2005 International Workshop

HOSTAGE CRISIS: NEGOTIATING WITH TERRORISTS

On March 19, 2005 students in International Economics and Cultural Affairs participated in an educational simulation called Hostage Crisis, where they entered the fictitious world of an all-too-familiar scenario: the hijacking of an American airplane by a Middle Eastern terrorist group demanding the release of political prisoners by a neighboring country in exchange for the safe return of the US hostages.

Some students, playing the role of terrorists in the Committee for National Struggle, found themselves in the unusual position of having to adopt an anti-American position, while others got a taste of what it might mean to be a hostage, being led blind-folded into a secured area and kept uninformed as to what their government was doing to secure their release. Other students, sequestered off in the White House, weighed the value of human life against the image of the nation and debated the respective advantages and disadvantages of violence vs. negotiations. The press, meanwhile, took statements from all the groups involved and produced a broadcast to satisfy a world eager to hear how the crisis would turn out. Fortunately, with only minutes to spare, negotiators triumphed and all the hostages were freed.

The simulation was designed by a Foreign Service Officer, Moorhead Kennedy, who was himself a hostage for 444 days in Iran from 1979-1981. Assisting with the simulation on campus this year was Maria Brewer, a VU alumna (IECA, Spanish, 1995), who currently works for the US State Department. Each year, IECA students take part in an educational simulation that allows them to see the complexity of some important international issue.

Hostage Simulation

The American hostages are led by the guards of the Committee for National Struggle

Hostage Simulation

Captivity! What will become of us? Can we buy our freedom if we pool our resources?

Hostage Simulation

We are not terrorists, but human beings who love our nation.

Hostage Simulation

Will we be able to interview the hostages?

Hostage Simulation

The terrorist incident working group

Hostage Simulation

This is Stephanie Davis reporting for the World News Network, live in Keibar

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We do hope that this situation will resolve itself peacefully

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Madam President and Hamida, negotiating down to the wire

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Will our families see this broadcast?

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Freedom! Let's celebrate with deep dish pizza!