Kidnappings, Assassination Attempts, Military Coups, and a Humanitarian Crisis: Patterson Students Take on the Crisis Simulation

On February 24 & 25, the Patterson School held its annual crisis simulation. With the help of Patterson faculty, former Patterson students organized a simulation to conduct the first in-person crisis simulation since the pandemic began. Below is a summary of the simulation.

The simulation consisted of five teams: Venezuela, Peru, China, Colombia, and the United States. While each team had a set of red lines they were forbidden to cross, teams worked together to not only advance their own interests in the region but to also aid in the humanitarian crisis. While some of this aid came in the form of direct monetary payments, the majority of the aid consisted of resources used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g. vaccines, PPE, etc.).

Each team performed according to their red lines and their regional interests. For example, from Team China’s perspective, China’s goal was to maintain its economic interest in the region while also not recognizing there was even a humanitarian crisis. Meanwhile, Team Colombia’s main objective was to reject recognition of Venezuela’s new President after ghastly circumstances surrounded the election and to counter Chinese influence in the region. How each team accomplished its goals was…unique.

After managing to secure its red lines and negotiating several agreements that expelled Team United States’ influence from the region, Team China began kidnapping delegates from Team Colombia in an effort to stall progress between Team Colombia and Team United States. However, privately, Team China’s justification for the kidnappings was simple: to obtain intelligence on which team was behind the assassination attempt of Venezuela’s new President. Team China believed that Team Colombia and Team United States were colluding to overthrow the Venezuelan President; however, after thoroughly interrogating the two delegates from Team Colombia, Team China discovered it was actually SIM Control (the simulation leadership) behind the assassination attempt.

Regional relations also took a toll during these negotiations as Team Peru’s delegation was overthrown by a military coup on the second day–invalidating nearly every agreement previously made. However, even with this unforeseen event, Team Peru was able to come out with newly formed agreements with each team. Additionally, Peru managed to secure a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding with Colombia and Venezuela to establish stability in the region through renewed partnerships with the current regimes. And finally, Colombia was able to secure steady relations with the United States as the two countries worked together to confront the growing humanitarian crisis as well as to expand trade, cultural, and tourism opportunities.

In sum, the crisis simulation not only forced Patterson students to step into leadership roles, but it also encouraged students to behave in a manner consistent with their designated delegation. While some delegations faced more difficulty than others, they managed to overcome those obstacles with tenacity, incredible leadership, and creativity.

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