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We introduce a real-time problem-based simulation in which students are tasked with drafting policy to address the challenge of internally displaced persons in post-earthquake Haiti from a variety of stakeholder perspectives. Students who participated in the simulation completed a quantitative survey as a pre-/post-test on global empathy, political awareness, and civic engagement and provided qualitative data through post-simulation focus groups. The simulation was run in four courses across three campuses in a variety of instructional settings from 2013 to 2015. An analysis of the data reveals that scores on several survey items measuring global empathy and political/civic engagement increased significantly after the simulation, while qualitative student comments corroborated the results. This format of a real-time problem-based policy-making simulation is readily adaptable to other ongoing and future global crises using the framework provided in this paper.
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Promoting Global Empathy and Engagement
through Real-Time Problem-Based
Stockton University
Knox College
Salve Regina University
We introduce a real-time problem-based simulation in which students
are tasked with drafting policy to address the challenge of internally
displaced persons in post-earthquake Haiti from a variety of stakeholder
perspectives. Students who participated in the simulation completed a
quantitative survey as a pre-/post-test on global empathy, political
awareness, and civic engagement and provided qualitative data through
post-simulation focus groups. The simulation was run in four courses
across three campuses in a variety of instructional settings from 2013 to
2015. An analysis of the data reveals that scores on several survey items
measuring global empathy and political/civic engagement increased
significantly after the simulation, while qualitative student comments
corroborated the results. This format of a real-time problem-based pol-
icy-making simulation is readily adaptable to other ongoing and future
global crises using the framework provided in this paper.
Keywords: simulation, Haiti, global empathy, pedagogy,
We would like to thank the American Political Science Association Teaching and Learning Conference orga-
nizers, specifically those responsible for the simulation track(s), for providing the authors a venue in which to pre-
sent our individual research and forge a meaningful collaboration that led to this rewarding work. This project
benefitted specifically from comments by Victor Asal and two anonymous reviewers. Support was provided by
Stockton University’s Office of E-Learning, Salve Regina University’s interdisciplinary major in Global Studies and
its Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Mellon Faculty Career Enhancement program at Knox College.
Additional thanks go to the outstanding staff and students at the Institute for Social Work and Social Science in
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, who helped facilitate the field research that informed this project. Data and instructions for
replication can be found at Zappile, (2015).
“Replication Data for Promoting Global Empathy and Engagement through Real-Time Problem-Based
Simulations: Outcomes from a Policymaking Simulation Set in Post-Earthquake Haiti,”
DVN/YPZAIO, Harvard Dataverse, V1 [UNF:6:/Xkzaf9ZKuD8/yC75RJz3A¼=].
Zappile, Tina M., Daniel J. Beers, and Chad Raymond (2016) Promoting Global Empathy and Engagement through
Real-Time Problem-Based Simulations. International Studies Perspectives, doi: 10.1093/isp/ekv024
CThe Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Studies Association.
All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:
International Studies Perspectives (2016) 0,117
International Studies Perspectives Advance Access published February 3, 2016
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Following the 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, an esti-
mated 1.5 million Haitians were temporarily resettled in internally displaced per-
son (IDP) camps in and around the city of Port-au-Prince. Five years later,
approximately 79,000 Haitians remained in 105 displacement sites, with 70 per-
cent still in tents (IOM 2015). Many of those who left the camps did not do so out
of choice but were either forcibly evicted or fled to escape poor living conditions
and physical insecurity (CCCM Cluster 2011), only to resettle in the city’s rapidly
expanding slums (IOM 2011). Evidence suggests that a variety of domestic and in-
ternational actors have failed to meet the basic needs of Haiti’s most vulnerable
citizens. So what went wrong? We present a policy-making simulation first devel-
oped by Beers (2013) that takes up this question.
This simulation serves several objectives. First, as a problem-based simulation
(Asal and Kratoville 2013), it illustrates to participants the complexities faced by
politicians and aid workers who must balance competing interests in an environ-
ment of imperfect and incomplete information. Second, because the simulation
is in real time, in the sense that it represents an ongoing situation, it helps stu-
dents engage with unfamiliar concepts in a more personal and immediate way
than role-play exercises about events in the distant past. Real-time simulations
thereby have an enhanced ability to engage students in the “complexities of pro-
cess” (Wedig 2010, 548). Third, the simulation appears to mitigate attitudes inher-
ent in what Cole (2012) has described as the “white-savior industrial complex.” As
with other simulations that challenge students’ idealism (Youde 2008; Schnurr,
De Santo, and Green 2014), students come away from this simulation with a more
nuanced understanding of problems in the developing world and the futility of
the developed world trying to impose solutions. Connecting these objectives to
learning outcomes, we assert that this simulation’s real-time, problem-based fea-
tures lead to improvements in global empathy and political and civic engagement
as key dimensions of global citizenship (Zappile 2013)—outcomes that have be-
come increasingly important to higher education institutions in the United States
as benchmarks for curricular internationalization and global education (AAC&U
n.d.; Schattle 2009; Olds 2012; Duncan 2013).
To test these propositions, we ran the Haiti IDP policy-making simulation on
three different campuses, in three classroom-based undergraduate courses and in
one online graduate course. To assess changes in global empathy and political
and civic engagement, we administered a pre- and post-simulation survey origi-
nally developed for secondary education (Bachen, Hern
andez-Ramos, and
Raphael 2012). We adapted this survey and supplemented it with additional mea-
sures of political and civic engagement derived from existing research in these
areas (Atkeson 2003; Crookall 2003; Hillygus 2005; Fowler and Pusch 2010).
Additionally, students on two of the three campuses in this study met in focus
groups as part of the simulation debriefing and were asked long-form questions
adapted from the survey developed by Bachen, Hern
andez-Ramos, and Raphael
(2012). This experimental design eliminates concerns about self-selection into
these courses as we demonstrate changes in students’ level of global empathy over
Our results show that this simulation was associated with improvements in stu-
dents’ reported levels of global empathy and political/civic engagement under cer-
tain conditions. Specifically, the simulation was most effective in shifting student
attitudes when implemented over an extended period of time (that is, four to five
weeks) in a course that introduced closely related content specifically focusing on
humanitarian aid, international development, or international political economy.
However, we are unable to distinguish the effect of the time frame of the simula-
tion in isolation from its implementation in courses with related content, suggest-
ing that while a longer time period may be more beneficial in effecting change in
student attitudes, it was not a necessary condition. This finding supports previous
2Promoting Global Empathy and Engagement through Simulations
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research identifying the success of short-term simulations in effecting long-term
attitudinal changes (Mills and Smith 2004).
As a “real-time” problem-based simulation, the framework described here could
be applied to a variety of contentious political events currently unfolding in the
news—from the Greek financial crisis, to the diplomatic and military conflict in
Ukraine, to recent natural and human-made humanitarian emergencies in Nepal
and Syria. The timeline and assignments outlined in the online supplement pro-
vide ample materials for customization for a variety of real-time problems. The ap-
proach is particularly well suited to complex political conflicts in which
competing stakeholders vie for opposing policy solutions. In a second phase of
simulation development, the original author of this Haiti-specific simulation is
creating content for an adaptation related to the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis in
the Middle East, which will draw on many of the principles and insights discussed
here. Additional information on the adaptability of this simulation precedes the
conclusion of this paper.
