Last February, as second year students studying International Relations, we had the opportunity to participate in a crisis simulation organised by the students of King’s College London’s Crisis Team on their campus with the help and constant support of our course director, Dr. Felix Rösch and the School of Humanities at Coventry University. Both the school and course director were extremely helpful and supportive of which we are very thankful for.
We greatly benefitted from this experience and we hope that by sharing our insights we will be able to inspire other students to take on this opportunity in the years to come as well.
Please find the personal reflections below:
We were assigned a role in a determined country and had to solve any diplomatic or national issues we came across while making sure our country’s values were internationally respected. All of us came across this opportunity thanks to an e-mail that our course director, Dr. Felix Rösch, sent to our class. I feel like this experience was essential to reach a more detailed understanding of what a future within my area of study can be and it definitely made me take another position and consider certain subjects for my master’s and future career.
Having the opportunity to meet so many people who share similar interests at once was an eye-opening experience, overwhelming yet exhilarating. As an IR student, the Crisis Simulation gave me a taste in the complexity of a conflict where there were numerous actors who all have different objectives and pursue different interests, showed me how effective negotiations could be in resolving problems but not always, and overall offered me insights to the factors that might contribute in the decision-making that I don’t always take into consideration. I also had the opportunity to learn from my fellow participants from different universities, not only the knowledge but also their way of thinking and creative approach, which motivated me to learn more and improve myself. As a person, being a Press delegate encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone as I had to talk to a lot of people that I had never met before and I was demanded to compose my thoughts very quickly to put the information I gathered into written pieces, which was the completely opposite way of how I usually work.
It was challenging but immensely rewarding, doing things that I never expected myself to be doing.
Although all the things I have mentioned above sound somewhat serious, the event was actually very fun and enjoyable. There were creative and unique strategies that no-one expected, for example, an appeal to bomb a dormant volcano in the rival countries (and no, it was not allowed, in case you wonder). Overall, I am thankful for having the opportunity to participate in such a brilliant event and I highly recommend it as it has a lot to offer and has certainly enriched my university experience.
Participating in the Artic Crisis Simulation at King’s College in London was a wonderful “live-action game” where I was able alongside with my colleagues represent Coventry University in a successful event. This event reunites every year around +80 delegates from different universities from the UK and internationally! To be able to experience in first-hand an event of such magnitude and energy is something I advise to all students interested in topics that affect the international agenda around the world. While the Crisis Simulation only took three days, it was undoubtedly, three days full of emotions and knowledge sharing with students from different backgrounds while having a fun game twist by embodying State officials, the media, companies and many other personalities.
While representing the Director of National Intelligence of the United States, Joseph Maguire I had to work alongside my team to draw action plans in regard to territorial moves, alliances and press releases that our team was willing to share. The event gives the possibility to always be in contact with other delegates. It makes you develop communicative and negotiation skills without even realizing it by participating in public debates and presentations. This experience was very interesting and valuable for exploring the politics of various states and nations in a more complex way, and I am more than excited to join the Crisis Simulation next year to put my knowledge and skills into practice!
The topic the simulation revolved around was the arctic crisis, the discussion around climate change and what this meant for those exploring natural resources in the arctic region. I was assigned to the Norwegian committee as Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs and as NATO Permanent Representative. I found it interesting to be part of the Norwegian team as Norway is typically a neutral country that one does not hear much about. However, that was not the case during the simulation. Me and my team really made the most of the experience by testing how far we could go in terms of foreign policy and international relations without damaging the established alliances and treaties already in place. This simulation was a great way to understand how countries and international organisations deal with crisis management and resolution.
I found this experience enriching and very educational as it touched on areas I am interested in exploring in my future career. Not only that but we had the opportunity to work with students from other universities with whom we shared similar interests, something that we do not often have the chance to. This is a great learning experience for anyone in the international relations and politics field who wants to understand how crisis are handled by the international community and how an international organisation like the UN or NATO function.
By taking on the role of the NATO Permanent Representative of the United States of America during the Arctic Crisis Simulation, I have not only gained valuable experience and knowledge which will benefit me in my studies but also unforgettable memories. Every delegation was given a big map of the Arctic region and substantial information about our roles and the geopolitics of the region weeks before the event. I think the reason it was so successful is because the students who organised it made sure to make it as realistic as they could. I loved how everyone took their roles seriously and “got into character” and adapted to represent their country’s views and values as soon as the simulation began. It gave me an opportunity to not only meet and network with people from other universities with similar interests as mine, but to also put all the knowledge I have gained throughout my studies “into use”.
I think the best way to describe these 3 days would be “hectic”. There was a lot of running around, arguing with the press, laughing, complex public debates and a lot international turmoil within delegations. I personally thought it would be similar to a Model United Nations conference, but it was so much more. I gave me a comprehensive insight into the importance of team work, diplomacy and the deep understanding of strategic communication that was an essential part of the whole simulation. It also gave me a better understanding of what I could potentially pursue in terms of career and future studies. I would highly recommend this event for every student who is interested and wants to get a more informal but still very much useful experience in crisis resolution and international security. I will definitely take part in it next year as well!