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The Arab-Israeli Conflict Simulation

The Arab-Israeli Conflict Simulation currently encompasses 16 three-character teams. The key states and political organizations involved in the conflict are represented, including the United States and other UN Security Council permanent members. A staff of university student mentors, working under the supervision of the project directors, provides guidance to the teams. All of the roles represented in the simulation are high level governmental or political figures and are current office holders. Therefore, the simulation is based on the highly dynamic, and dramatic, context of the current reality.

Once they are assigned their country/countries and the characters they will portray, student participants are involved in four types of activities. First, they work face-to-face with their teammates, within their respective schools, doing research, discussing strategies and tactics and so forth. Second, they will participate in private diplomatic conversations. Each participant has a subset of other diplomats with whom they may communicate privately. Third, they post Press Releases which are visible to all the teams. We want to give our students a taste of how diplomacy works in the public sphere, how initiatives are presented and "spun," and so on. Fourth, they submit Action Forms, which constitute the "events" in the simulation and which are reflected in the mentors' updates. Press Releases and Action Forms must be approved by the mentor staff. These public communications are reflected in "updates" from the mentors, which are like the "newspaper" of the simulation, reflecting what has happened and what is being discussed.

Our vision for the simulation is to create a collaborative learning space in which the mentors push the students (where needed) to develop or more cogently express their ideas. It should also be a place where students can get praise and support for their hard work and creativity. Like a good teacher, the mentors endeavor to challenge the students with the goal of helping them to attain their goals. The mentors serve as gatekeepers for the simulation, pushing the students to act in ways that are in keeping with the beliefs and constraints that the person they are portraying would hold and operate under. Fundamentally, the mentors attempt to give the student participants a tangible window into the diplomatic process, with its slow, thorny inner-workings, trying through a variety of means to draw students in to thinking about the consequences of actions, and the diplomatic give and take.

AIC Facilitator Interview.
Here's a link to a series of video interviews with one of our veteran facilitators, Curt Hansen of the Wellington School in Columbus, Ohio. Curt is very creative in his use of AIC, and we're confident that hearing about how he uses AIC and helps his students to participate in the simulation will be extremely helpful in offering teachers a sense of the simulation, and how they can use it. Thanks, Curt!

There is a wealth of useful information for teachers regarding participation in AIC at this site, which was created by one of our teacher-facilitators, Vicki Davis of Westwood School in Camilla, Georgia. Thanks, Vicki!!