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Simulations and Experiential Learning in the International Relations Classroom

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image of International Negotiation

This article explores the value of experiential learning about international negotiations through role-playing exercises. Simulations have been employed successfully in international relations courses since the late 1950s, but the end of the Cold War has prompted a renewed interest in simulations as interactive teaching tools that capture the dynamics of change in the international system. Building on the existing literature on simulations, I describe an effective role-playing exercise for the new era, the Global Problems Summit, which was originally designed for an advanced undergraduate Political Science course at The College of Wooster. This simulation is structured to fulfill clear educational objectives by providing an opportunity for experiential learning about international diplomacy and the complexity of global problems, an understanding of different national perspectives on these issues, and the development of negotiation and communication skills to promote international cooperation. Three years of successful application lead me to conclude that the Global Problems Summit and related role-playing simulations can truly enliven the international relations classroom and enhance the learning experience.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political Science, The College of Wooster, Wooster, OH 44691, USA


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