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Tomorrow and Saturday, many students will be participating in the International Security Studies Program’s Simulex event.  Not only students, in fact, but also experts from U.S. War Colleges, National Defense University, Military Service Academies, and several other local universities.  The flyer announcing Simulex invites students to, “Develop and put your negotiation and crisis management skills to practice and save the (simulated) world!  Test your wits against your fellow students, senior political-military officials, and U.S. Government war gaming experts.”

What to know what the simulation will involve?  You can check out the program details or read the background scenario.

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For 24 hours starting tonight, dozens of students will direct their attention to an imagined future through Simulex, described by its organizer (the International Security Studies Program) as “a major crisis management exercise in which participants assume the roles of national policy makers in an international scenario.”  Simulex has taken place on an autumn weekend for years and years, and it’s a major focus for students in Security Studies.  This year’s theme is “Chaos in the Middle East:  The 2014 Crisis.”  Teams exploring the scenario of a succession struggle in Saudi Arabia will represent Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel, Yemen, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Terrorists, and the United States.  It will be an intense but productive weekend.

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I was in the elevator on Tuesday with Prof. Shultz and other members of the International Security Studies Program staff as they returned from a luncheon/lecture.  Since classes ended last Friday, it seemed logical to ask whether anyone turned up to eat/listen.  It was packed, they told me.  People standing outside to hear the comments by the panel of three marine generals, General John Kelly, General Richard Zilmer and General Lawrence Nicholson.

Also on Tuesday, an alternate source of food/knowledge.  The International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program sponsored a lunch/talk entitled “Battle for NREGA: An Indian NonViolent Movement for Strategic Social Change,” by Reetika Khera an advocate for India’s rural workers and an economist by training.

And if the topics of the lunch talks didn’t draw certain students, they still didn’t need to go hungry:  the Ambassachords provided mid-afternoon “finger food” and music for hungry stomachs and weary brains.

With exams having formally begun yesterday, surely the extra-curricular events will have ended.  But no!  More events, and more food.  Hungry students tomorrow can take in the “Soul Food Study Break” co-sponsored by the Ralph Bunche Society and the Africana Club.

By the weekend, first-year students will start to peel off, heading to their summer internships, but the events roll on.  Tuesday evening, those still in town will celebrate the accomplishments of Ushahidi Haiti.  Naturally, food will be served.

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Tomorrow and Saturday, teams from Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine, NATO/Europe, the U.S., and Russia, will debate and strategize about the challenges and opportunities tied to a resurgent Russia.  Or more accurately, dozens of Fletcher students will play those roles (projecting themselves into 2011) as part of the School’s annual SIMULEX program.  As you might guess from the fact that more than 70 students are giving up part of their weekend to pursue an academic exercise, SIMULEX is one of the highlights of the fall semester.  Check out the web site — there are photos from last year’s SIMULEX, a demonstration of the software participants will use, and the background paper that forms the basis of the exercise.

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