On 10th and 11th April, four CRISP team members travelled all the way across Germany to the town of Alsdorf, outside of Aachen. There we implemented the simulation game “Dear Mr. President”, which we developed for the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, with over 50 high school students. The goal was to familiarize the participants with autocratic tendencies by politicians in democracies.
On the first day the participants examined the political and voting system in the USA. They took on the role of presidential candidates and their advisors and campaigned on issues such as discrimination, healthcare, justice and poverty. They created slogans, drew posters, produced radio spots and social media posts to get their positions known. The candidates also engaged in a simulated television debate.
After getting a feeling for how autocratic tendencies play out on the national level, on the second day the participates took on the roles of heads of state and foreign ministers of 10 countries. In the setting of a UN conference “One Planet. One Future”, the participants discussed climate change and nuclear disarmament. The goal of each committee was to come to an agreement on its respective topic. In the process of working out an agreement, the participants understood the challenges democracies face when working with autocratic leaders.