2019 NASPAA-Batten Competition on Refugees: SPP team runners up in Maastricht and SPP student Carol Stephan’s team tied for first place in Cairo

March 27, 2019

After a very exciting day of negotiating, debating and deciding world affairs, at the current February 23rd, 2019 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition on Refugees, The School of Public Policy team (Daria Gerashchenko, Saheem Khizar, Fridon Lala, Eszter Szedlacsek, Jan Jacob Vogelaar) were the runners up at the UNU-Merit United Nations University site in Maastricht, NL where SPP was a co-host.

The School of Public Policy further participated at the American University in Cairo (AUC), Egypt where SPP student Carol Stephan’s team tied for first place and named Regional Winners to further compete in the global super judge round.

"We are very proud of our students, who have yet again proven their profound competencies and passion for addressing real public policy challenges. The NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition provides to our students a priceless hands-on, teamwork experience. Congratulations to all the participants!" said SPP Head and Professor Martin Kahanec  

This year, nearly 600 students from 147 universities in 27 countries took part in the NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition. Participants competed at 11 global host sites from Dhaka and Cairo to Mexico City and San Francisco. With more human beings on the move than ever before in history, the topic of global migration was chosen as particularly relevant. The simulation, developed by experts at the University of Virginia’s Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming (CLSG) and backed by extensive real-world data, placed students in charge of four fictitious countries as their region experienced a migrant influx. Each student team represented one country’s government, with each member holding a high-ranking position such as Prime Minster or Minister of Labor. As the teams navigated difficult policy decisions and their potential outcomes, the game challenged participants to weigh human rights, integration, and GDP growth against budget restrictions and political resistance. Participants were given the opportunity to see which policies produced outcomes beneficial to both their virtual citizens and the arriving migrants.

“This is the only global simulation in public policy education I know of that brings grad students together from all different countries to address a multifaceted policy issue and learn from each other,” said NASPAA Executive Director Laurel McFarland. “Our hope is they will graduate and go out into the real world with a heightened understanding of forced migration and the complexities and tradeoffs in the surrounding policy decisions as well as a desire to contribute wherever they might end up working.”

116 participating teams were evaluated on simulation scores, negotiation skills, and policy presentations. Regional site judges selected 13 regional winning teams, and a panel of prominent judges identified the global winners – the first, second, and third place teams. The full list of regional and global winners can be accessed on the NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition website.

About NASPAA:The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration or NASPAA is the global standard in public service education.  It is the membership organization of graduate education programs in public policy, public affairs, public administration, and public & nonprofit management. Its over 300 members - located across the U.S. and in 24 countries around the globe - award MPA, MPP, MPAff, and similar degrees. NASPAA is the recognized global accreditor of master’s degree programs in these fields.