Case #2245.0

Leadership and Negotiation: Ending the Western Hemisphere’s Longest Running Border Conflict

Publication Date: October 4, 2022
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For centuries, Ecuador and Peru each claimed sovereignty over a historically significant, but sparsely inhabited tract of borderland in the Amazonian highlands. The heavily disputed area had led the two nations to war—or the brink of it—numerous times and was often described as the longest running border dispute in the Western hemisphere. Deep seated rivalry made control over this remote plot of jungle a matter of national pride for Ecuadoreans and Peruvians alike. In August 1998, following a rupture in peace negotiations, soldiers from both countries were gearing up for yet another confrontation. Over the next ten weeks newly elected Ecuadorean President Jamil Mahuad would work with his Peruvian counterpart, President Alberto Fujimori to negotiate a peace agreement and achieve what no other leader had been able to before: a peaceful resolution of a seemingly intractable conflict. This case provides an in-depth account of Mahuad’s internal thinking, policy choices, negotiation tactics, and diplomacy efforts with Fujimori that paved the way for a historic peace agreement. The case package includes three video supplements: “Historical, Political and Economic Context in Ecuador” (10:04 min.), “The Negotiations” (10:43 min.), and “The Resolution” (7:53 min.). In the videos, Ecuador’s former President Jamil Mahuad describes the situation that led to the conflict, its historical roots, the power differential between the two countries, how he approached his meetings with Peru’s President Alberto Fujimori, the internal negotiations he had to engage in to build support for the agreement, and how the guarantor countries were ultimately charged with coming up with a formula that both countries would agree to. 

Learning Objective:
The 1998 Ecuador-Peru border peace accords has long been held up as a negotiation success, but can be equally illustrative as an example of strategic leadership. The case includes detail on tactics and strategies used by the major players, including Jamil Mahuad, and lays out interests, options of negotiating parties, etc. It can be taught to underscore the 7 elements framework and also be used to teach the 4Ps strategic leadership framework, developed by Robert Wilkinson and Kimberlyn Leary, etc. 



Other Details

Case Author:
Anjani Datla
Video Producer:
Patricia Garcia-Rios
Faculty Lead:
Robert Wilkinson
Pages (incl. exhibits):
Peru and Ecuador