PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Tag Archives: Model UN

Simulation miscellany, 27 March 2014

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Some recent conflict simulation and serious games items that may be of interest to PAXsims readers:

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G4C11The eight finalists for the 2014 Games for Change Awards have been now been selected. The winner will be announced at this year’s Games for Change Festival in New York, 22-24/26 April 2014.

This year G4C will be partnered with the Tribeca Film Festival. As USA Today reported back in January:

In the clearest indication yet that video games are growing well beyond their roots as amusements built on coin boxes and hand-eye coordination, the 11th annual Games for Change (G4C) Festival this spring will take place as part of the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, where it will host a family-friendly gaming arcade in lower Manhattan.

“For me it’s a huge leap because it means that for the first time we’re bringing Games for Change … to the real person on the street,” says Asi Burak,the games festival’s president.

G4C is perhaps the biggest player in the growing “serious games” movement, which uses digital games and simulations for health, education, training and social change, among other uses. The festival last year produced Half The Sky Movement: The Game, a Facebook game based on Half the Sky, the 2009 book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn about the worldwide oppression of women.

Craig Hatkoff, co-founder of the film festival, says Tribeca is paying attention to “the transformative power of gaming” that goes beyond traditional entertainment. He wants the combined event to bring together “the most cutting-edge creators of games, educators, and the world’s greatest story-tellers.”

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GAMEONGAMEON’2014 will be held 9-11 September 2014 at the University of Lincoln, UK:

The aim of the 15th annual European GAMEON® Conference (GAMEON®’2014) on Simulation and AI in Computer Games, is to bring together researchers and games people in order to exchange ideas on programming and programming techniques, which will be beneficial to the gaming industry and academia. Secondly it aims to steer young people into this industry by providing how-to tutorials and giving them the opportunity to show their ideas and demos to the gaming industry. The conference will concentrate mostly on the programming of games, with special emphasis on simulation, AI and fuzzy sets, and physics related computer graphics. Next to that, all of this will be fused in the topic of computer game design in stand-alone and networked games. Software providers will be able to show their latest packages and give hand-on tutorials for the participants.

Companies will also have the opportunity to seek new talent at this unique event.

GAMEON’2014 consists of three core tracks, which cover, Gaming Methodology, Artificial Intelligence and Simulation, while the other tracks cover peripheral technologies closely linked to games design, like 3-D scalability, facial and skeletal animation, 3D in-game animation etc, mobile gaming and gaming applications.

Further details can be found here.

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The Iranian-based International Studies Journal and the United Nations Information Center in Iran are jointly selecting 45 senior advisors, resident diplomats and their dependents, heads of state organizations, NGO representatives, professors of law and International Relations, and post-graduate and graduated students to participate in a Security Council simulation, to be held in Tehran on 18 September 2014:

The Programme

The programme will cover three specific issue areas:

  1. International law and security, peace and human rights;
  2. Simulation methods and Research workshops;
  3. Global and Regional initiatives to protect peace and human rights.

Preparation

Preparing for a Model United Nations conference can be a very challenging task. One time before the simulation, there will be a pre-conference training workshop for the participants at UNIC-Tehran.

Certificate

ISJ and UNIC will award a certificate to all participants who successfully fulfill the workshop assignments, research, and exercises.

Admission Requirements

  1.   An accredited degree in law, international relations or a relevant field of study;
  2.  Good command of English or French;
  3.  Two recommendation letters by professors or sponsoring institutions;
  4.  Your recent photograph;
  5.  Letter of application including address, telephone, email and language skills(Persian, English, French);
  6. CV/Resume;
  7. Payment of 120 Euros (for Non Iran resident students) and 200 Euros (for other) upon admission. This fee covers registration, courses, booklet, ISJ quarterly magazines and lunch.

The registration deadline is 10 July 2014. For further information, contact info@isjq.net.

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We’ve updated our blog post on “Gaming the Crisis in the Ukraine” to include a new matrix game on the situation, designed by Tom Mouat.

UkraineMap

simulations miscellany, 3 August 2013

History-of-Sim-part-2

Some recent simulations-related items that may be of interest to our readers.

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AFP recently featured a report on humanitarian training simulations, and the role they can play in preparing humanitarian workers for growing challenges in the field:

Go, go!” shouts a soldier at five Red Cross aid workers crammed into a 4×4 truck speeding into the woods as explosions go off nearby, sending up plumes of white smoke.

The scene feels menacing and real. But it is in fact taking place far from an actual battlefield and just a stone’s throw from a city renowned for its international peace efforts, in one of the safest countries on the planet.

Welcome to Alpesia, an imaginary land created by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 15 years ago in the woods of Geneva. Here the Sequane Liberation Front rebels are facing off against the authorities in a “conflict” tailored to teach new aid workers how to face the increasingly dangerous world they will soon be ushered into.

