War in Ukraine, dictatorship in Belarus, separatism in Transnistria, authoritarian tendencies in Turkey: EU foreign policy is facing big and difficult questions regarding the EU’s neighbours in the East and the South – questions that are addressed by the 20 Goerdeler fellows from those states. Two fictional simulation games provided an unusual approach to the problem.
The Carl-Friedrich-Goerdeler-Kolleg addresses young professionals from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldavia, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. For one year, the fellows receive support for the development and implementation of their own projects in their home countries, with the aim of contributing to democratisation and good governance. One seminar day during the opening week of the ”Kolleg” 2014/2015 was dedicated to two simulation games that concerned themselves with “Rigged elections in Fontania” and the question “Fontania in the Inotian Union?”. Fontania? Inotian Union? We deliberately chose fictional scenarios, for they allow participants to think about political interrelations and situations in a new way and, crucially, with the necessary distance.
Game I: Observers of the presidential elections in Fontania are speaking of massive vote rigging. Just prior to the elections, the whole country was shaken by demonstrations and riots. The Council for Foreign Affairs of the Inotian Union (IU) is gathering in order to consult on the developments in Fontania.
Game II: The situation has stabilized, there is an interim government. Now the question arises how the IU is to approach its relationship with Fontania. Which forms of cooperation should be aimed for and under which conditions? Simultaneously, there is an internal debate in Fontania as to the extent to which the country should align itself with the IU.
The simulation games are extremely suitable for initiating conversations and discussions among fellows and opening up new points of view. It is no coincidence that they made a very positive contribution to team building and group dynamics – a great success all round!
Facts + Figures
Young professionals from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldavia, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine
- Discussion about the relationship between foreign policy interests and human rights
- Experiencing a crisis situation in which actors with differing interests must reach a unanimous decision under time pressure
- Training and reflection on negotiation strategies
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik e.V. (DGAP)
The simulation game 'Contested Elections in Fontania' depicts a very realistic scenario. Similarly, the important negotiations at the UN in New York or the EU in Brussels take place during informal conversations and not at the official negotiating table. That is exactly what this game demonstrates. [...] This is very important: Lunch and Cocktail receptions are not for eating, but for negotiating.
Dr. J. C. A. Staehelin, Swiss Ambassadeur to the UN, retired