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. 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 from the U.S. State Department’s National Museum of American Diplomacy “Discover Diplomacy” Simulations.
Energy Security and Economic Growth
The neighboring countries of Yeeland and Grusa share a freshwater lake that is home to the Lauret crane, an endangered species and major tourist attraction. Yeeland is constructing a hydroelectric dam to provide it with a much-needed power source. However, Grusa fears the dam will affect the lake’s water levels, harming the cranes. A summit has been called with Yeeland, Grusa, the United States, the United Nations Water Convention Bureau, and the non-governmental organization Save Our Avian Resources to discuss the issue.
This simulation involves a hypothetical scenario but deals with the real world problem of increasingly scarce freshwater resources. You will role play a member of a delegation at an international meeting trying to negotiate a solution. The delegations are:
- The U.S. Department of State
- The Water Convention Bureau
- The Foreign Ministry of Yeeland
- The Foreign Ministry of Grusa
- Save Our Avian Resources (SOAR)
- Regional Media Corporation
As representatives of one of the stakeholders engaged in the process, you will need to:
- Prioritize your diplomatic goals according to your group’s policy position.
- Identify with who you will need to negotiate and who might be your ally/competitor.
- Determine what other participants want out of the negotiations and whether your group is willing to compromise and how.
- Identify areas of agreement and organize an implementation strategy for your negotiations.