Introduction to International Relations
Kyoto and the Japanese Arts
Introduction to Politics
Global Simulation Gaming
IR-DS 207Online Syllabus
Global Simulation Gaming
What are the aims of the course?
Global Simulation Gaming (GSG), a type of virtual reality gaming of international relations, can be called a "tradition" here at Ritsumeikan University's College of International Relations, since the first event dates back to 1988. The aim of this course is to provide students with quasi-real experience of diplomatic negotiations with each team playing the role of delegations from different "actors," i.e. countries, international organizations or non-governmental organizations.
Each year, a specific theme is chosen (such as climate change and food security). But no matter what and how much one learns from the textbook or even through discussions, the very experience of developing an agenda, formulating policies that can gain the support from other actors, and negotiating on a one-on-on basis can provide students with precious discoveries of how the real world may function and influence each other.
What is the most important thing students will learn through the course?
Prior to joining this university, I have worked at the United Nations (predominantly with United Nations Development Programme) for eight years. And based on my experience, the most important thing that I hope students learn from this course is how much, indeed how much, the "individual" matters, regardless of one's country, institution or ranking. Sure, you are representing an institution or country when you officially communicate with other delegates, but at the end, "who you are" matters the most. In this aspect, emotional intelligence is far more important than IQ; your ability to understand, sympathize and communicate well with others. Also, since this course is heavily student oriented, i.e. teachers will not go around the class telling what to know and do, self-initiative and motivation is vital to get the most of the course. Since the whole course is to be conducted through teams, the ability to work as a team is also vital.
What advice do you have for students about how to get the most of the course?
This course will allocate sessions to first learn about the chosen theme and then your own actor. But in order to promote your own agenda and successfully convince others, it is vital to know and show that you do know about others, on top of the knowledge about your own country or organization. At the same time, you need to know the holistic picture and many differing definitions of the chosen theme. In the actual international relations, there is hardly any consensus to any "problem." How you perceive and define the "problem" is itself a start of negotiation and part of very important agenda setting phase. So there are A LOT that you will need to know, learn and put into action within the very limited time frame. Again, just like in reality!
Why should a student study Global Studies at Ritsumeikan University?
For this, I'm quite biased. Born and raised in the city of Kyoto (in fact I'm the 11th generation here), I want to emphasize that this city is just "wonderfully" full of history and culture of Japan. In addition to the diversity among students and multicultural environment, unlike other similar schools, Global Studies Major is offering contents- and theme-focused IR curriculum. It is also offering a number of language courses through which you can polish up your foreign language skills as well. So, for example, I think it would be a pity if you came here and graduated without learning Japanese language in-depth.
My personal take is that, just like this major has to offer, it has been blessed with unique students and what I hope to contribute is to help you to have unique experience through this major.