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  • Writer's pictureWLM

2017 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition on Food Security

Each year since 2015, the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), holds a competition in which students of public policy and public administration work together in teams at locations around the world to tackle a real-world problem in the hopes of learning more experiential learning. In 2017 the topic addressed food security. The competition took place on the same day around the world, February 25 (February 26 for China).

In the competition, 400 graduate students gathered to eight university locations to participate in a computer simulation. In teams of 16-20, students analyzed data, made policy proposals, reacted to the computer simulated results, drafted memos, and presented their strategy recommendations to local site judges. Judges selected winners from each site and the top winners advanced to the next level to be judged by “super judges.” In this event my team, World One, broke into smaller groups of four to cover different areas of the globe. Our area was Southeast Asia. We were given information to read before the competition about the topic of food security and on the competition day we spent a few hours reviewing the issue of food security and performing practice simulations.

In Southeast Asia, food security relies on the ability to maintain crops. This means that the food security of the area is dependent on the weather and natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, and flooding. In our group, it was important for us to increase our infrastructure and storage capacity before beginning to focus on agricultural policies. Without a solid infrastructure and methods of storing our food we would not be able to share resources or be resilient to natural disasters. After completing the simulation in four rounds that spanned a decade each, we were required to write a policy memo giving recommendations and present to the rest of the competitors and judges at our site.

Our group won from our site and was selected to move on to the next level to be judged by “super judges.” In the second round the judges reviewed the eight recorded presentations of the winners from each site and selected a winner and a runner up. Our team did not win the competition but the judges commented on our “informal but competent” presentation (NASPAA, 2017).


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