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March 19, 2001

Workshop to open eyes
to the world

By Eric Rangus


On April 5, the world is coming to Cox Hall—in a manner of speaking.

The World Issues Workshop, scheduled for that Thursday at 5:30 p.m., will bring together 200 Emory students, faculty and staff in a role-playing simulation that will challenge participants to solve current global environmental, educational and health problems through diplomacy and negotiation.

“We want to take the educational experience outside the classroom in a setting where students can apply what they learned inside a classroom in a workshop format,” said Terry Eiesland of International Student and Scholar Programs (ISSP), which is organizing and co-sponsoring the event along with the joint activities committee of Emory College, Campus Life and Theory Practice Learning.

The “world” is actually a to-scale, basketball court-sized game board the players will traverse in their stocking feet. Upon arrival at the four-hour event, players will be randomly assigned their roles.

They could represent international organizations such as the United Nations or World Health Organization. They could be members of the World Game Network News, which will take notes on player interactions and give short news reports at the end of each round. The majority, though, will represent the people of the world.

A total of 100 participants will be divided among 10 regions of the world. Each person will represent 1 percent of humanity—60 million people. Not only will the massive game board give players a crash course in geography, they will also learn a lesson about population density, as regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Subcontinent will be much more tightly packed than, say, North America.

Game play will involve participants negotiating with each other to solve their regions’ problems. Through the use of tokens representing energy, food and money, they will trade with other players to improve their regions’ own standing.

For instance, players in Europe might approach their counterparts in the Middle East for energy (read: oil), and players in highly populated areas such as Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa would be searching for even more basic needs, such as food.

Participants representing the “Commercial Bank”—another of the international organizations—have the potential of playing a major role in nearly every negotiation.

“This gives us an opportunity to engage in in discussion on global political and social issues as a local community,” said Bobbi Patterson of Theory Practice Learning.

“Trying to reconcile human needs—the need to produce food and have shelter and clothing—may be in conflict with [concerns for] the environment,” Eiesland said.

Eiesland’s mention of reconciliation is significant and appropriate. Taking place during the Year of Reconciliation, the game’s theme carries all the more resonance.

Eiesland credited ISSP Director Lelia Crawford with the idea to incorporate the game, which she had heard about previously, with the University’s year-long reconciliation theme. “So many issues could come out in a workshop like this,” Eiesland said.

The workshop was created by the World Game Institute, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization. Two institute members will be on hand at Cox Hall to moderate game play.

The institute has created a variety of role-playing workshops, ranging from environmental to gender issues, and works with universities and large corporations throughout the country. The institute ran a World Issues Workshop at Georgia State in 1999.

Slots are still available for participation.

To sign up, e-mail ISSP at, call 404-727-3300 or drop by ISSP in room 340E of the Dobbs Center.

Eiesland said he is particularly interested in recruiting staff members to participate.

“The staff component is a big goal of mine because many events that take place on campus really don’t have a very active or visible presence from Emory staff, and they are part
of the community,” he said.


Back to Emory Report March 19, 2001