Global Citizenship as a Learning Outcome
The motivation behind this research was to investigate whether a faculty-driven
movement to use international simulations can improve student outcomes in sup-
port of educating global citizens. The promise of real-time simulations with multi-
level problem-based scenarios is that they can be utilized as classroom tools to
teach both content and process (Asal and Blake 2006) and advance global citizen-
ship. We emphasize that content knowledge and psychological attitudes toward
the rest of the world, alongside political and civic engagement, are foundational
for global citizenship. Many institutions of higher education in the United States
have identified student learning outcomes related to global awareness, global
learning, and civic engagement as particularly important in an “era of global in-
terconnection and rapid societal and economic change” (AAC&U n.d.; c.f.
Heuberger, Gerber, and Anderson 1999; Gillespie 2002; Cruz and Patterson 2005;
Carter, Latz, and Thronton 2010; Eddy et al. 2013). This is also reflected in the
demand for assessment of intercultural or global competence, whether for pri-
vately developed instruments, such as the intercultural development inventory, or
instruments developed by academics and practitioners and published through the
peer-review process, such as the one we use in this study.
Global empathy, that is, cultural empathy (Calloway-Thomas 2010), involves the
desire to supportively engage with an “other” who lives outside of one’s state.
builds on defining attributes of empathy that include the ability to “see the world
how others see it; understand another’s current feelings; (be) non-judgmental; and
communicate the understanding (of others)” (Wiseman 1996, 1164–65). Global
empathy includes both the “intellectual/imaginative apprehension of another’s
mental state” and “an emotional response to ...emotional responses of others”
(Lawrence et al. 2004, 911). People who possess global empathy “come to see them-
selves not only as citizens of their local community, nation-state, or ethno-cultural
group, but also as global citizens willing and able to empathize with other peoples
and their situations elsewhere in the world” (Bachen, Hern
andez-Ramos, and
Raphael 2012, 3). Identification as a global citizen as a component of global empa-
thy infers some degree of political and civic engagement with the broader global
community as an expanded peer group—a globally empathetic response may in-
clude an urge to take action beyond one’s borders.
The “other” refers to the in-group/out-group bias. See Tajfel (1970) and Brewer (1979) for background and
Hochschild and Lang (2011) for application of the concept of the “other” in research.
We recognize that global citizenship and global empathy may be considered “essentially contested” concepts
(Gallie 1956; Connoly 1993; Qinag 2003; Collier, Hidalgo, and Maciuceanu 2006), as they meet six of the following
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Complicating global empathy and global citizenship is the phenomenon of the
“white-savior industrial complex” (Cole 2012): the tendency of the socioeconomi-
cally powerful—the “haves” of the developed world—to assume that they know
what is best for the culturally other “have-nots” living in poverty and to be eager to
save them from their own ignorance. Easterly (2007) described this astutely in his
dichotomy of “searchers” and “planners” in the field of economic development,
wherein “planners” (for example, international aid agencies) repeatedly invoke the
same failed solutions to the problem of poverty. Cole (2012) touched on this long
history of well-intentioned but ineffective aid projects driven by misguided ideas of
what will benefit “others” when coining this phrase in writing about the Kony 2012
campaign. Later, in analyzing the effects of the Kony 2012 campaign on university
students, Hershey and Artime (2014) found that pervasive messages reinforcing the
white-savior complex as described by Cole (2012) can perpetuate damaging stereo-
types about the helplessness of citizens in developing countries.
However, if the concept of global empathy is derived from empathy, the defin-
ing attributes of empathy should also remain the defining attributes of global em-
pathy. That is, being empathetic or “seeing the world how others see it,
understand(ing) another’s current feelings, (being) nonjudgmental, and commu-
nicat(ing) the understanding” (Wiseman 1996, 1164–65) should also be consid-
ered core attributes of empathetic interactions of people across political or
geographic borders. The introduction of global to the concept of empathy simply
defines the boundaries of who the “other” is and where they are located. The
white-savior complex violates all four of these defining attributes of empathy.
Therefore, enhancing global empathy is likely to reduce the tendency to display
attitudes and behaviors associated with this troubling complex.
In higher education settings, the white-savior complex can manifest itself in a
variety of ways, including classroom discussions that reflect students’ pre-existing
charity campaigns initiated by university-affiliated student organizations,
and social media-driven forms of passive engagement often referred to as
“slacktivism.” Thus, part of the pedagogical rationale behind development-related
problem-based simulations like the one introduced here is to challenge inaccu-
rate and harmful perceptions about peoples and cultures in developing countries,
promoting mutual respect and understanding across cultures.
The Haiti IDP Simulation
The simulation in this study focuses on the estimated 1.5 million Haitians who
temporarily resettled in IDP camps in and around Port-au-Prince after the
seven criteria established by Gallie (1955–56) and described by Collier, Hidalogo, and Maciuceanu (2006). They are
“appraisive,” meaning they reflect an achievement of some kind, in this case by both educators and students as
global citizenship or empathy are to be earned or achieved. They are “internally complex” in that what it means to
achieve global citizenship or empathy varies across and within groups of educators and learners. They also “include
a variety of possible components or features—although each concept’s ‘worth is attributed to it as a whole’”
(Collier, Hidalogo, and Maciuceanu 2006, 217). They have “diverse describability” in that you can select or focus on
one dimension of each concept and, by definition, not detract from another. They reflect “openness” in that they
are “subject to revision in new situations” (Collier, Hidalogo, and Maciuceanu 2006, 218); conceptions of global ed-
ucation, awareness, citizenship, and empathy depend on a particular normative reaction of stakeholders within a
specific time period to current world circumstances. There is also some degree of “reciprocal recognition” of these
concepts’ mutability as one person’s idea of global awareness may be driven by content or what someone knows
about the world, while another may focus on individual attitudes toward global policy or categories of people, and
in a campus setting we recognize the value in allowing faculty expertise to drive a particular notion of global educa-
tion. Finally, there is “progressive competition” over definitions of these concepts that plays out across and within
campuses at the administrative and faculty level.
Explaining the origin of the white-savior complex involves a psychological understanding of the roots of the
traditional savior complex phenomenon and a combination of ethnocentrism, a lack of cross-cultural empathy, and,
potentially, gender roles. Although we do not claim to predict the origin here, it is instructive to explore how events
or experiences can exacerbate this tendency, including previous experience abroad.
4Promoting Global Empathy and Engagement through Simulations
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January 2010 earthquake. The assignment is designed to immerse students in a
complex humanitarian emergency as it unfolds, highlighting the problems of in-
complete information, competing interests, and the difficult trade-offs between
the immediate needs and long-term interests of earthquake survivors. It also en-
courages students to think critically about how international actors have re-
sponded to these challenges in the Haitian case—and what a more inclusive
approach to aid and reconstruction might look like—by helping them to see the
crisis from the perspectives of both local and international actors affected by the
crisis. This section identifies the scenario provided to students, a brief description
of stakeholder identities, and a chronological list of assignments or activities that
comprise the structure and content of the simulation. Details regarding its imple-
mentation across a variety of course settings are discussed in the following
Simulation Background
The 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, created a
humanitarian emergency of staggering proportions. Beyond the tremendous loss
of human life and damage to property, the disaster sent more than 10 percent of
the country’s population into temporary displacement camps clustered around
the capital city of Port-au-Prince. Numerous reports by journalists, humanitarian
organizations, and independent observers have documented the problems inside
Haiti’s IDP camps, many of which constitute small cities in their own right.
