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Central European Nations Use Tool Developed by CCNMTL for Genocide Prevention Training

Home > News & Updates > Central European Nations Use Tool Developed by CCNMTL for Genocide Prevention Training

Government officials from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia (collectively known as the Visegrád Group) gathered recently in Budapest to consider what to do about a nation’s rapidly increasing political instability. In small groups, they analyzed the situation, considered historical examples, and suggested a policy decision. Immediately, they were able to see the outcome of their choice: a fragile peace, or worsening violence.

Fortunately, in this case the nation was fictional, part of an online simulation tool developed at Columbia University that trains individuals like those in Budapest in mass atrocity prevention. The simulation is called Country X, and was originally created in 2009 by Professor Aldo Civico of the Center for International Conflict Resolution (CICR) at Columbia University and the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL). And while Country X is fictional, the simulation and the situation it represents is based on extensive academic research on real international conflicts. In recent years, Country X has been used in courses on conflict resolution at Columbia and in mass atrocity prevention trainings internationally.

For the Visegrád Group training, CICR Professor Mark Whitlock travelled to Budapest to facilitate the training in-person. Back in New York City, at 2:00 AM local time, CCNMTL educational technologist Tucker Harding co-facilitated via Skype.

“It was a good use of the technology and an interesting potential model for Country X, because I was able to administer the system from New York while [the participants] were making decisions about the tool,” Harding said. The administrative interface of Country X allows facilitators to see decisions made by students within the system. This interaction is important, said Harding, because “a key part of Country X is knowing where groups are at the end of each turn, because those are teachable moments.”

Country X continues to garner interest from those exploring what can be done with online cases and simulations. For more information, view Country X in CCNMTL’s Project Portfolio.

Related news:
Jul-15-2013: Article on Country X Published in Simulation & Gaming
May-07-2012: CCNMTL Simulation Projects Presented at Natural Resource Management Workshop
Feb-22-2010: The Record Publishes Article on Country X
Oct-19-2009: CCNMTL and CICR Present Country X Simulation to West African States
Apr-29-2009: CCNMTL Collects Feedback on Educational Tool for the Prevention of Mass Killing