AGS Students Participate in International Negotiation Simulation on Europe's Migratory Crisis

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

simulation2017_thumbnail.jpgLike every year, AGS Master's students who have opted for the dual program in Diplomacy and Strategic Negociation joined their fellow students from Université Paris Sud for an international negotiation simulation. This year's mock negotiation took place in Beirut, Lebanon, and the theme was "Europe and the Migratory Crisis".

Sivan Ghasem (Class of 2017) was one of them. She shared her experience and a few photos with us.

"On April 3, 2017, AGS students playing the role of ambassadors to specific countries travelled to Beirut, Lebanon to take part in a negotiation exercise on the theme: 'Europe and the Migratory Crisis'.

The simulation brought together 47 students from many different origins, through three participating institutions: Université Paris Sud, the American Graduate School in Paris, and La Sagesse University in Beirut, which hosted the event. We decided our conference was best suited to take place in Beirut, as Lebanon hosts a tremendous amount of refugees and has done a great deal to aid those fleeing war.

Each student participating in the exercise represented a specific country or international organization. The aim of the exercise was to formulate a legal document in response to the migratory crisis Europe is facing at the moment as a result of civil wars, wars, famines, and general instability.

After hundreds of hours of work and compromise, our class was able to furnish a document with articles in regards to the crisis and promises from countries to help alleviate the issue and encourage European partners to take initiative. Some of the main topics we discussed were security, finance, and integration.

I, myself, represented Iraq. As the representative, my main goal was to attain funding. Iraq in general is in a precarious state. It is a host country for approximately 300,000 Syrian refugees and has 6 million IDP’s of its own due displacement induced by the Islamic State. On top of this, Iraq is fighting a simultanous war on international terrorism to dislodge militants from strongholds in Hawija and Mosul. Moreover, these were some of the positions and arguments I made during the time span of the exercise in an attempt to secure funding. Funding was essentially my main goal and position as the Iraqi representative because of the dire state of affairs of the country at the moment.

Subsequently, I was able to discuss with one of the leaders of the Gorran movement in Kurdistan in regards to the Iraqi position on refugees. Evidently, 97 percent of Syrian refugees are currently housed in the northern region due to stability and the political representative highlighted to me the issue of financing in a country that has been ravaged by sectarianism, terrorism, economic deficits, and general insecurity. In short, it is difficult for the northern region to sustain itself due to a lack of funds and resources and the pressure of IDP’s and refugees has further complicated matters.

After the negotiations, our group was able to visit a refugee camp in the northern region of Lebanon and experience first hand the sad reality of these displaced people. We met several families and listened to their stories. Most came from Homs and recounted their lives before and how the Syrian civil war took everything they had. Some of the children we met were born in the camps and refugee life was all that they knew; it was a sad reality and a rude awakening. The ones we met were considered the lucky ones because clearly they were able to escape. The Syrian war has taken hundreds of thousands of lives and the advent of the Islamic State in regions has only exacerbated the situation.

I was especially touched during this visit because my family spent some time in refugee camps as they escaped war. We were fortunate enough to be accepted by Canada and I was able to live a different life and become the person I am today because of my generous country. My parents arrived in Canada on Halloween of 1991. I was just an infant, but had we not left, I would have spent my toddler years in camps as my cousins and other extended family did in Iraq. During the visit I couldn’t help but think how lucky I am and how every refugee deserves the chance I had, but unfortunately this is not the reality."

This was especially highlighted during the exercise and the sheer complicated matter of the situation. Working with European counterparts was a rewarding experience but was difficult in the sense that Europe has its own issues such as a high unemployment rate and economic issues, therefore reaching a general consensus of accepting a certain number of refugees was understandable and proved to be a difficult task during our exercise. Nevertheless, the level of cooperation presented by Europe and the partner states afforded a final text that each country signed.

Finally, our exercise proved to be extremely valuable because as we have witnessed, instability in the region is not on the decline, and is in fact on the rise due to famines, climate change and brutal regimes. Our mock simulation was an attempt to alleviate these emerging challenges and find practical humane and rational solutions to a problem that is not going to go away any time soon.

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Gwenn Carter JohnsonUSA
M.A., School of International Relations
Class of 2007

quote leftThe American Graduate School in Paris offered me an opportunity to learn in my native tongue and yet be surrounded by another culture and language.quote right

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