Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Peace comes to Brynania (maybe, this time)

Signing the peace treaty.

Signing the peace treaty.

The week-long 2015 Brynania civil war simulation came to an end at McGill University yesterday, with a ceasefire and UN-sponsored peace agreement being signed among all of the warring factions. The UN Security Council authorized a peacekeeping mission (UNPOB) in support of this, supplementing a Concordian-led regional observer force that was already on the ground. Concerned that the negotiations were too prone to offer a blanket amnesty to those who might have conducted mass atrocities during the conflict, the Security Council referred the matter to the International Criminal Court.

Aid workers coordinated the delivery of humanitarian and development assistance to 33 difference areas of Brynania and neighbouring countries.

Aid workers coordinated the delivery of humanitarian and development assistance to 33 different areas of Brynania and neighbouring countries.

Imprisoned poet and human rights activist Zahra al-Zahra was also freed by the government in a last-minute deal largely brokered by the European Union. Her release had been a key demand of many civil society groups, not to mention Brynania’s legendary Simsim birds.

A total of 147 persons participated:

  • 101 from my undergraduate POLI 450 (Peacebuilding) course
  • 9 from my POLI 650 (Peacebuilding) graduate seminar
  • 6 from Prof. Megan Bradley’s POLI 359 (Politics of the International Refugee Regime) course, who formed a special policy advisory unit for the main UNHCR team
  • 13 from Prof. Lisa Lynch’s JOUR 443 (International Journalism) course at Concordia University, who made up the World News Service and reported in real-time on simulation events
  • 18 others in four different countries (former students and other friends recruited via Facebook) who represented “public opinion,” members of the diaspora, and private charitable donors.

The class sent some 12,451 separate emails during the simulation, and conducted many hundreds of hours of meetings, videoconferences, and online conversations. I also sent some 2,127 emails during the week.

By my rough calculation—taking into account that many emails were send to multiple addresses, or even to the entire group via the simulation’s listservs—I estimate that McGill’s email server delivered over 181,000 items during the week. Many thanks are due to Hiio Kirby and the folks at McGill IT Customer Services (ICS) for outstanding technical support.

Since I’ll be on sabbatical for 2015-16, it seems likely that Brynania will experience at least two years of peace. However, I fear that civil war will once more return to this long-suffering land in March 2017…


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