For generations of Monterey Institute students, the semester-long NPT simulation course has been a life-changing experience. Led by Dr. Bill Potter, Director of the Institute’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), the class is devoted to a simulation of upcoming negotiations on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or NPT. Students prepare for and participate in the simulated negotiations as members of different national delegations, often joined by visiting current or former lead negotiators. At the 2014 NPT Preparatory Committee Meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York, dozens of Monterey Institute faculty, alumni, staff, and students participated in the official negotiations.
Current students in the Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies program, Thomas Gray (MANPTS ’15), Benjamin Pack (MANPTS ’14) participated in the negotiations as part of the Chilean delegation, and Andrew Brown (MANPTS ’15) as part of the U.S. delegation. Dr. Potter himself also served as technical advisor to the Kyrgyz delegation and in total, MIIS/CNS alumni and current students and staff accounted for 20 delegates from 13 nations and 2 international organizations.
“First, I learned that international diplomacy moves at a glacial pace,” says Thomas Gray, describing his experience at UN. “After the simulation class, I was ready to discuss the issues and the national positions, but I was not ready for how slowly everything moves in the real world, compared to how fast the simulation seemed. Secondly, and I think more importantly, I realized that the ‘MIIS mafia’ is real. It was great to make those connections, not only in terms of networking, but also in reminding me that MIIS people do go on to some really awesome jobs after graduation.”
In this week’s edition of The MIIS Experience in 60 Seconds, Thomas talks about Dr. Potter’s simulation class.