Diplomacy Exercise

Monday, June 22, 2020 at 3:00 PM CDT

Be sure to read through the complete simulation overview before it begins!

Simulation PreviewBegin the Simulation

What is diplomacy?

Diplomacy is the art or practice of conducting international relations, such as negotiating alliances, treaties and agreements, and exercising tact and skill in dealing with people of varied backgrounds to advance a country’s national interests and security. Diplomatic skills can be used in a variety of individual or organizational situations, from negotiating the hourly rate you will be paid at your job to deciding what movie to see with your friends.

Our Diplomacy Simulation

How does a Diplomatic Simulation work? A diplomatic simulation is a collaborative learning experience during which students step into the role of a real-life diplomat. The U.S. Diplomacy Center’s Diplomatic Simulations are designed for 15-30 participants. Students receive a scenario related to a global issue, which could be real world or hypothetical, current or historic. Within each simulation, there are five to six stakeholder groups (e.g., foreign ministries, NGOs, and international organizations), each with different perspectives and priorities. Students role-play these stakeholders in small teams of three to five. Under set time constraints, the groups are challenged to negotiate a peaceful solution to a crisis in the scenario. Students use the information provided in the simulation packet to develop their group’s 3 policy positions and defend or modify their choices in real time. The simulations have no right or wrong actions or end point because it is the process (rather than the result) that holds the most value for the students. The learning experience develops organically as students engage in the simulation. Once the simulation has been completed, students are encouraged to express how their views on diplomacy have evolved as a result of the experience and to contemplate how they can apply diplomatic skills to their everyday lives.

The following Diplomacy Simulation is Exerpted/Adapted from the U.S. State Department’s National Museum of American Diplomacy “Discover Diplomacy” Simulations.

Crisis in Our Oceans

Negotiating a Solution to Protect Our Food


The fish population off the coast of the Federated States of Hiroot is rapidly depleting due to overfishing. While Hiroot depends on fish for food and trade, it lacks the resources to effectively police its coastal waters. Recently, ships from the nearby country of Uzan have been spotted illegally fishing in Hiroot’s exclusive economic zone. A summit has been called with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Global Oceans Fund, and the governments of Hiroot, Uzan, and the United States to discuss the problem.

In this hypothetical simulation, students will take on the roles of the U.S. Department of State and other key stakeholders as they negotiate to resolve this crisis in our oceans. The exercise will develop skills in critical thinking, collaboration, problem-solving, communication, and global competence.

More About the Scenario*

In a region in the Pacific, the crisis in the oceans is growing. Overfishing, bycatch, illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and depletion of marine life persist. In the Confederated Islands of Hiroot (CIH), coral reefs and fish supplies are threatened, especially an endangered species of tuna. With a 1.3 million square mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surrounding the CIH, visible and effective enforcement is difficult for a small nation without large financial resources. The CIH uses 35% of fish caught in its EEZ as local food supply, thus the fishing industry is indispensable to its food security. Exports of marine products, mainly to Uzan, account for nearly 85% of export revenues. Uzan is one of the largest consumers of tuna in the world. It relies on tuna from the South Pacific and, as a result, holds strong economic and political interests in the CIH.

In addition, foreign fishing fleets pay more than $14 million annually for the right to operate in the CIH territorial waters. These licensing fees account for 28% of the Hiroot government’s revenue, so the CIH must present visible and effective enforcement of their fishing laws. The CIH, however, has difficulty providing fuel for the patrol boats that police the EEZ.

In hopes of further reducing overfishing, some of the region’s island nations are trying to restrict fishing in the high seas pockets. The Uzanese government, however, has shown resistance to this effort because it would further decrease the supply of tuna available to Uzan. As a result, recent monitoring operations have identified Uzanese vessels illegally fishing in several nations’ (including the CIH) EEZs.

Hiroot has explored the idea of beginning aquaculture, or the domestic cultivation of fish, but the country has not yet invested in it. Uzan has a small industry of aquaculture, but the fishing industry opposes it because they fear competition to their livelihood.

As is evident, there are many competing interests and a great number of challenges in addressing this issue. The crisis in the oceans therefore needs a multilateral, comprehensive, and enforceable solution. Regulating this cross-boundary exchange requires international cooperation and support in order to ensure that irresponsible fishing practices are not causing irreparable damage to our precious resources and to ensure a future for the populations in our oceans.

*This is a hypothetical scenario, though it is grounded in real issues and circumstances. The statistics, geography, and details in this exercise do not describe any specific, real world situation.

Questions to Think About

  • What countries and organizations are taking the lead on the issue?
  • How does the crisis facing the fish industry and marine life impact larger countries like Uzan differently than smaller countries like the Confederated Islands of Hiroot?
  • Have multi-national organizations like the FAO and NGOs like the Global Oceans Fund been able to ease the problem of IUU fishing?
  • How do the different economic concerns of Uzan and the Confederated Islands of Hiroot pose obstacles to easing the problem of IUU fishing in the region?
  • Which stakeholders and populations (human and marine) are most vulnerable to the consequences of IUU fishing if nothing is done?
  • What programs or international agreements are already in place to improve the problem of IUU fishing and harm to marine life?
  • How are current laws to protect the oceans and its resources enforced?
  • How do the challenges of protecting ocean life fit into the larger issues of climate change, sustainability of world resources, and conservation?

At the start of the scenario, each delegate will be randomly assigned into one (1) of the following five (5) stakeholder groups. Be prepared to be a representative for any of these groups, regardless for your personal beliefs about the scenario.

Government of the Confederated Islands of Hiroot (CIH)

Government of Uzan (GOU)

Global Oceans Fund (GOF)

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

United States Department of State (DOS)

At 3:00 PM on Monday, June 22, we will gather in a single Zoom session to brief the simulation. After an initial 20 minute meeting, you will have 100 minutes complete the simulation. Here is a preview of the simulation agenda:

3:00 PM CDT (20 minutes) – Simulation Briefing for All Delegates.
3:20 PM CDT (10 minutes) – Move to Simulation Rooms (Same as Small Group Rooms).
3:30 PM CDT (15 minutes) – Meet with Stakeholder Group to develop opening statement.
3:45 PM CDT (15 minutes) – Each Stakeholder Delivers Opening Statement.
4:00 PM CDT (10 minutes) – Meet with Stakeholder Groups to determine plan of action.
4:10 PM CDT (20 minutes) – Informal Discussions and Negotiations.
4:30 PM CDT (10 minutes) – Meet with Stakeholder Groups to develop Statements of Agreement.
4:40 PM CDT (10 minutes) – Each Stakeholder Delivers their Statement of Agreement, Brief Discussion.
4:50 PM CDT (5 minutes) – Stakeholder Groups Meet to Renegotiate, if necessary.
4:55 PM CDT (5 minutes) – Final Negotiations & Agreement.
5:00 PM CDT – Simulation Ends.

Prior to the Simulation Briefing at 3:00 PM CDT, click the red “Begin Simulation!” button below. You will want to keep open that page for the duration of the simulation, as it will guide you through the simulation process step-by-step.

Good luck!

The simulation begins promptly at 3:00 PM CDDT with an all-delegate briefing. It is here that we will go over the simulation details.

Click Here to Join this Zoom Session.

Meeting ID: 847 0188 6604
Password: 417588

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