U.S. Institute of Peace

A man and two women standing in front of the HNMCP logo, smiling.

Semester: 2023 Fall

Students: Jonathan Frieden, Abby Elder, and Sarah Boxer

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is a national, nonpartisan, independent institute, founded by Congress and dedicated to the proposition that a world without violent conflict is possible, practical and essential for U.S. and global security. In conflict zones abroad, USIP works with local partners to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict. As part of its work, USIP draws upon its deep reservoir of expertise on regions, threats, conflicts, peace processes and policy-making to design timely and realistic Strategic Games that produce relevant and actionable outputs. Strategic Games are live simulations and role-playing exercises with defined objectives, such as the development of policy recommendations, stress-testing operational responses, building participants’ competency in specific scenarios, or mapping out possible outcomes or solutions to existing or anticipated global challenges. 

USIP is in the process of further expanding its Strategic Gaming capacity. To that end, USIP has engaged the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program to assess how various internal and external actors and institutions design and run Strategic Games, and how stakeholders (negotiators, diplomats, government decision makers, NGOs, etc) use Strategic Games and their results. This information will then be used to produce a range of materials for USIP that offer a potential framework and strategy for expanding the Institute’s gaming capability.

Students may:  

  • Review literature on peace processes and peace negotiations to understand modalities and common patterns as well as existing samples (from USIP and other institutions) and relevant literature on Strategic Gaming;  
  •  Interview practitioners and experts in the field of peace processes and peace negotiations, as well as developers of, former participants in, and end-user stakeholders of Strategic Gaming;  
  • Consult subject-matter experts in order to source knowledge on and approaches to Strategic Gaming and to provide expert information;  
  • Present findings, recommendations, and proposed guidance guide on Strategic Games to senior USIP staff;  
  • Develop a methodological guidebook, templates, and other materials to help optimize Strategic Gaming.  
Scroll to Top