US Army War College Holds Arctic Crisis Negotiation Exercise at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs
By Mariam Khorenyan, MSGA Student ’22, Transnational Security Concentration
The Initiative on Emerging Threats at NYU’s School of Professional Studies, Center for Global Affairs recently hosted the 7th annual U.S. Army War College (USAWC) International Strategic Crisis Negotiation Exercise (ISCNE). The simulation, held during the last weekend of February, brought together over fifty NYU Masters students, along with faculty and USAWC personnel, to negotiate a geopolitical crisis in the Arctic region.
Delegations representing eight countries, Canada, China, Denmark/Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, and the United States, with interests in this region worked diligently during the simulation to unpack the complex scenario. The distinguished Tamrat Samuel served the critical role of a United Nations Special Advisor, mediating negotiations and discussions among the delegations. Professors Mary Beth Altier, Jumo Ayandele, Edward Goldberg, Sylvia Maier, Michael Oppenheimer, Maureen Quinn, W.P.S. Sidhu served as team mentors.
While challenging, the simulation provided students with the opportunity to engage in difficult conversations and negotiations pertaining to international diplomacy and cooperation. Students learned and honed critical diplomatic and negotiating skills that will serve them in future careers whether in the public or private sector. A few shared their experiences:
Now, more than ever, the International Strategic Crisis Negotiation Exercise was a forceful reminder that diplomacy, patience and respect for others’ perspectives can lead to progress on shared challenges and peaceful cooperation between nations. It was great to be part of a diverse slice of the NYU community experiencing the reality of the emotions and tensions involved, and I learned so much from how my team and other delegations approached the exercise. ~ Alastair Whitehead, MSGA Student ’23, Transnational Security Concentration
The ISCNE is one of my favorite events of the spring semester. The US Army War College presents real-life, current scenarios that demand creative solutions. We are able to work with our classmates and carefully negotiate solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems, which is a unique opportunity to discover how fragile peace in our world can be. It’s a great experience to be mentored by experts and practice what may someday be real-life skills. ~ Jennifer Rauch, MSGA Student ’22, Gender Studies Concentration
Experiencing the diplomatic process outside the classroom is the fast track to building today’s students to become tomorrow’s real-world practitioners. The US Army War College’s ISCNE allows students like myself that opportunity — to experience the interpersonal communication, subject expertise, and even stresses that comprise the diplomatic process. As the Norwegian Head of Delegation, I found poise, symbolism, word choice, creativity, and a participative leadership style to be tenets of Norwegian foreign relations and effective negotiation. The uniqueness of the ISCNE to put these and more skills into practice for tomorrow’s practitioners is unparalleled. ~ Geoff Sloan, MSGA Student ’23, Energy and Environmental Policy Concentration
I had the opportunity to participate in the International Strategic Crisis Negotiation Exercise as Head of Delegation on my team representing the United States. Alongside my team members, we were able to put our skills to the test and navigate a real-world crisis through diplomacy. I believe the most rewarding part about this experience is that it mimics a real-world scenario which allowed us to use the knowledge we have learned in class and build on that to further our skill sets. The challenges presented to us were tough, but perhaps the most difficult part was knowing that these are real challenges that diplomats must face. I must admit, this exercise made me feel more confident in my capability to overcome obstacles that may arise during negotiations of any kind. I can’t wait to participate again next year! ~ Daniella Vasquez, MSGA Student ’23, Transnational Security Concentration
The exercise concluded with an impressive number of successful agreements among the countries represented. More importantly, ISCNE served as a wonderful opportunity for students to practice and further enrich many of the skills they learn in the classroom. By the end of the two-day simulation, all student participants expressed their desire to participate in next year’s simulation.
Mariam Khorenyan is currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Global Affairs at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs (CGA) with a concentration in Transnational Security and a specialization in Global Risk.