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COLSON Aurélien

Department : Public & Private Policy
Associate Professor
Campus de Cergy



Dr. Colson is Professor of Political Science at ESSEC Business School, and Director of the Institute for Research and Education on Negotiation (IRENE Paris, Singapore, Brussels) since 2008. ESSEC IRENE has run operations in about 80 countries, developping research, field intervention and capacity building programmes in negotiation, mediation, conflict resolution, governance, CSR and stakeholder's dialogue.

Since 1998 Dr. Colson has been teaching negotiation, change management, and leadership at ESSEC for MBA students and for corporation executives. Since 1998 he is also an adjunct professor in negotiation at ENA -France's national administration school- where he was promoted in 2002 to coordinator of the negotiation seminar. He has done research, consulting and trainings, in more than 40 countries, for companies, public administrations, and international organizations. He also contributed to fieldwork and post-conflict facilitation efforts (Burundi, DRC, Horn of Africa). He was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2012 to the Steering Committee of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO, Brussels), where he served as Honorary Treasurer. From 2015-17, he joined the International Advisory Board of the European Institute of Peace.

From 2012 to 2021, the European Union appointed him leader of the Governance Team, a multidisciplinary task force which supported the implementation of the EU's Centre of Excellence Initiative for CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear) Risk Mitigation - a global cooperation programme gathering 62 countries.

His research appears in peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of International Negotiation, Négociations, Revue française de gestion, Revue Française de Science Politique, Futuribles, Futures, Foresight, and International Relations. He authored, co-authored or edited 7 books translated into 15 languages, including the best-selling Méthode de négociation and The First Move. A Negotiator's Companion (2004, 2008 with A.  Lempereur). Latest book: Mediation. Negotiation by other moves (with Lempereur, Salzer, Pekar & Kogan. Wiley, 2021).

In 2014 he was Visiting Professor at the War Studies Department, King's College, London.

From 1998-2002, Dr. Colson served as Advisor to the French Prime Minister. From 2002-2005, he was Project Leader at the French Government's strategy agency, where he led a task force on change management and negotiation in the public sector.

Aurélien Colson holds a doctorate in political science (Université Paris-Sorbonne-Descartes) and a PhD in International Relations (University of Kent). He got his first degree from Sciences Po Paris. As a Jean-Monnet Fellow from the British Council, he received a Master in International Conflict Analysis (Kent). He got his MBA at ESSEC. He is a Fellow of the 21st Century Trust (London). In 2002 he was awarded a Marshall Memorial Fellowship by the German Marshall Fund of the USA. In 2008 the Académie des sciences morales et politiques (Institut de France) awarded a Grand Prix to his research.

Aurélien is married and the father of two sons. French is his mother tongue, he is fluent in English. Among his hobbies are playing the piano, cooking and sharing a nice bottle of wine with friends.


  • 2007 : Doctorat in Political Science (Université Paris Descartes (Paris V), France)
  • 2007 : Ph.D. in International Relations (University of Kent, United Kingdom)
  • 1998 : Master in Business Administration (ESSEC Business School, France)
  • 1996 : Master in International Conflict Analysis (University of Kent, United Kingdom)
  • 1995 : Diplôme national de Master, Political science (Sciences Po Paris, France)


    Full-time academic appointments

    • 2008 - Present : Associate Professor (ESSEC Business School, France)
    • 2008 : Assistant Professor (ESSEC Business School, France)
    • 2000 - 2001 : Lecturer in Management (École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, France)

    Other Academic Appointments

      • 2002 - Present : Visiting Professor (École nationale d'administration - ENA, France)
      • 1998 - 2002 : Advisor to the French Prime Minister (Prime Minister's Office, France)
      • 2020 - Present : Track Head, Geopolitics & Negotiation (ESSEC Business School, France)
      • 2008 - 2025 : Director, IRENE (ESSEC Business School, France)
      • 2023 - 2025 : Co-Head, Private & Public Policies Department (ESSEC Business School, France)
      • 2021 - 2023 : Co-Head, Private & Public Policies Department (ESSEC Business School, France)
      • 2005 - 2007 : Lecturer and researcher (Private and Public Policies Department) and Development Director, ESSEC IRENE (ESSEC Business School, France)
      • 1998 - 2005 : Lecturer (ESSEC Business School, France)

    Professional appointments

    • 2002 - 2005 : Project Leader (Commissariat général du Plan, France)


  • 1997 : Fellow, Gilbert Murray Trust, Oxford
  • 1997 : Jean-Monnet Chevening Fellow, British Council


  • 2020 : Prix de l'excellence pédagogique (ESSEC Foundation, France)
  • 2016 : (ESSEC Foundation)
  • 2008 : Grand Prix, Académie des sciences morales et politiques, Institut de France (Académie des sciences morales et politiques)
  • 2003 : Fellow of Council for the United States and Italy
  • 2001 : Marshall Memorial Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States (German Marshall Fund of the United States)
  • 1998 : Fellow, 21st Century Trust, London (21st Century Trust)
  • 1992 : Laureate, Concours général en sciences économiques et sociales

Journal articles


Book editor

Book collection editor

Book chapters

Conference Proceedings

Presentations at an Academic or Professional conference

Prefaces of a book

Prefaces of a journal

Working Papers

Book reviews

Published cases

Press article, video or other popular media

Interviews: radio, TV, press


  • 2014 : - Present : Membre du comité scientifique de la Chaire "Grands enjeux stratégiques, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France

Professional activities

    Member of an professional association, of an expert group or of a board of directors

  • 2015 : - Present : Designated to be part of the Advisory Board of the European Institute of Peace
  • 2010 : - Present : Elected at the Steering Committee of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office
  • 2010 - 2013 : Board Member of l'Association pour le développement de l'expertise française à l'international et en Europe (IDEFIE)
  • 2003 - 2005 : Member of the Board, Institut de management public
  • Consulting

  • 2002 : - Present : Consulting for private corporations and public organizations in the fields of negotiation, communication, and change management.
  • Other professional activity

  • 2010 : - Present : Teaching coordinator for negociation at the Institut l'Institut diplomatique et consulaire, Ministère des Affaires étrangères, France
  • 2002 - 2011 : Coordinator for the negociation seminar, Institut national des études territoriales - INET, France

Research activities

    Chief Editor

  • 2016 - 2020 : Chief editor - Negociations
  • Senior or Associate Editor

  • 2002 : - Present : Member of the Editorial Committee
  • 2009 : - Present : Member of the Scientific Committee, Négociations
  • 2019 : Associate Editor - European Review of International Studies
  • 2015 : Associate editor - Negociations
  • Editorial Board Membership

  • 2014 - 2020 : Editorial board membership - European Review of International Studies
  • 2009 - 2019 : Editorial board membership - Negociations
  • 2016 : Editorial board membership - Journal of Arbitration and Mediation
  • 2013 : Editorial board membership - Politiques et Management Public
  • Function in an academic association

  • 2009 : - Present : Member of the Advisory Panel, Conflict Analysis Research Centre, University of Kent, United Kingdom
  • 1996 : Founding member, ESSEC IRENE, France
  • Member of an academic association

  • 2005 : - Present : Member of the Association française de science politique
  • 1995 : - Present : Member of the British International Studies Association
  • 2000 : - Present : Member of the International Association for Conflict Management
  • 2006 : - Present : Member of the International Political Science Association
  • 2008 : - Present : Member of the International Studies Association
  • 2006 : - Present : Member of the Royal Commonwealth Society