Nunn School Hosts Fifth Annual International Diplomacy Conference
Posted March 7, 2019
On Saturday, February 23, more than 60 students from different institutes across the Southeast gathered for a one-day simulation. The Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology hosted the Korean Peninsula Nuclear Security Simulation Conference sponsored by the Daisy Alliance.
The conference brought students together from Georgia Tech, the University of Kentucky, Kennesaw State University, and the University of North Georgia. Eliza Markley, a lecturer in the Sam Nunn School, hosted the conference and students from her INTA 3110 U.S. Foreign Policy course and INTA 3221 Post-Soviet Government & Politics were invited to attend.
Second-year International Affairs major student Rachel Mohr attended this year’s conference. Mohr has taken both courses offered by Markley and participated for a second time. “The simulation is a great way to help students really understand the perspectives of delegates representing their nations in multilateral conferences,” Mohr said.
“In the classroom, it's very easy to espouse specific political positions and claim you may know the answers to global problems, but participating in a simulation like this one helps you feel the pressure to serve the country's best interests, and makes all the issues very personal,” said Mohr.
The conference is organized by Eliza Markley, Gregory Hall, associate professors at the University of Kentucky and executive director of the Daisy Alliance, and Jessica Jennings, the program coordinator for the Daisy Alliance and Sam Nunn School alumna. The Daisy Alliance is a nonprofit organization founded by Bruce Roth, a Georgia Tech alumnus from the School of Economics.
The topic for this year’s simulation was on Korean Peninsula politics, nuclear weapons, regional arms, and security. The intent was to immerse students into the complications and many facets of security in the region often too difficult for experts, scholars, and politicians to solve. They were required to follow the same principles and rules that motivate and constrain their real-world counterparts. That meant they needed to make public statements for everyone to see, act as mediator, communicate in secret with other countries they diplomatically recognize, and host face-to-face talks.
The Idea for the Conference
About six years ago, Gregory Hall was at Morehouse College Political Science Department with then Adjunct Professor Holly Lindamood. Lindamood, a Nunn School master’s alumna, came up with the idea and wrote a student simulation on scenario for nuclear weapons free-zone in the Middle East that was used in the classroom.
They later opened up the simulation to all Morehouse College majors and to different area institutes. “The idea was to have students from different countries, different cultures, orientations, parts of the world, to bring them together to engage in diplomacy despite the differences in policy agenda,” said Hall.
In 2015, when Eliza Markley joined the Sam Nunn School, Robert Kennedy offered her the opportunity to participate. Robert Kennedy is now an emeritus professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and board member of the Daisy Alliance. Markley was impressed by the simulation, that she began hosting it. “It is a lot of work, but I do it for the students. It is all about the students,” said Markley.
The Daisy Alliance’s Involvement
Bruce Roth founded the Daisy Alliance in 2004 in response to Colin Powell’s push to invade Iraq. He decided to focus on nuclear arms control because few peace organizations exist in the Southeast. The Daisy Alliance’s mission is to enhance global peace, along with strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament movement through education institution advocacy and grassroots.
Since its foundation, the Daisy Alliance has partnered with Georgia Tech by sponsoring essay contests, hiring interns, bringing in guest speakers to the classroom, and hosting conferences. To Roth, this simulation is creating awareness that never existed. “I find there is a misunderstanding about what weapons of mass destruction can do and how bad they are,” said Roth.
The Daisy Alliance will continue sponsoring the simulation because as Gregory Hall explained, “as a scholar and teacher of international relations, I am a student, always a student. There are always going to be issues, there are always going to be people who have a passion or calling to deal with these problems and those who traffic in them, teach, research, practical work, we need these experiences to learn ourselves.”
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