Sabancı University International Studies Program students conduct a simulation with Minister of Foreign Affairs Davutoğlu

Sabancı University International Studies Program students conduct a simulation with Minister of Foreign Affairs Davutoğlu

Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoğlu and President of the UN General Assembly Al-Nasser took part in the “Domestic Politics and UN Mediation in Cyprus” simulation by the Sabancı University Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences’ International Studies Program students.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bakanı Ahmet Davutoğlu and President of the UN General Assembly Nassir Abdülaziz Al-Nasser took part in the “Domestic Politics and UN Mediation in Cyprus” simulation conducted by the students of the Sabancı University Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

In his speech at the event, Davutoğlu said that while one could take a week or two to decide on an academic issue, diplomatic affairs usually required on-the-spot decisions.

Davutoğlu told students that the only resource they would have to fall back to at such a time would be their intellectual background and experiences, and explained how being a diplomat today had far more requirements compared to the past.  Davutoğlu said that a diplomat who wants to specialize on the Middle East would need to know the histories, psychologies and perspectives of all the nations in the area.

Davutoğlu continued, “Understanding the parties is very important in mediation.  One needs to know the psychologies of both parties.  This is the case in negotiations for Cyprus.  I am sure that one day you will be a part of diplomacy and achieve far more than we have in Cyprus.  We have made many efforts in the last decade to resolve the issue.  I hope that the Sabancı University student who played Alexander Downer here will be much more successful.”
Davutoğlu said that simulations were important in that they brought together theory and practice, adding, “Those who can merge theory with practice, foresee long-term transformations and study their implications in the current context will change history.  This is what the practice of diplomacy leads you to do.”

At the end of the simulation, Davutoğlu commented that the simulation in fact superseded the actual negotiations because it included the United States and EU.  Davutoğlu remarked that the simulation was very close to the ones conducted in the Ministry of Foreign affairs, and congratulated the students on their achievement.

About the simulation

The motivation of the simulation prepared by the faculty and students of Sabancı University Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences’ International Studies Program was the observation that “as the world continues its journey towards universal democratic norms, the possibility of interethnic reconciliation, building and sustaining peace increasingly rests on public support.”
The “Domestic Politics and UN Mediation in Cyprus” simulation consisted of three tables: The Turkish Cypriot table, the Greek Cypriot table and the UN table.  The Turkish and Greek Cypriot tables were occupied by the representatives of their respective incumbent and opposition parties, civil societies, press and business circles, while the UN table was occupied by the Secretary-General of the UN and his offices, the Special Envoy of the President of the US to Cyprus, the EU commissioner, representatives of the UK and Russia, and Turkish and Greek ambassadors to the UN.
Set in January 2014, the simulation took place in four stages: intragroup discussions, interstate bargaining, the psycho-social dimension of interethnic reconciliation, and reconvention at the simulated UN headquarters.