HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE VIRTUAL VALENS WAR GAMES | OCTOBER 2020
AGS hosted a refereed simulation from October 8-10, run by the private firm Valens Global, that helped participants think deeply about the far-reaching political implications -- both domestic and international -- of the COVID pandemic.
Participants were cast in the role of a number of governmental and non-governmental actors, including the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of State, U.S Intelligence Community, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Republic of Germany, and Google's Jigsaw. Teams were immersed in a fast-paced, engaging world that made them address, in a tactile way, such pressing challenges as the messy information environment, the growing threat of white supremacist terrorism, and state instability wrought by the pandemic. Teams strategized, negotiated, and navigated their way through these challenges and more.
The simulation took place over a period of three days in a Zoom environment.
"The simulation allowed me to put myself in the shoes of a senior policymaker at the UN Refugees Agency. I loved learning from the other members of my team and working together to solve problems similar to those that officials face in real life."
-Bo Carlson '20
The simulation helped me realize firsthand the value of collaboration in the political sphere and the dangers of information asymmetry."
-Parker Harris, Undergraduate Student
“Overall great simulation put on by the Valens team. I loved reading the news feed and reflecting upon how the trends we focused on (disinformation, the rise of domestic white nationalist extremism, etc.) are true realities of the present day.
“The simulation was a great way to learn about decision making in a short amount of time. I especially liked interacting with the other students on the team, and I hope to find an opportunity to do in-person simulations in the future.”
- AGS Student
“It was a very stimulating and enjoyable experience giving me good insight into how interactions may go between different political institutions and their members”
“This experience definitely pushed me to think more deeply about the solutions and problems related to misinformation in today's context. I've been personally interested in the role media is playing in America's polarized context today, and this opportunity pushed me to ask critical questions about what role, responsibilities and resources tech companies have in shaping national and global narratives.”