While Spring 2020 brought a global pandemic that closed campus and prohibited large gatherings, MAAIS students were still able to hone their diplomatic negotiation skills during a virtual two-day simulation May 16-17. Some 47 participants came together via Zoom to find solutions to the Korean nuclear crisis. In addition to the MAAIS students, teams consisted of graduate students from other UW programs as well as 17 Air Force ROTC senior cadets from across the Seattle area, all supported by high-level mentors and a technical control team, which this year spanned three time zones!
The International Strategic Crisis Negotiation Exercise (ISCNE) is a MAAIS capstone experience run in partnership with the US Army War College that fosters leadership and teaming and develops negotiation skills in a real-world role-playing exercise. This year’s scenario envisioned a convening of the Six Party Talks in 2021, with delegations from China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Japan, Russia, the Republic of Korea, and the United States meeting to make progress on a host of diplomatic issues affecting the Korean Peninsula. Expert mentors with deep experience in the region helped guide the student teams: Rob Luke (China), Bill Weinstein (DPRK), Gary Smith (Japan), Jackie Miller (Russia), Chris Kessler (ROK), and Eric Billies (US).
In his closing remarks, Exercise Director Col. Tony Varenna told the students their experience with virtual diplomacy mirrors a trend underway since the start of the pandemic, with organizations such as the United Nations working to move their meetings and consultations online. Congratulations to everyone involved on a successful, virtual negotiation exercise!