Army War College Simulation Zoom Meeting.
The United States Army War College (USAWC) 6th annual International Strategic Crisis Negotiation Exercise (ISCNE): Sudan and South Sudan, took place from February 19 to 20, 2021. It was hosted via Zoom by the New York University (NYU) Center for Global affairs.
The simulation exercise addressed problems between Sudan, South Sudan, Sudan People's Liberation Movement – North (SPLMN) and neighboring countries: Ethiopia, Egypt and Kenya. Issues discussed included oil, population, water, state security, and border demarcation.
Graduate students from selected International Affairs Programs in the New York City area participated. Seton Hall University had representation from seven School of Diplomacy and International Relations students; namely, Chimdi Chukwukere, Onyinye Ogili-Foreman, Tajah McCray, Jila Matos, Lylian Pagan, Shaira Taylor, and Father Vincent Bulus. Dr Dennis Jett, former Ambassador to Mozambique and Peru, was the UN/ AU Special Representative.
Onyinye Ogili-Foreman Headed the Egyptian delegation, and was supported by Jila Matos as Team Communicator, in addition to NYU and Fordham University team mates. They scored success in negotiating the release of humanitarian aid to crisis areas with Egypt as the third party facilitator. Ogili-Foreman described her experience as, "exciting", and gave credit to the SHU School of Diplomacy and International Relations for preparing students well for careers in diplomacy.
The Ethiopian delegation comprised Tajah McCray, Chimdi Chukwukere, and counterparts from NYU and Fordham. Chukwukere was commended for single handedly negotiating with a seven member team from the SPLMN rebel group despite no resolution being reached between Sudan and South Sudan. He commented, "…this was a great learning experience for every one of us, as we got a glimpse of how dynamic, difficult yet exciting the work of a Diplomat is. We learned how important it is to pursue peaceful relations with regional neighbors, while at the same time advancing one's state's self-interests."
As Humanitarian Aid Advocate, McCray played an equally crucial role of receiving information about the state's interests and strategically communicating with the parties involved to achieve peaceful solutions. She recommends that more students participate in the next exercise as it provides great educational and networking opportunities, apart from advancing communication skills.
A similar appreciation of communication as key to problem solving was expressed by Lylian Pagan, Team Communicator for the South Sudan delegation, and team member Shaira Taylor. However, Pagan acknowledged the numerous other factors involved in negotiations. She said it was something she had never imagined and appreciated the work of the UN and NGOs.
The membership of the Kenyan delegation was predominantly NYU and Fordham University with Father Vincent Bulus being the only student from SHU on the team.
All in all, participants viewed the simulation as a beneficial learning exercise and an important eye opener to students of Diplomacy and International Relations.