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Beyond Model UN: Simulating Multilevel, Multiactor Diplomacy with the Millennium Development Goals
Unformatted Document Text:  Crossley-Frolick evaluations students remarked that the simulation was the “best” part of the course. They engaged with the topic of HIV/AIDS and the international community’s response in a way that stimulated their curiosity and their creativity. At the end they seemed to evince a more complex and nuanced understanding of the challenges posed by state sovereignty and divergent state interests to the success of international organizations in tackling global problems. Moreover, at the end of the simulation they articulated a greater appreciation for the difficulties involved in international negotiation. Not only did they realize how much state interests interfere with cooperation, but how different personalities can impact negotiation processes. Finally, many of them came to see in quite a different way than they had read or we discussed in class how the UN’s Millennium Development Goals project is a challenging one, one that requires various actors of the international system to approach them in a holistic manner, rather than piecemeal. In spite of these indicators of success, the simulation shows several deficiencies. It is worth reviewing theses problem areas in an effort to improve it. First, student preparation and performance was, by and large, uneven regardless of how diligently the roles were assigned. This was certainly true when one compares the first run with the second run, but even within the second run, the more “successful” one, student performance varied. Some truly internalized that they were playing a role and not advocating a personal position. But some had to be reminded or gently queried about what they were promoting both in formal debate and caucusing sessions. Was it their personal views or views that 18

Authors: Crossley-Frolick, Katy.
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Crossley-Frolick
evaluations students remarked that the simulation was the “best” part of the
course. They engaged with the topic of HIV/AIDS and the international
community’s response in a way that stimulated their curiosity and their creativity.
At the end they seemed to evince a more complex and nuanced understanding
of the challenges posed by state sovereignty and divergent state interests to the
success of international organizations in tackling global problems. Moreover, at
the end of the simulation they articulated a greater appreciation for the difficulties
involved in international negotiation. Not only did they realize how much state
interests interfere with cooperation, but how different personalities can impact
negotiation processes. Finally, many of them came to see in quite a different way
than they had read or we discussed in class how the UN’s Millennium
Development Goals project is a challenging one, one that requires various actors
of the international system to approach them in a holistic manner, rather than
piecemeal.
In spite of these indicators of success, the simulation shows several
deficiencies. It is worth reviewing theses problem areas in an effort to improve it.
First, student preparation and performance was, by and large, uneven regardless
of how diligently the roles were assigned. This was certainly true when one
compares the first run with the second run, but even within the second run, the
more “successful” one, student performance varied. Some truly internalized that
they were playing a role and not advocating a personal position. But some had to
be reminded or gently queried about what they were promoting both in formal
debate and caucusing sessions. Was it their personal views or views that
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