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Simulation & Gaming

Global Crisis Conference: A Simulation/Game about Diplomacy and Crisis Relief

Jon L. Smythe
Simulation Gaming 2002; 33; 504
DOI: 10.1177/1046878102238614

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Smythe / GLOBAL
/ December 2002



A simulation/game about diplomacy
and crisis relief

Jon L. Smythe
Tulsa Community College

KEYWORDS: bias; crisis; diplomacy; economics; motives; politics; relief funds; religion; strategy;

Basic Data:

Objectives: To improve communication skills in a foreign, second, or native language with

emphasis on information analysis and persuasive speech.
Target audience: Intermediate or advanced students of English as a second language and stu-
dents of international relations or tactical decision making.
Playing time: One to three sessions depending on language ability of participants.
Debriefing time: 15 minutes or more as needed.
Number of players: 9 (adaptable to 20 or more).
Materials required: Description of setting, role cards, country crisis news articles, delegate
country profiles, judge country profiles, and name badges (optional).


Seventy-nine nations have formed an alliance called the Global Solutions Coali-
tion. Member nations pay monthly dues, raise special funds, and work together to
solve global problems. The Global Solutions Coalition has convened a Global Crisis
Conference to determine how to distribute relief money to crisis-stricken member
nations. Unfortunately, due to the lack of funding (some member nations have not paid
their dues) and the extremely large number of crises this year, there is only enough
money in the fund to help one country. The amount of money in the fund at this time is

SIMULATION & GAMING, Vol. 33 No. 4, December 2002 504-511

DOI: 10.1177/1046878102238614
© 2002 Sage Publications

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reported to be $15 million. At this conference, delegates from five countries plead their
cases to a panel of three judges who will decide which country will receive the money.
A moderator will set official procedures and work to maintain order. Participants must
use a variety of communication skills and tactics to achieve their goals while exposing
the hidden motives of their opponents. They must also use a great deal of diplomacy
because the rest of the world is watching.
As a warm-up for the simulation, participants should watch videotaped news pro-
grams or read news articles about natural and/or manmade disasters. By simply watch-
ing the evening news or reading the daily newspaper, there is, unfortunately, no lack of
information of this type. Participants should then be encouraged to discuss how they or
their own countries would decide which groups or which countries they would help
during a crisis. Would it be based on religion, politics, economics, basic human con-
cerns, or a combination of these? Once the participants have a basic understanding of
concepts such as diplomacy, tactics, motives, or any other relevant vocabulary, they are
ready to begin play. The simulation facilitator should assign roles and distribute the
simulation materials to the participants.


The moderator
• You will create the rules and the procedures for the conference. For example, you will
decide who speaks first, how much time each judge/delegate is allowed to speak and ask
questions, and how each delegate can request permission to speak. You can also make any
other rules that you think are important.
• You are responsible for maintaining order. You must have control at all times.
• You must appear to be fair, honest, and impartial at all times.
• Your country is currently in a dispute with one of the delegate’s countries. Choose which
country your country is in dispute with; each time that delegate speaks, you may interrupt
the delegate or reduce their allotted time for speaking. But don’t be obvious.

The country delegates

(Note: Each country delegate receives a role card with both general and specific

• Your country is depending on you to bring back the aid money from the Global Crisis
Conference. If you do not succeed, the people in your country will continue to suffer.
• You should make the best argument that you can as to why your country, and no other,
should receive the Global Crisis Fund.
• Be sure to make a well-thought out argument on behalf of your country while pointing out
the true motives of the other country delegates.
• Remember to always appear to be fair, honest, and concerned about the welfare of the
other countries.

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506 SIMULATION & GAMING / December 2002

• Delegate 1 from Yarindo: Your country is currently in conflict with Asrappe. When the
delegate from Asrappe speaks, do what you can to draw attention from this delegate.
• Delegate 2 from Kurbanikstan: At any time during the conference, send a top secret note
to one of the judges, pleading for their assistance in receiving the aid money on behalf of
the suffering people in your country.
• Delegate 3 from Kilaamaku: You are very passionate about your cause. Do not listen to
the moderator. Speak whenever you feel like it.
• Delegate 4 from Asrappe: You never become angry or outraged. You are calm and use
flattery to get what you want. You speak as if you are the most important person in the
• Delegate 5 from Munkari: At any time during the conference, send a top secret note to one
of the other delegates and ask them to work with you in order to get and share the money
in the Global Crisis Fund.

