ESU to Host U.S. and European Students/Faculty For Rigorous International European Union Simulation

Posted by: jrivera on March 13, 2013, No Comments

This April, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (ESU) will host a gathering of students from nearly 20 universities in Europe and the United States for political role-playing at its highest level. The International European Union Simulation (Eurosim) is a rigorous four-day exercise that strives to enhance knowledge of the European Union (EU), international law, diplomatic protocol, and diplomatic procedures by negotiating real problems and issues presented to the delegates.

The program, from April 4-7, 2013, will be the largest and most diverse gathering of students and faculty in the history of ESU, and will include 18 universities, of which seven are from Europe, represented by 160 students and 25 faculty from 28 different nations. Student delegates will assume the role of policy makers and apply their knowledge and negotiating skills in discussions with other participants. 

Eurosim is open to all majors. ESU will be represented by 12 students, including Ryan Stevens, a junior from East Stroudsburg, Pa., majoring in political science, who as the American student director will help prepare and oversee the logistics of the simulation. The other eleven students are: Amy Majani, a junior political science major from East Stroudsburg, Pa.; Melissa Pfeuffer, a junior majoring in political science from Morganville, N.J.; Leah Majdic, a freshman majoring in political science from Mountain Top, Pa.; Jonathan Gavilanes, a senior majoring in political science from Effort, Pa.; Thomas Stephens a junior majoring in business management from East Stroudsburg, Pa.; Daniel Hagan, a junior majoring in political science from Dingmans Ferry, Pa.; Brian Polito a junior majoring in political science from Doylestown, Pa.; Katherine Thomas, a junior majoring in physical education teacher education from Oley, Pa.; Zachary Niles a junior majoring in political science from Sellersville, Pa.; and Brian Slack, a senior majoring in history from Bethlehem, Pa.

Eurosim has been held for 25 consecutive years and has alternated between American and European venues. It is organized by the Transatlantic Consortium of European Union Studies and Simulations (TACEUSS) a non-profit corporation comprised of colleges and universities both in Europe and North America. Its mission is to conduct annual simulations of the European Union and provide study and research opportunities for students enrolled at schools within its consortium.

Leif Johan Eliasson, Ph.D., ESU associate professor of political science, currently serves as the American Director of TACEUSS. A member of the organization for 12 years, Dr. Eliasson has been responsible for taking ESU students to the last six Eurosims, including the 2012 event in Wroclaw, Poland.

 The host university is chosen by the faculty group based on consensus, and every year two or three schools present proposals for hosting two years hence. After more than a decade of participating, Eliasson wanted to bring Eurosim to ESU. He said ESU students had done very well in previous simulations, and Eurosim would be a great way to showcase the university. Following a successful 2011 proposal, ESU was confirmed as host.

The four-day annual Eurosim program includes 25 hours of meetings that run from early morning to late evening. Participants attend committees that mirror their real EU counterparts and feature intense discussions, debates, and negotiations. Students will assume the role of a real policy maker, such as the head of government or a minister, and extensively research policy issues and negotiation strategies before the simulation. They will apply their knowledge and negotiating skills in negotiations with other “countries,” which are represented by other schools.

 “The simulation is designed to enhance the students’ understanding of Europe and international politics, while sowing seeds of transatlantic understanding and friendship among participants,” said Eliasson. “Learning about the world’s largest economic and political union of states is crucial to the exercise. Advanced degree programs and professional settings, from the military, government, and multinational corporations, recognize the utility of simulations to enhance students’, practitioners’, or employees’ understanding of particular issues and crises. They work to build a sense of preparedness and capability.”

A critical factor in Eliasson’s decision to accept a position at ESU in 2005 was a guarantee to set up a European Studies program, and ESU joining TACUESS. He has since led 58 students to six TACEUSS European Union simulations, in addition to taking 25 students to four regional and national Model EU simulations.

 The costs of participating in the annual four-day TACEUSS Eurosim, three in Europe (Trier, Germany; Antwerp, Belgium; Wroclaw, Poland), and the others in Philadelphia and Buffalo (twice), have been partly offset by two major Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Faculty Development and Research grants in the Enhanced Student Learning Activities category, three smaller ESU instructional and learning grants, and a one-time award from the Student Activities Noonan Fund.  The European Union Studies Club also raised money through bake sales, and a few individual students were awarded some assistance from the Noonan Fund. While Eliasson also defrayed some costs with personal funds, participating students have always paid 30-65% of the total costs of travel and participation. He said TACEUSS, after 25 years of organizing this simulation, has also developed a model which offers a very high quality educational experience at a comparatively low cost for all participants.

“The knowledge of law, policies, politics, negotiating strategies, and bargaining tactics students attain from months of preparations followed by 25 hours of formal, and many hours of informal, negotiations, all while adhering to diplomatic protocol, is amazing,” said Eliasson. “The educational results from combining the theoretical and practical experiences have been very effective. The faculty in TACEUSS (with 25 universities) volunteer on a self-select basis to assign roles, write the very extensive program, prepare the topic, and host the simulation. This requires a lot of time and effort, but we do this because we are passionate about student learning. The range of expertise amongst the TACEUSS faculty is impressive, with experts of various areas of law, social policy, economics, defense, welfare, and education.” 

For more information on Eurosim 2013, please contact Dr. Eliasson at 570-422-3250 or by email at jeliasson@esu.edu.


Leave a Reply