Global Scholars Host Crisis Simulation

Last weekend, Global Scholars at University School of Milwaukee embarked on their 10th annual Crisis Simulation. This year’s simulation merged current events unfolding in Afghanistan and that ensuing refugee crisis with the Syrian refugee crisis. Additionally, the simulation layered in the simmering geopolitical tensions throughout that region.  

Students were tasked with utilizing their country’s resources and alliances to respond to the crisis in a way that benefited their country in both the short and the long terms. To prepare for this exercise, students read Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s “Daughters of Khobani.” Based on years of on-the-ground reporting, the book traces the recent history of women of the Kurdish militia that improbably became an important force in fighting the terror of ISIS. Lemmon argues that they simultaneously were exemplars in the quest for women’s rights in the Middle East. 

The Global Scholars were also able to hear from Peter Kranstover, who shared his prospective on American foreign policy based on his 30-year career in the United States State Department as a senior conflict officer and subsequent role in USAID during a presentation on Friday, Jan. 7. His talk was entitled “Is America still the Global Cop?” In addition, Kranstover played the role of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken during the Crisis Simulation. 

Saturday’s simulation illustrated the complexity of regional negotiations as well as ramifications of an actor’s decisions and actions on peace and stability in the region. USM senior and Global Scholar Jack Roulette summarized his experience by noting the “complexity of balancing this whole refugee crisis on top of these other tensions that were already there.”

Critical to the success of this year’s Crisis Simulation were the contributions of Assistant Director of Global Studies Colleen Tiefenbrun, who aided with the simulation’s logistics, and Upper School Science Teacher Dr. Greg Marks, who lent his expertise in gamification and coaching—along with general aplomb—to the activity.

Current and future enhancements to the Crisis Simulation program are funded by a small group of parents, parents of alumni, and alumni, resulting in additional support thanks to a matching grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation.

Peter Kranstover spoke on stage behind a podium