The country judges

(Note: The country judges also receive role cards with both general and specific

• You must work closely with the other judges to decide the best method for evaluating
each country’s need for funding.
• You must ask questions of each delegate to help you decide which country is the most
deserving as well as which countries may have ulterior motives.
• You must always appear to be fair, honest, and impartial.
• After hearing all of the discussion, you must work with the other judges to decide which
country deserves the money in the Global Crisis Fund and be willing to state your reasons
why you chose the country that you did.

• Judge A from Dankali: You are very religious. Feel free to share your religious views with
the other participants.
• Judge B from Jafiyaskya: You are a shrewd business leader. Your main concern is money.
• Judge C from Hiitana: You insist on equality and fairness. If you feel that any judge or del-
egate is behaving unfairly, be sure to point it out and try to work out a peaceful solution for
everyone concerned.

Additional roles (as needed)

• Country victims: Work with country delegates to give a personal account of your own
• Country journalists: Take notes during the conference (or videotape the conference) and
after the conference, you could appear on a talk show to discuss the “fairness” of the con-
ference outcome.
• Additional country delegates and judges.

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Other materials

To assist participants in assuming their roles and making strategic decisions, three
supporting documents are provided to all of the participants. The first document con-
tains news articles regarding the crisis in each country. Each article tries to authenti-
cally portray the serious nature of each tragedy while hinting at possible hidden
motives for requesting aid. Document 2 contains the Delegate Country Profiles. These
profiles contain information regarding the population, religion(s), language(s), and
main exports of each country as well as notes the dues status and the amount of aid that
is being requested. The final document, the Judge Country Profiles, contains similar
types of information as the Delegate Country Profiles with an added section marked
“cultural note” that contains a brief insight into the culture of each judge’s country.
These documents provide ample information for participants to make tactical deci-
sions and piece together subtle relationships between the delegates’ and judges’ coun-
tries (e.g., by noting shared languages, shared religions, shared economic interests,
etc.). These documents are included in Appendices A through C.


Once the simulation is complete, participants should be given adequate time to

share and explore their thoughts on the simulation. The following questions may be
used to stimulate conversation during the postsimulation wrap-up:

1. How realistic was the simulation? Does it represent a real situation with a real outcome?
2. What elements from the written materials did the delegates use in order to make their
3. What elements from the written materials and the oral presentations did the judges use to
make their decision?
4. What did you learn about the process of aid allocation? Is it a “cut and dried” proposition?
5. Was the outcome fair? Can it ever be fair?
6. Was there anything in the simulation that you didn’t like or found offensive? Why?
7. What surprised you the most about the simulation?
8. In what other situations could persuasive language be used?

Appendix A
Country Crisis News Articles

Flood Waters Rising in War-Torn Yarindo

Yarindo—Flood waters continue to rise in Northern Yarindo this morning according to offi-
cial weather reports from that country. At least 10,000 people have been made homeless by the
flooding and countless others are still missing. Many are presumed dead.

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508 SIMULATION & GAMING / December 2002

Massive mudslides caused by the heavy rains and rising floodwaters have prevented aid
workers from reaching many of the victims. Officials at every level are asking for assistance
from the international community.
But many are concerned that funds allocated for helping the flood victims will be diverted to
the war effort between Yarindo and it’s neighbor to the east.
Military officials from Yarindo have denied the claim but many countries have been slow to
react to the plea for help for this reason.

Kurbani Quake Leaves Trail of Destruction

Kurbanikstan—Shockwaves are still being felt in western Kurbanikstan after an earthquake

ripped through the country’s prime steel manufacturing district two days ago.
Aid workers there report the sound of wailing coming from underneath large slabs of con-
crete and according to some, the smell of dead bodies becomes more noticeable with each pass-
ing day. Urgent help is clearly needed.
The earthquake, which measured 7.5 on the Richter scale, also knocked out at least 3 power
stations in the area and left much of the water supply tainted with chemicals from the nearby pro-
cessing plants. Questions still abound as to the true nature of the processing plants as well as the
types of chemicals used at those plants.

Kilaamakuans Flee Island Home as Sunake’ Erupts

The Pacific island nation of Kilaamaku has been reduced to a few brightly glowing streams
of fiery lava and several large clouds of thick black smoke since Mount Sunake erupted there on
Fortunately, most of Kilaamaku’s 16,000 residents were able to reach safety thanks to the
efforts of the scientific community who began airing warnings as early as two months ago. Sadly
though, many of their cultural treasures have been lost for eternity and the inhabitants of this
island paradise have been reduced to impoverished refugees, forced to live in camps along the
mainland coast.
This is the second time in recent months that the island has been in the headlines. Back in
November of last year, an Asrappi oil tanker spilled tons of crude oil just off Kilaamaku’s shores,
putting a huge dent in it’s seafood producing economy.