Residents live in makeshift shelters that are structurally unsound and offer little
protection from the heavy rains and high winds that routinely visit the island na-
tion. Moreover, camp residents face the daily threats of physical insecurity, inade-
quate sanitation, and poor health conditions. Property theft, vandalism, and
sexual violence are common occurrences. Basic sanitation services, such as clean
water and public toilets, are often inaccessible or inadequate to meet demand.
Further, cramped living quarters, poor infrastructure, and inadequate sanitation
have created a breeding ground for illness, contributing to a deadly outbreak of
cholera (a fecal-borne disease) that has devastated the camps.
Data collected by the International Organization for Migration suggest that the
number of IDP camp residents in Haiti has steadily decreased over the last five
years, from a high of 1.5 million in July 2010 to an estimated of 79,397 residents
in January 2015 (IOM 2015). However, according to a randomized survey of more
than 1,000 “returned” IDP camp residents, the vast majority of those who left the
camps as of 2011 did not do so out of choice. Rather, most fled to escape poor liv-
ing conditions and physical insecurity in the camps or were involuntarily evicted
(CCCM Cluster 2011). Neither the Haitian government nor its international
partners have formally tracked the movement of IDPs. However, observers have
documented the rapid growth of squatter settlements on the outskirts of Port-
au-Prince, where tens of thousands of Haitians have relocated without access to
paved roads, electricity, running water, or other basic social services (Zidor 2012;
Trevelyan 2013). Moreover, a technical report commissioned by the US Agency
for International Development estimates that between 60 and 90 percent of dam-
aged houses deemed unfit for occupation by the Haitian government (so-called
“yellow” and “red” houses) were inhabited one year after the earthquake
(Schwartz 2011). Thus, despite the apparent progress in returning displaced
Haitians to their homes, there remain serious questions about the nature of the
resettlement process and its long-term implications for Haiti.
As months and years passed, government policymakers and aid workers faced
increasing pressure to find a solution to the crisis. Beyond the squalid conditions
in the IDP camps and the mounting domestic political pressure to show tangible
progress, forced evictions by Haitian landowners and “a reduced presence of
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nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) resulting in a continuing reduction of
services within camps” have served as compounding factors (Office of the Special
Envoy for Haiti 2011). Recently, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights
of IDPs urged for a “durable solution” for the ongoing IDP crisis (UN 2014).
ECOSOC (2014b) released its “Report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti” in
late 2014 identifying continued fragility (E/2014/95) and noting the continued
need to support Haitian efforts to improve health, sanitation, and security in ex-
isting IDP camps ECOSOC (2014a).
Stakeholder Assignments
Against this backdrop, participants in the Haiti IDP simulation received a fiction-
alized version of a Haitian government proposal to resettle residents of the coun-
try’s IDP camps. This proposal called for the closure of the remaining IDP camps
and the payment of a lump sum of money to each household that voluntarily
leaves a camp before a government-mandated deadline. Students were then in-
formed that the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti (IHRC)—a
real bilateral commission headed by Bill Clinton and former Haitian Prime
Minister Jean Max Bellerive—had organized an extraordinary panel of experts to
evaluate the government’s plan and issue an official recommendation. As part of
the process, the panel was soliciting written statements and oral testimony from
representatives of key stakeholder populations to help it reach a decision.
Students were assigned to the following stakeholder groups that had specific and
competing objectives to achieve during the simulation:
Haitian IDP camp residents (improve living conditions, find permanent
housing and employment)
International NGOs operating in IDP camps (distribute aid to earth-
quake survivors, raise international profile to generate donations, con-
tinue to operate in Haiti)
Haitian government officials (bring foreign aid programs under the con-
trol of the Haitian government, improve both international and domestic
public opinion of the Haitian government, get reelected, help Haitian
Haitian business owners (attract investment, especially foreign invest-
ment for joint ventures that are only possible with foreign capital, de-
velop a low-cost high-skill labor force, earn a profit)
Haitian landowners (regain control of privately owned land currently oc-
cupied by IDP camps, prevent IDPs who leave IDP camps from occupying
privately owned land elsewhere, create an economic climate that attracts
both domestic and international private investments)
Human rights and women’s rights advocacy groups (improve the human
rights situation in Haiti, protect the environment in Haiti, reduce injus-
tice in Haiti)
Students were divided into the interest groups listed above and tasked with pro-
ducing both written recommendations and oral testimony for the IHRC. Students
moved through the simulation by completing a series of assignments and group
activities, listed in Appendix A (online supplement), designed to familiarize them
with the social and political challenges facing post-earthquake Haiti as well as the
background and strategic interests of their respective stakeholder groups.
Appendix B (online supplement) lists assigned readings provided to student
stakeholder groups. This series of assignments was implemented alongside addi-
tional class time for students to work in groups or hold group consultations with
the instructor. At the end of the simulation period (which lasted between two and
6Promoting Global Empathy and Engagement through Simulations
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five weeks, depending on the course), each group submitted a joint policy pro-
posal, which was shared with the rest of the class. Students also presented their
recommendations in a final symposium, which offered an opportunity to debate
the relative merits of the proposals and provided a forum to discuss the parame-
ters of a joint policy recommendation for the IHRC. As part of the debriefing pro-
cess, each student wrote a short essay identifying the main considerations that
shaped their thinking about the project and assessing whether the course of ac-
tion recommended by the class would, if implemented, improve the situation of
Haitian IDPs.
Research Design
To gauge the impact of the simulation on learning outcomes, we integrated the
assignment into four courses on three separate campuses (A, B, and C), admin-
istering a pre- and post-simulation survey with measures of global empathy and
political and civic engagement developed by Bachen, Hern
andez-Ramos, and
Raphael (2012) and adapted for this study. The sample population included
graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in bricks-and-mortar and online
courses at both public and private institutions. Although the course con-
tent and duration of the simulation varied between campuses, all students par-
ticipated in all of the basic components of the assignment. Table 1 provides a
summary of the sample population, and more detailed descriptive statistics for
our data set are presented in Appendix C (online supplement). Table 2 pre-
sents a timeline for the implementation of simulation assignments on each
The undergraduate course at Campus A was an on-campus introductory
International Relations (IR) course with twenty-three students. The course ful-
filled a requirement in the university’s general education curriculum and focused
on introducing students to basic concepts in IR and increasing their awareness of
and interest in political processes outside of the United States. The online gradu-
ate course from Campus A contained ten students enrolled in a master’s degree
program in IR. The subject of this course was complex humanitarian emergen-
cies: disaster prevention, mitigation, and response, as well as questions of eco-
nomic development in the context of human security. Students in this course
frequently had lived or worked abroad; many had military backgrounds and, as a
result, some had direct experience with overseas emergency humanitarian relief
Table 1. Course sample
Campus Course Level Duration
related to
A—Catholic university with
2,700 students
Introduction to
Two weeks No
A—Catholic university with
2,700 students
Complex Humanitarian
Graduate Two weeks Yes
B—Public liberal arts
comprehensive university
with 8,570 undergraduate/
graduate students
International Political
Five weeks Yes
C—Private residential liberal
arts college with 1,400 un-
dergraduate students
Politics of International
Four weeks Yes
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operations. The simulation began midway into both courses on Campus A and
took place over a two-week period. The compressed timeline was in part due to
the fact that the online graduate course lasted only seven weeks and the students,
who were located in a variety of time zones, interacted asynchronously with each
other and with the instructor during this period. Instead of creating a formally or-
ganized panel of experts in each class, the instructor moderated an open discus-
sion in each course in which students were tasked with representing the
simulation’s different interest groups.
