Lecturer Urban Planning and Negotiation
Associate Director + MIT Science Impact Collaborative
Executive Director + MIT Harvard Mexico Negotiation Program
Visiting Faculty MBA Program + Asia School of Business + MIT Sloan School of Management
Instructor Executive Education + Program on Negotiation Global + Harvard Law School
At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Verdini leads initiatives focused on fostering opportunities to test our blind spots, nurture our imagination, and tap our inner spirit in the life-long journey to develop the moral compass, emotional depth, and creativity to enhance our actions in:
Negotiation Strategy, Mediation, and Conflict Resolution
Leadership, Coaching, and Mentorship
Organizational Management, Innovation, and Decision-Making
Government, Corporate, and Philanthropic Diplomacy
Dr. Verdini created and earned MIT’s first ever and only Interdisciplinary and Interdepartmental Ph.D. in Negotiation, Communication, Diplomacy, and Leadership, through outstanding and unforgettable mentors with responsibilities in four departments at MIT and Harvard University.
From the get go, the core of his work focused on how to meaningfully address significant power disparities with resourcefulness, resilience, and uplifting impacts.
This started with his doctoral dissertation, which focused on how to boost concretely and in practice (not just in theory!), water, environmental, and energy high-stakes partnerships between public, corporate, and non-profit stakeholders working across developed and emerging economies.
His work won Harvard Law School’s Award for the Best Research of the Year in Negotiation, Decision-Making, Mediation, and Dispute Resolution.
Selected amidst top publications across diverse fields, including Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Business, Economics, Education, Government, International Affairs, Law, and Public Policy, the award honors the memory of Howard Raiffa, Harvard Business School and Kennedy School of Government Professor Emeritus, a towering founding figure of the negotiation and decision science fields.
This is the first and only time in the multi-decade-long history of the award that it has been given to someone from MIT, as well as the first and only time it has been awarded to someone born, raised, and educated in Latin America.
As Executive Director of the MIT-Harvard Mexico Negotiation Program, part of the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program, the focus is on re-defining the structure, pedagogy, and impact by which negotiation and leadership trainings are envisioned, tailored-made, and delivered in emerging and developed economies.
The responsibility is to strengthen practical wisdom with social impact, working hand in hand with leaders and decision-makers in business, government, and philanthropy across Latin America, the Caribbean, South East Asia, Eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.
Dr. Verdini is responsible for designing MIT's popular electives 11.011 The Art and Science of Negotiation & 11.111 Leadership in Negotiation: Advanced Applications. In the spring of 2016, he took a leap of faith, and created from scratch, an entirely new syllabus as he prepared to teach his first course ever. For many years, 11.011 had been previously taught by distinguished tenured and senior faculty from Harvard Business School and MIT, including current chief executives and vice-presidents of some of the most prestigious consulting firms and philanthropic foundations in the world.
With his approach to pedagogy in place, structuring strategy and persuasion through an emphasis on ethics and spirituality, enrollment numbers increased a whopping 1,450%. Going from 40 to 580 students, annually pre-registering to vie for a lottery roster spot, breaking a host of records campus-wide.
As an awardee of the 2017 MIT D’Arbeloff Fund for Excellence in Education, Dr. Verdini was entrusted with co-helming the efforts to create MIT’s Concentration in Negotiation and Leadership. Unveiled in the 2018-2019 academic year, in tandem with the design and launch of Leadership in Negotiation: Advanced Applications, the concentration rooted at DUSP serves, amidst many others, Schwarzman, Rhodes, Fulbright, Gates, DAAD, Mitchell, Marshall, Knight-Hennessy, and Truman scholars across campus.
Both 11.011 and 11.111 have remained at the top 1% of hundreds of amazing semester-long courses offered at MIT for every single year since their inception, an unequivocal testament to the outstanding students who have shaped the course experience.
The transition to online education during the pandemic was met with further innovation, with both electives winning MIT’s 2020 Teaching with Digital Technology Award.
Dr. Verdini authored Winning Together: The Natural Resource Negotiation Playbook. The prize-winning book, published by MIT Press, opened as Amazon’s number #1 best-seller in Environmental and Natural Resource Law for four weeks in a row in early 2018, going out of stock twice.
The book is currently slated to be published in Chinese in 2023. It was in the initial stages of being translated to Russian as well, the latter halted due to the violent armed conflict in the region. The book builds upon the research he has conducted at the MIT Environmental Policy and Planning Group and the MIT Science Impact Collaborative, where he contributes as Associate Director.
With prior contributions to the Conference of the Parties (COP22, COP23 & COP25) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Marrakech (Morocco), Bonn (Germany), and Madrid (Spain), one area of application, manifested in journals and chapters in leading handbooks specializing in natural resource management, is how to boost energy transition and planning, strengthen ecosystem restoration, enhance infrastructure development, and improve resilience in the face of climate risks.
Fluent in Spanish, French, and English, Dr. Verdini is a Mexican and French national with Italian roots, whose values have been shaped by the combined heritage present at home since childhood, hailing from Jalisco, Tabasco, Hidalgo, Alsace, Tuscany, Liguria, and Sicily.
Trained in international affairs, economics, public policy, and political science at Mexico City’s distinguished Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE), and with accrued experience at the prominent Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences-Po), the passion for building bridges across diverse cultures, religions, and traditions lives on in the collaborations he has led with partners in Beijing, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, London, Madrid, and Seoul, among other cities.
Prior to coming to MIT, Dr. Verdini, was Deputy Director for International Affairs at Mexico’s National Ministry of Energy, where he was fortunate to experience, learn from, and contribute to the country’s strategic planning for the negotiations at the Ministerial Meetings of the:
International Energy Agency (IEA)
International Atomic Nuclear Agency (IAEA)
International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
International Energy Forum (IEF)
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
World Bank (WB)
World Economic Forum (WEF)
Dr. Verdini has designed advanced strategy, provided tactical coaching, and delivered tailor-made trainings on negotiation, leadership, and communication for Cabinet Officials, Non-Profit Board Chairs, and C-Suite Executives hailing from a range of economic sectors and more than 60 countries.
Keynotes focusing on ethics, innovation, persuasion, corporate diplomacy, and global affairs have been given at distinguished places of learning in the realms of the arts, business, design, engineering, finance, international affairs, natural sciences, and public health, including, among others:
Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Harvard Law School
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
MIT School of Engineering
MIT Sloan School of Management
Rhode Island School of Design
Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
The mission is unlocking full potential and spurring genuine innovation in mindsets, behaviors, and results, between stakeholders with different conceptions on how to acquire, measure, and wield power, producing concrete improvements in execution, agility, fairness, reciprocity, competitiveness, partnership, and prosperity.
In sum, across the board, and well beyond the environmental and energy sector, the core foundation driving every project he leads is how to empower people, within and across organizations, from start-ups and joint ventures, to government agencies and Fortune 500 companies, to unearth the skills, structure, and drive to enhance high-stakes leadership and decision making.
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