Famine in Southern Asrappe as Northern Asrappe Flourishes

Southern Asrappe is facing a strange and devastating crisis. The people of Southern Asrappe
are starving, literally to death, while the people of Northern Asrappe are thriving due to the large
oil deposits found in that part of the country.
It seems that a political battle has torn the country in half, leaving the less developed southern
half of the country cut off from necessary food and water supplies. The country has also been hit
by the worst drought in recent history, compounding the problems of the Southern Asrappis.
Since the Northern Asrappis have turned their backs on the South, the Southern Asrappis
have formed a temporary government to ask for assistance from the international community.
However, other countries have been slow to get involved for fear of angering the powerful
Northern Asrappis who control most of the oil-producing land in the region.

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AIDS Crisis Strikes Munkari

Munkari—An entire generation of Munkarians is being threatened by the AIDS epidemic

that is sweeping across that nation at an alarming rate. “We don’t have the facilities to treat these
AIDS patients,” said the nation’s leading medical official. “Besides, AIDS treatments from the
West are much too expensive for the average Munkarian.”
The Prime Minister also made a plea earlier this week on behalf of the Munkari people,
“We’re asking richer countries to lower their prices on AIDS treatments and donate any money
they can. We’ve received some funding already, but it’s not enough.”
According to the Medical Director at Munkari State Hospital, a large part of the problem is
the lack of effective AIDS education combined with the fact that in Munkari culture, casual sex-
ual practices are completely acceptable.
Other countries fear that as Munkaris migrate to other nations, the AIDS virus will spread
even further. Said one representative of Global Disease Watch, “This disease affects us all. If we
don’t stop its spread now, all of our children will suffer because of it.”

Appendix B
Delegate Country Profiles

Delegate 1
Country: Yarindo
Crisis: Flood
Dues: 1 month unpaid
Population: 10.8 million
Religion: Habre & Tolan
Language(s): Yari
Main Export: citrus fruits, legumes, vegetables, sugar, and beef
Aid requested: $16 million

Delegate 2
Country: Kurbanikstan
Crisis: Earthquake
Dues: Paid
Population: 5 million
Religion: Taamulak
Language(s): Kurbanik and Dapaaki
Main export: steel, gold, and timber
Aid requested: $18 million

Delegate 3
Country: Kilaamaku
Crisis: Volcano eruption
Dues: Paid
Population: 16,000

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510 SIMULATION & GAMING / December 2002

Religion: Dayki
Language(s): Kilanese and many others
Main export: seafood products
Aid requested: $11 million

Delegate 4
Country: Asrappe
Crisis: Famine
Dues: 3 months unpaid
Population: 20 million
Religion: Sandak & others
Language(s): Asrappi, Sarka, Neemanu, and Butaali
Main export: Oil and precious minerals
Aid requested: $22 million

Delegate 5
Country: Munkari
Crisis: AIDS
Dues: Paid
Population: 17.5 million
Religion: Taskira, Puuniri, and others
Language(s): Dowanu, Kolonggi, and many others
Main export: tea, textiles, and tobacco
Aid requested: $13 million

Appendix C
Judge Country Profiles

Judge A
Country: Dankali
Dues: 2 months unpaid
Population: 8.6 million
Religion: Dapaaki
Language(s): Beldahmi
Main export: cotton, tea, and spices
Cultural note: Dankalis are considered religious extremists. Their relationship with God is at
the center of their public and private interactions.

Judge B
Country: Jafiyaskya
Dues: Paid
Population: 30 million
Religion: Tankordu
Language(s): Jaffi

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Main export: mining equipment/machinery

Cultural note: Jafiyaskyans are well known for their skill in the business world. For them,
money issues are of main importance.

Judge C
Country: Hiitana
Dues: Paid
Population: 12.5 million
Religion: Jukino
Language(s): Mawnam and Kolonggi
Main export: rice, grains, and peanuts
Cultural note: Hiitanans have a very open and accepting society. Personal growth and social
harmony are their two most important values.

Jon L. Smythe learned about simulation development while working toward a master’s degree in Teaching
English as a Second Language at Oklahoma State University. GLOBAL CRISIS CONFERENCE is his first
major simulation.

ADDRESS: JLS: Multi-Cultural Language Center, Tulsa Community College, 3727 East Apache,
Tulsa, OK 74115-3151, USA; telephones: +1 918-595-8411 (work) and +1 918-499-2278
(home); fax: +1 918-595-7447; e-mail:

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