Nearly 200 participants, who have to be between 25 and 35 years old, pass the simulation test each year before joining a profession where armed attacks, kidnappings and hospital bombings are becoming ever more prevalent.

In the Swiss woods, they get a taste for what life could be like on mission: military checkpoints, visits to destroyed hospitals and a refugee camp — all within eight days of practical and theoretical training.

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The New York Times (2 August 2013) has a long report on “The Dog-Eat-Dog World of Model UN.”

 This is not F.D.R.’s Model United Nations, that rigid simulation of General Assembly protocol and decorum. Conferences like this one in Philadelphia, hosted by the club at Penn, have turned MUN, as it’s called, into a full-fledged sport, with all the competitiveness and rowdiness that suggests. Today, there are official sponsors, a ranking of schools and, much to the chagrin of traditionalists, non-U.N. role play.

MUN’s roots are older than the United Nations itself. In 1927, Harvard invited nine colleges to a simulation of the League of Nations, nearly a decade after that body’s creation in the wake of the First World War. Today, anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 high school and college students in this country attend Model U.N. each year, according to the United Nations Association of the United States of America.

In classic MUN, students represent the positions and values of assigned countries, adhering to official protocols when speaking, negotiating and drafting resolutions. Consensus is important, and the process of arriving at innovative solutions to global problems the goal. That is still the prevailing model. But a new breed of Model U.N., popular among student-run clubs at elite universities, has a distinctly different philosophy. Their “crisis committees” focus on a single historical event (the 1929 Atlantic City conference of crime bosses, for example) and fantasy recreations (“Star Wars,” “Harry Potter”). Participants battle it out in four-day conferences in hopes of winning a coveted gavel, awarded to the strongest member on each committee, and schools with the most “best delegates” top the new rankings.

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HGWellsThe BBC (2 August 2013) offers a look at “Little Wars: How HG Wells created hobby war gaming,”

It is a century since HG Wells published the first proper set of rules for hobby war games. There’s a hardcore of gamers who are still playing by his code.

Pine tips are stuck in the grass to represent trees. Roads are laid out with trails of compost.

This is the Battle of Gettysburg, with Union soldiers on one side and Confederates on the other. But the soldiers of this new Gettysburg are 54mm (2in) tall and mostly made of plastic.

The battle is taking place between a group of enthusiasts in a garden at Sandhurst military academy under the rules of Little Wars, devised by HG Wells in 1913.

War was then looming in Europe and Little Wars was both an expression of Wells’s passion for toy soldiers and to his fears over the coming slaughter. The science fiction author even believed that war games could change attitudes.

“You only have to play at Little Wars three or four times to realise just what a blundering thing Great War must be,” wrote Wells.

But this is looked on with disapproval by some modern war gamers, who prefer theoretical bombardments worked out with distance tables.

Phil Barker, a celebrated deviser of modern games, acknowledges Wells’s role in “showing it could be done – and giving grown men an excuse to play with toy soldiers”.

But he adds: “Combat was based on shooting solid projectiles at the figures. Today, this would be discouraged because of the risk of someone getting a projectile in the eye, but it was the chance of damage to the finish of lovingly home-painted figures that led to the switch to less lethal dice.”

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Given both  continued Sino-Japanese suspicions stretching back to before WWII and continued territorial disputes between the two countries over the ownership of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands/Tiaoyutai/Pinnacle islands—what you call them depends on which claim you are advancing—it is hardly surprising that they have become the subject of a video game. According to The Diplomat (2 August 2013):

 Chinese video game, designed in part by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and originally intended as a training tool for soldiers, allows gamers to engage in all-out war against foreign enemies. An early version of Glorious Mission generated a fair share of controversy when it appeared to pit virtual soldiers against the U.S. military.

Today, a more recent version of theCall of Duty clone received an update, containing a new mission – a siege of the contested Diaoyu Islands – a move that embodies China’s shifting of aggression from America to its Asian neighbor and past colonizer, Japan.

Disputed islands between China and Japan have become the centerpiece of diplomatic tension in Asia. Called the Diaoyu Islands by China and the Senkaku Islands by Japan, bitter territorial disputes over ownership of the rocky outcroppings have sparked mass protests in both countries. Chinese nationalists went as far as burning and looting Japanese-owned businesses in China last year, following a Japanese government announcement that it would purchase and nationalize the uninhabited islets.

Glorious Mission Online’s latest downloadable content (DLC) gives Chinese gamers a chance to virtually evict Japanese “invaders” by force – aided by China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier and an arsenal of military weaponry.

“Players entering the game will fight alongside Chinese armed forces and use their weapons to tell the Japanese that ‘Japan must return our stolen territory!’” read a press release on the game’s website,according to the South China Morning Post.

The video trailer for the scenario can be found here:

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MST_magazine_2013_lrWith regard to professional military training and simulation, the latest issue (3-4/2013) of Military Simulation & Training can be found here.

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