Georgetown Students Act as Diplomats for a Day as Part of International Negotiation Exercise

Students at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) became diplomats for a day in November, testing their skills in conflict resolution and decision making at a recent international negotiation and crisis simulation exercise.

The 8-hour simulation called on students to tackle strategic negotiations to resolve decades of conflict in Kashmir, where China, India, and Pakistan all claim territorial rights. In this case, students represented delegations from India, Pakistan, Russia, China, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Jammu Kashmir Peoples’ Democratic Party, who met for talks mandated by a United Nations resolution.

The roleplaying exercise is designed to teach participants how to resolve complex issues with multiple stakeholders in a pressured environment. Along with instructions from their “government” on specific outcomes to seek, each delegation received intensive training on how to negotiate mutually beneficial agreements.

The exercise was led by James Seevers, director of studies at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University’s Main Campus in Washington D.C., and GU-Q Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Dr. Christine Schiwietz. ISD Senior National Defense Fellow Andrew Steffen also helped guide the simulation.

“The ISD simulations we hold in Qatar and in Washington each year offer a unique, hands-on experience taking on a very real—and very critical—political, security, or humanitarian crisis,” Jim Seevers noted. “There’s so much students learn from this ‘diplomacy in action’ and the skills that guide the negotiating process.”

“The international negotiation simulation is one of our flagship experiential learning exercises where students have the opportunity to apply their theoretical understanding of global politics to a near real-world situation in a scenario-driven gaming environment,” explained Schiwietz. “Passions run high and you can feel the enthusiasm and excitement all around—it truly is a terrific day.”

GU-Q first-year student Salma Hassan (SFS ’20) was surprised at the complex and challenging environment. “Even if it was just a stimulation, I was under pressure knowing how much depended on my negotiation skills—in our case, the biggest threat was nuclear war. I am glad to have participated in this exercise because it gave me valuable negotiation skills.”