Using simulations to train future negotiators, mediators and leaders

Professor Michael Dumper has received University funding to develop simulated political scenarios as a means of teaching the complex dynamics of Middle East political situations in the classroom.

Scenarios can be developed from a wide range of topics such as Middle East peace negotiations, or a humanitarian crisis involving refugees, rebel militia, government forces, and the UN. During the course of a simulation, students are assigned roles within the scenario. Their preparation requires intensive study of histories, documents, and analyses; and students will thereby develop greater understanding of the concerns of individuals and groups involved in real-life conflicts.

During the simulated negotiations, students will confront the range of difficulties faced by the role they have adopted; putting forth concrete proposals, taking responsibility for their ideas, and dealing with the consequences of their actions on the process, as well as critiquing the words and actions of other participants.

Simulations are a useful technique for improving understanding of political situations involving several agencies, as well as enabling students to develop skills in negotiation, mediation and leadership by becoming more confident and convincing communicators; as well as active, responsive and intelligent listeners.

Professor Dumper's research interests are the Permanent Status Issues of the Middle East peace process, the Arab-Israeli conflict, religious institutions in the Middle East and the urban politics of the Middle East. He teaches undergraduate modules in International Relations, War and Peace in the Middle East and The Refugee Crisis in the Modern World, as well as a masters level module in Conflict Management and Resolution in the Middle East Peace Process.

29 July 2011

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