David Fairman is Senior Mediator at the Consensus Building Institute and Associate Director of the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program. For 34 years, he has built consensus and enhanced collaboration capacity on complex public and organizational issues internationally and in the U.S. His primary focus is improving economic and social opportunity and inclusion. He also works extensively on environmental sustainability.
Areas of Focus
David leads CBI’s Economic and Social Policy practice, facilitating consensus building and initiatives on:
- economic opportunity and mobility with public workforce and education agency leaders, corporations, small business associations, labor advocates, and economic mobility experts;
- public housing policy with HUD and public housing authorities;
- incarceration and reentry policies with state and local corrections leaders, criminal justice advocates, and formerly incarcerated people;
- improving the governance of social media with major platform executives, advocates for free speech and human rights, and digital innovators; and
- strengthening democratic institutions with current and former Members of Congress, Executive Branch officials, liberal and conservative democratic reformers, and experts on building social cohesion.
He also has facilitated consensus building and partnerships on many other issues in the U.S., including national energy policy, regional transportation and economic development plans, and local affordable housing initiatives.
Leading CBI’s Global Development and Peacebuilding practice, David builds consensus and partnerships on a wide range of issues: implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals; preventing debt crises; integrating the UN’s peace, humanitarian and development operations; promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation; and addressing the impacts of extractive sector operations, among others.
David is deeply engaged in strengthening leadership collaboration capacity and dispute resolution systems in multilateral and bilateral organizations, including the UN Development System, the World Bank Group, and major NGOs. He has catalyzed and supported national initiatives to promote collaborative governance in Brazil, Nepal, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Korea, Tanzania, and more than 20 other countries. In support of this work, he convenes CBI’s Global Network of highly skilled mediators and facilitators, who partner with CBI on many international projects.
- Oxfam America Strategic Planning
- Tanzania Natural Resource Negotiations
- UN Development Group Strategic Priorities
- World Bank Compliance Advisor and Ombudsman Capacity Development
- Reimagining Education in the U.S.
- National Ex-Offender Re-entry Policy Council
The following is a partial list of clients:
Global Development and Peacebuilding
- International Finance Corporation
- MasterCard Foundation
- Oxfam America
- UN Development Programme
- UN Peacebuilding Support Office
- US Department of State
- US Institute of Peace
- World Bank, Office of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman
- World Health Organization
- World Resources Institute
- World Wide Fund for Nature
US Economic and Social Policy
- Education Reimagined, Convergence Center for Policy Resolution
- Council of Large Public Housing Agencies
- Massachusetts Governor’s Commission on Crime
- Re-entry Policy Council, Council of State Governments
- US Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Capital One
Education and Affiliations
David is a senior mediator on the rosters of the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, a founding board member of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from MIT, and a B.A. summa cum laude from Harvard College.
Books and Articles
- Negotiating Public Health in a Globalized World: Global Health Diplomacy in Action. Lead author with Diana Chigas, Liz McClintock and Nick Drager. New York: Springer Publishing, 2012.
- Changing Course: A New Direction for U.S. Relations with the Muslim World. Lead author. Cambridge, MA: Search for Common Ground and Consensus Building Institute, 2008.
- “The Negotiator’s Fieldbook: the Virtues and Limits of a Kaleidoscope.” Lead author with Patrick Field and Hal Movius. Negotiation Journal July 2007.
- The First State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR): The North American Carbon Budget and Implications for the Global Carbon Cycle. A Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research. King, A., Dilling, L., Fairman, D., Houghton, R., Marland, G., Rose, A., Wilbanks, T. (eds.). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Climate Program Office, Silver Spring, MD, USA, 2007.