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Beyond Model UN: Simulating Multilevel, Multiactor Diplomacy with the Millennium Development Goals
Unformatted Document Text:  Crossley-Frolick being said, simulations, no matter how well they are designed, pose certain limitations, both in terms of faculty labor and input and learning outputs. The simulation under consideration here was designed with several objectives in mind. First, I wanted the students to become highly engaged with a particular topic I selected in a way that stimulated their curiosity and creativity. Second, I wanted to demystify some of the theory covered in class readings and discussion. Specifically, I wanted students to grasp, on a more practical level, the challenges posed by state interests and state sovereignty to the functioning and success of international organizations in tackling global problems. Third, I wanted students to explore a topic that is familiar to them and frequently discussed in various media formats: print, video, audio, not to mention popular music, art, and even sport. Hence, I selected the topic of HIV/AIDS because it is something all students have heard or learned about elsewhere, and because the problem is one that transcends national boundaries, thus demanding a set of responses from multiple actors at multiple levels of the international system. Fourth, I wanted students to critically examine an assumption that I see many of them make, namely, that negotiation is easy and that if individuals would only focus on the goal(s) and less on their own likes and dislikes, then problems would be easily solved. It is one thing to discuss negotiation in abstract terms, but prior research on simulated negotiating sessions suggests that “there are some aspects of negotiations that students are not likely to understand fully until they have lived through them” (Winham 2002: 465). They help reveal the practical difficulties that diplomats often encounter on the international stage. Students 4

Authors: Crossley-Frolick, Katy.
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Crossley-Frolick
being said, simulations, no matter how well they are designed, pose certain
limitations, both in terms of faculty labor and input and learning outputs.
The simulation under consideration here was designed with several
objectives in mind. First, I wanted the students to become highly engaged with a
particular topic I selected in a way that stimulated their curiosity and creativity.
Second, I wanted to demystify some of the theory covered in class readings and
discussion. Specifically, I wanted students to grasp, on a more practical level, the
challenges posed by state interests and state sovereignty to the functioning and
success of international organizations in tackling global problems. Third, I wanted
students to explore a topic that is familiar to them and frequently discussed in
various media formats: print, video, audio, not to mention popular music, art, and
even sport. Hence, I selected the topic of HIV/AIDS because it is something all
students have heard or learned about elsewhere, and because the problem is
one that transcends national boundaries, thus demanding a set of responses
from multiple actors at multiple levels of the international system. Fourth, I
wanted students to critically examine an assumption that I see many of them
make, namely, that negotiation is easy and that if individuals would only focus on
the goal(s) and less on their own likes and dislikes, then problems would be
easily solved. It is one thing to discuss negotiation in abstract terms, but prior
research on simulated negotiating sessions suggests that “there are some
aspects of negotiations that students are not likely to understand fully until they
have lived through them” (Winham 2002: 465). They help reveal the practical
difficulties that diplomats often encounter on the international stage. Students
4


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