briefed NATO military personnel before their deployment to Afghanistan. As a teacher of negotiation, Bell has led workshops to a diverse array of audiences, including high school students, business leaders, and U.S. military officers, as well as students at Stanford University, Columbia University, and the University of Oxford.
In his negotiation training work, Bell leverages his research on complex conflict systems to create immersive multi-stakeholder negotiation simulations. These case exercises push the boundaries of traditional teaching methods towards more dynamic and realistic training environments, preparing students and practitioners for the challenges of an increasingly complex and turbulent world. In collaboration with Brian Mandell, the Director of Harvard’s Kennedy School Negotiation Project, Bell pioneered the design of systemic multi-constituency exercises (SMCEs) -- highly complex negotiation simulations that can involve up to 80 separate character assignments and last up to two days. These dynamic scenarios simulate high-stakes, high-pressure situations, such as international security crises, in which training participants must develop strategies, build coalitions, remain resilient, and seek resolutions according to their characters’ unique set of interests. Bell’s SMCEs have been conducted as standalone events and featured as part of advanced negotiation training programs at Harvard Law School, Harvard Kennedy School, and Stanford University, including in the Negotiation Task Force's Red Horizon: Force and Diplomacy in Eurasia program.
Previously, Bell was a Research Associate at Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) and a Research Fellow at the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School. He has received several awards and fellowships, including a McCloy Fellowship from the German Academic Scholarship Foundation, a Graduate Research Fellowship from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, and the Certificate of Teaching Excellence from Harvard University’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning.
Bell holds a Franco-German dual master’s degree in Political Science and International Affairs from the Free University of Berlin and Sciences Po Paris, a master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and a doctoral degree in Political Science from Goethe University Frankfurt.