The undergraduate course on Campus B was an on-campus upper-division sem-
inar. This international political economy course is taught within the political sci-
ence department and fulfills a global studies minor requirement in the
university’s general studies curriculum. Fifteen students were enrolled, all juniors
and seniors. Half of the semester is devoted to topics in economic development
with assigned readings by Jeffrey Sachs, Nina Munk, William Easterly, Robert
Wade, and Joseph Stiglitz, among others. In this course, the simulation was
Table 2. Simulation timeline across campuses
Campus A:
2-week simulation
Campus A:
2-week simulation
(graduate, online)
Campus B:
5-week simulation
Campus C:
4-week simulation
Week 1 Stakeholder groups
Assignment 1;
Assignment 2;
Assignment 3; in-
class discussion of
Assignments 1
and 2
Assignment 1;
Assignment 2;
Assignment 3;
online class
Course content
Stakeholder groups
Assignment 1
Simulation and related
course content
introduced; stake-
holder groups as-
signed; Assignment 1;
Assignment 2
Week 2 Assignment 4;
Assignment 5;
Assignment 6; in-
class discussions
on Assignment 4,
presentation of
stakeholder policy
proposals; debate
on joint policy
Assignment 4;
Assignment 5;
Assignment 6;
online class
In-class group
discussions on
Assignment 2;
Assignment 3
In-class group
discussions on
Assignment 2;
Assignment 3; groups
meet individually
with instructor to
discuss Assignment 3
Week 3 n/a n/a In-class group
sessions to complete
Assignment 4
Assignment 4; Groups
meet individually
with instructor to
discuss Assignment 4
Week 4 n/a n/a Expert panel to adopt
policy proposal(s)
governed by rules es-
tablished by students
Assignment 5;
Assignment 6;
Presentation of
stakeholder policy
proposals; In-class
debriefing and focus
group following
Assignment 5 and 6
Week 5 n/a n/a In-class debriefing
and focus group fol-
lowing Assignments
5 and 6
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implemented across a five-week time period when students were studying eco-
nomic development. As noted in Table 2, students in this simulation were given
time during class each week to work on assignments in their stakeholder groups,
draft their group’s proposal, review other proposals, and hold a 100- to 110-min-
ute in-class expert panel at the end of the semester. For the final expert panel,
each group submitted its advisory paper in advance for other groups to review
and delivered an oral presentation of its conclusions and policy recommenda-
tions. The rules of procedure for the expert panel were created and approved by
students representing their stakeholder groups as part of the proceedings. The
expert panel was followed by a synchronous online debriefing session using
Blackboard Collaborate, which included the focus group questions presented in
Appendix D (online supplement).
The undergraduate course at Campus C was an on-campus upper-level seminar
on the politics of international development. Twenty-seven students were en-
rolled, the majority of them sophomores and juniors. The course traced the his-
tory of Western intervention in developing countries from European colonialism
to the present. Topics included post-colonial state-building, neoliberalism and
economic development, foreign aid, international organizations, and interna-
tional NGOs. The course serves as an elective for students majoring in political
science, IR, economics, and international studies.
The IDP simulation was implemented during the last four weeks of a ten-week
trimester on Campus C. Midway through the term, the instructor introduced the
simulation with a set of background readings and discussions about Haiti’s devel-
opment experience before and after the earthquake. The students were then di-
vided into stakeholder groups and worked independently outside of class for the
next four weeks, reading and researching about the IDP situation and meeting
regularly with the instructor for one-on-one advising sessions. These meetings are
viewed as critical to the implementation on Campus C; without them, students
can get lost in a sea of questions and information. To further support this four--
week time period of independent research, the instructor on Campus C also pro-
vided students a list of resources with a wealth of information—some gray
literature reports as well as a number of Web sites and blogs. At the end of the
term, the groups submitted written proposals and presented their ideas at a three-
hour symposium during the final exam period. The symposium included a
debriefing session about lessons learned as well as a group discussion about the
impact of the experience on student attitudes.
To assess how differing conditions in these varied field locations might impact
the efficacy of the simulation, we clustered our data set into the following catego-
ries for analysis:
1. Complete sample: All students in all courses (Campus A undergraduates
and graduates, Campus B undergraduates, and Campus C
2. Subset 1: Students in courses with related content specific to humanitarian
crises, humanitarian aid, international development, or international po-
litical economy broadly (Campus A graduates, Campus B undergraduates,
and Campus C undergraduates)
3. Subset 2: Students in courses with related content AND an extended simulation
period beyond two weeks (Campus B undergraduates and Campus C
To assess learning outcomes associated with the simulation, we administered a
pre-/post-test survey in all four courses and conducted focus group exit interviews
on Campus B in 2014 and Campus C in 2015; a focus group in Campus A was not
included owing to the limited time frame allotted for the simulation. Our survey
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instrument was adapted from Bachen, Hern
andez-Ramos, and Raphael (2012)
with modifications informed by research on simulations in post-secondary educa-
tion (Crookall 2003; Fowler and Pusch 2010) along with original contributions.
The global empathy scale contained seventeen items that combined Bachen,
andez-Ramos, and Raphael’s (2012, 20) eleven global empathy items, includ-
ing “I share the anger of those in other countries who face injustice because of
their political or social (for example, ethnic, racial, or gender) background” and
“I am aware of political, social, and economic barriers that lead to discrimination
of people in other countries,” with two “interest in future learning” items
(Bachen, Hern
andez-Ramos, and Raphael 2012, 9), two control items from
Bachen, Hern
andez-Ramos, and Raphael (2012), and an original item.
Cronbach’s alpha for our extended seventeen-item global empathy scale was
0.816/0.852 (pre-/post-test); for Bachen, Hern
andez-Ramos, and Raphael’s
(2012) original eleven-item scale, it was 0.825/0.872 (pre-/post-test).
Our political and civic engagement scale includes nine items such as “I think it
is important to understand history, politics and contemporary social issues”
(Bachen, Hern
andez-Ramos, and Raphael 2012). This scale is comprised of previ-
ously developed items measuring “community engagement” (Bachen, Hern
Ramos, and Raphael 2012) alongside adapted and original items. Cronbach’s
alpha for this nine-item scale was 0.662/0.702 (pre-/post-test). Respondents were
also asked control questions about their age, gender, and international travel ex-
perience. The focus group questions on Campuses B and C closely mirrored the
questions included in the quantitative survey. The complete survey is provided in
Appendix D (online supplement); Appendix E (online supplement) lists the fo-
cus group questions employed as part of the simulation debriefing on Campuses
B and C.
Toward Greater Global Empathy
The results of our quantitative survey data are presented in Table 3. Reported val-
ues are paired mean scores and tvalues that allow us to evaluate both the direc-
tion of change (Do students display higher/lower levels of global empathy after
participating in the simulation?) as well as the magnitude of that change (Can we
be confident that the observed increase/decrease is meaningful and not due to
random error?). Results are presented for the sample populations identified
Table 3. Paired t-test results for global empathy and political/civic engagement
Parameter All students (n ¼55) Subset 1: Undergraduate/grad-
uate courses with related con-
tent and short/extended
simulation periods (n ¼44)
Subset 2: Undergraduate
courses with related content and
extended simulation period
(n ¼38)
sum of
sum of
(t value)
sum of
sum of
(t value)
sum of
sum of
(t value)
80.98 82.47 þ1.49
82.41 84.30 þ1.89
82.53 84.61 þ2.08
30.07 30.71 þ0.64
30.59 31.25 þ0.66
30.97 31.84 þ0.87
Bachen, Hernandez-Ramos, and Raphael (2012) adapted their survey from Wang et al. (2003).
