Diplomacy in Action: Diplomatic Simulations in the Classroom

AHA Session 271
Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media 2
Sunday, January 7, 2018: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
Congressional Room A (Omni Shoreham, West Lobby)
Gwendolyn K. White, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media
Kevin Briscoe, Loudoun County Public Schools
Lauren Fischer, US Diplomacy Center
Alison Mann, US Diplomacy Center
Heba el Shazli, George Mason University

Session Abstract

Wildlife Trafficking, Refugee Crises, Global Counterfeit Trade – these are not just headlines from the latest newspapers, but are also titles of diplomatic simulations that have been created by the United States Diplomacy Center to introduce high school and college students to the complexity of our increasingly connected and complicated world. Much of a diplomat’s work happens behind the scenes, making it challenging to understand the nuances of the diplomatic process. How can young people around the world better understand the complexities of diplomacy? How can students learn to appreciate he historical roots of current conflicts and the impact of diplomacy on global issues such as the environment, human rights, economics, peace and conflict, health, and international law? The U.S. Diplomacy Center is developing a diplomatic simulations program for high school and college students that explores these questions and provides a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the process and importance of diplomacy internationally.

This project blends academia and pedagogy. The simulations are grounded in current scholarship about history, diplomacy, international relations, and contemporary global issues. They encourage hands-on student interaction that promotes dynamic learning – “diplomacy in action” – as well as learning from multiple disciplinary perspectives. The simulations are culturally sensitive and are designed for learners in any country with an international focus. At the heart of diplomacy are 21st-century skills such as active listening, collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, innovation, and problem solving, critical skills for teaching in history classrooms. Diplomatic simulations are relevant, interdisciplinary, flexible, and adaptive to a range of high school and college classrooms, including global history, regional history and U.S. history. The diplomatic simulations take from 90 minutes to two hours to complete in the classroom and will be freely available for download on the U.S. Diplomacy Center website in both pdf and Word formats.

Participants in this roundtable will offer 10-minute presentations on their experiences developing the simulations and facilitating them in the classroom. Gwendolyn K. White of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and project manager for the Diplomacy in Action project will discuss the process of researching and writing relevant and engaging simulations. Lauren Fischer, Education Program Specialist for the Diplomacy Center, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, and Alison Mann, a consultant to the U.S. Diplomacy Center, will discuss the educational mission of the center and outreach efforts to make diplomatic simulations more accessible to educators and students. Kevin Briscoe, a teacher in the Loudoun County Public School system has extensive experience utilizing simulations in high school classrooms. He will discuss how simulations expose students to a wide range of historical concepts and critical thinking skills. Professor Heba El-Shazli will share her experiences with diplomatic simulations in the college classroom. The presenters will then invite comments from the audience.

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