Etudiants Master études européennes

Global Governance Seminar

Simulation of negotiation on the European Union-Russia-Ukraine relations


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 Negotiation simulation in 2015 on nuclear Disarmament

Series of lectures on Global Governance

Governance issues are not only linked to technical questions but also – if not more – to moral and ethical issues. Through the globalization, we are now confronted to a range of challenges. Some are traditional like the management of global public goods and the adaptation of the institutional architecture or the adoption of global standards to manage those issues. Others are related to global awareness, social justice like absolute poverty or sustainable development.

Launched in 2013, this seminar on Global Governance aims at studying these questions through practical cases analysis and teaching methods. In its frame, we have developed exercises of negotiation simulation since 2015, offering students the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge to a concrete case study and to gain practical knowledge of international negotiation processes.

A first negotiation simulation was organised in autumn 2015 on nuclear disarmament issues following the approach of the Conference for Disarmament. This first simulation was organised in partnership with the ETH Zurich. Following this simulation exercise, a debriefing was held at the University of Geneva at the attention of the Permanent Representatives to the Conference on Disarmament.

During spring semester 2017, Prof. Calmy-Rey will organise the second simulation exercise, this time on Ukraine-Russia-EU relations with ETH Zurich and SciencesPo Paris. Simulation exercises have proven to be valuable teaching method for familiarizing students with the workings of multilateral fora and international negotiation dynamics as they are directly involved in the negotiation process.

Simulation of negotiation on Russia-Ukraine-European Union relations

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Autumn semester was devoted to the context analysis and offered students the opportunity to examine historical, political and socio-economic dimensions of these relations and to deepen their theoretical knowledge through experts’ presentations, mandatory readings and the writing of an individual paper aiming at presenting the actors’ discourses with their divergences and convergences as well as analysing them.

In spring semester 2017, students will participate in a simulation exercise of international negotiation which will be held at the University of Geneva on 18-19 May 2017. The seminar focus on the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

The seminar begins with a crash course aiming at recapitulating the 1st semester programme and explaining the negotiation technique, more particularly the diplomatic engineering, as taught by Professor Micheline Calmy-Rey. Students will then benefit from presentations of high-level experts, offering them a unique opportunity to meet actors involved.

The simulation of negotiation exercise will be based on scenarii and supported by a group of experts. Students will work in mixed teams from the three institutions, granting them the opportunity to exchange views on the topic and to have background diversity.

The seminar aims at providing students with the unique opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge to a case study of international relations. For the academic year 2016/2017, the relations between Ukraine, Russia and the European Union have been selected as case study. This seminar is intended for Master’s degree students of the Global Studies Institute of the University of Geneva and interested students of SciencesPo Paris as well as of the ETH Zurich. The seminar will be taught in English and will be given by videoconferencing for the students from Zurich and Paris.

The project is headed by Prof. Micheline Calmy-Rey, Global Studies Institute, University of Geneva. Referent professors in Paris:Ambassador d'Aboville, in Zürich: Dr Sybille Zürcher.

To give a you a more concrete view of how the simulation is organized, please have a look at last year simulation on nuclear disarmement issues:

Debriefing of the negotiation simulation of November 2015 on Nuclear Disarmament

Video of the simulation of November 2015


Negotiation method

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Source: The negotiation engineering process, Chair of Negotiation and Conflict Management, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, 2015.

The diplomatic engineering approach was developed within the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) of Switzerland and is integrative in nature. It aims at matching pragmatic solutions to a given problem applying 'situation‑specific instruments and tools' as it is done in engineering science. Based on an overall analysis, the diplomatic engineering approach thus aims at splitting a complex negotiation problem into precise sub‑problems. The latter are, as far as possible, reduced to the technical level to create space for rational dialogue and to identify realistic key objectives. The problem is made manageable by both concentrating on specific sub‑issues and by de‑politicizing them. Technical knowledge and objective criteria are applied to progressively solve the sub‑problems and to obtain win‑win solutions. Consequently, diplomatic engineering is a collaborative approach that requires the composition of a team including not only experienced negotiators but also a broad range of technical experts.

Applied to EU-Russia-Ukraine relations, this method means:

  1. Defining a negotiation frame in consultation with parties. The aim is to identify common problems and to find common solutions. Possible themes: economic aspects (the compatibility between the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union), security issues and humanitarian aspects (implementation of the Minsk Agreements).

  2. Establishing common procedural rules applicable, meaning accepted by all parties.

  3. Building teams, whose composition will be determined by the necessity to coordinate political and technical components of the negotiation.

  4. Splitting a complex negotiation problem into precise sub‑problems. The latter are, as far as possible, reduced to the technical level to create space for rational dialogue and to identify realistic key objectives. That means planning discussions in order of priorities.


The seminar programme is available on Moodle.

Course requirements

This seminar has a strong cooperative and personal-intellectual dimension. Student participation is thus critical.

The course is only intended for Master’s degree students of the Global Studies Institute (MAEE, MAREM & MAMO) who have passed the “tronc commun” and interested students of SciencesPo Paris as well as of the ETH Zurich. This seminar is only intended for Master's degree students and is not open to auditors or to the public.



I. Active participation in class (50%)

  1. Attend all seminar sessions either in person or via videoconference and actively participate in discussions. If you cannot attend a session, please notify the teaching assistant in advance. Excessive absences will be penalized;

  2. Participate in person in the session of 31 March 2017 and in the two-day simulation exercise;

  3. Do the required readings and regularly read international newspapers. Students are expected - if possible - to acquaint themselves with the bibliography before the seminar begins.

II. Texts to be submitted before and after the simulation (50%)

  1. The mandate, the position of the different parties, are collectively evaluated (team evaluation). The mandate should not be longer than 5 pages and must be submitted by April 24.

  2. Statements during the simulation session (introductory and final statements) are collectively assessed (team evaluation).

  3. After the simulation, a report on the negotiation outcomes to the State you represent (3-4 pages) and a press release (max. 1 page) have to be submitted by 23 May 2017. The report and press release are individually evaluated.


Moodle platform

For facilitating exchanges, the Moodle platform is used for interacting through chats and forums. All seminar-related documents, bibliography and information are also to be found on this platform.

Access our Seminar pages on Moodle