10 Promoting Global Empathy and Engagement through Simulations
by guest on February 29, 2016 from
previously: All students in all courses, students in courses with related content
(Subset 1), and students in courses with related content AND an extended simulation
period (Subset 2).
Overall, the survey results indicate positive and statistically significant changes
in attitudes among students in two of the three participant populations (Subsets 1
and 2).
These findings hold for both global empathy and civic engagement indi-
cators, providing some initial evidence that the simulation positively contributed
to students’ global awareness and engagement. However, the data also reveal that
the strength of this relationship depends on key contextual factors.
Specifically, the findings suggest that the benefits associated with related course
content and extended engagement with the simulation had an important impact
on the efficacy of the assignment. Survey responses from Subset 2—students in
courses with related content AND an extended simulation period—show the greatest
changes in global empathy and political/civic engagement scores. Likewise, re-
sponses from Subset 1—students in courses with related content (that is, humanitar-
ian crises, debates in development, international political economy more
generally) but not necessarily an extended simulation—indicate a more modest
change in attitudes. The entire student population, while trending in a similarly
positive direction, does not show a statistically significant change in pre/post atti-
tudes. These results suggest that, although Subset 2 experienced the greatest im-
pact from the assignment, it appears that the extended time period was not a
necessary condition for the simulation to effect change in student attitudes as
there was also positive change observed in Subset 1. However, on the basis of our
results, it appears that introducing the simulation alongside related course con-
tent is necessary.
A closer examination of changes in individual indicators (see Appendices F and
G in the online supplement) reveals further variation within these broad trends.
Although most of the individual indicators in the global empathy scale show posi-
tive change from pre- to post-test, the findings for political and civic engagement
are mixed. Underlying the observed positive trend, we find null or slightly nega-
tive results for a handful of questions, while the overarching upswing in political/
civic engagement appears to be driven by a small subset of indicators. This sug-
gests that, while the simulation did have a net positive impact on student atti-
tudes, the effect on global empathy was stronger and more consistent than the
impact on political/civic engagement. It is also important to acknowledge that, in
both cases, the data indicate a modest change in pre/post attitudes, not an over-
whelming one.
Focus Group Results
Our quantitative findings are further supported by students’ qualitative com-
ments from focus group discussions on Campus B in 2014 and Campus C in
2015. Students from these campuses also represent Subset 2 in our quantitative
results (that is, students enrolled in courses with related content and an ex-
tended simulation period of four to five weeks). These data suggest that the sim-
ulation created the conditions for participants to reflect on their own
perspectives as (primarily) American university students as well as to consider
critically the role of Western actors or outside stakeholders in developing coun-
On Campus B, students reported that they had “an Americanized view of disas-
ter relief before starting this project.” Moreover, they noted that the experience
helped them to learn “how countries’ vulnerabilities are more of a socially
Our sample size for the graduate population was 10; therefore, we do not report separate graduate results.
by guest on February 29, 2016 from
constructed reality formed by past historical processes” and that problems in de-
veloping countries require tailor-made solutions rather than a uniformly applied
strategy. One student observed that accounting for local context is essential to
creating effective policy and that failure to do so can lead to poor implementation
and disappointment.
They also acknowledged the difficulties of trying to understand those who live
in the developing world. As one student commented, “[N]o one can fully put
themselves in another’s shoes to fully grasp what they are going through.”
Another student noted that the assignment prompted her to reflect on her own
position of privilege: “It definitely can feel embarrassing. You feel ashamed of
yourself and what you have ...that, I think, anyone can relate to. It makes wanting
to seek change or help that much harder because you’re ashamed.” The over-
whelming message from this campus was that students were able to see the world
(Haiti’s IDP crisis, in this case) from the perspective of others without judgment,
recognizing that they as outsiders did not necessarily know best which policy pre-
scription could effectively address the crisis.
On Campus C, students indicated that the simulation pushed them out of their
comfort zones and prompted them to consider other points of view. As one stu-
dent noted, “[This] assignment is very effective at forcing people to think from
perspectives different than their own. It is very easy to criticize development proj-
ects from the comfort of our classroom, far removed from the lived realities of
people on the ground ...I think that the assignment gave me a better understand-
ing of how various actors in these situations are approaching problems.” Another
student, who had personally donated to the relief efforts after the 2010 earth-
quake, remarked that the simulation helped him better understand and empa-
thize with the people who lived through it:
I remember when the earthquake first happened, I was deeply moved by the images
I saw on TV. Even though I worked a part time job and had little to my name, I felt
compelled to donate $100 to the Red Cross ... Now five years later, and after the
completion of the project, I feel a much deeper connection to the situation and to
the people involved. The final project enabled us to put ourselves in the shoes of
the people we represented, and to go through a thought process that was similar to
their own. I think this was an immensely valuable part of the project.
Several students also reported that the assignment improved their understand-
ing of the course material by challenging them to engage with theoretical con-
cepts in a more immediate and concrete way. According to one student:
It’s very different to encounter complex concepts, analyze them, and go through
the frustration of explaining their complexity on an exam, versus actually attempt-
ing to create “real” development plans with these ideas ...You actually get to under-
stand how complex and difficult international development and foreign aid can be
from experience.
Building on this point, another student noted, “This project gave us the oppor-
tunity to see that reality on the ground is far more complicated [than it ap-
pears] .... It allowed us to approach a level of discourse about important ideas
that I think we had only touched on previously.”
By far the most common sentiment was that the assignment gave students a
new appreciation for the complexity of international aid work—and the lack of
simple, ready-made solutions. As one student commented, “I never could have
imagined the myriad of political, economic, and societal issues that surrounded
[the relief and reconstruction process].” Another student put it more succinctly:
“There are simply no easy answers. As we saw today, every solution will draw valid
criticism.” Even a student who was born and raised in a developing country said
12 Promoting Global Empathy and Engagement through Simulations
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that the assignment taught her about the complexities of the development
Even though I lived in a developing country, it is hard for me to actually see the
challenges and difficulties the country is facing ...While working on this project, I
realized it is really hard to help develop a country ...It makes me rethink why some
of the projects in Haiti failed even though there was a lot of funding available for
Another common observation was that the simulation helped students under-
stand the importance of local input and local buy-in in the context of interna-
tional aid projects. As one student noted, “We must realize that local peoples’
voices are as important as NGOs’ and governments’.” Another observed, “While
planning this project, we realized we can’t develop a project without keeping the
Haitians’ situations in our minds and the importance of local collaborations.”
After reflecting on the experience and the lessons learned from the simulation,
another student concluded simply: “It has to start with the people and their
Overall, student responses suggest that the Haiti IDP simulation not only pro-
moted feelings of increased global empathy but for some students it also suc-
ceeded in challenging some of the key assumptions underlying the white-savior
complex. The qualitative responses corroborate the observed positive changes in
our quantitative indicators measuring global empathy (results for individual indi-
cators are reported in Appendix F in the online supplement)—for example, ques-
tions GE14, “I can learn a lot from people with backgrounds and experiences that
are different from mine,” and GE15, “I think it’s important to hear others’ ideas
even if I find their ideas very different from mine” (Bachen, Hern
and Raphael 2012). These responses reflect a desire and a recognition to “see the
world from the perspective of others” (Wiseman 1996, 1165), exhibiting global
Moreover, the responses indicate that the simulation prompted some students to
more highly value the input and agency of local “beneficiary” populations in devel-
oping countries who are vital to the success of international aid interventions. It
caused them to acknowledge the complexity of the development process and rec-
ognize what they do not know. It even prompted some to reconsider their own po-
sition of privilege as citizens of the Global North. This all suggests that the
assignment may be an effective tool in challenging some of the underlying assump-
tions that perpetuate the white-savior complex on American college campuses.
