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Using a Role-Playing Simulation to Bridge Theory and Practice in Graduate Professional Education
Unformatted Document Text:  Using a Role-Playing Simulation to Bridge Theory and Practice in Graduate Professional Education The simulation scenario was designed to invoke in its participants the sense that negotiating and attempting to institutionalize new security rules based on the collection of private information is a challenging and diplomatically complicated endeavor. It requires not only knowledge of “the other” and their culture, but also the ability to see foreign policy from an outside perspective. Participants were supposed to learn that successful policymakers should operate without any preconceived notions or embedded stereotypes. The Teams The forty five students that took part in the simulation were divided into ten teams, including: the European Union (EU) Parliament, EU Commission, EU Council, Group of Asian States, Arab League, Latin American States, North Atlantic Council, United Nations Security Council, Russia, and the United States. The simulation participants were assigned teams and roles, to the extent possible, based on their functional and regional interests. When assigning roles and teams, faculty took participants’ countries of origin into account. For example, a student from China with an expressed regional interest in East Asia might have been assigned the role of Foreign Minister of Japan, but would not have played a direct representative role for China. In this way, faculty designed the simulation to encourage students to step out of their individual comfort zones to see issues from an alternative cultural perspective. In addition to the country and institutional teams, three students were assigned the roles of journalists and were tasked with covering the unfolding events, following various meetings, and extracting as much information from participants in their roles as possible. The journalists were mainly students in our new Public Diplomacy Program, a joint venture between Syracuse University’s Maxwell School and the Newhouse School of Public Communications. Students in this dual master’s degree program earn an MA in International Relations and an MS in Public Relations. The Setting: Day One, Day Two, and Day Three The Capstone took place over the course of three and a half days. On day one, students assembled in a large lecture hall at the Maxwell School, and the faculty provided students with instruction manuals. The instructions contained information about students’ roles, countries, and/or institutions as well as input on historical perceptions and attitudes towards all the other teams. It is important to mention that the students had not been given any information whatsoever about their roles or the content of the simulation until this point. After students were given an opportunity to read their instructions, faculty briefed participants on the general design of the Capstone and the logistics of the course for the three days 6

Authors: Bonham, G. Matthew.
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Using a Role-Playing Simulation to Bridge Theory and Practice in Graduate Professional Education
The simulation scenario was designed to invoke in its participants the sense that
negotiating and attempting to institutionalize new security rules based on the
collection of private information is a challenging and diplomatically complicated
endeavor. It requires not only knowledge of “the other” and their culture, but also
the ability to see foreign policy from an outside perspective. Participants were
supposed to learn that successful policymakers should operate without any
preconceived notions or embedded stereotypes.
The Teams
The forty five students that took part in the simulation were divided into ten
teams, including: the European Union (EU) Parliament, EU Commission, EU
Council, Group of Asian States, Arab League, Latin American States, North
Atlantic Council, United Nations Security Council, Russia, and the United States.
The simulation participants were assigned teams and roles, to the extent
possible, based on their functional and regional interests. When assigning roles
and teams, faculty took participants’ countries of origin into account. For
example, a student from China with an expressed regional interest in East Asia
might have been assigned the role of Foreign Minister of Japan, but would not
have played a direct representative role for China. In this way, faculty designed
the simulation to encourage students to step out of their individual comfort zones
to see issues from an alternative cultural perspective.
In addition to the country and institutional teams, three students were assigned
the roles of journalists and were tasked with covering the unfolding events,
following various meetings, and extracting as much information from participants
in their roles as possible. The journalists were mainly students in our new Public
Diplomacy Program, a joint venture between Syracuse University’s Maxwell
School and the Newhouse School of Public Communications. Students in this
dual master’s degree program earn an MA in International Relations and an MS
in Public Relations.
The Setting: Day One, Day Two, and Day Three
The Capstone took place over the course of three and a half days. On day one,
students assembled in a large lecture hall at the Maxwell School, and the faculty
provided students with instruction manuals. The instructions contained
information about students’ roles, countries, and/or institutions as well as input on
historical perceptions and attitudes towards all the other teams. It is important to
mention that the students had not been given any information whatsoever about
their roles or the content of the simulation until this point. After students were
given an opportunity to read their instructions, faculty briefed participants on the
general design of the Capstone and the logistics of the course for the three days
6


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