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Penn Law, U.S. Army War College partner to run international strategic crisis negotiation exercise, March 15-16

March 14, 2019

Seventy-five students, organized into eight teams and each representing a different nation, will engage in a complex and broad geopolitical crisis centered around the South China Sea.

The University of Pennsylvania Law School, partnering with the U.S. Army War College’s Center for Strategic Leadership, will host a unique, two-day international strategic crisis and negotiation exercise Friday and Saturday, March 15-16.

Seventy-five students, organized into eight teams and each representing a different nation, will engage in a complex and broad geopolitical crisis centered around the South China Sea. The teams will negotiate with their counterparts at a simulated United Nations-mandated peace conference, where they will be tasked to resolve a challenging international dispute with diplomatic, informational, military, legal, and economic factors at play.

This is the first time the Army War College has partnered with a law school to run a strategic crisis exercise. Penn Law professor Michael Knoll and former U.S. Army War College faculty member Col. (Ret.) Paul McKenney, currently a Law School lecturer, conceived of and will lead the program.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Penn Law students to experience high-stakes, global negotiations in real-time, and operate out of their comfort zones in an unfamiliar scenario,” said McKenney.

During the simulation, Penn Law faculty will work in coordination with one active and one retired U.S. ambassador and Army War College faculty member to structure the course, provide confidential instructions to each team, coach and mentor, and evaluate students throughout this dynamic scenario. Students will navigate the international legal aspects as well as the strategic facets of the crisis, including intense negotiations, working in teams, working with counterparts with divergent interests, and conflict de-escalation and resolution.

Registration for the event is closed.

The exercise is the latest collaboration between Penn Law and the U.S. Army War college; last spring a cohort of Penn’s Carey JD/MBA students traveled to the Army War College in Carlisle, PA to learn about the mission of the institution and how they develop military leaders, and last summer Professor Knoll delivered a guest lecture at the War College on the implications of tax policy on advanced economies.

Penn Law traces its history to 1790 when James Wilson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, framer of the Constitution, and member of the first U.S. Supreme Court, delivered the University of Pennsylvania’s first lectures in law to President George Washington and members of his Cabinet. Today the hallmarks of the Penn Law experience are a cross-disciplinary, globally-focused legal education, and vibrant, collegial community. Penn Law prepares graduates to navigate an increasingly complex world as leaders and influential decision-makers in the law and related fields.

The U.S. Army War College, one of the five federal senior service colleges, educates senior military and civilian leaders for future strategic leadership assignments. The Center for Strategic Leadership’s areas of emphasis are experiential education, senior leader education, support to Army senior leader research, and support to both Army War College and Army senior leader strategic communication efforts. The Center hosts, supports, develops, and conducts world-class events (workshops, symposia, conferences, games, and exercises) focused on a broad range of strategic leadership and national security issues and concepts in support of the War College, the Army, and the Interagency and Joint Communities.