Improvements and Adaptations to Other Crises
In thinking about the evolution of this simulation, the authors have identified a
few specific opportunities for improvement and adaptation in the future. First,
the results of this study indicate that the success of the assignment depends in
part on connecting the simulation to relevant course content. To ensure that stu-
dents are prepared to engage with the simulation on a high level and to facilitate
meaningful connections between the simulation and the core theoretical con-
cepts introduced in the course, the assignment is clearly most appropriate for
courses about directly related subjects, such as international development, inter-
national political economy, international organizations, and humanitarianism.
The results also suggest that longer-duration simulations may have a significant
impact on student learning. In the cases analyzed here, the most successful itera-
tions of the simulation embedded the project in a course on a related topic and
devoted several weeks of course time to the assignment. However, even in the
case of the five-week timeline on Campus B, the simulation was active for only
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about one-third of the semester-long course. Based on student feedback, we be-
lieve that there may be real benefits to extending the timeline even further in the
future and to devoting even more in-class time to the simulation. Clearly, these
adaptations would involve trade-offs. However, a longer timeline would allow stu-
dents to plan more effectively and dig deeper into the content of the simulation
without resulting in a significant loss of course content since the simulation can
effectively run “in the background” while regular class meetings proceed as nor-
mal. Devoting more in-class time to the simulation is more difficult, but the au-
thors’ experiences suggest that some of the most important moments for
teaching and learning happen during critical conversations between students and
instructors—as they talk through the challenges students are wrestling with and
the choices they are making. Thus, one clear way to improve the simulation is to
embed more structured opportunities for these types of interactions into its
Another area for adaptation concerns the in-class execution of the simulation.
Through repeated iterations of this assignment (which was first run on Campus C
in 2011), the authors have experimented with presentation styles and techniques
when leading the simulation. Although the simulation can be successfully exe-
cuted in a “normal” classroom environment, students on our campuses have re-
sponded positively to innovations designed to enhance discussion and enrich the
role-playing experience. For example, the instructor on Campus B began the cap-
stone symposium at the end of the simulation with a session dedicated to estab-
lishing voting rules and other rules of procedure and identified students during
the symposium only by their stakeholder names. On Campus C, the instructor en-
couraged participants to dress in business attire, created a seating chart and name
placards for the delegates, and acted in the role of panel chairman—delivering
opening remarks, acting as timekeeper, and formally moderating discussion. Our
experiences suggest that these strategies laid the groundwork for more successful
class discussion and encouraged the students to immerse themselves more fully in
the simulation experience.
One of the great strengths of this simulation is its adaptability to other global
political crises. While focused on post-earthquake Haiti, this format of a real-time
problem-based policy-making simulation is readily adaptable to other global cri-
ses. The only firm requirement for adapting the simulation to an alternative set-
ting is to identify a conflict that is currently in process (that is, it has not been
resolved) in which identifiable factions with competing interests disagree about
the best course of action. Of course, the more background knowledge the instruc-
tor can bring to the assignment, the better. However, it is not necessary for an in-
structor to have intimate knowledge of the conflict to run a successful simulation.
Not only does the real-time nature of the simulation stimulate student interest,
it also allows students to research and identify new information and resources as
part of the assignment. Rather than relying on the instructor for a carefully cu-
rated set of background materials, the students can become “experts” themselves,
teaching each other and the instructor about the topic as the simulation plays
out. For example, the creator of this Haiti-specific simulation is adapting the as-
signment to focus on the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis in the Middle East. The
specific stakeholder groups will be modified to include key players in the policy
process—namely, the governments of major refugee host countries (especially
Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for
Refugees, which coordinates and oversees international aid to refugees. Further,
the fictionalized policy proposal for addressing the crisis will be adapted to the
specific conditions of the Syrian crisis. However, the fundamental core of the
assignment—which requires students to adopt a stakeholder perspective, develop
a policy position, and defend that position during the final symposium—will re-
main unchanged.
14 Promoting Global Empathy and Engagement through Simulations
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In addition to familiarizing students with the complex decisions facing local and
international actors in humanitarian emergencies, our study aims to test whether
an in-class simulation can produce measurable gains in global engagement
among student participants. Based on data gathered from three campuses, the re-
sults suggest that simulations like the one described here can be useful tools to
encourage greater awareness of global issues and promote feelings of global citi-
zenship. Specifically, our findings suggest that such simulations can strengthen
students’ global empathy and successfully mitigate attitudes associated with the
white-savior industrial complex (Cole 2012). Significantly, this outcome appears
to be closely related to the duration of the simulation and the content of the
course in which it is applied, though we cannot conclusively say which of these
factors led to greater positive results in the courses where they were tested.
Although short-term simulations have been found to positively affect long-term at-
titudes (Mills and Smith 2004), students may not reap the full benefits of a real-
time problem-based simulation without ample time to immerse themselves in the
scenario. It is clear that relevant course content is critical to enhancing the bene-
fits of this type of simulation. Building a strong base of related knowledge may
make students better equipped to make connections between theory and practice
and to immerse themselves in the “complexities of process” (Wedig 2010), shift-
ing the burden of learning from content to process while completing assignments
and participating in activities during the active phase of the simulation. That said,
the desired learning outcomes of this simulation are strongly correlated with
learning outcomes for the courses in which it was implemented. Therefore, while
our experimental design allows us to identify the effects of the simulation over
time, we cannot isolate the effect of good course instruction, as both course objec-
tives and time frame align with the simulation’s time frame. It may be possible
that the teaching effectiveness of the instructors on Campuses A, B, and C en-
hanced students’ ability to achieve particular learning outcomes independent of
the simulation.
More generally, it appears that real-time problem-based simulations like the
one described here may be useful tools for achieving desired student learning
outcomes connected to specific attitudes and skills rather than content knowl-
edge, as those outcomes are more likely to be achieved through an emphasis on
process (Asal and Blake 2006). Further assessment is needed to evaluate the effect
of simulation design (for example, real-time vs. historical) and implementation
strategies (for example, holding a policy-making summit with student-created
rules or meetings with the instructor) on categories of learning outcomes. For ex-
ample, real-time simulations of problems or crises in other parts of the world like
the one presented here may be better suited to enhance global empathy (an atti-
tude), while simulations within established organizational systems with existing
rules such as those involving the United Nations may be better suited to enhance
skills (for example, communication and negotiation). Continuing to explore and
delineate the specific skills, content knowledge, or attitudes that are likely to be
enhanced by different simulations will enable educators to better match available
simulations with desired learning outcomes and, in the long term, build more ef-
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... Yet, as university professors, we have historically found it difficult to foster student engagement in curriculum on global displacement in our undergraduate economics and education classes. Meanwhile, scholars have shown that simulations offer a useful pedagogical tool for promoting global citizenship (Bachen et al., 2012), reinforcing learning about the challenges faced by internally displaced people (Zappile et al., 2017), and sensitizing future teachers to diversity (Cruz & Patterson, 2005). Inspired by these findings, we approached a nurse practitioner (hereafter referred to as the "affiliate") who has extensive experience guiding a national interactive exhibit, Forced From Home, created by Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF) in an effort to educate the public about the experiences of refugees and displaced people. ...
