Humanity in Action Teams Up With U.S. Peace Corps Moldova and NGO MilleniuM to Bring Simulation Games to Moldova
Humanity in Action Senior Fellows and staff recently teamed up with U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers and staff, Moldovan university students, and the Moldovan NGO MilleniuM for a conference designed to explore diversity and democracy and develop innovative simulation games to teach human rights and active citizenship in the small post-Soviet country.
From March 20-25, twenty-five participants gathered in the capital Moldovan capital of Chisinau to explored current political conflicts, minority issues, and intercultural challenges in the region. The conference was the first phase of the project “Simulation Games for Teaching Human Rights and Active Citizenship in Post-Soviet Moldova”, and produced two draft simulation games to be facilitated throughout Moldova during phase two of the project.
The first simulation is focused on the frozen conflict in the breakaway Moldovan region of Transnistria, which fought a short war with Moldova after its self-proclaimed independence in 1991. Today, the region remains unrecognized by any other country, but exercises de facto autonomy. Transnistria is inhabited by a mix of ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, and Moldovans. The simulation game strives to introduce participants to the various dynamics of the conflict, and increase mutual understanding of the issues involved.
The second simulation aims to teach about local social and political processes, and was specifically designed to help aid Peace Corps Volunteers’ intercultural integration and youths’ understanding of local governance. The game is set in a fictitious Moldovan village where 11 diverse stakeholder groups must come together to negotiate the design of a community project in order to win an important grant competition.
The kick-off conference in March was hosted by Peace Corps Moldova and co-organized by the MilleniuM together with Humanity in Action Germany. The project is being organized by Senior Fellow Zachariah Falconer-Stout, who has been serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Moldova since 2010. The conference was financially supported by Humanity in Action Netherlands, through a grant of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports (VWS). The participation of simulation experts from HIA Germany was supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future.
Both simulations will be published as ready-to-use manuals including scenario outlines, background information, role cards and guidelines for facilitators. Translations from English into Romanian and Russian will be available from mid-May. The ambitious implementation plan will be supervised by MilleniuM, using the Moldovan students as facilitators who will travel throughout the country with the Peace Corps Volunteers to bring the game to high school civics classrooms and youth groups. Civics education in Moldova is predominantly lecture-based, and interest from teachers is already high. Project coordinators already plan to facilitates the games 10 times until by end of June and 24 times by the end of 2012. This is the first major attempt to introduce simulations as a broad-based teaching tool in the country.
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