The Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management (FSPPM) extends congratulations to the team on their victory and selection as the regional representative for the global final. The winning team consisted of two members from FSPPM, Nguyễn Minh Hiếu (MPP23) and Đặng Thị Phi Hương Giang (MPP24).
While the competition aims for a winner, it is not the sole expectation of the participants, judges, and organizers. The primary focus is on the experiences gained by the young policymakers and their readiness for making decisions in real life.
This year’s competition features the Forio Wildfire Simulation designed by Professor Matt Koschmann from the University of Colorado Boulder. The simulation competition teaches players communication and negotiation skills, which helps them balance their roles against their team goals to collaborate on a joint wildfire mitigation plan for the fictional town of Westmount. Each team, composed of five representatives from five different schools, will assume distinct roles with their individual interests and powers to tackle this challenge. Through negotiations and discussions, they will work towards creating a cohesive policy design, addressing concerns, and mitigating the stakeholders’ interests.
According to Ms. Stacy Drudy, a representative from the NASPAA, this year the competition had 300 contestants from more than 100 universities around the world, divided into 60 teams. This year, NASPAA offers limited travel grants for participants. It’s their commitment to offering inclusive opportunities for public policy students from different backgrounds to access simulation learning experiences.
Associate Professor Dr. Phạm Duy Nghĩa, representative of FSPPM, emphasized the significance of the competition, stating, “The role-playing activities in simulation sessions involve multiple perspectives and opinions that can influence the decision-making process. Policymakers must persist in their decision-making, improvise skillfully while adhering to their principles. As a School that has incorporated “simulation” into the curriculum for several years, FSPPM encourages students to participate in such competitions to enhance their learning and practical experience beyond the classroom. Furthermore, this year, as the venue for the competition, FSPPM is contributing to the establishment of a simulation playground for young people and popularizing this effective learning method.”
Explore some of the exciting moments from the competition held at FSPPM, and take a look at the judges’ and contestants’ perspectives in the photos below!
Minh Hiếu (MPP23), menber of the winning team, shared “The process of discussion and negotiation of the group encountered many difficulties. Although there were many arguments, all agreed to set aside all differences to come to a consensus in the final round. I think my team’s victory came from this factor. My team’s final recommendation, although it may not satisfy all of the requirements, incorporates the most important opinions thanks to the negotiation process of the members.”
“Participating in simulation competitions like this can equip public policy students with necessary skills to handle real-life situations effectively. As the future leaders of both the public and private sectors, it is crucial for them to possess not only the ability to analyze data but also to negotiate with various stakeholders. This approach guarantees that policies are not imposed solely from the top-down but rather cater to the requirements of multiple parties, maximizing resource utilization for optimal response solutions,” Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Huy, Senior Climate Change Advisor at Oxfam International, Competition Judge.
“Young policymakers can learn how to blend tradition and modernity through participating in competitions like this. The traditional aspect involves studying documents, communicating, and negotiating with multiple stakeholders, while the modern aspect entails utilizing data visualization tools like fire maps, wind flow charts, etc. These tools make data more accessible than ever before,” Ms. Đỗ Vân Nguyệt, Founder of Center for Live and Learn for Environment and Community, Competition Judge.
“This is my first time participating in a simulation contest, so I’m overwhelmed by the pressure of time and the constant debates. But thanks to that, I really learned a lot and quickly in just a day of working with other contestants,” Xinyi Wang, representative from Zhejiang University.
“I felt ‘anxious’ and ‘challenged’ in a positive sense. At first, our team struggled to communicate with each other effectively, but we soon adapted and made decisions that took everyone’s preferences into account. Overall, I am grateful for this opportunity!,” Harveen Ang, graduate student in Policy Development, KDI School of Management and Public Policy, Korea.
NASPAA is an international accrediting body for Policy and Management Schools. There are only 183 accredited schools in the US and just 8 internationally. On July 26th, The Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management received accreditation from NASPAA, becoming the first accredited public policy school in Southeast Asia.