... Simulation has been shown to present a useful method for increasing student interest in civic life and engagement in critical social justice issues including internal displacement (Bachen et al., 2012;Cruz & Patterson, 2005;Zappile et al., 2017). For the purpose of this project, we adopt Cruz and Patterson (2005)'s definition of simulation: ...
... (Cruz & Patterson, 2005, p. 43) We saw simulation as an opportunity to engage students' kinesthetic (body) and affective (heart) dimensions in order to trigger cognitive learning (mind). Through the use of the (DE)COLONIZING PEDAGOGY 6 simulation, we sought to design an embodied pedagogy that would challenge student assumptions, prompt cognitive shifts in how students conceptualize the experiences of displacement, and support critical reflection with the aim of moving students toward greater interest in global citizenship (see Bachen et al., 2012;Zappile et al., 2017) and social justice (see Adelman et al., 2016). ...
Full-text available
This article employs transformative learning and decolonial theories to investigate the efficacy of simulation pedagogy for undergraduate student learning about refugees and the internally displaced. The simulation of refugee experience was adapted from the Doctors Without Borders’ Forced From Home exhibit and facilitated by an experienced affiliate for eighty-nine education and economics undergraduate students. Data include surveys, debriefing discussions, and written reflections. We ask: Does simulation pedagogy support transformative learning toward the decolonial goals of recognizing and deconstructing current power relations? How or how not? Overall, we find that simulation pedagogy successfully supports initial stages of transformative learning through engaging a combination of kinesthetic (body), affective (heart), and cognitive (mind) realms to shift students’ perspectives and knowledge. Through a decolonial lens, we chronicle the strengths and limitations of transformative learning processes and find that the simulation pedagogy achieved a combination of colonial and decolonial purposes.
... As such, preservice programs must support the development of a humanitarian global citizenship outlook and empathic knowledge of the common challenges experienced by refugees among future teachers so that they are better prepared to respond to the needs of such populations. Simulations have been found to successfully promote global citizenship, support learning about the internally displaced, and sensitize future teachers to diversity (e.g., Cruz & Patterson, 2005;Zappile et al., 2017). Through simulation, preservice teachers can develop the humanitarian outlooks and values necessary for improving the human and social condition. ...
... Preparing teachers who embrace the broad values and characteristics of global empathy and, specifically, empathy for displaced people (Zappile et al., 2017) requires incorporating a diverse range of pedagogical tools. Although stand-alone events will not fully negate established assumptions about diverse populations (Cruz & Patterson, 2005), our research indicates that a simulation can help future educators begin to identify and unravel their biases. ...
Full-text available
The authors discuss how the kinesthetic, affective, and conceptual learning triggered through simulation can support future teachers in building empathy for refugees and immigrants.
... Research demonstrates that simulations encourage students to apply their understanding of theories and content ( Asal 2005 ;Geithner and Menzel 2016 ), navigate problem-solving processes with peers ( McKeachie 1994 ), support student motivation for learning ( Dekkers and Donatti 1981 ), and reflect afterward to enrich their comprehension of course materials ( Thatcher 1990 ;Hughes and Scholtz 2015 ). Peacebuilding and international relations (IR) scholars have implemented simulations to improve student learning and understanding about complex dilemmas, such as collective action ( Thomas 2002 ), coalition building ( Switky 2004 ), decision-making ( Grummel 2003 ;Shaw 2004 ;Loggins 2009 ), structural inequality ( Fisher 2008 ), post-conflict reconstruction ( Goon 2011 ), climate change ( Andonova and Mendoza-Castro 2008 ;Pettenger, West, and Young 2014 ), disaster management ( Zappile, Beers, and Raymond 2017 ;Corbin 2018 ), and terrorism ( Chasek 2005 ;Franke 2006 ). ...
Research demonstrates that simulations encourage students to apply their understanding of theories and content, navigate problem-solving processes with peers, support student motivation for learning, and reflect afterward to enrich their comprehension of course materials. Peacebuilding and international relations scholars have implemented simulations to improve student learning and understanding about complex dilemmas, such as collective action, structural inequality, post-conflict reconstruction, climate change, disaster management, and terrorism. However, studies of real-life-based simulations also indicate that they may entrench, rather than subvert, students’ extant bias, perpetuate cultural misrepresentation, and pose logistical challenges for instructors and students. We thus add to scholarly debates about the utility of role-play simulations in internationalized pedagogy settings by asking and answering: Do adult learners perceive fantastical role-play simulations as effective teaching and learning tools for cross-cultural negotiation? We bridge disparate literature on (1) simulations as active learning tools, (2) real-life simulation approaches for teaching cross-cultural studies, and (3) creative play pedagogy to investigate the utility of fantastical simulation as a pedagogical approach for teaching cross-cultural negotiation theories. While we examined the perceived effectiveness of fantastical simulations for adult learners in a graduate-level course, more research is needed to understand their utility in other classrooms and disciplines.
... This description raises a question of whether INGOs coming from Western roots are able to articulate the concerns and needs of people in the global south. The "white saviour complex" was enforced by imperialism, which sells the image of the white man as a carrier of burden of other countries on his shoulder with a duty to save them from their own ignorance (Zappile et al., 2017). According to Hershey and Artime (2014), pervasive messages that reinforce the white saviour complex can perpetuate damaging stereotypes about the helplessness of people in developing countries. ...
Purpose This paper aims to discuss the main reasons behind the tension between accountability to donors and accountability to beneficiaries, in terms of obtaining the basic needs and human rights of the latter. Relying on three arguments; firstly, based on Angela Crack’s (2013) theory of the three waves of accountability, the authors argue that the unequal power relations between donors, international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) and beneficiaries is a source of the deficit and gap of this accountability. Secondly, the authors examine the relation between INGOs and politics, their role in influencing policy making and their increased involvement with governments and states. The authors suggest that INGOs reliance on governments for facilitation and funding makes them accountable to those governments in a way that conflicts with the needs of their beneficiaries affecting their chances to obtain their basic human rights. Thirdly, the authors explore the different agendas between the global north and global south, considering the Western roots of INGOs. Finally, the paper suggests that unequal power relations, INGOs’ questionable legitimacy and the unclear relation with politics explain the causes behind the tension in accountability making it inevitable. Design/methodology/approach Angela Crack’s (2013) theory of the three waves of accountability. Findings The paper suggests that unequal power relations, INGOs’ questionable legitimacy and the unclear relation with politics explain the causes behind the tension in accountability making it inevitable. Originality/value Identifying and resolving the tension between INGOs accountability to donors and accountability to so-called beneficiaries can result in better obtainment of human rights.
... En Estados Unidos se desarrolló un estudio entre jóvenes universitarios que formaron parte de una simulación de juego de roles dentro de la conferencia "American Political Science Association Teaching and Learning", en donde personificaron a actores nacionales e internacionales enfrentando la compleja situación de emergencia humanitaria de desplazados internos en Haití luego del terremoto del 2010. El estudio evaluó la empatía global, conciencia política y compromiso cívico de los participantes antes y después del ejercicio; entre los principales resultados se reportaron cambios positivos y estadísticamente significativos en la actitud de los estudiantes (Zappile et al., 2016). ...
