Local/Regional News
11:15 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Exercise Gives UK Students Chance To Polish Diplomatic, Problem Solving Skills

The US Army War College recently visited the University of Kentucky to hold a diplomatic crisis simulation.   Reporter Chase Cavanaugh listened in.

The divided nation of Cyprus provided the backdrop for an exercise involving UK's Patterson School and the U-S Army War College
Credit wikipedia

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Students from UK’s Patterson School of Diplomacy tried their hand Friday at solving the conflict in Cyprus, a European country that is split between Greeks and Turks.  Acting as negotiators from the U.S, European Union, and other major powers, they attempted to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.  Student Max Lord says the simulation provides a strong source of immersion.

“Just putting people in this sort of environment makes them think remarkably like the people that they’re supposed to be, and it’s really a fascinating instructional experience.” 

Each country has its own agenda, so students try to find common ground with other groups, working up  solutions like trade deals or military drawdown.  Mentors such as former Ambassador Ronald McMullen help the teams, making sure they stay in character and provide guidance on how to successfully negotiate.  He says while students may come up with solutions, the simulation is still quite grounded in reality.

“Some of these issues have been frozen for 40 years, and it’s unlikely that we at this simulation are going to come upon a unique solution that no one’s ever thought of again.”

In this way, the Patterson School gives a glimpse into the high pressure world of international diplomacy, and how compromise can, despite best efforts, remain elusive.