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Virtual Diplomacy and the South China Sea

July 6, 2021

The 2021 International Strategic Crisis Negotiation Exercise (ISCNE) brought together close to 70 students, advisors and facilitators for a two-day virtual simulation May 15-16. This year’s focus was on the conflict in the South China Sea. As outlined in the scenario, teams representing China, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, the United States and Vietnam came together under the auspices of the United Nations during an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting set in 2023 to resolve the disputes in the region.

Daniel Shields, former US Ambassador to Brunei, played the role of UN Special Advisor and helped guide the teams as they worked to make diplomatic progress and advance their national interests. “It was my first opportunity to collaborate with the University of Washington, whose distinguished alumni make contributions in many areas, including the U.S. Foreign Service,” said Shields. “It was wonderful to work with the outstanding faculty and students from the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, in collaboration with my friends from the U.S. Army War College.”

The crisis simulation is an annual collaboration with the Center for Strategic Leadership at the U.S. Army War College. Designed as a capstone experience for students in the MA in Applied International Studies (MAAIS) program, it is also open to undergraduates and students in other graduate programs across the university. For the past three years, senior cadets from Air Force ROTC have also joined the weekend exercise. Financial support for the simulation was provided by the Center for Global Studies, the East Asia Center, the South Asia Center and the Southeast Asia Center.