Written By:

Adam Roux

Published On:

March 29, 2019

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    2019 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition Winners Announced!

    The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) and the University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy today announced the winners of the 2019 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition—the largest-ever student simulation competition in higher education.

    A team of five students from the Villanova University College of Liberal Arts & Sciences took First Place, receiving $5,000 USD. The winning team includes:

    • Nicholas Vall
    • Morgana Falabella
    • Tolulope Omadara
    • Tyler Walls
    • Fatima Rezaei

    “This is the only global simulation in public policy education I know of that brings grad students together from all different countries to address a multifaceted policy issue and learn from each other,” said NASPAA Executive Director Laurel McFarland. “Our hope is they will graduate and go out into the real world with a heightened understanding of forced migration and the complexities and tradeoffs in the surrounding policy decisions as well as a desire to contribute wherever they might end up working.”

    This year, nearly 600 students from 147 universities in 27 countries took part in the NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition. Participants competed at 11 global host sites from Dhaka and Cairo to Mexico City and San Francisco. The simulation, developed by experts at the University of Virginia’s Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming (CLSG) and backed by extensive real-world data, placed students in charge of four fictitious countries as their region experienced a migrant influx. Each student team represented one country’s government, with each member holding a high-ranking position such as Prime Minster or Minister of Labor. As the teams navigated difficult policy decisions and their potential outcomes, the game challenged participants to weigh human rights, integration, and GDP growth against budget restrictions and political resistance.

    “We built our most complex and immersive simulation to date around the timely and sensitive issue of forced migration,” said CLSG Director Noah Myung. “Migration is a global issue, so we hoped to get participants to think of our world as one connected system and avoid thinking of policymaking in a vacuum. While teams were competing against each other, success for any one team required coordination with the others.”

    116 participating teams were evaluated on simulation scores, negotiation skills, and policy presentations. 10 regional site judges selected 13 regional winning teams, and a panel of prominent judges identified the global winners – the first, second, and third place teams. The full list can be accessed on the NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition website.

    In the coming months, the CLSG will develop a classroom version of the simulation which will be available free of charge for the next three years. NASPAA will distribute the free classroom version to its 300 member schools.


    About NASPAA: The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration or NASPAA is the global standard in public service education.  It is the membership organization of graduate education programs in public policy, public affairs, public administration, and public & nonprofit management. Its over 300 members – located across the U.S. and in 24 countries around the globe – award MPA, MPP, MPAff, and similar degrees. NASPAA is the recognized global accreditor of master’s degree programs in these fields.

    About the CLSG: The University of Virginia’s Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy prepares students for public life by allowing them to test real-world solutions in a virtual environment. The CLSG designs, develops, and implements cutting edge simulations and experiments to advance education in leadership and public policy; conducts rigorous leadership and public policy research using simulations and experiments; and creates a community of scholarship where faculty, researchers and students are supported in their scholarly efforts related to the methodology of simulations and experiments.