On March 4, I was invited by the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council to participate in their 2017 Global Vision Summit. The event brought together 148 high school students from 22 schools on Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii Island to learn about rising tensions in the South China Sea. Together with the staff at PAAC, we helped to develop a negotiation simulation for the students based on past conflicts around the Spratly Islands. The students formed teams to take on the roles of diplomats from China, Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines, Japan, and the United States. I provided the briefing for the student team representing Japan (pictured above) and helped to advise them during their negotiations with the other teams. The other teams were coached by experts from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, US Pacific Fleet, and Pacific Forum CSIS, as well as by my colleagues from the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. In the end, the students gained a strong appreciation for the difficulty of these issues and of the diplomatic process.
Check out this video to see students in action and to hear them talk about the experience in their own words (my team is threaded throughout but does a group shout-out around 1:56):