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En el presente artículo se propone implementar un taller educativo basado en la técnica “juego de roles”, en el plan de estudios de una materia ofrecida en cualquiera de los dos últimos años de un programa de Ingeniería. Se evidencia, mediante revisión literaria, que las actividades educativas basadas en esta técnica son fundamentales en el estudio y comprensión de distintas problemáticas, como la migración global. A través de la personificación de representantes de una nación, los participantes logran no solo analizar los problemas que experimentan los migrantes y refugiados en varios países, sino que también se busca crear conciencia, empatizar y sentir la crisis y vulneración de derechos humanos fundamentales que viven a diario, motivando a los estudiantes a buscar continuamente soluciones innovadoras a dichos conflictos. Una de las herramientas basadas en simulación de “juego de roles” comúnmente utilizada es el Modelo de las Naciones Unidas (MUN), el cual consiste en una representación del Sistema de Naciones Unidas en escuelas, colegios y universidades. A lo largo del artículo se analiza el funcionamiento de técnicas de aprendizaje activo, sus beneficios e importancia sobre las habilidades sociales y formación integral de los estudiantes de Ingeniería. Adicionalmente, se revisa el impacto positivo de incluir temas sociales, como migración global, en los sistemas educativos.
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How can youth in developing countries enhance knowledge and capacity for civic engagement? What role can international development assistance play in youth civic learning and capacity development? This chapter weighs in on youth civic engagement from the angle of “social audit,” a participatory tool and approach. It does so by examining two specific initiatives designed and implemented by the author in Belize and Guatemala with support from international development organizations and local universities. In addition to describing the social audit approach, including the strategy and methodology, this chapter also provides initial evidence showing that introducing university students in developing countries to civic engagement, even with short and focused workshops that combine a mix of pedagogical approaches, has a potential to lay down a foundation to increase civic engagement and facilitates the development of basic knowledge and skills. Although international development assistance can play a crucial role in supporting youth civic engagement in developing countries, the effort will remain incomplete unless changes in youth attitude and behavior are systematically measured and effort is sustained through continuous civic engagement support by local stakeholders, including universities.
Although educators increasingly appreciate the pedagogical benefits of active learning techniques including simulations, many still see implementing them in their own classroom as a daunting task. The formidable time investment required often deters instructors from designing new simulations, and many find published simulations to be an imperfect fit. This article seeks to reduce the barriers to entry for instructors who are interested in designing personalized simulations yet hesitant in the face of real-world constraints. It does so by introducing a flexible framework for diplomatic simulations (DiploSim) that is firmly rooted in the design principles of drama, immersion, and reflection yet also easily customizable to fit instructors’ preferred thematic content, negotiating format, schedule, and class size. By combining research and role play within a straightforward and pedagogically sound structure, DiploSim offers instructors a useful gateway into the world of simulations.
International studies students are often interested in understanding contexts of conflict and war and working with affected populations. Although various research has assessed different pedagogical tools for increasing students’ understanding of war experiences and reducing the perceived distance between such populations, virtual encounters are an understudied means for achieving these aims. This article examines how a US international studies course integrated virtual dialogue sessions with Afghan students to reduce the distance between Americans and Afghans. Accordingly, we conducted pre- and post-surveys and interviews, engaged in participant observation, and analyzed reflection papers to understand how US students’ views transformed from the program. We find that American students learned about the precarity and resilience of Afghans and recognized their humanity. Moreover, participants developed outgroup trust, reduced intergroup anxiety, and in some cases developed empathy for the other group. Students experienced these shifts despite technological and logistical challenges, a language barrier, and the power imbalance, which led to ethical concerns for program instructors. Thus, we argue that virtual encounters can be an effective pedagogical tool for reducing distance between international studies students and war-affected populations and helping them to connect across group differences despite the inherent challenges in such programs.
Political science professors frequently use simulations to try to enhance student learning. Beyond their use in experiential learning, prior research suggests that simulations may also improve student civic outcomes and promote political interest and engagement outside of the classroom. This study estimates the impact of political science simulations by examining students’ attitudes and behaviors before and after taking part in a simulation. We study whether participation in classroom and Model United Nations simulations leads to increases in student civic engagement, political efficacy, and appreciation of diverse viewpoints among college students using a comparison group difference-in-difference design. We find significant positive impacts of simulations on measures of civic engagement, which suggests that students who participate in simulations may take immediate and concrete steps to be more involved in social and political groups.
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This chapter will advance the argument that Work Integrated Learning (WIL) can reinforce active citizenship as illustrated with an example from the South African context. WIL is an approach that holds that students will learn better in a program that integrates theoretical knowledge in the classroom with practical knowledge in the workplace. While WIL is not inherently orientated towards building active citizenship, the strategic use of WIL can result in learning outcomes very similar to civic engagement pedagogy, particularly when conceptualized as a collaborative and participatory form of community-based research. This claim is demonstrated through reflection on a research project conducted by master's candidates at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa, in conjunction with a human rights NGO, the Black Sash. The research required students, supported by Black Sash field-workers, to run participatory workshops in various poor communities to explore the impact of the privatization of the social grant payment system in South Africa. We show how the project reinforced the ideas and practices of active citizenship for the students involved and for the fieldworkers from Black Sash with whom they worked. Thus, while not intrinsic to WIL, active citizenship can be built through the strategic use of WIL programs to conduct community-based research or community engagement activities.
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This article uses pre- and post-surveys to assess learning outcomes associated with a role-play simulation set within a fictionalized extension of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Quantitative and qualitative data suggest that the simulation increased student appreciation of the complexity of international negotiation, but decreased student interest and self-assessment of skill proficiency. These results underscore the learning potential of the role-play simulation: it challenges notions of student idealism, leaving students with a more realistic sense of why Multilateral Environmental Agreements are so difficult to negotiate in the real-world.
The concept of empathy lies amid much confusion This analysis addresses that confusion using Walker and Avant's model of concept analysis, and looks at what empathy is is it trait or state, is it dynamic or static, and how is it recognized and measured' Implications of these findings are discussed, limitations of the study are acknowledged and areas for further work suggested
Empathy in the Global World: An Intercultural Perspective is ideal for a wide range of courses, including Conflict/Negotiation/Mediation, Intercultural Communication, and Interpersonal Communication.
Kony 2012, a film released by the nonprofit Invisible Children in the spring of 2012, drew a flurry of Facebook “shares” and “likes.” However, critics expressed a concern that the film offered a distorted portrayal of Africans and African politics. In this article, we test these criticisms by asking what effects the film had on college students’ perceptions of Africa and Africans. To address this question, we draw on a survey and an experiment conducted at a small liberal arts college where Kony 2012 enjoyed popularity. The results show that the film did affect students’ perceptions of Africa; specifically, it led many to perceive Africans as lacking agency and autonomy. We argue that whereas the film did have initial negative effects on students’ perceptions of Africa, these effects seem to fade over time. Future research should explore the compounding effects of exposure to images that misrepresent the African continent.
Simulations are being used more and more in political science generally and in international relations specifically. While there is a growing body of literature describing different simulations and a small amount of literature that empirically tests the impact of simulations, scholars have written very little linking the pedagogic theory behind simulations to the strategies and tactics used to develop and deliver them. Drawing insights from the existing pedagogic literature, material in IR simulation articles, and the small amount of existing literature on this subject, we seek to identify patterns in how instructors use simulations to facilitate student learning. Using a constructivist learning theory approach, this article reviews existing theories on the most effective ways to develop and use simulations. Our review of current IR simulation articles indicates that effective simulations are designed to strike a balance between students’ perceptions on what happened and existing theory as to why it happened. Students are then able to use these simulations as a method to judge the theories and to apply lessons from the simulations to current events.