BY BEN HABIB.
On Monday 7th May 2012, I delivered a guest lecture entitled Korea: A Fractured Nation to second and third year students studying the subject Contemporary Politics of the Asia-Pacific Region (POL2/3CPA) at La Trobe University’s Melbourne campus. My lecture began with a synopsis of the historic context leading up to the division of Korea in 1945, then delved into a discussion about the strategic, ideological and economic dimensions of the division between North and South Korea, and concluding with a summary of some of the key contemporary issues facing the two Korea’s, including nuclear weapons proliferation, energy and food security, and internal politics.
The content of this lecture, along with other lectures in this subject, will form the basis for an international conflict negotiation simulation workshop designed and facilitated by Dr Michael Connors, POL2/3CPA subject coordinator. The simulation is structured around a hypothetical security crisis on the Korean peninsula. The students will be divided into groups, each of which will represent a different Asia-Pacific state. Group members will assume the role of diplomats representing their assigned country.
Simulations encourage students to utilise research and knowledge in a multi-faceted manner. This includes making decisions based on their research, defending their research against other students and engaging students in a process of negotiation in seeking realistic solutions to the core problem outlined in the simulation. In a simulation, students must adopt the personality and position of various stakeholders in relation to a chosen issue. They are often conducted as structured games ranging from simple role-playing exercises to more complex decision-making activities involving negotiations, strategy and allocation of scarce resources. Indeed, negotiation scenarios such as the POL2/3CPA Asia-Pacific workshop are particularly suited to simulation due to the inherent focus of diplomacy on process, something that can be readily modelled in the classroom.
A big thank you to all the POL2/3CPA students who attended and participated in my lecture, your warm reception was much appreciated.
Dr. Benjamin Habib is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at La Trobe University, Albury-Wodonga. Ben is an internationally published researcher with interests including North Korea’s motivations for nuclear proliferation, East Asian security, international politics of climate change, and undergraduate teaching pedagogy. He also teaches in Australian politics and the international relations of the Middle East. Ben undertook his PhD candidature at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and has worked previously for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. He has spent time teaching English in Dandong, China, and has also studied at Keimyung University in Daegu, South Korea. Ben is involved with local community groups Wodonga and Albury Toward Climate Health (WATCH) and Transition Albury-Wodonga.
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