State-sponsored cyber terrorism, oil spill environmental disaster and corona virus spread; participation of International Relations Students in the ISA 2020 online simulation on Terrorism in the Age of Extremism


On 12 March 2020, International Relations students from the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS, University of Ljubljana), participated in the ISA 2020 online crisis simulation entitled “No Place is Safe: Terrorism in the Age of Extremism”. The simulation had been planed as an online (FB supported) event already before the global Coronavirus spread. Due to health-related limitations the teams also mostly worked in remote team mode.

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Under the (pedagogic) mentorship of assoc. prof. dr. Ana Bojinović Fenko and teaching assistants dr. Jure Požgan and Faris Kočan, 12 students from four different countries (Jani Hilčer, Luka Pečar Pehar, Matjaž Razrdrih, Mak Kasapović, Žiga Vrevc Žlajpah, Luka Radičević, Marko Miladinović, Tadej Uršič, Lucija Naranđa, Svit Rodež, Jelena Kovačević and Matija Pušnik) have taken the role of Iraq and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in missile barrage and oil spill disaster in Baghdad in the context of global spread of Corona virus. Other actors of the simulation were the US, EU, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Israel. After receiving the simulation scenario by the organizers, the negotiation talks took place during 2 hours (21-23 CET) in two separate cyber rooms. In “Missiles attacks and the oil spill” cyber room, the GCC and Iraq were represented by Marko Miladinović, Jani Hilčer, Matija Pušnik and Svit Rodež with the help of their advisors Lucija Naranđa and Luka Radičević. The negotiated deal was the proposal advocated by Iraq to establish the HQ dedicated to the oil spill containment with and by Saudi Arabia and donor conference to address the damage caused by spill held in Baghdad on 1 April 2020. In the second cyber room, devoted to “(cyber) terrorism and the Corona virus”, the GCC led by Mak Kasapović and Luka Pečar Pahor advocated the package deal with Iraq led by Matjaž Razdrih and Žiga Vrevc Žlajpah. The deal was that Iraq would support the proposal to establish an International independent commission of experts as part of the United Nations to investigate the current and other future cyber-attacks and in return the GCC supported the establishment of a regional WHO centre for the Middle East in Baghdad. In this room, Tadej Uršič (GCC) and Jelena Kovačević (Iraq) functioned as advisors to the high state representatives.

Both teams underwent an in-depth preparation for the simulation by formulating Policy Papers (accessible via PDF) that incorporated main foreign policy goals of their respective actor and potential foreign policy initiatives. Before the start of the simulation, both teams had a brainstorming session in order to identify potential strategies by other actors, such as the US, Iran and the EU. GCC had established two backchannels – one with Saudi Arabia and the other with the US. In the end, teachers assessed that both FSS teams had managed to endorse all of the team-set goals. Congratulations! As for the achieved learning outcomes, the teachers have developed a scientific evaluation and will use the data as a case study of innovative teaching of role play and international negotiations simulation in IR.  


Back to list of notificationsPublished: 16. March 2020 | Category: FDV