Document Type


First Faculty Advisor

Holtzman, Richard


Role-Playing; Simulation; Learning; Higher Education; Case Study; Model United Nations; education


Bryant University


It is currently estimated that more than 200,000 high school and university students participate in model United Nations each year. With over 400 annual conferences in thirty-five countries, this fifty-year-old tradition has redefined how students engage international relations in an academic setting (Educational Outreach 1). Active learning has been heralded for decades as a superior technique to teach various disciplines, including international relations. It allows students to experience deep learning and develop skills unattainable through conventional pedagogical methods. This paper explores the specific impact of a model United Nations simulation on the academic experience and student performance through a controlled and experiential testing in a collegiate classroom. I devised and coordinated a simulated Security Council meeting (which discussed Terrorism in Pakistan) and measured student performance before, during and after the simulation, and then compared it to a control group. Four assessment mechanisms were used: pre and post simulation evaluation of student position papers; achievement of Kolb’s Learning phases and other in-class observations; student reflections from a debriefing session; and pre and post simulation basic knowledge quizzes. The results conclude that role-playing and simulation based learning can have an incredibly strong impact on a student’s education. The skills learned in the simulation allowed students to outperform their peers and positioned them for more long-term academic growth.